De-Stashing the Stashless

Today’s Early Bird Special – a fast-topic-changing Friday.

I’ve said this before – I’m a stashless knitter. I am not a yarn collector. I buy yarn, I knit it up, and then I buy more for the next project.

Here is my best definition of a knitter’s “stash”: Yarn that is purchased by the knitter, with or without a specific project in mind, that is stored away and not knit. (I honestly don’t get it.)

The exceptions: yarn that is leftover from a project is not stash. Yarn that is gifted to the knitter is also not stash.

Some of you non-knitters might be wondering, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that most knitters have at least some stash. Some knitters even have a stash so large, that if they knit ever day for the rest of their lives, they will never get through it all. Other knitters measure their stash yardage in miles. Still others find themselves redecorating their homes to accommodate the bins and bins of stored yarns.

Back to my stashless stash. I have leftover yarn…not stash, mind you, but lots of it. About 5 jumbo Ziploc bags – all left over from about 200 projects. Time to put it to use.

img_8548.JPG So, I started this. This is the Traveler’s Life Afghan, as described in The Yarn Harlot’s Casts Off.

The recipe is: find a lot of yarn in about the same weight (mine’s worsted), cast on enough stitches to match your wingspan (mine’s 360), knit every row, and change yarns every row. Leave a tail for fringe. (There are more details in the book than I’m describing here.)

img_8568.JPG I’m loving this project! I can look at every single row and remember the project for which the yarn was initially used!

Memmmmmorieeeeees, like the corners of my mind….

My rules for my afghan are: no black yarn (except the first and last rows), and only natural animal fibers.

img_8544.JPG So far my afghan is wool, silk, angora, alpaca, cashmere, and mohair. I adore the way the colors are (mis) matching, row-by-row.

This will be an ongoing project that I pick up whenever I just need some simple, mindless knitting. You know – the kind of knitting that keeps one sane.


img_8492.JPG Remember the Chartreuse Monster?

Well, it isn’t a Basenji sleeping bag…

img_8494.JPG But it was big enough until I felted it…
img_8562.JPG And now it’s my new environmentally-conscious, insulated grocery bag!

This is the Green Earth Grocery Bag from Noni.

As you can see, I purchased a hearty dinner of champagne and leeks on my last trip to the supermarket.


img_8589.JPG Abe survived his dental surgery like a trooper. He was a little sore and groggy that night, but he’s eating and playing again.

Here he is, fast as lightening, carrying his toy squirrel around. Thank you to everyone who sent good wishes his way.

Have a great weekend!

30 comments on “De-Stashing the Stashless

  1. Love the afghan and am crazy for the shopping bag! Glad to hear Abe is back to his old self! Have a great weekend

  2. You are my gold standard for “stashless.” And I love the Traveler’s Afghan idea. For those of us aspiring to a stashless state, it could also be a great project for those single balls or skeins purchased in a weak moment. (ahem)

    I love your shopping bag!

    Has Abe’s diet been adapted at all? Can he still have the occasional stinky treat?

  3. Does sock yarn count as stash? That’s the only yarn that I stash. Otherwise, my stash is just leftover from other projects. I love that Noni bag – what a great idea. Is Abe behaving himself?

  4. I aspire to be stashless, so you inspire me to be true to my resolution to knit from stash, knit from stash, knit from stash! Thanks for the push. I love your afghan! The colors are working so well together. Did you plan out a pattern or are you just grabbing yarn randomly from your bag? I can’t wait to see your progress on it!

  5. Hi Janet – The vet said that Abe’s able to eat his normal food, but all hard bones and stinky treats have been put away for a few days. I think it would really hurt to crunch down on something hard right now! Ike and I went to PetSmart while Abe was in surgery and bought him some soft treats and the new squirrel toy. πŸ™‚

  6. I think the pattern for the Traveler’s Life Afghan calls for true randomness…but mine is not. I don’t have a real plan for it, but I’m doing my best to keep there from being any obvious stripes of similar colors. I’m trying to mix up lights and darks, and I’m careful about where I place the reds – since they really stand out.

    I also chose not to use any black yarn, because black stripes give the illusion of segments.

  7. I’m coveting the felted grocery bag! It almost makes me want to learn knitting so I could make one for myself (in orange, naturally). Maybe I’ll tell my mom to knit one for me. The afghan is too cool also. Man, you’re one talented and creative chick!

    Glad to see Abe up and about and feeling better. It’s amazing how quickly our little furry friends rebound from surgery.

  8. Staci –
    I think I may have seen your other 2 kids this week; any chance that they might live near 1515 Hyde Park? We were house hunting and I thought I recognized them from past family photos.

