One of my biggest struggles — as a knitter — is keeping my stash organized, both physically and logistically. I mean, I know I should stay on top of entering new acquisitions into Ravelry, but it’s easy to get sidetracked, isn’t it? And when I’m looking through new projects, I’m thinking about what I have in my stash that I can use so I can cast on immediately and jump right in. This is my cycle: Whenever I travel to a new city, I usually visit a local yarn shop to see what’s up, and before you know it, I’ve found something I can’t leave without and it basically just follows me home (obviously not my fault). Once I get back, I put it in a pile to log it, photograph it, and then (god willing I actually get to this point) I finally put it with the others — usually to discover that I had something very similar in my stash already. But how would I know this? I have yarn stashed in boxes, bags, and bins in three different places in my house.

It was time to make a change.

In March, my online knitting friends decided they all needed to clean up their stashes as well, so we dubbed the effort March Stashness and got to work. I pulled yarn out of all the places it had been squirreled away, verified the yarn that was in Ravelry, and the yarn that still needed to get added. For the month of March, we organized, cataloged, photographed and stashed our yarn, loading it all into Ravelry, filling in the missing bits of information and, at the end of the month, we were all feeling mighty proud of ourselves. It’s a great feeling when your stash is actually organized in Ravelry; you can sort by weight, base, dyer; you can easily put colors together for projects and, weirdly, it motivates you to knit more things. But it’s not enough to have your stash sorted digitally; sometimes you really have to see the yarn, feel the fiber, discover how colors play together in the same light so that you know you have the perfect skeins for the project. I, for one, am a sensory knitter — I want to knit with colors that speak to me, and there’s nothing as disappointing as choosing colors from a computer screen only to find out when you get the skeins together that the pixels have deceived you. So it became clear I would need to figure out how to create physical organization too.

Over the summer, my knitters decided we should do another stash cleanup, so Stash of July was launched. For this effort, I decided to get my project room organized once and for all: I bought an IKEA 5 x 5 KALLAX shelving unit and had it delivered. It took me the better part of a night to build it by myself (I do these insane things whenever TheCop is away; it’s just easier for so many reasons) and the next day I started to fill it up, loosely organized by weight (laceweight on the left, increasing to worsted and bulky on the right). The top row is specifically for ESK yarns (I referenced my mixed feels for limiting Yarnathon projects to only ESK yarn in an earlier post).

I don’t have everything here yet, but I’ve noticed an immediate difference: since there’s actually a place to put it, now new yarn comes into the house and gets photographed, cataloged, and put on the shelf within a day or two. It’s easy to see what I have and to shop my own stash instead of buying something new online (which both my wallet and TheCop greatly appreciates). It finally dawned on me that I was failing because I needed both a method of tracking my stash along with a method of storing my stash in order to see what I have and get excited about why I bought the yarn in the first place. I mean, my project room might look like a LYS but hey; if I’m shopping it, then that works, right?

I can’t wait to see what I do for Declutter December.

Ahhh, Rhinebeck. The annual October pilgrimage that yarn and fiber lovers across the east coast yearn and scheme to take. While we desperately wanted to make the trip, it seemed that one thing or another just wasn’t going to work in our favor this year. Some people were renovating homes. Some were out of town or running marathons. And some of us were just a tad scant on money and a touch large on indecision. In the end, we waited too long to find anywhere to stay, so we finally had to accept the hard realization we simply weren’t going to Rhinebeck. But that didn’t stop some of us from sitting in our houses sulking come Friday evening, not sure how we were going to manage avoiding the Twitterstream for two whole days while everyone else had fun without us.

So we hatched a plan to absolve us of our misery. If we couldn’t manage the scratch for yarnporn AND accommodations, we’d just focus on acquiring the yarnporn. Saturday morning, Audrey and I tucked Ingrid into her car seat and set off for Pittsburgh and yarn a bit closer to home. It was a much more relaxed journey, since we knew we weren’t going to be facing stiff competition for our yarn. We spent a few hours at one of our favorite shops there, kibbitzing and sharing with other knitters who had to stay back and man the shop. Of course, being bitter together was some comfort, because we could laugh and still share companionship with the knitting community. And you know what? That was okay. I think it’s really the friendship that’s important here. Being with people you trust as friends, sharing new ideas and patterns with others like you, and training young blood in the art of fibers, just makes things right with the world. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to come home with some new nommy goodness too. Just, you know, for the pain.


