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I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. They’re usually made with the blind passion of someone proposing after a second date, and they age like a fine whine—the high-pitched one I make in mid-January that signals defeat.

Days of Felted Tweed

Yet around this time last year, I bought into all that business about Changing Your Life as of January 1. I wanted to eat healthier, get the sugar monkey off my back, actually use the exercise bike parked in the office. Enthralled by visions of a fit future, my resolutions grew, and in a moment of insanity disguised as virtue, I said two words many knitters dare not speak aloud: Stash Zero.

Based on the term “inbox zero”—meaning no unread, ignored, or otherwise outstanding mail in the limbo of your inbox—Stash Zero means using all the yarn in your stash before buying new yarn. I imagine you’re laughing with disbelief sprinkled lightly with scorn, or maybe you’re intrigued.

I don’t have the kind of stash that forces occupants out of the house for lack of space. My husband Nathan hasn’t complained, probably because, on some level, he gets it. He has stashes, too, but of household items: paper towels, cranberry juice. We have a box of a hundred rolls of toilet paper, for only two humans. Nathan has replaced “In case we run out” with “So we don’t run out,” which is convenient but takes up much more space.

The Urth also rises

Granted, he goes through cranberry juice faster than I go through yarn. I’m a meditative knitter; I am literally writing a book on knitting as a form of meditation, so speed is not my thing. My husband refers to one of my handmades as the Endless Summer Sweater because it took so many summers for me to make it. He knows about my stash, which is not stashed away; my yarn is in a closet, behind a chair, on the coffee table, under the coffee table, under a cat. Little wonder he heartily supported my Stash Zero resolution (likely dreaming of more space for extra laundry detergent).

The first days of January 2022 were heady, as they always are when embarking on New Year’s resolutions. I shopped my stash and found yarn I’d forgotten I bought. What had I meant to make with this? Who knew? Well, I’d make something now! As I went through my stash, I remembered how I got each ball and skein. I remembered the yarn shops, the fiber fairs, the road trips when I’d seen a yarn shop and gone in “just to look.”

Most of all, the yarn conjured a feeling of new beginnings, a fresh start in each fuzzy ball. Yarn is the raw material of makers. It’s what we use, along with needles or a hook, to create. An idea—a breeze in our minds—can be made real. New yarn is a renewed sense of self. And this can happen any time, not just at the new year.

The Stash Zero project was the first of the New Year’s Resolutions to end (I believe I celebrated with cake, and there went another). I did get some new yarn for the new year, and with it I made new memories. My husband just smiled. We may be running out of space for all the things we stash, but one thing we always have room for is love—for each other, and for the way we are.

A cuppa freia

Happy New Yarn MedKnitation

For this meditation, you’ll need some fresh yarn, either recently purchased, or not yet used from your stash.
1. Sit in a chair that allows you to be comfortable and upright. Sitting tall creates spaciousness for your breathing.
2. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths, inhaling through your nose, exhaling slowly through your mouth (as though blowing softly on a dandelion while making a wish).
3. Let your breath return to its natural pattern. Hold your yarn in your hands and engage your senses, feeling the softness of the yarn, seeing the colors and the strands of fiber woven together. Notice the joy of envisioning what you can make with this yarn. Feel the excitement of potential: your own.
4. Bring your meditation to a close whenever you need or want to with three deep breaths.

And cast on—happy new yarn!

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All yarn in photos from the MDK Shop. Coffee cup Illustration photo by Porapak Apichodilok via Pexels freestock images.

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About The Author

Suzan Colón is a writer, a reader of the tarot, and a teacher of MedKNITation, a system she developed for meditation with knitting and crochet.


  • Humor soothes over Everything. Even the sad and mournful fact you will never be able to use up ALL your yarn especially your most favorite which has been appropriated by that cat. We here also guard against toilet paper shortage but luckily don’t have an affinity for cranberry juice.

  • I am eagerly awaiting your book. Thanks for this wonderful essay!

  • This was perfect for me today, I can’t wait to get your book when it is done!

  • Stash Zero – I like it! I get stash guilt when I buy new yarn, although it is exciting to start a new project with it. Nice 2023 resolution to work on.

