Does it count as stash? A chat about sock yarn & review of Sock Yarn Studio.

A minimalist’s take on stash

If you’ve been following me, you’ll know I’m not a huge stash-er. I have about 2 medium-sized boxes of personal yarn (work yarn doesn’t count!), and to be honest, a fair chunk that was given to me by a de-stashing friend.

I always get a lot of strange looks when I say this. Don’t I love yarn?

Of course I love yarn, I just don’t feel the need to buy much of it without a project in mind. Let’s say you discover a beautiful batch of worsted weight yarn that you like. Without a pattern, how much should you buy? A sweater could take anywhere from 800-1500 yards (depending on sleeve length, pattern, collar, etc.) There’s a huge risk of buying too much or not buying enough.

beautiful cones of habu yarn in an LYS

Now, walk into my low-stash world for a minute. Let’s say you didn’t buy that yarn, and you happily keep that $100 or more tucked into your pocket. Months later, you come across a pattern for a beautiful sweater. Do you know what’s really fun? Shopping for the perfect yarn for that sweater: taking into account the color, ply and fiber that would make the best sweater imaginable. You have a bit of money tucked away… and no guilt about ‘needing to use the stuff in the closet’. Fabulous.

Any exceptions?

Is there any yarn that I’ll buy without a plan for?

Yes. Sock yarn.

self-striping sock yarn

You see, my main complaint about buying yarn without a project in mind (and ‘stashing’) is that you can never be sure you’re buying the right amount.

But with sock yarn, you can always buy a skein and knit a pair of socks. Or find a one-skein shawl pattern. Or make a hat. No worries.

Sock Yarn Studio

I’m already in love with sock yarn. It tends to be the thickness favored by indie dyers: meaning that you’ll find a dazzling array of colors and dye patterns available. And, like I said… you can always make a pair of socks!

But what if you don’t like socks? Should you still love sock yarn?

Sock Yarn Studio book review

Oh yeah. Meet your new friend: Sock Yarn Studio.

This book is a collection of patterns that use sock yarn… but no socks allowed! Sock yarn studio is cleverly divided into one skein, two skein & three and more skein projects. So, if you’re like me, and already have a little supply of sock yarn, you’ll find the perfect thing to knit!

fair isle cowl pattern sock yarn

The projects inside are adorable hats, scarves, gloves and even sweaters… designed to feature the yarn. You’ll find projects in a range of difficulty levels, so whether you’re looking for a simple knit, colorwork or intricate shaping, there’s something for you.

What I love most about this book is the fabulous introduction. I’m a sucker for books that have a meaty chunk of information at the front- and this one has it.

how to avoid pooling

Topics such as: variation in thickness among sock yarns, judging color repeats, how to avoid pooling, swatching and substituting yarns are covered. Everything you need to know to feel comfortable working with sock-weight yarn.

Why shouldn’t you give it a try? Just remember… sock yarn doesn’t count as stash!


12 replies on “Does it count as stash? A chat about sock yarn & review of Sock Yarn Studio.

  • Fruitful Fusion

    Oh wow! Stacey this post is like a revelation to me! I’m terrible with buying bits of yarn and building up a load stash I can’t do much with! I am definitely planning and taking your stance on this! So now, I need to stash bust! Socks, shawls, mittens, purses … here I come! Thank you!

  • Patty

    Great book for knitters, now if I could find a crochet pattern book using sock yarn…..I could use some of the yarn stashed away for a rainy day.

    I love your philosophy regarding yarn stash (buy with pattern in mind), so I am adopting this plan and am currently using what I have stored here. It’s a good feeling to have the extra $$ in my pocket!

  • Justine

    I used to say no stash, I’ll only buy for a pattern. But that didn’t work because (a) a pattern would be released and then I’d have to spring into action browsing online and then waiting for delivery, which was inconvenient and frustrating and (b) I couldn’t take advantage of sales or discounted shipping. So now I have a modest stash of sock yarn and worsted, which are the main things I use. I can generally knit shawls and hats from stash because the patterns are designed with the yardage of a skein in mind.

  • Lucia

    Expecting my buyers to want a TON of diffrent colors and thicknesses for their Dolls and Cat cloths. I keep a stock of 300 Skeins. But like you, thats business skeins. I hate sock yarn sadly : the hook needed for it is to small for me to feel comfortable*
    But I love homespun, so I have a 30 GAL full of all the available colors * four skeins of each* for whenever I’m making for my cat <3

  • Elisabeth

    Thank you, Stacey, you’ve done it again! The perfect blog at the perfect time, right when I’ve got sock yarn that I purchased from MD Sheep & Wool festival last year and zero intention of ever making socks with it. I showed my husband your blog and got approval to buy the book! What a relief! I’m excited to finally use my yarn. *happy dance!*

  • Elisabeth

    Patty, I crochet and knit. If I were going to adjust the patterns for crochet, I’d substitute the same mm size crochet hook as knitting needle and adjust each K stitch to be single crochet and if there’s a rib involved, I’d make adjustments for that too . But that’s just me and I don’t have quite as much experience as Stacey. Maybe Stacey has some other ideas that are better than mine.

  • Sia

    That’s exactly what I do, too! Whew! I was starting to feel bad about not having a stash, when everybody else talks about their stash and their stash-busting projects!

    I don’t exactly have a stash, but I don’t even want one. Buying yarn is expensive, so I always decide on the project first, and then go shopping for the yarn. What if I bought some yarn, and it wasn’t enough for my project, and then the store did not have the same dye lots? And since I’m always working on several projects at the same time, I can live with the small “delay” of having to go and buy the yarn for the newest project I want to take on…

    The only “stash” I would say I have is from left-over yarn (somehow I always buy more than needed), but luckily that can be used up in trying new techniques in small swatches, or even granny square afghans (for which I always have to go and buy more yarn, since the left-overs are never enough!)

  • Amy

    That does look like a good book. I agree with Patty that it would be nice if there was a crochet version of the book. I love sock yarn for crocheting. It’s a great yarn weight to use.

    Regarding stash, I really try not to buy anything if I don’t have a project in mind. I do make exceptions. If I find a special yarn at a fiber festival or in a yarn store that I visit on vacation, I’ll buy it. I got a lovely hand dyed lace weight merino at a craft co-op on a trip 5o Vancouver Island a few years ago. I’m now working that up into a shawlette using Tunisian crochet.

  • Patty

    I felt that my comment was a bit harsh =( , especially when I didn’t research for a similar book for crocheters. Well imagine my delight when I found an upcoming book from Edie Eckman found on
    Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects from Crocheters around the World by Judith Durant and Edie Eckman(Mar 12, 2013).
    So yippee for crocheters!!
    Thanks Elizabeth for your suggestion and Amy for your support.

  • Marie Lofton

    i knit and crochet.. currently on a crochet binge (granny squares anyone) and one of my crochet book authors/designers is EDIE ECKMAN! i have two of her books so far……. this will be yet another I will have to add to my library! thank you!

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