Using Up The Stash

cubbies.picmonkeyKnitters collect yarn. Quilters collect fabric. Crafters of all kinds love supplies. Part of practicing a hobby is having the goodies to play with. Unfortunately sometimes having the things gets to be more important than using what you have. The pile of goodies gets so big, it’s embarrassing.

I have a healthy stash of yarn at my house. I didn’t think anything of it really till recently when a friend came over and was admiring all my fibers. Looking at my stash through her eyes I saw it was large. It might be time to stop buying yarn and start knitting with it. I’d been saving yarn for “some day.” Well, the day had arrived. I made a commitment to look in my stash first rather than buy new yarn for each project I wanted to try.


I took a clue from the Amish mindset to use the resources I have. I looked in my stash to see how I can create and be happy with what is there rather than go out and buy the latest gadget or goodie for my craft.

Putting restrictions on yarn purchases let me discover things in my stash. For example, I found a whole collection of Mission Falls 1812 yarn. It is washable wool that has been discontinued. It has been my go-to yarn for years. I love to make Knit for Kids sweaters with it. That is my knit charity of choice. And when was the last time I pulled out any of this yarn to make a sweater for a child in need?

I dug around a little and found a sweater half finished! This was the perfect place to start. I began playing. I was limited by the amounts and color selection of the yarn I had left. It was a challenge. But I had a great time creating a one-of-a-kind sweater. It was fun to try new ideas with old yarn.

This kind of “green” thinking is not so much about recycling as being content with what I already have. It’s about using the resources I’ve been given and enjoying the creative outlets available to me rather than stockpiling supplies for “some day.”sweater.picmonkey

I love to share my stash, too. Every month I have a giveaway on my website. Sometimes I offer stash yarn. Sometimes I find goodies other folks want to share. This month I have a notions giveaway. You can check it out at my website. This way you can dip into my stash too! Free and fun.

So what’s in your closet? Next time you launch into a new project, search your craft bins, yarn stash, or fabric supply for something you can use before you head out to buy new. It will push your creativity and challenge you. It will be exciting to see what you can make.

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Lisa Bogart (64 Posts)

Lisa Bogart. Lisa is a movie-loving, book-reading, sweater-knitting, cookie-baking, world-traveling woman. She is also the author of Knit With Love, Stories to Warm a Knitters Heart. She won the Guideposts Writers Workshop in 2010. These days Lisa works part time at Piedmont Yarn in Oakland, CA. And she loves nothing better than writing all morning, knitting all afternoon, and watching a movie with hubby in the evening. You can find Lisa online at


  1. Nancy Williams says:

    What a lovely sweater idea. I use up bits and pieces of my stash by making squares then sewing them together to make a blanket or a lap blanket that I usually donate to Goodwill or the Salvation Army or Project Linus. I also make a rug out of the stash as well. That one is a great one because it doesn’t matter if you have a little bit of yarn or a lot. I always seem to have one on the go.

    • Stash blankets! Great idea. It pushes your creativity to use what you have left and make it work. I love your comment that “I always seem to have one on the go.” Bravo!

  2. Rebecca Wright says:

    I have been making prayer blankets for kids in need for a few years.

  3. I don’t do yarn work, but this makes me think of my full pantry -using up my stash of food before I buy more. (P.S. The picture of you makes me happy!)

    • What a great reminder! My cupboard isn’t bare, I should look there tonight! Thanks.
      (Thanks, you are sweet…you can tell I’m knitting, always leaves me with a smile on my face.)

  4. My yarn budget is pretty small so I tend to only buy yarn with specific projects in mind. I do have a decent stash but nearly everything in it is for a specific project. I have a couple pretty single skeins here or there but I consider that my hat/mittens/baby item stash. I do save the odds and ends leftover from projects. I am saving the small balls to make a pair of scrappy longies for my son and I keep the smaller pieces in a basket for my kids to play or craft with and to stuff knitted softies.

    • You have more discipline than I do! I’ve been known to buy sock yarn just cause it’s pretty. I love your suggestion of saving all the bits from projects to make a very colorful creation. I’m curious do you save your yarn by weight? I mean do you keep the same gauge yarn together? So you kind of know when you have enough.

