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One of the big new year’s resolutions I see going around is people committing to knit or crochet projects using yarn they already have. Whether your stash of yarn takes up a box or a bedroom, here are some thoughts for working from your stash:

1. Catalog it – It’s hard to make use of what you have if you don’t know what you have. Go through your yarn, and take notes. The important info to write down? I would go with the name, fiber/care, color, weight of yarn (worsted, dk, etc), and total yards. These are the main factors that will help you match it up with patterns.

2. Make Your Own Pattern of the Month Club – Several of my friends have done this in an effort to get their stash down. Pick out 6 single skeins (or how ever many you want to use) and 6 patterns. Let a friend match up the skeins with the patterns, and place each set in a separate brown paper bag. Each month open up one bag to discover the yarn and pattern for that month. This works especially well for sock knitters and crocheters, as most patterns use one skein of sock yarn, so there is great potential for mixing and matching patterns with yarns.

3. Donate or Give It Away – This may sound crazy. I mean you paid good money (sometimes a lot of good money) for this yarn. But you know what? Sometimes it’s ok to let it go. With some yarns, I would argue that it’s better for them to be used and loved by someone else than to languish in my yarn boxes for another 2 or more years.

4. Old Yarn, New Skill – Pick patterns with new skills you want to learn, and match them up with yarns you already have.

5. Research the Patterns – One of my favorite ways to pick patterns for stash yarn is using Ravelry’s Advanced Pattern Search. Using the nifty check boxes on the side, you can search patterns by a variety of factors including yarn weight and yardage. Want to make a shawl using 300 yards of a dk weight yarn? It’ll be easy to see all your options.