World’s Biggest Yarn Stash Update and Interview!

If you’re reading this now, it’s quite possible that the first time you came across my blog was due to a 2007 post titled The World’s Biggest Stash?, in which I featured my mother-in-law Bonney’s sizable collection of yarn. That post, with its five photos of Bonney’s yarn, has become the go-to link on blogs and discussion boards when the topic of stash size comes up, and it still seems to be the undisputed biggest yarn stash in the world.

Since it was three and a half years ago that I blogged Bonney’s stash, I thought it was high time to check in with her and see how her stash is doing. Has it shrunk a bit, or gotten even bigger? See for yourself!

bonney_stashshot1

In addition to being very game for this photo (my idea, I admit), Bonney agreed to answer a few questions about her stash.

Anna: What has changed about your stash since 2007? How much has it grown or shrunk?

Bonney: Unfortunately, it has grown a bit. Not too much, but now that there are so many online shops that carry so many different lines, it’s hard not to be tempted by all the colors and color combinations.

A: If you had to guesstimate, about how many balls of yarn would you say you have?

B: Hmmm, this is a difficult one. Let’s say a few thousand. That’s probably near the ballpark.

A: What is your most prized part of your yarn collection? Is there any yarn that you would rather keep in “mint” condition than use for a project?

B: I have some buffalo yarn that has been in my collection that will be one of the first projects I do in 2011. There’s no yarn I’ll keep mint. I love so many of my sock yarns done by Yarntini and Three Irish Girls. I can’t bear to knit them into socks because I hate the idea of them wearing out. I’d have to say no yarn is off limits.

A: Be honest: Is there any yarn in your stash that you know you’ll never use?

B: There might be, but I was surprised that I used some yarn last year for a yarn bombing that was perfect for that use. [You can see photos of Bonney’s small-town yarn graffiti here.] That yarn might never have been used, but then an opportunity for it came up. I think it’s best to never say never.

A: You said to me that your New Year’s resolution is to knit only from your stash this year. What do you plan to knit?

B: I’m planning on making lots of small shawls to use the beautiful sock yarns and lots of mittens to use all the Cascade solids. I also have some Cascade Superwash to make baby blankets. They are so much fun to try new patterns with. I like having a portable project and tend to get bored with knitting that goes on for too long.

A: Are you hoping to reduce your stash in the long term, or are you just looking to save money on buying yarn this year?

B: My main focus is to reduce the stash. I also have a lot of fabric that needs some attention. It was all purchased because I loved it and I want to take the time now to enjoy it.

A: What started the whole thing? Do you remember your first major yarn purchase?

B: Most of my yarn purchases used to be from big box stores, until one day I stepped into a boutique yarn store for the first time. It was heavenly, and I acquired the first of my stash. I went home and donated four huge bags of yarn that I had from the other stores to the retirement home in the next town. I was hooked on shopping at the specialty stores!

A: Is there any type of yarn that you feel is missing from your stash and you wish you had?

B: I don’t think there’s anything I’m missing.

A: What is your favorite kind of yarn? Is there some material, color, or brand that is simply irresistible to you?

B: My favorite yarn is sock yarn, mostly because the colors are so beautiful. Combinations I would never think of combining are hard to resist.

A: You know that some people who see pictures of your stash think you must have a problem. What do you say to those people?

B: I think people are entitled to their opinion. I’m not too interested in what people say. I’m not hurting anyone and I love to knit for charity. I’ll be knitting some helmet liners for the military this year and some of the blogs I read have causes they knit for. I like to participate in those. Lastly, it’s my hobby!

Thank you so much for sharing your stash with me, Bonney, in more ways than one!

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85 thoughts on “World’s Biggest Yarn Stash Update and Interview!

  1. I’m so jealous! most of my yarn is from big box stores because I’m afraid I’ll fall in love at speciality shops! It’s not an addiction that is hurting anyone…thanks for sharing!

  2. I love the fact you have a room large enough to handle your stash. My room looks like a bomb went off.
    Rock on!

  3. I think I’m in love! Can I come visit! :D Love all the colors…Looks like a knitters/crocheters version of Disneyland!

  4. I have to admit, the question and answer about whether there’s anything missing made me laugh. Bonney, you rock! Enjoy your stash!

  5. Love it! The pic is rockin’, and the thought of all that awesome in one room is fabulous. Oh, and the yarn is groovy too. ;D

  6. Wow, that is some stash!! I am totally and completely impressed, and in love with it! And that picture of you is pure awesomeness :D I wish my mother-in-law was as cool as you!

