Her Handspun Habit: End of Year Fiber Stash Care

One of the ways I make myself feel better about the utter chaos that exists in parts of my life is to take excellent care of my fiber stash and related spinning tools. A recent dive in the stash, along with a glance at the calendar, had me realizing that it’s time for some year-end fiber-stash maintenance.

With the intention of keeping my fiber in tip-top condition, here’s my spinner’s version of year-end fiber-stash care.

Toss the stash, then redistribute.

Don’t toss it out (heavens, no!), but toss it like a salad so that what’s on the bottom of your bin(s) will now spend time on the top. Despite being lightweight, if you lay a bunch of fiber in any storage space, eventually the weight of that fiber will compact itself and do the same to those fibers underneath it.

fiber stash

I find that stacking my fiber upright, like books, helps me to store more of it in a single space, with less damage from compaction. (Note how my plastic bags are open, making space and letting the fiber breathe.)

“Re-shelve” your bumps like books, not like bricks.

If possible, when putting the fiber back inside of its bin(s), try to align your bumps and batts so that they’re sitting upright, as you would with books, not stacked one on the other like bricks. If your fiber is also protected by plastic bags, as mine is, open the bags so that they can release trapped air—better for maximizing space. Bonus: You can see more of your fiber stash at a time.

Look for potential issues.

Now is the time to look for dreaded interlopers such as pests. Here again, tossing every now and again can be helpful. Moths seek the darkness, so many dyers recommend using clear bins instead of opaque ones, but there are plenty of areas inside a bin that don’t get any light—and you’ll want to keep your fiber out of direct sunlight to prevent fading. Another issue to watch for is condensation inside your plastic bags or bins and any signs of moisture on your fiber. (Where I live, in the humid American South, I leave the bags open to allow the fiber inside to breathe.)

Wash your fleece(s)! (Just do it.)

Want to know what’s not a great thing to keep inside your house, near your cherished yarns and handdyed fibers? Mm-hmm, that would be any dirty fleeces you’ve got accumulated. Go ahead and scour them, or deliver unto a friend who is able to take on such a project. Even if you’re not ready to prepare them fully, give them a thorough but gentle wash while you decide.

That’s about all I plan to do in terms of actual fiber stash maintenance, although when I touch a bump of fiber and it inspires a creative idea, I make a note of that thought either on the fiber’s Ravelry page or in a digital notebook I keep on my devices just for spinning and work-related inspiration.

It’s no secret that I love my stash, but now that I’ve committed to spinning from it exclusively for an indefinite period of time, having it in the best shape possible makes it even more enticing!


Featured Image: A good fiber tossing is the main ingredient in my annual stash-maintenance routine. Photos by Deborah Held

Show your fiber stash some love!

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