    I want Flat Feet in the worsted way (sorry, pun intended.) Would you please let the readers of Very Pink know when you get it into the store so we can have some, too. Unlike you I have stash, am planning to move stash and still add to stash – got to keep that economy running.

    I’m just getting to the end of the 2 Koigu zig-zag scarf that I saw for the first time on your blog. Mine is not nearly as pretty (bad color selection on my part) and I am REALLY tired of knitting that pattern. That is my purse knitting.

    I started my first Clapotis (scarf width) this week – I’m am enjoying that pattern and see how you might have knit several – but 10??? But I’m already mining the stash thinking, that would be nice yarn for a clapotis, oh that would be pretty. . . but really, I should start the packing and the boxes but let me just knit one more section. . . .

  9. I think I’m basically stashless under your definition. Okay, I do have the yarn for two larger projects at hand, but one was a gift and both are coming up to be done after the current one (or before, if I can’t get the yarn to finish it, which is looking scarily likely). I have some other bits and pieces I was given or bought at the charity shop for free-form stuff or whatever pops into my head, too, I suppose. And some yarn attached to hibernating projects. Oh, and the yarn I bought that just doesn’t seem to work for whatever I try to do with it…

    Okay, it’s more than I thought, but I still say it’s reasonable!

  10. I love love love the idea of that afghan!!! At first I thought it was just a scarf, but an afghan? *Swoon*

    I also don’t get the idea of buying yarn just to buy it. Except sock yarn, because you can always knit socks.

  11. The afghan is going to be great. I am also toying with the idea of paring down the stash some, and blankets keep coming to mind. I don’t know if I could NEVER not have a stash though πŸ™‚

    So glad to hear that Abe is back to his normal playful self!

  12. Love love love the bag! Great colors! I’ve been toying with the idea of an afghan myself. I always feel vaguely guilty when I open my closet. That’s where all of the yarn ball ends live in my house . . . πŸ˜‰

  13. Love the bag! What a great shape and color combination. Now I’m gonna have to root around in my stash (so far 55,178 yards in Ravelry, but I have plans for it all, well at least I did when I bought it) and see if I can puzzle out something similar on the machine.

    I’ve been working on a similar afghan for 2 years (I course bought the yarn instead of using leftovers) and I’m only about half way done. I wish you more stamina than me.

  14. my stash is crochet oriented. it’s not neatly combined anywhere. there are skeins of yarn in virtually every corner of the house. that is an awesome idea for the stash though. is it stash if the yarn was purchased with a project in mind, but the project was put on hold?

    glad to hear abe’s better. poor baby. getting him special presents must have been ike’s idea. that was very sweet of him. πŸ™‚

    i want the bag! but it should be in paper bag brown. that would be cool. i need to make one.

  15. The whole no stash thing continues to boggle the mind! That blanket will be great once it’s done. I love that bag, I need to add it to my queue!

  16. I think you are amazing in that you have no stash ( I like the idea that gifted yarn and left over does not qualify as stash). I am a terrible shop-a-holic.
    I love your green bag and afghan too!

  17. That grocery bag is way cool and something I’d love to carry to the market! So glad Abe is better and doing the things he loves.

  18. I definitely am a knitter with a stash. One of my goals this year is to knit more from the stash. I’m at a place where I want to be able to buy yarn for an intended project and start it. But I have stashed for quite some time. I’vebeen working on knitting my stash and giving/selling the rest.

  19. I love the new shopping bag! I’ve started one, but it hasn’t gotten very far.

    Does it count if you buy yarn with a specific project in mind, but you don’t get to the project right away? That’s the kind of stash I have.

    And it’s good to see Abe up and blurring!

  20. The bag is incredible. Very nice design. And yay for Abe! Glad he’s back to normal! It’s so sad to see them all groggy isn’t it? All they do is look at you…

  21. I love the afghan and the shoping bag, you are so incredibly talented and amazing !

    It is good to hear that Abe is feeling well !

  22. I’m so glad to hear Abe is doing well! πŸ™‚ I’ve been thinking of buying some bags to take with me, but this is even better! I love the look of it and it’s even insulated! Love love love them! I’ve never felted though so I think I’ll have to give it a go. πŸ™‚

    The blanket is neat as well! I have a lot of stash and I’m trying not to buy anymore yarn this year, but then I bought yarn last Friday.

  23. Hi Staci,

    This is a very tardy response indeed, but I just wanted to say that I aspire to have your stashless sensibilities! I think my knitting stash has grown faster than my knitting skills and now I am faced with the challenge of trying to knit my way out of the pile…only trouble is, b/c I feel my skills are limited, I’m often at a loss as to what to do with the whole mess – the travelers afghan may be the ticket :o) Thanks for your insight and stay golden!

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