I've always resisted keeping track of my yarn by posting photos to Ravelry. This is mostly because I'm really not a particularly 'techie'-type of person. I don't really enjoy computers....I love some of the things they can do for me, and I love that they make the world a lot smaller, but I don't enjoy the process of using them. I also haven't had an actual stash for very long. Up until a few years ago, I just bought the yarn I needed for a particular project. About 3 years ago though, once I started designing, I started to see the value of having a stash on hand. I also started getting more curious about different fibers and different brands of yarn, so when I traveled, I sought out yarns that I might not be able to find close to home.
These behaviors have led to me acquiring quite a little stockpile of yarn. I have made a kind of deal with myself - the stash can't exceed my ability to store it. Right now, the "storage" consists of a large basket in the family room, and another smaller basket that fits under an end table. Those two places are where the "good yarn" lives. "Good yarn", of course, is yarn that is either fun to look at, something I think I'll use relatively soon, or a brand/line that I know I love.
I also have a very large box of "boring yarn" under my bed. That holds all the plain worsted wool I use for felted projects, and a few other yarns that I don't really see myself using any time soon. At least half of it is stuff that I have no idea why I keep around. Next time I have a de-stash opportunity, I'll have to get rid of some of it.
I also have 2 tupperware boxes of scraps. Some of these "scraps" are almost half a skein, so they could definitely make something fun in a striped or color work project.
It took me about 3 hours to photograph and catalog the 50 yarns that I wanted in my on-line stash (the "reject yarns" from the under the bed box didn't make it to the on-line stash), but this will be helpful going forward. I'll be able to easily pull up what I already own in a certain weight or in a certain quantity. I'll even be able to access it on my phone next time I'm at a yarn shop and I wonder if I should buy that single skein of sock yarn (Correct Answer: No, I already have too many single skeins. But chances are good that I'll buy it anyway.) Or if I'm trying to buy a yarn that coordinates with something I already own, I'll be able to look at the pics on my phone while I'm at a yarn shop.
This weekend I've been thinking very hard about what project(s) I want to bring with me on vacation. We're driving from Central Illinois to Toronto, with trips up to the Blue Mountain area a couple hours north of the city, and Niagara Falls a couple hours south. So we will have a LOT of time in the car. I have a scarf going on right now, and it's great mindless knitting, but it's not going to last me 20+ hours. I have an idea for a sweater that I'm dying to get to, but I need very specific yarn for it (soft enough for direct contact with skin, fingering or sport weight, in 3 or 4 coordinating shades of the same color.) And I am now absolutely sure that I don't have anything appropriate in the house. Maybe the yarn for this sweater will be what I spend my vacation souvenir money on. My husband suggested I get started on the men's sweater I designed and promised to make the sample to fit him, but I haven't sent the proposal in for that, and therefore don't have the yarn for it on hand, either.
I do have a small project I've been kicking around in my head. It's probably going to be the pattern I release with a free code for blog readers / TnT Group members for Christmas 2013. I'll probably make 3 samples of this pattern, but it's a small project, and wouldn't keep me busy for the whole trip, either. So I'm still searching.....better hurry up! Vacation will be here before I know it!
If you love snooping through other people's stash, you're welcome to take a look at mine here. Can you tell I like to buy blue and pink yarn?