  7. I took a couple of other new photos, but the setup was basically the same. But next I’ll have to document her fabric stash, which is also pretty awe-inspiring!

  8. wow, i’m impressed! thanks so much for this post – i hadn’t read the original before but have now. i love how it is so well displayed and also being actively used. and it makes my stash seem so puny in comparison!

  9. What an awesome mother-in-law!! And her awesome stash!! I’m glad she’s so good to you and so much fun!! That’s not all that common!! Enjoy both her and her stash!! : )

  10. Wow. I feel guilty about my puny closet of worsted weight wool. My fingers are tingly now. If I had a stash like that I’d probably organize them by novelty/regular yarn, then into weights, then by brands, and then finally by colour. Labels and everything! phew, It’s a good thing my closest LYS is about 20 km away and I’m too lazy to go over there.

  11. You make a stunning calendar girl, Bonney! You project a sense of calm self-fulfillment under those skeins and balls. A really cool knitting magazine should put this on its cover. Great interview!

  12. Being that I live in Toowoomba, Australia I just have one question right now – Bonney’s house is flood-proof, isn’t it? Because losing that would be a tragedy.

  13. I just wanted to say how much I LOVE this room. I want a basement full of yarn, but I’m too broke to buy and crochet too fast to keep any on hand! All I have is a dresser drawer for full skeins and a milk crate for balls! YOU GO GIRL!


    Cathy B:

    My room looks like a bomb went off.

    Ha! A new meaning to “yarn bombing”!

  14. I love your attitude Bonney; I love your stash; I love that you love it; and I love that you don’t give a hoot what anyone else may think.

    And you clearly have metaphorical balls of steel under all those balls of wool.

  15. I am like that too and I am only 19! But well my yarns don’t even come closer to those lol I have lots of fabrics too.

    I wouldn’t say it is a problem but the truth is that ovr the years yarns will loose quality if not well keepen so I hope she can keep them all safe and clean :)

    I wouldn’t actually produce any things for the militaries but to the innocent victims of the war. Unless you are in Israel where military service is still mandatory lol

    Thanks for the interview it was fun!

    Natty

  16. I’m in New Hampshire, and there was an ad in the newspaper for an estate sale a few months ago, to sell the household belongings of an elderly woman who had recently died. The ad said she had SEVEN THOUSAND skeins of yarn.

  17. WOW! Thanks so much for sharing your stash with us, Bonny! Now I don’t feel so bad about the yarn I’m hoarding in my house…and I’m gonna go visit Sundara’s website now because my stash could use some shades of grey in it. :)

  18. I’m just finishing my semi-annual yarn room re-organizing. Living in a 1950’s ranch. I’m lucky to have a spare bedroom to use for all my yarn. Sometimes, when I survey it all I feel like I am a slave to this yarn and the management of it !Being reminded of you and your glorious stash has inspired me to view my stash as a gift to myself and others and not as a burden!

  19. You go, girl! I’m jealous of your stash! I have a sizable stash myself, although it doesn’t compare to yours, and my husband is always giving me a hard time about adding to it. He just doesn’t get it. Knitting is as addictive as anything else and I am (we are) a yarn addict. Happy knitting!

  20. B-E-A-UTIFUL!!! What a wonderful world you live in Bonney!! I’d be afraid to have a stash like that…I may never leave the room!! You are a goddess to crafties everywhere!! Love the pic too!! It exudes a beauty and freedom that our handicrafts provide to an otherwise dreary world!! Knit on sister…knit on!!

  21. More than the quantity, I admire the beautiful way you keep your yarn. It is such n inviting room! Does open storage need dusting? If you do dust, please share a hint on the easiest/best way to do so. I’m forced to keep mine in bins, currently, because of space requirements.

    Love your serene statement that people are entitled to their opinion, and it’s your hobby! Knit on!

  22. I can’t imagine anyone having anything negative to say about her stash. As long as it’s not a hazard and the bills are paid, I say “GO FOR IT!”
    Also, can you please adopt me?

  23. In my wildest dreams to be you! It has taken me 3 years to use up my stash. I’m down to approximately 150-200 skeins of yarn. All I can make now is hats and scrap afghans which I do for the nursing home I go to everyday for 8 hours a day to take care of my mother 7 days a week. I worry when I run out of yarn because I don’t work and can’t buy more but I can go back to reading! So all is good!

