Constant vigilance

A month ago when I returned home from vacation to discover water damage over about half of my house, one silver lining was that my yarn wasn’t harmed. It was in a totally different part of the house than what was damaged, and so my stash emerged untraumatized. (The rest of the house is still being put back together again, which is a whole other cranky story, but I digress).

The experience was enough of a cautionary tale over what could happen, though, particularly since a large portion of my stash lives in cubby shelves with nothing to protect it from the elements other than karma. I tend to sort through my stash a couple of times a year and have been lucky so far (knocking on all the wood right now) that moth damage hasn’t occurred, never mind a leaky roof or something, but you just never know what could happen down the line.

DSC_0187

So, yesterday I armed myself with 30 extra-large freezer bags (each large enough for about ten 100g skeins of yarn) and started bagging things up. I also don’t mind admitting that I’ll be going back for more bags – both because I didn’t quite get it all covered yesterday, and also to get some reinforcements for a few wool sweaters that live in my closet. Protection is the name of the game!

New stash

I’m willing to still leave a few stashed skeins loose and visible in each cubby, because it’s pretty like that and still reminds me of a few projects’ worth of yarn at a time. But man oh man I am going to sleep better at night knowing there’s at least a thin layer of plastic protecting this stuff. This is almost a decade’s worth of yarn collecting right here.

Some of it, like the Louet Riverstone worsted (below) and the Green Mountain Spinnery ‘wonderfully wooly’ worsted (top), are now discontinued yarns and I won’t be able to buy them again. It’s reassuring to know I bought enough of them at the time to be able to get a full sweater out of each of them. A lot of yarn world is steady and seems like it’ll go on forever supplying the same yarns over and over, but really, none of yarn world lasts forever. It’s the sort of thing that makes me feel OK about having a stash in the first place.

Riverstone

I still like these yarns. If there are things in my stash that I genuinely know I won’t use or feel uncertain about keeping, I will give them away or donate them and I will sleep well after doing so. But the ones I enjoy and want to keep dreaming about projects for, I like keeping. I’ve got a lot of yarn and I’m okay with that.

In fact, bagging everything up yesterday made me feel pretty good about most of what I own, and I remembered a lot of project ideas that went along with various purchases. Right now, if I could do nothing but knit sweaters from stash for a month or two, that would be all right with me. Yarrrrn.

From the stash

Really, this is something I should have done ages ago and I’m lucky to have this much yarn go unscathed for so long.

Do you have a yarn protection system in place? How do you organize your stash?

Happy knitting this Monday afternoon!

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33 Comments

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33 responses to “Constant vigilance

  1. lizmusgrove

    Maybe my australian hanging out (don’t underestimate the sun ….), but do you worry about fading with the yarn exposed all the time, inspiring though it is to have it where you can see it?

  2. Jenny

    My stash lives in ziplock bags in a storage unit from Ikea. I buy more bags every time I’m in Ikea. I love that your stash is on show, it looks gorgeous. http://craftytails.com/2011/09/18/yarn-storage/

  3. Sharon

    I keep mine in plastic storage containers, sorted by weight.

  4. My yarn is stored in clear rubbermaid-type containers in the garage because I have so little storage space in my house. I hope it is safe that way. It isn’t a big stash by any means, but I still paid $$ for it and wouldn’t want anything to happen to it.

  5. I store my yarn in plastic shelves in addition to individual plastic zip lock bags!

  6. Terrie

    Most of my stash is in plastic baggies and a few special ones are in my cedar chest. They all come out to play on occasion :)

  7. Some of my stash is in rubbermaid-type containers. But I have it separated into 1- and 2- gallon ziploc bags. If I bought the yarn with a particular project in mind, I printed the pattern and put it in the ziploc with the yarn. Can always change my mind later, but this way I remember what I had in mind when I bought the yarn to begin with.

  8. Kelly Halley

    I’ve got mine mine in plastic drawers. I’ve got a few more full other than these. I’m trying to buy more each month til I get all the yarn in my closets in these drawers where I can more easily access. I’m guessing that I’ve got enough for at least 20 more drawers. My reasoning is that once my problem has “come out of the closet”, I’ll realize that I’m crazy to buy more. IMG_1124.JPG

  9. I’ve got mine in shelves like yours. I used to use plastic tubs, which I know are the safest, but I so enjoy having it out where I can see it and touch it. I get so much more pleasure and inspiration from it this way. But I do worry about water damage and moths etc, so I probably should do like you and bag it up. At least I’ll still be able to have it out where I can see the colors and dig through it easily.

  10. Dawn H

    I keep mine in rubbermaid containers, and if it is for a certain pattern, in a baggie with that pattern in the baggie, so I can grab and be ready to go if necessary. Unless it is in the next on the list of two or three then it is in a basket by my knitting chair with a blanket over it so when the cat lays on it she doesnt leave hair behind!

  11. Connie

    Ziplock bags. One day after a 20 minute trip to pick kids up from school, I came home and it was raining inside my home. A water heater in the attic had broken. A colossal wet mess. Yarn in gallon size ziplock bags survived this catastrophe. Sheetrock, flooring, etc did not make it. Repairs and replacement seemed to take forever.

  12. i mostly keep it in plastic storage bins, organized by color. But there is a box in the linen closet of hat yarn, and in the cart near my end of the couch is the yarn for the next 5 or 6 projects, out where I can see it. so
    I guess I do some of everything!

    glad your yarn survived the destruction.