  • This is such a perfect essay! Funny, true, sweet!!! I love it. I have to admit, I’m the stasher (of all things, paper towel, TP, YARN) in our house! My husband just goes along with it!!! But I do need to cull down my yarn. It’s so much fun to find new yarn in my chifforobe (where I stash most of it).

    • Thank you so much for the wonderful essay this morning. I have to say, I have a large yarn stash, but I love sharing with family knitters and crocheters. Most of my projects have yarn and patterns/ideas attached. As I find getting older it helps tremendously

    • I have a space limit which allows me? alerts me when to cull yarn and donate it. This year six shopping bags worth of yarn found a new home. News years resolution? Make one item from stash before I purchase more yarn.

  • This post provided a smile to start the day. What a delight! In the big scheme of things a little yarn hoarding is a minor. Seeing it presented with humor is even better. Thank you!

  • Beautiful and wonderful. Thank you

  • Stash zero – hahahaha, I now understand that will never happen for me (unless I just give it all away). My resolution is to stick a label in each new skein indicating where and when I got it and what I was thinking at the time.

    • What a great idea! I so wish I had labeled my vacation stash additions. There is some yarn in the stash from some pretty cool places. Thanks for a little trip down memory lane.

    • Great idea!!

  • Right on! Your writing is wonderful! You strike a chord in all knitters and our need to nest with our yarn!

  • I love this! When I started knitting it took me a while to realize that what I thought was a bad habit was me becoming a true knitter! And to this day my stash continues to grow!! Going to try the MedKnitation. Maybe it will inspire me to enjoy and use the yarn I have already. Maybe.

  • I would never even consider such a resolution! I love my stash, both using it and adding to it. Some years ago I switched to small doable resolutions – one year (pre pandemic) it was go to the actual movies more. This year it is to donate blood regularly – I used to do that all the time when I worked in an office, and it’s such a satisfying and helpful thing to do that it is a resolution I can adhere to. Win-win!

    • I love the blood donation resolution! For so many years I worked in big offices and relied on the office blood drives to get me to do it. Seeing my son with his bandage every 8 weeks or so makes me wonder why I don’t just get organized and make those appointments!

      • I completely agree about blood donation. Since I have O+ blood they are ALWAYS hounding me for a pint. I have been going regularly since working from home. It makes me feel good, and I get to have Lorna Doones when I’m done!!!!

  • Love this article. Now that my husband is retired and in “my space” most ot the time the secret “stash “has been found (not really cuz it’s in the basement”).He never goes in the basement (whew). I love to hear of other knitters reality. It makes me feel sooooo normal and not guilty. There must be something in our genetic make-up that makes us get “high” on yarn and the obsession with finding the best project. So …. I’m not going to change and not going to feel guilty either anymore because ……oops my latest yarn delivery just arrived. Got to get working.Love you MDK.

  • Stash Zero… nice objective. However – just “no adding to the current level” will be enough of a challenge. Reducing it by medkintation will not help. Knitting it up is and will be slow as I create items without patterns, just by “the sit of the pants”, trying out stitches, gauges… it all takes more time then just sticking to a ready pattern… I need to add time to my stash!

    • We have to figure out how to stash time! My stash rule, such as it is, is to only buy it if I will cast on as soon as I get home, and that tends to keep the stash level stable. I had to make a new rule that MDK Atlas doesn’t count because I *need* to have it on hand at all times *for work*. YEAH RIGHT.

  • MDK, you do get some very cool writers! I love starting my day here!

  • I have different feelings about my stash, as it can be an albatross or a source of comfort, depending on the situation. Some parts of my stash I discarded, especially anything I’m not sure how to wash or clean. Sometimes a stash takes time to move into a WIP or FO. I also know I never need to buy color-changing yarn ever again, as it probably represents over 60% of my stash.

  • I am looking forward to your book and the new year with no stash yarn except those leftover from projects. As this year, like you, was determined to knit from stash. There is a shawl and pair of socks using the last bit, and so next year I’ll be looking to use up the scraps and buying new yarn to make something that I didn’t have the right yarn on hand.

  • I am recovering from a broken elbow that needed surgery to fix so with my arm in a sling I cannot knit. I look forward to this enforced opportunity to look at my stash and peruse patterns and dream of what I could make. A wonderful way to spend my time as my arm heals.