  24. I AM A THERAPEUTIC RECREATIONAL DIRECTOR FOR SENIORS. MY FAVORITE ACTIVITIY FOR A DIMENTED RESIDENT IS, YA PUT A BALL OF YARN IN A COFFEE CAN…PUT A HOLE IN THE LID, BRING THE STRING OUT, AND MAKE A LITTLE BALL. HAND IT TO THE RES THAT NEEDS TO BE STIMULATED, AND ASK THEM FOR THEIR HELP..THEY SIT AND ROLL THE BALL TILL IT’S DONE…TAKES MOST OF THE DAY…THEN YA PUT IT BACK IN THE CAN, AND START OVER. WHY DID I TELL YOIU ALL THIS? I AM ALWAYS LOOKING FOR PEOPLE TO DONATE YARN..LOL SO IF YA DONT WANT ANY, OR SOME, JUST SEND IT ON OVER TO ME. LOL. KIDDING BUT SERIOUS….WOW…BRIGHT COLORS ARE THE BEST….THANKS…AND GOD BLESS YOU

  25. Fabulous! What a beautiful collection. There just has to be something magical about living surrounded by so much color and texture. Thanks for sharing!

  26. This is sad. This woman has a hoarding problem – it’s not cool or funny, it’s a mental illness. She appears to be fortunate enough to have enough money that her hoarding tendencies haven’t driven her to ruin like so many others, but she should still get help. Having more of something than you could use in four lifetimes is not healthy. And it’s great that she does charitable projects, but those charities would benefit way more from the thousands of dollars she’s poured into this collection than they do from a few hats.

  27. Hi Jen,

    With all due respect to what you said. I don’t believe she has a hoarding problem. It’s not cool or funny to say such things about her. I know there are situations where it is obvious someone has a mental illness but this is not one of those times.

    When I had breast cancer many horrific events happened inside my body. No one could see the pain; no one could hear my mind screaming for it to stop or go away, no one could feel the excruciating, ghastly, events happening to me. It was all trapped on the inside. No one could see it or even understand how it all felt because they had not lived through it. It is virtually impossible for a person who has never had cancer to fully understand what happens on the inside.

    I feel that in this case that it is the same thing as my situation. You don’t know what she feels, or what motivates her, you don’t know what is happening inside her body! I’d like to think she is in love with beautiful, bright, colors, she knows instinctually when she walks by yarn and just knows this is it. I believe with my whole heart that when the occasion arises she will share in order to help others. All this yarn has a destiny!

    P.S. Hats are important! I will continue to make hats for nursing home residents and cancer patients for as long as I am able. I go 7 days a week, 8 hours a day to take care of my mother at a nursing home. The joy that is given by a single hat cannot even be measured.

    Take Care,

    Sherry

  28. Anyone who equates “likes to collect yarn” with “has a mental illness” needs to turn off the TV and take a deep breath.

  29. I’m shocked that after reading the article and seeing the pictures of the collection that Jen gleaned that Bonney has a hoarding problem. Nonsense coming from a jealous schmuck- Do your thing, Bonney!

  30. Well you could knock me with a feather i was so envious of such a wealth of wool you go gil just love it.


  31. Jen:

    This is sad. This woman has a hoarding problem

    That’s what they said about The Little Mermaid and she married a prince! Rock on, Bonney ^_^

  32. You go girl!! Stash? – it looks like my lys without the naked lady of course! I envy your room to store all of your yarn. Happy Knitting, Bonney


  33. Jen:

    This is sad. This woman has a hoarding problem – it’s not cool or funny, it’s a mental illness. And it’s great that she does charitable projects, but those charities would benefit way more from the thousands of dollars she’s poured into this collection than they do from a few hats.

    I’ll vouch for my mom – if she has any mental illness, it’s that she’s “CRAZY” about knitting. If you’re going to label her anything, I would go ahead and label her a collector as she’s far from a hoarder. And multiply those “few hats” by at least hundreds of garments, blankets, pet toys, and pet beds, and that’s just the creations for charities. She VERY rarely makes something for herself, most of this yarn goes into gifts for others. Rock on Mom! Keep doing your thing!

  34. My stash is one quarter the size of the one pictured here and while I do not have plans to enhance (I am destashing as I write) it is always awe inspiring to read that someone has a passion and is willing to pursue it.

    IMHO Jen is not a crafter but she too is entitled to her opinion.

    Ms. Bonney – knit on and you do you! Enjoy your stash and thanks for sharing.

