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#Crochet #TipsTuesday: 5 easy ways to reduce your yarn stash… perhaps so you can get more!

5 easy ways to reduce your yarn stash so you can get more on #crochet #TipsTuesday on Underground Crafter

As crocheters (and knitters), we’re always on the hunt for amazing yarns that inspire us. But let’s face it – most of us have far more yarn then we can actually use in our lifetime. You may have heard (or used) the acronym, SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) to describe this phenomenon.

As a New York City apartment dweller, I definitely have to prune out my stash periodically, or there’d be no room left for me, MC, and the cats.

Whether you’re reducing your stash as part of a move towards a minimalist lifestyle, to prepare for a move, or because you just want more space for the yarn you want to own RIGHT NOW, here are 5 easy ways to reduce your yarn stash.

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Share it with your local crochet or knitting guild chapter

Many local guilds offer yarn swaps and related activities. If you aren’t already a member, you can find a list of Crochet Guild of America local chapters here and The Knitting Guild Association affiliated guilds here.

Drop it off with an organization that crochets or knits for charity

Groups that crochet or knit for charity are often looking for yarn. These organizations may have specific requirements based on the type of charity projects they work on regularly. For example, some organizations that make children’s projects prohibit the use of black yarn and other organizations may have a ban on wools due to allergies.

You can find a searchable list of these organizations through Lion Brand’s Charity Connection. Always check with the contact person about updated requirements before dropping off or shipping yarn.

Bring it to a local school, hospital, or retirement community

Many local schools, hospitals, and retirement communities include yarn crafts in their recreational and educational activities.

  • If you don’t have a relationship with a local school, check out DonorsChoose.org. This search for the keyword “yarn” brings up some really interesting projects seeking yarn donations!
  • Contact your local hospital and ask to speak with the “Child Life Specialist,” a person who helps promote coping for hospitalized children through play and other activities.
  • Your local government may have a department of aging that can refer you to retirement communities, government centers, and non-profit organizations that provide recreational activities for retirees.

Always check with the local organization to see if there are any restrictions (for example, by fiber content) on the yarn you can donate.

Bring it to textile recycling or a local thrift shop

Another way to keep your yarn out of the landfill is to bring it to your local textile recycling drop off. In New York City, we are lucky enough to have several weekly options for textile recycling.

If your local area hasn’t yet instituted a textile recycling program, most local thrift shops (also known as secondhand stores, charity shops, or opportunity shops) will accept yarn donations.

Post a listing on your local Freecycle message board

Freecycle is “a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own” communities. Membership is free and most local groups have an online message board where you can post offers.

I have listed yarn on Freecycle many times and it is always claimed quickly. (In contrast, I’ve also listed brand new appliances, furniture, and other items that might take weeks to get picked up.) While sharing yarn on Freecycle allows you to meet some great crafters, for safety reasons you may not want to arrange to meet in your own home. I usually set up a meeting a few blocks from my apartment.

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But what about…?

You may have noticed that I haven’t listed any ways to sell yarn. In my opinion, that isn’t as easy as you would think. In fact, selling yarn is often very time consuming – especially if you are actually trying to recoup your initial purchase cost or something close to it – and, it can even be more costly (in terms of your time, sellers fees, and storage space) than donating or giving away yarn.

I also didn’t recommend tossing large amounts of yarn into the trash. It isn’t very environmentally friendly, and, in some local areas, it’s also illegal.

Here’s one more tip (a freebie)

Yarn makes great packing material! If you have something fragile to ship or are moving, consider using some of your unloved yarns as cushioning!

What are your favorite yarn de-stashing tips?

If you enjoyed these tips, follow my Yarn Tips and Tutorials Pinterest board!

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Yarn Tips and Tutorials on Pinterest.

Mini interview with Tammy Hildebrand

Hairpin Lace, the Crochet Speciality of the Month for May, 2015 on Underground Crafter
Welcome to my themed blog series, Crochet Specialty of the Month! Each month in 2015, I’ll feature a specialized crochet technique, stitch pattern, or project type through several posts.

As part of this month’s focus on hairpin lace, I’m sharing a mini interview today with Tammy Hildebrand from Hot Lava Crochet. Tammy is a crochet designer, author, teacher, and blogger. She’s also the current Vice President of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA)

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You can find Tammy online at the Hot Lava Crochet blog, and on Craftsy, Facebook, Pinterest, Ravelry, and Twitter.  (By the way, May 18 just happens to be Tammy’s birthday, so don’t forget to wish her Happy Birthday on social media!) After reclaiming her health 22 months ago using a nutritional cleanse program after 7 years of illness,Tammy is also a health and wellness coach. You can find her health and wellness Facebook page here

I had the pleasure of interviewing Tammy before here as part of her blog tour for Crochet Wraps Every Which Way, and you can find more details about her background there. Today, we’re all focused on hairpin lace, one of Tammy’s favorite techniques. All images are used with permission and are copyright Tammy Hildebrand unless otherwise noted.

Tammy Hildebrand, wearing her Celebration 2015 Hat, a free crochet pattern.

Tammy Hildebrand, wearing her Celebration 2015 Hat, a free crochet pattern.

Underground Crafter (UC): You have several designs featuring the hairpin lace technique. How did you first learn about hairpin lace? 

Tammy: A number of years ago I attended a Stitches West show to work in the CGOA booth. Jennifer Hansen (Stitch Diva) was giving a demonstration of hairpin lace on the show floor. She is such an amazing teacher and made it so easy that I picked it right up and loved it immediately. 