  13. CarylK

    I keep all of mine in Ziploc bags because I own animals and want to keep the cat hair from winding itself into the yarn before I’ve even knit with it. I keep most of my stash in cubbies in the guest bedroom and the rest is in my armoire upstairs by my desk. It can be a challenge to find things sometimes, but I just consider it taking a vacation in my stash and enjoy the fun of seeing everything I have :)

  14. It looks great. Thank goodness all that beautiful yarn was saved. Too bad about the rest if your house. I recently reorganized my craft closet. I still have more to do but it’s a start. http://missyscraftymess.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/craft-room-overhaul/

  15. I had a water incident in part of my stash last winter when we developed an ice dam in the roof of our 3-storey house and some water leaked through. Thank goodness for Loblaw’s extra large ziplocks! I also use them for summer storage for sweaters that have been washed and mended. Hope the rest of your house recovers from your water incident.

  16. Good plan! I use a similar system: Ziploc freezer baggies (although that’s a good idea, note to self) to protect against bugs etc. and cloth Ikea bins to protect against light (something we worry about in AZ!).

  17. Susie

    My yarn stash is organized in the rooms of my childhood dollhouse. Could never stand to let go of the dear replica of my own house growing up, on which my dear dad very patiently glued a cedar shake roof. Turns out to be a handy and quaint way of organizing….and I know when there’s a vacancy it’s time to go buy more! Love your blog…..

  18. twistedsticks

    I don’t have mine protected either. It is stored in various baskets and bags.

    I love the Louet red yarn above. Beautiful. I really need to start a sweater I just can’t seem to settle on a pattern.

  19. Cathryn

    I have mine in two plastic totes, with lavender-bud sachets tucked in. I arrange it by weight, and then by color within the weights, because I’m a trifle obsessive like that ;) My WIP yarn goes in four bags: yarn drum for personal knitting, beach bag for gift knitting, drawstring nylon bag for purse knitting, and a clear vinyl bag from my LYS for bigger purse knitting or small road trip knitting (easier to maneuver in a car than the yarn drum).

  20. Jill

    mine is in plastic containers in eldest daughters bedroom! As she is away for 2 years in Canada, I am safe for now! I bag up (in ziplock bags) left over yarn when I finish a project, with the name of the yarn, and the weight that I have left. Makes it a little easier to think of something I can use it for :)

  21. My tiny stash is in (open) plastic bags inside a cupboard, but I’ll keep in mind that more is required when I grow it.

  22. Pingback: Constant vigilance | Knitting For Baby

  23. I have that same IKEA Expedit shelf, but with the purple plastic bins that pull out. That’s good enough for me! Your Riverstone is a luscious shade of red. I loved that yarn…

  24. Pia

    I don’t actually have a lot of stash. What I have (almost) fits in one box and since it is mainly left overs I wouldn’t be devastated it something was to happen to it. With our economic situation I can’t justify having a lot of money tied up in yarn and I have a tendency towards minimalism as well. But actually buying and storing yarn as a rainy day fund doesn’t sound too bad, it will keep you warm, but I don’t think yarn soup is very tasty ;)
    Once we get some actual fun money to spend I may get a stash just as lovely as yours.

  25. Ann

    I had a moth scare this summer in some of my stash. So, after “baking” all my yarn to kill any remaining eggs I put all into plastic freezer bags with moth deterring herbal sachets in each, then back into the Rubbermaid tubs. I did the same to my sweaters, socks, scarves, mittens and hats. Even though it is sad not to see my yarn beautifully arranged in a basket, or my sweaters stacked on the shelves in my closet, I do feel more at ease that all is safe.

  26. Ziplocs…inside a huge plastic tote. Not really sorted, except like brands and weights together.

  27. Myra

    I put mine under my bed in Rubbermaid totes. One for each weight of yarn. Keeps the stash from growing too big and keeps it organized too!

  28. Sounds smart! I keep my yarn in ziplock bags in rubbermaid bins (which I am very good about labeling by yarn type). Not exactly good-looking, and I wish I could see what’s in the bins for inspiration. I love open shelving systems, but don’t have room in my house and am too nervous about moths/curious kitties/etc.

  29. My stash just recently got a new home in my husband’s closet (which he GAVE UP for my yarn), sorted by weight and kept in twenty Ikea boxes. Of course, I’ll still have to dig through the boxes because I (naturally) didn’t list what specifically was in each box, just whether it was a chunky or a fingering weight–fingering weight takes up about nine of my boxes, of course. But stash diving is always fun, so I don’t mind taking trips down memory lane as I dig through my boxes. I did used to keep my stash in a variety of places, from a giant Rubbermaid container to a bookcase to an empty fish tank, but the yarn closet is the best so far.

  30. We had a basement water event this past March. Now, about $6000 dollars later we have a sump pump and new weeping tiles and are ready to start flooring and trim. The yarn, thankfully was on high shelves. Adding ruined yarn to the event would have been just too much.

  31. Barb R.

    NONE of my stash or yarn or raw fiber for spinning is EVER let out of plastic bags unless it is on the needles and when it is not being worked on…back in it’s plastic bag! It is protected from rain, coffee, soda, sticky fingers and anything that flies!! Too much money, time and effort is in that fiber and I risk NOTHING AT ALL!
    Barb R.

  32. My stash is very small but totally unprotected – I’m going to go and get big zip lock bags to protect it with now though!

  33. Plastic bags until I find a better way. But from all the responses it sounds like plastic bags are the best way.