Maintaining Your Stash

As of January 2020, Hooking With Yarn has moved and has a new name, Rug Hooking Adventures. Same monthly posting, with tips & techniques, Featured Rug of the Month, web specials and more (just no more pesky ads!). Click here to sign up for the new blog. Thanks!

If you’re reading this blog, you’re a fiber artist like me. And like me, you probably have lots of yarn, carded wool, fabric, patterns, beads, tools and equipment, I could go on and on. When I go to a fiber show, I usually bring home a few treasures to add to my stash.

yarn for web

The problem, as you well know, is how to keep track of all these fiber finds and creations, so you can make use of them when you need them! Lets say someone’s birthday is coming up. Either you can’t find that hand-painted merino/cashmere roving in the perfect shade of purple that your friend adores, or you’ve already forgotten that you bought the roving at the Black Sheep Gathering ten years ago, so of course, you go and buy more purple merino/cashmere roving for the project.

It’s just human nature that we tend to take those treasures home, or we dye or spin a lovely something, but then it goes into a bag, a box, a closet, or stuffed into hidey-holes to get it out of the way, never to see the light of day again. And no matter how much fabulous fiber we already have, we are always tempted to buy something new because it fills us with that sense of inspiration and creativity that is chicken soup for the soul.

My suggestion is to fess up, bring all that booty out where everyone can see it. Even if you have limited space, I really believe that you will benefit from having all your yarn out where you can see it. You can recreate the feeling you get when you are shopping for fiber finds whenever you look at your stash. You’ll never forget what you have, and even better, you’ll see terrific combinations you didn’t even know you had.

I got a chance to put that theory into practice, when I took over one of the kid’s bedrooms for my work room. carded wool

Here’s just one wall, containing my carded wool, organized by color. Now I never have to wonder if I have just the right pink or purple or green for my project. Suddenly I see colors that I can blend or ply together for the right effect. Full disclosure, I have added lots of lovely carded wool to my stash since this picture was taken. More than I could spin in a lifetime, but it is all organized by color, and all visible, so I know what I have and how much of it I have. Every time I look at it, my fingers itch to caress it and pull out my wheel. That same sense of creativity that I get visiting someone’s booth, I get to enjoy in my very own home. That makes a big difference to me in my creative endeavors.

yarn and fabric

Here’s my yarn and fabric, organized by color and type. Don’t you just want to reach out and grab some of it? Fondle it, ask it what it wants to be? Me, too.


This area has more yarn in milk crates, the stuff that comes with me to shows, my sewing table (there always seems to be a coffee cup there, too), and the shelf area is packed full of felted wool sweaters. I cut them up and make things like jackets, hats and purses. It’s really important to see all the colors at once, because I combine them in smaller pieces to make my projects. I often use 5-8 different sweaters in one project, so knowing what colors I have, and in what quantity is invaluable.

sewing table notions

Changing the angle, you can see the show yarn in milk crates, and behind that is my notions area. Thread out where I can see it, and know that I have the exact color I need, clear drawers help me to see what’s stored inside. You can see my ironing board, and to the left, the corner of my work table.

I probably shouldn’t call it a work table. It’s a play table, and going into this room always cheers me. Okay, I’ll admit it’s seldom this tidy, there’s usually a few half-finished projects crowding the space, but it always inspires me.

You don’t have an empty kids room? Maybe you can find a corner somewhere, where you can prioritize your favorite stuff. For you, it might be your yarn purchases, or your carded wool, felted sweaters, fabric, etc. Do yourself the favor of putting your treasures on display. It will inspire you to create, I promise.

This month’s feature from Little House Rugs is Hattie the Dog! For inspiration on how to create a portrait, click here!

hattie finished cropped for web

Hattie Mat 12″x12″, Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

In the spirit of this flowery season, blog subscribers can get the Wildflower Rug pattern on linen for 20% off (shown below)! Not yet a subscriber? It’s oh so easy to do! Just scroll down to the bottom of this post, the Follow button should be in the lower right-hand corner. If it doesn’t pop up, just navigate away from the post and come back, it will come up then (don’t get me started on why they don’t leave the darn Follow button up the whole time your’re reading the post…) When you become a subscriber, you’ll get a monthly post sent to your very own email box, full of tips and techniques, show schedule and monthly subscriber specials!

wildflower teal for web

Wildflower Rug 48″x24″, Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

Coming up, I’ll have a booth on June 1 and 2 at the NwRSA Annual Conference in Olympia, WA. Then on June 29, I’ll be teaching a Beginning Rug Hooking class at the Black Sheep Gathering, as well as having a booth for the weekend. This year the gathering will be in Albany, Oregon.

And of course, for every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs between now and November 25, 2018, you will be entered to win the Antique Flower Rug (a $480 value).

antique flower rug cropped for web

Antique Flower Rug, 33.5″x24.5″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

Happy Hooking Everyone!

Judy Taylor




One thought on “Maintaining Your Stash

  1. Robin Chubak says:

    I cannot express my gratitude strongly enough for “Maintaining Your Stash.” Thank you seems inadequate somehow, so please know that you have my most sincere gratitude. I’m at the edge of living your way by being immersed in what I love to look at, play and work with, enjoy the company of and consider another part of who I am. I’ve expanded from just a “sewing room” for fabric to what was once my husband’s office/guest room and is now is home for yarn. And I’m redoing several other rooms, too. Since I live alone I’ve finally asked myself why I still need to decorate for others rather than myself. This is so much better. Your life is an inspiration for me.


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