A large part of the fun with knitting and crocheting is the planning process. I suspect non-knitters will think we’re mad but planning my next project, trying to decide which of the thousands of yarns available to use, or looking for exactly the right colour combination is an enormously satisfying part of it all and it can take weeks before I decide to go ahead. I suppose it’s a little bit like the thrill of anticipating your holiday which can be nearly as good as the holiday itself! – well for those of us addicted to wool it is.

Every knitter has a ‘stash’ – that pile, cupboard,or even spare room full of wool which you pretend to other people is less than it really is, and pretend to yourself that you will use one day. So – when planning your next project – is there anything you can do to help ensure that you’re buying yarn you’ll use rather than just adding to the strain on the floorboards?

Reducing Your Knitting Stash

Wise Badger has put together five easy tips that might just help you regain the cupboard under the stairs or the bottom of your wardrobe.

Don’t plan too far ahead

Wait until you’ve finished the project you’re working on and just buy for the next project not for the next six! This can be very hard to stick to when there are so many beautiful new yarns being coming out all the time – it’s not a rule I’ve managed to stick to yet.

Be realistic about how long it takes you to knit something

It is very easy to underestimate the length of time it is going to take you to knit something, after all – it takes only a moment in your head! That little cardigan? – it only takes 4 balls and I can easily knit a ball in an evening – but be realistic – how many you can knit per evening (or day, or week etc.) depends on the thickness of the yarn, as well as how much time you actually have available. I know I’ve underestimated the time it takes so many times – which is why I currently have 14 projects on the go.

Be generous

If you’ve got wool left over, why not donate them to a charity shop, a group that knits for charity, or a school knitting group? Charity knitters make things for premature baby units or hospices, and those in severe need both here and abroad – and they’re always grateful for any kind of yarn; and school groups can often make use of odd balls and half balls for tomorrow’s knitters to practice with.

Sell it!

If you can’t bear to give it away, then what about selling it? You can always use the money towards your next project and with entire sites dedicated to selling things you don’t need anymore it couldn’t be easier. Remember to list dye-lots when you advertise your leftover or unwanted yarn – you might just be helping out a fellow knitter who is that one ball short of a cardigan!

Pass it on

Find your favourite grandchild or your best friend’s godchild or your next door neighbour’s teenager and persuade them of the joys of knitting (or crocheting, for that matter) and offer to teach them, and if they take you up on it then perhaps help them through the difficult bits that all new beginners struggle with – the casting on, ribbing etc. Once you’ve got them hooked then you can help them start to build their own stash!