3 hairpin lace designs from Tammy's book, Crochet Wraps Every Which Way. Left: Irish Jig. Top right: You Are My Sunshine. Bottom right: Shimmering Pearls Wrap.

3 hairpin lace designs from Tammy’s book, Crochet Wraps Every Which Way. Left: Irish Jig. Top right: You Are My Sunshine. Bottom right: Shimmering Pearls Wrap.

UC: What do you enjoy about designing with hairpin lace? 

Tammy: I love how quickly it works up and it is very methodical and relaxing. Plus the end result is beautiful!

Hairpin Lace Vest, free crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand. Image (c) Red Heart Yarn.

Hairpin Lace Vest, free crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand. Image (c) Red Heart Yarn.

UC: Do you have a preferred loom or other specialty tools for hairpin lace? 

Tammy: I do! Jennifer sells a handcrafted Walnut frame on her site that is the best loom I’ve ever used. It adjusts to more sizes than the typical metal and plastic looms and it is much sturdier. 

Abstract Treasures Shawl, crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand for sale on Craftsy.

Abstract Treasures Shawl, crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand for sale on Craftsy.

UC: Are there any crochet websites or blogs that you frequent for inspiration or community?

Tammy: Well, obviously Stitch Diva! Ha, Ha. I also love to search for inspiration on Pinterest.

Amelia Broomstick Lace Long Vest, crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand for sale on Craftsy.

Amelia Broomstick Lace Long Vest, crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand for sale on Craftsy.

UC: Do you have any new or upcoming projects you’d like to share?

Tammy: I will have a design in the upcoming issue of Interweave Crochet that I am rather proud of. It is unlike anything I have ever done before and it was a bit challenging but very rewarding!

Tammy, thank you for sharing your love of hairpin lace with us! We’re looking forward to seeing that upcoming pattern!

If you love these patterns, you may enjoy my Crochet Lace Board on Pinterest.

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Crochet Lace on Pinterest.

How to Start a Crochet Circle

How to Start a Crochet Circle in Your Local Community on Underground Crafter

These days it can seem easier to find other crocheters online than in your local community! Meeting regularly with a crochet circle can be a great way to finish your crochet projects while having fun.

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What is a crochet circle?

A crochet circle is a group that meets regularly for socializing and crocheting, and they can take many different forms. Some circles are made up of close friends while others are open to the community. Some meet in public while others rotate visits to members’ homes. Crochet circles may meet as frequently as once a week or just a few times a year. Before starting up a crochet circle, think about what type of group you’d prefer to organize and join.


Open Membership

If one of your goals for the crochet circle is to meet people, you may choose to have open membership. For the privacy, safety and convenience of members, meet in public locations such as coffee shops, food court dining areas, public library community rooms, book stores, or local yarn shops. Many of these venues will allow a crochet circle to meet for a few hours free of charge while others will expect members to spend a minimum amount. Check with the manager if you are unsure.

You can recruit members with fliers placed in the meeting location and local community centers. Talk up the circle at your local crochet guild. (You can search for local chapters of the Crochet Guild of America here.) Online, spread the word by starting a thread in a local group on Ravelry, writing a Craigslist ad, or Tweeting using a local hashtag.

Network Membership

Perhaps you don’t have many friends and family who crochet, but you don’t want to open membership to the public. Target your own networks of friends and family, co-workers and alumni.

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Email your friends and family asking for referrals, or ask friends to share your Facebook post about the crochet circle. If you work for a medium to large employer, talk with a Human Resources representative. The company may be willing to promote your crochet circle as part of their efforts to increase work-life balance, and may even allow you to use a conference room during lunch or after work for meetings. If crochet circle membership would be industry-appropriate, consider sharing information on LinkedIn or with professional networking groups. Update your high school and post-secondary school alumni networks with information about your crochet circle, especially if you live near the campus. You may even be able to use an alumni lounge to meet.

With network membership, you may feel comfortable hosting the first meeting at your home, or you may prefer to find a public location.

Closed Membership

A personalized invitation can go a long way towards growing the membership of a crochet circle made up of friends and family. Create your own crochet-themed invitations using color pictures of a crochet project or yarn. Print invites at home on cardstock, or find some great customizable print invitations on Zazzle. If the first meeting takes place at your home, be sure to mention whether you are providing snacks or if it is a potluck.

The First Meeting

Set the stage for a fabulous crochet circle by welcoming everyone. Share your vision and get feedback from the other members for the next steps. Some discussion points to consider are:

  • Meeting frequency: Will you have a set meeting day and time, or will meetings change based on member availability? How often will the group meet?
  • Meeting location: Will you always meet at the same location or will you rotate locations?
  • Refreshments: Are meetings potluck/bring your own snacks, does the host provide refreshments, or do all members contribute towards the cost of refreshments? If you’re meeting at a public eatery, be sure to inform members about any minimum orders you have discussed with management.
  • Activities: Will you work on group projects such as charity blankets, pieces for a street art project, or a layette set for a mutual friend? Or, will each member bring their own project(s) to work on?
  • Skill Building: If some members are new to crochet, will other members provide technical support? Will the group want to hire a teacher for some meetings to demonstrate new techniques? Do members want to volunteer to teach a new project or skill to other members?
  • Field Trips: Will the group attend local fiber events together?
  • Communication: What’s the best way to get in touch with each other between meetings or on the day of the crochet circle if plans change?

Once you’ve established guidelines for your group and have grown the membership, the fun begins! Be sure to periodically revisit membership and guidelines to keep your group active and engaged.

Do you have a local crochet circle? What are your tips for keeping one active?

NaBloPoMo BlogHer 2015-03

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through March, 2015.