Tools for making the most of your stash

Tools for making the most of your stash

Published by Michelle on 18th Sep 2019

A little note on the apps, folk etc mentioned below. These are all either tools I love or people I know and love. This is not advertising, just sharing. There will be links to TLYC stocked products at the end but I think you’ll forgive me ; )


As well as single skein projects and massive makes, there are lots of tools and techniques to help you Smash That Stash!  Here are just a few ideas. 

There is an app/site for that

As with many areas, there are many many knitting apps out there. I have to confess that I didn’t know how many until I did a little search to check details for this post!

For myself, I don’t use a lot of knitting apps but the ones I do I’m very dedicated to! : ) These are some of my favourites.

1. Stash bot app

This neat little app gives you indicative meterage required to make a range of items from hats to garments. I love it because at shows people often ask me how much yarn they may need to make an item and all you do is pop in the item, the person’s size, the yarn gauge and the approximate meterage appears!

2. Made and Worn

I met the very lovely Ruby of Made and Worn at the Southern Wool Show this year and the timing couldn’t have been better for this post. Her website allows you to pick a basic pattern, add your sizing, yarn gauge and different options and then produces a pattern to fit you and your yarn. It is in the early stages but it accommodates DK and Aran in a number of items and garments but I think this great tool has loads of promise!

There is a free mitten pattern to get you going! I definitely have single skeins of DK and Aran that will be becoming Christmas gifts for folk, sized to fit exactly!

Made and Worn fingerless mittens

I foresee a lot of these on my Christmas Knits List

3. Ravelry

This is too obvious but more to mention that there is apparently a whole set of apps that work with Ravelry … hadn’t even thought to look. Ravelry has a post about all the options available:

If you want me, I’ll be hanging out on that page a little later on.

4. Yarn Sub

I get a lot of yarn substitution questions so I recommend Yarn Sub a lot. I also use it when I have patterns that require a yarn I just can’t get hold of or that I want to swap out. Many designers are including substitution details in their patterns but until all patterns come with that detail, this is a really useful website. Of course nothing beats a swatch but I can’t in good conscience recommend that ; )

5. Stitch Fiddle

I use this for doing my own charts for designs but also for times when the chart in a pattern doesn’t work – I don’t like the symbols, the chart is in a book and can’t be easily copied or to redo a colourwork chart in the colours that I’m using – anything that makes a chart quicker to knit from. The basic version is free but the upgrade is a tiny price.

Other crafts

I never really thought about the other crafts that yarn is used for until my stash threatened to eat me!  … a case of necessity is the mother of invention!

Enter these rabbit holes at your peril ; ) 

1. Weaving

I think that part of the reason that weaving has become more popular recently, as well as great new tools and it being awesome, is as a stash busting mechanism! Apart from the Purl and Loop mini weavers I sometimes stock (they come in, they sell out), I haven’t done any but if you are looking for inspiration, Grace of Babbles Travelling Yarns has been making some beautiful things. I’m sure many of you already follow Grace but just in case not, if you end up getting a kitten after seeing her feed, it’s not my fault!

2. Spinning

I have been in love with handspun yarn since meeting Almas of Witch Crafty Lady (if you haven’t bought handspun from Almas, visit her Etsy shop here … and then I met Katie of Sealy MacWheely for the first time at Perth this year and had my first go at spinning… and now between Katie and Almas I’m trying to fight off the urge to get a spinning wheel!

A note on this – this is not an excuse to buy lots of spinning fibres and bats … this is strictly to ply all your lovely yarns together ; )

Katie does workshops, both group and one to one, for both spinning and weaving, in her lovely shop in Kirkintillock. It is on my list of things I am definitely doing in early 2020.

The Ashford Kiwi 3 Spinning Wheel

There is a fine line between Need and Want ...

3. Dyeing

Sometimes you buy something on the spur of the moment but it turns out to be something that just won’t fit into your making plans. For this I say: Don’t like it, over dye it!

There are some great places to go for dyeing tutorials, as well as online tutorials. Lisa from For the Love of Yarn offers these in her studio in Glasgow.

You can get in touch with Kelly of Lay Family Yarn for group bookings.

Again, in the spirit of Stash Smash, this is not an excuse to buy lots of undyed yarn but strictly a mechanism for using what you have!

Physical tools

Now there are of course other things that make using your stash easier!

1. An unexpected favourite

I have a Line Keeper from The Knitting Gift Shop and I love it!

I was in two minds when I bought it – I WANT THIS and WILL THIS BE A FAFF - but it’s super! : ) And it's also a ruler ... and who doesn't always need a ruler when knitting/crocheting!

Line Keeper from The Knitting Giftshop

Love mine!

2. A little advertising!

Sometimes we have something we don’t like to do but the right tool helps. For me it’s cabling!  Combining the Maker’s Keep and the small cable needle from CoCo Knits has helped me no end.

Also there is also the joy of having pretty things such as many stitch markers from CoCo Knits.

Stitch Marker from CoCo Knits

The new open stitch markers from CoCo Knits ... I'm not sure that this one isn't just decorating my current WIP ...

Now my loves, I have rambled for long enough. Hopefully some of these tools will be helpful for you to make more/better use of your yarns and Smash That Stash!


PS. We are almost to the last week of Stash Smash but you can still join in in the TLYC Facebook group as well as get access to free patterns and printables! I’m also running another Challenge in October! A little less demanding than Stash Smash but definitely focused on using up as much of your yarn as possible!

PPS. I was going to add ‘Learn to write your own patterns’ in here as well as a Stash Smash option but I think that’ll have to be a post on its own later on!

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