      • I do keep them together by weight. I knit a lot of worsted weight items for my children so that is the bulk of my scraps. They are also predominantly variegated yarns so they will make some really snazzy pants lol! If you type scrappies into a Ravelry project search you’ll see lots of little ones in crazy pants. I’m sure one day my children won’t want to wear those funky creations anymore and I’ll have to start knitting more monsters or other items that won’t get worn.

    • After accumulating a bunch of pretty single-skeins, I realized that picking the pattern FIRST was what I needed to do when yarn shopping. When a bunch of meetings popped up at work last month, I cast on for a shirt, knowing the pattern was easy enough to work without much thought. I figured a big project would help me work down my stash. Now I just started on leggings, for which I have 10 balls of yarn that have sat in my closet for a year.

      • Sounds like a great strategy. You’ve found a few items that will definitely eat up some stash. Bravo! I have found I have lots of little odds and ends from those big projects. So I am in the midst of making lots of cup cozies. Enjoy your projects.

  5. Susan Fryman says:

    Perfect timing for this post. I have been evaluating my stashes as well!
    Not only do I have yarn bot books and fabric stashes as well. Loved your post. Blessings, Susan Fryman

    • Oh my Susan you pointed out another stash I forgot about…BOOKS! My fiber library isn’t that big but I have more fiction than I’m entitled too. Time to purge a little there too. Good reminder.

  6. Hmmm … I need to read some of the hundreds of books on my shelf before I buy more!

  7. Beth Sippl says:

    I have been looking for something to do with all my extra yarn. Thanks for the inspiration to do something with it.

    • I have really enjoyed knitting for the Knit With Kids charity. The pattern is so simple it screams for color work. I hope you give it a try or find a charity of choice that suits your stash.

  8. Let’s see – I need to purge my pantry, my bookcases, my yarn collection, and my bead stash. Hmmm. I’m gonna be busy….

    • Laughing with you Betty. Pacing is my advice! That an a little creative cooking, reading old favorites, knitting with treasures and playing with favorite beads. teehee.

  9. HI–
    My sister and I practice using up the stash each march…we call it Make Do March! We make the rules to use only what either we have or what each other has. It definitely makes us use what we have to do our crafting!

    • What a great idea! March is half over though, maybe I should try Make Do May….as well as Just Use Stash June…and Simply Stash September….and YarnOver October…. and No New Yarn November….well you get the idea.

    • Great idea!! Both the March and May 🙂 and….

  10. Wow that turned out beautiful!! I am a seamstress and mega crafter and have a whole ROOM full of supplies!!

    Blue Eyed Beauty Blog
    Exercise Encouragement Group Blog

    P.S. visiting you via Bloglovin!

  11. What a blessing! I just cleared an area of our basement to set up my personal crafting/sewing area with the same thoughts in mind – to use what I have because there is a lot down there collected over our 24 years of marriage and inherited from my mother when she decided to not craft any more. I love to crochet and have been finding fun things to do on Pinterest. Thanks for the encouragement and can’t wait to read up on this newly found blog! God Bless!

    • Setting up your own craft spot —cool. Sounds like you have years of supplies saved to use. teehee! I can only imagine how Pinterest will spark your projects. And yes you’ll find encouragement here at NQA! Everyday a new post to enlighten, inspire or make ya laugh. Welcome!

  12. About four years ago, I gave roughly 30% of my stash to Project Linus. Pretty fabrics, but my tastes had changed in the years (!) I’d held on to it. I pretty much try to include stash fabric in every project, or make smaller things (small purse pouches, totebags, hats etc) exclusively from stash. In addition, I do give away a lot of what I make, for gifts for friends and random internet friends. Don’t ever want to have so much accumlated I don’t know what is there.

    • Well done using up your stash as a matter of habit. And you make a good point, not want to have so much accumulated that you don’t know what’s there. Wise words, makes it easier to use what you have on hand too. Thanks!

  13. I finally destashed again recently. I used your very rule of thumb, I gave yarn to charity outlets if I didn’t have a specific project for it. Cleaned the cubbies quite nicely….now of course I can fill up on new stuff! teehee


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