  35. Where is the dividing line between a collector and a hoarder? Is it when you run out of money to afford your “collection”? Because that’s awful double -standard-y. I have a large stash myself, but that’s ONE bookcaseful, enough that I’ll easily use it up before I die of old age. NO ONE could use that much. To me, compulsively buying a craft supply you’ll never get to use because you have waaaay to much is hoarding behavior, and here it’s taken to the extreme.

  36. Jen I’m not sure where you learned the rule that you have to use what you buy. Why is that? What’s wrong with surrounding yourself with something that you love? No one needs to justify any purchase that they make when they make it with disposable income. Even if Bonney never did a thing with it – that’s her business isn’t it? If it was filled with many works of art to enjoy would that be okay Jen? Tell us what we’re allowed to enjoy so we can follow your rules.

    My wife Bonney is the best!

  37. THAT many works of art? Lying in stacks where you cant possibly see or appreciate it all? Yeah, I’d call that hoarding behavior too. Though perhaps I just can’t wrap my head around having THAT much disposible income to throw at filling your house with stuff you’ll never use while others starve. The fact that that level of consumerism is positively glorified (look at these comments) is part is why western culture is so royally screwed up (and part of what leads to an environment that fosters hoarding disorders :-P)

  38. Well Jen, it appears as if you’re sticking to your philosophy – use it or lose it. Stamp collectors, coin collectors, collectors of fine art prints would be mentally ill according to your rules. I’m still waiting to hear what we’re allowed to enjoy for its own sake. Perhaps you need to wrap your head around the idea of a free society where people can pursue their own vision of happiness even if it differs from yours. You don’t even know Bonney yet you’re willing to diagnose her as having a “mental illness”. I suggest that you would be better served by being concerned about prejudice in our culture. You certainly are contributing your fair share.

  39. Hi everybody – it’s awesome to see so many comments on this post! We don’t need to dwell on disagreements anymore, because Mochimochi Land is a place for fun first and foremost. Thanks!

  40. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!TIME FOR FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How about one of my crochet jokes?

    How many crocheters does it take to change a light bulb?

    One to crochet a plarn recycle bag to put the old bulb in!
    One to yarn bomb the ladder to stand on!
    One to hold the cozy the new light bulb is in!
    AND
    One to change the light bulb while reciting from “The Crochet Bible” (By Sue Whiting)

    Have A Great Week Everyone!

  41. Geez Anna . . . I know you dislike sports but this was just starting to be fun! But it’s your blog so I’ll quit – unless someone else takes a cheap shot at my wife.

    Love,
    JT Sr.

  42. I wanted to add that I too have a walk-in closet full of yarn and I find it comforting that is nothing to be ashamed of. I think it just something about finding joy in beautiful things. Cheers to you, Bonney, may your illustrious stash grow ever greater and more fluffy! I also wanted to add, as a knitter who suffers from several mental disorders (including a mild tendency to horde,) this is a hobby not a disorder. Just take my word for it. I don’t feel like adding a bunch of psychiatric jargon into here. And finally, this blog and its patterns are one of the bright spots of my bookmarks bar, and for that I wanted to say “thanks.”

  43. What a glorious stash and a happy knitter right in the middle of that colorful yarn explosion!

    Regarding stash vs. hoarding – I come from a family of hoarders. Hoarding is when there is so much “stuff” in your home that you don’t know what is there, there is no more room to “live” in the space, that one is physically endangered by the quantity of junk in the space, that the overwhelming amount of physical items in the room and the relative worthlessness of them is depressing. Nothing can leave, be thrown out, or removed in any way because it’s “too good”.

    Is Bonney wealthy beyond the dreams of many a knitter, or the less privileged members of our society? Yes, and more power to her. Does she indulge in conspicuous consumption, know what she owns, share freely with others, give generously, and have a joy in living? Clearly the answer is yes. And everyday I strive to do exactly the same thing.

  44. I loved the idea of taking the picture the way you did to display the yarn. Artsy and very Vanity Fair. John, Sr. made a compelling argument to Jen’s comments and I enjoyed the back and forth. I can vouch for my sister’s generosity in sharing her knitting works, because for starters, I have helped her carry in hundreds of blankets to the Humane Society. Hey, Bonney, how did you miss that estate sale in NH?

  45. you are wonderful! I too have more yarn than I will use for years. I share it with friends and make a ton of things with it. Keep up your great spirit and that stash.

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