I’m pretty happy with my haul; it wasn’t extravagant, but most of it is actually for Christmas gifts, which I’m now hard at work on. That’s what I call responsible shopping, and I can totally rationalize that. It made the weekend of not Rhinebeck bearable, and that was a blessing. I can even look at Westknit’s Facebook page of festival fun and frolic without shedding (many) tears. And it seems absence makes the heart grow fonder (and smarter); we’re all hard at work researching accomodations for next year’s pilgrimage. There’s just no way in hell we’re missing this twice in a row.

Sometimes, you just have to scratch that itch and share the joy.

Apparently when I ported my blog over from to the knitpistol site, I lost my Rhinebeck 2011 entry. This is an appalling discovery, as that entry, first written on October 19, was an ode to a beautiful weekend getaway with part knit pistols, part Canadian pistols, and all fun. I have exactly seventeen words from that entry:

October 19, 2011 by robin2go. This weekend was Rhinebeck (aka NYS Sheep & Wool festival). You know, mecca of all things yarnporn…

And that, as they say, is all Google cached. Dammit. But I’m stubborn, and I do believe I still have pictures, so let me try to recall the weekend—before it slips even farther from my grasp—and at the very least, repost some of the wonderful memories I have. Before the mind is gone completely.

Rhinebeck is a very full trip. The first time KnitPistols did Rhinebeck in 2009, we got up at o’dark hundred Saturday morning, drove five hours to the fairgrounds for Day 1, got overwhelmed, passed out in a middle-of-nowhere, kinda scary motel room with snoring and leaky air mattresses, went back for Day 2 and more determination, then a long five hour trip home. Like I said, a very full trip.

This year was a different trip altogether. My friend @EmilyKnits grew up in the Rhinebeck area, and knew of a lovely rustic house and barn that was still available for rent for the weekend. Audrey and I were in for the adventure, so late Friday afternoon with Canadians traveling southeast, and Pennsylvanians traveling northeast, we hit the road for Rhinebeck. We arrived at Kathleen’s barn in time to unpack, relax, welcome the Canadian contingent, have some dinner, and get ready for the festival.

Getting up after a night’s comfortable sleep and driving a mere ten miles to the fairgrounds makes an incredible difference in energy level and motivation. The day was beautiful and the festival did not disappoint. There were book signings by the Yarn Harlot and Ysolda, and stalls with patterns, samples, roving, and yarn. There were people who wore many beautiful things and were good spirited enough to allow pictures to be taken so that later queues could be updated and faves marked. There was amazing food to be sampled many, many times. And of course, there was a Ravelry meet up, complete with photo opportunities with @ysolda, @frecklegirl, @casey and the rest of the Ravelers young and old.

Back from the first day, our household spent the evening relaxing in front of a fire, showing off the day’s haul, updating Ravelry stashes, knitting on works in progress, listening to @EmilyKnits’ William Shatner album, and laughing. Lots of laughing. I learned I don’t hate gin, I only hate bad gin, and @CraftyGrrrl showed me that a Hendrick’s gin and tonic was is a beautiful thing to behold. I found a new Canadian knitting friend in @ZippyKittyToo and we’ve already talked about plans for next year. Somewhere in the middle, we rousted ourselves to walk up the street to dinner, and ended up in a local yarn shop buying more yarn (because what else would knitters be doing after a long day at a yarn festival?). Back to the house, and  more gin. And yarn. And laughter.

Day two: Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Laughter. Yarn. Gin. Friends. Sunshine. Relaxation. Yarn. Gin.

At the end of the weekend, reluctantly, we got on the road to head back to reality and Pennsylvania. The Canadians had one more day and took off Monday morning—and we enviously decided that would be us next year as well. For Rhinebeck has found a new place in my heart for laughter, for yarn, and camaraderie. For taking the time to slow down and enjoy the weekend, the surroundings, and the friends. For inner peace, inner light, and personal rejuvenation. Thank you @iAudrey, @EmilyKnits, @CraftyGrrrl, and @ZippyKittyToo for making this weekend something more than just about yarnporn. Thank you for making this about friendship and us. I’m ready for next year already.


So this is where my account of Rhinebeck *would have been* had I not apparently blown it away in the reassignment of space in the blogosphere. For a pieced together remembrance written four months later (also known as, Whoops! Take two!) you can read it here: Recalling Rhinebeck From Afar.

And try not to blow shit up next time, ya know?