Jillian’s Spinning: Stash Spelunking

Ever wonder what the oldest fiber in your stash is? That idea bit me this past weekend and I went hunting. I found all kinds of things and remembered all kinds of adventures and stories. But as far as old, here’s what I found:

stash spelunking all
Oldest stash contenders

Barely old, 6-7  years, and I wish you were still dyeing:

Pippi Kneesocks : Willy Wonka Johnny (bottom), Gene (top)

Old, 9-10 years, and has passed the biz to the next generation:

Woolgatherings dyed by Sandy Sitzman
Woolgatherings dyed by Sandy Sitzman

Her daughter-in-law Kate now dyes and runs Woolgatherings.

My oldest that I can find – my best guess is 15-17 years old, from Lambspun in Ft Collins, Colorado. These have moved to at least 3 different states with me.

Merino. cashmere and silk (top), merino and silk (bottom)
Merino. cashmere and silk (top), merino and silk (bottom)

The cashmere blend on top is a little worse for wear, but still spinnable.


Now it’s your turn, what’s the oldest fiber in your stash?


(499 Posts)

Jillian is the​ author of the best-selling spinning book Yarnitecture. She is the editor​ of Knittyspin and Developmental Editor for PLY and PLY Books. She kinda loves this spinning thing and wants everyone who spins to love it too, so she teaches and writes a lot. She knits, weaves, and stitches and tries to do as much of it as she can with handspun yarn. She's always cooking up all kinds of exciting and creative things combining fiber arts. She likes her mysteries British, her walks woodsy, and to spend as much time as she can laughing. Spy on her on her website jillianmoreno.com

14 thoughts on “Jillian’s Spinning: Stash Spelunking

  1. Ina

    I read you post and thought, “16 years old? That’s nothin’!” I have two oldest: the stash I inherited from my mom, which is a gorgeous teal (think 1960s) wool/acrylic blend. As for my own, it’s the pink pima cotton yarn I bought in Germany where I learned to knit in college. In 1985. I never did finish that sweater…

  2. Renee Anne

    As I’ve only been spinning since February 2011, my oldest spinning stash is maybe only a few years old.

    My yarn stash is not much older as I’ve only been knitting since the fall of 2008.

  3. greta

    I’m a recovered fiber-a-holic. After my *major* destash in 1989, I am happy to say that my oldest fiber is 2 1/2 weeks old and my oldest yarn is 5 1/2 months and that’s only because I bought for the year at Rhinebeck and I am just over halfway through with those yarns.

  4. Leigh

    I haven’t been spinning for long – 1st Sock Summit was where I bought my wheel. My fiber stash only goes back that far.

    My knitting stash goes back to a sweater’s worth of rose-pink bulky wool from 1982 or 1983. Then there’s a big gap when I wasn’t knitting.

    My sewing stash however, is prodigious. My own stash has maybe some scraps dating from 1979 or 80 when I started sewing. I have a UFO from my mom (she recently gave it to me to finish). It is an embroidered wool crazy quilt meant for me as a baby and started prior to my birth in the mid-60s. Yikes. I also have a couple of UFOs from my grandmother, and a UFO from her friend who died in 1970 and it had sat in her drawer for years (a quilt). It has fabric with it that matches, all uncut and ready to finish the quilt. So I’ll say my oldest stash fabric is 1960(ish).Grandma also left me some real 1950s polyester and some 30s prints that may or may not have actually been around in the 30s. I won’t count those since I can’t verify. Lord I sound old. I swear I feel 33 and a bit irresponsible. 🙂

  5. Raymonde

    My oldest knitting yarn is from the 80’s… Although I try to knit from my stash as much as possible, I keep buying more yarn. I have a lack of inspiration for some of those old skeins yet I can’t seem to be able to bring myself to get rid of them…

  6. Kathy in San Jose

    My sewing stash has some fabrics from projects that my mother made when we were kids. MY oldest fabric is a UFO from high school; a perfectly matched houndstooth plaid gored skirt that lacks a waistband.

    My oldest yarn dates from 1983, a wool-mohair blend that was going to be a light summer sweater (what was I thinking!), my first knitted sweater. My oldest fiber is from 1998 or so, some colonial wool top from Ashland Bay. It was going to be a sweater for my then 6 year old son. He’s 21 now, and still doesn’t have that sweater!

  7. Knit

    The oldest in my spinning stash is…25+ yrs, a couple of half used rovings from my Mom’s supply. The oldest fiber in my stash is 7-8 yrs. A few fleeces from my spinning flock when I got my sheep and llamas. Now if we go by how old the animal is…lol that’s 17yrs old on the llama and a yearling angora goat.

    Oldest yarn…..ummm..thinking: 11 yrs.

  8. needleandspindle

    Oooo gosh, it doesn’t bare thinking about. I have recent spinnner stash…fleece five years old but old old yarn stash. It was old thirty years ago when my mum gave me some of her stash to start me off. To think of all the things our stashes have seen over the decades…

  9. Meg

    Wow! we were so on the same space time continuum. I am spinning my oldest…oh wait…there is something older…Rats! Oh well. I’m spinning some lovely corriedale, jewel toned dyed from Rumpelstiltskin acquired 6 years ago. I just spun some superwash merino from 1997 when I started spinning. Ha Zaah!

  10. Karrie

    I just took up spinning in Aug last year so my fibre stash isn’t very old. I can tell that unless I start spinning at the speed of light or slow down purchasing fibre we may never need to turn the furnace on again since the house will be wrapped in fibre on the inside! My yarn stash I’m trying to knit the oldest first so it’s about 4 years old. Now the last and largest stash is my fabric I have used u all my early calico type prints and I sew almost daily I’d say my oldest fabric is 10 years old. I try very hard to keep All my stash moving along so as my tastes change I don’t “leave ” anyone behind:-)

  11. romney

    No idea! When buying from charity shops I do try to get things that have ball-bands so I know whats in them, and some will be by well-known brands so you know roughly when they were discontinued (e.g. Rowan True botany 4-ply). Sometimes though you have to base it on the styling (definitely some 1960s or earlier in there!) and the language. For instance, I can’t see a modern-day yarn company describing a colour as “golden nigger”! I sincerely hope that is an ancient ball of yarn.

  12. Kimberly Burnette

    Well. Let’s see! I know that I have some whole fleeces that are at least 15 years old. And I have some flax that is probably getting close to 20 years old. The oldest? Some cotton. I have never gotten the hang of spinning cotton even though I have tried and tried again over the years! That fiber will probably be in my stash until I die!

  13. Tami

    I keep my unspun in my Ravelry stash and just change the name of it from roving/top/etc to ‘yarn’ when I’m done spinning it. I’ve been trying to spin my oldest fibers first for the last couple of years and also trying not to add to my stash. Yea, that’s totally unsuccessful! Currently though my oldest fibers are four years old.

    Lovely colors in your stash!

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