    • I love your writing Suzanne and loved all your presentations and interviews during Virtual Vogue Knitting Live. I was so proud of myself to use up all of my superwash stash in a blanket for my daughter. I tried to resist but the recent sales were too enticing and so I happily caved. Happy New Yarn folks!

  • Nice essay, but for me I would never think of going zero stash. I log in to Ravelry every so often just to check inventory for potential projects. I will admit that my resolution for 2023 is to re-start some WIPs, and learn some new skills.

  • Just live this post! My husband does exactly the same thing with toilet paper and paper towels. I never thought of it as a yarn stash defense! Thank you …

  • This is me.

    “I shopped my stash and found yarn I’d forgotten I bought. What had I meant to make with this? Who knew? Well, I’d make something now!”

  • I would say that yarn is important to know and crocheters and weavers, but not to other *makers* like woodworkers, welders, or cooks. It’s interesting that the word *maker* extend the category to the point of being meaningless, since everyone in the world makes something, and completely obliterates the specific category of yarn workers.

    • Other woodworkers, welders, cooks who are aware of the time, skill, mathematics that knitting requires may not see it as you do. A really well knitted, woven or crocheted item can be as valuable as both utilitarian and beautiful.

    • I disagree that everyone in the world makes something. Lots of people don’t make anything, they rarely cook a meal or wrap a package. I love thinking of knitting, spinning, weaving, etc, as sub categories of making, as I like feeling a kinship with makers who work in different materials and techniques than mine.

      • I agree with Kay about having a kinship with other makers. Talking with people who utilize different mediums can demonstrate that we all speak the same creative language. I enjoy learning and engaging with other makers about crafts/materials/techniques I don’t know much about.

  • Great! As usual. I’m absolutely identified with your stash story and thank you for the new yarn medknitation. I’m waiting for your book!

  • “Yarn is the raw material of makers . . . An idea—a breeze in our minds—can be made real. New yarn is a renewed sense of self.”

    Hear, hear!

  • love this! I think my resolution will be to Yarn Medknitation once a month or so……no definites!

  • So glad you are writing that book!! Can’t wait to read it! Thank you for this today. I really needed it.

  • I learned to knit as a child. For many years I knit as fast as possible & cared more about the quantity than the quality of my work.Now in my seventies, I use small needles to produce a fine gauge & more flexible fabric. I care more about the beauty of my stitches & less about how long a project takes. This all has led me to go beyond knitting as craft to knitting as meditation.

  • Laughter, yarn and meditation! Wonderful combo. Thank you

  • Awesome!

  • I don’t have much stash, either. It’s nice to shop it, but if it’s not right for the next project, on to the new yarn! I believe you celebrated your (yarn) cake with cake!

  • I too need to seriously destash. I definitely reached SABLE. Luckily our local knitting guild accepts donations of unwanted yarns for their annual auction. I see a big purge coming. If I was 25, I wouldn’t worry about it, but at 67 I will never have the time to use it all. So many patterns, so little time.

    • This is me, too! I try to “stash-shop” first, but then sometimes there is not quite enough of something for what I intend it to be…. Oh well.

  • I made the zero stash resolution, and followed through with it. It just took me several years to accomplish!

  • Loved this! Stash zero is incomprehensible to be. I’ve been on a yarn diet forever, or so it seems. Then during the pandemic I took zoom classes for traditional Norwegian sweater knitting classes from a teacher in Norway (Kay spotted our first project at Rhinebeck- the sweater she asked us to identify, Gammel Sandvik), so I truly did have to buy yarn for that. In fact, I was about to allow myself to ease up in the yarn diet until I did a much needed stash reorganization: Oh my!
    My solace – I did make a dent in the sock yarn for socks stash; and by going through the stash it’s back to being a warm, friend with lots of potential instead of the albatross it’d felt like for a while.

    Btw, I’m with your husband on stocking up, but that’s because I don’t want have to remember to buy things that regularly run out. Too bad I can’t stash milk.

  • Happy New Yarn to you!! Reading your post was like listening to my thoughts. Hahaha. I always have dreams of zero stash until I walk into hobby lobby.

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