Lately I have been contemplating stash. Not so much uses for my stash, but the essence of stash itself. Stash seems to mean different things to different people and attitudes towards it vary; there are those who are proud of their stash and display it openly, those who hide theirs away and those that hide but delight in revealing their cunning hiding places or recounting tales of when a despairing (but ultimately indulgent) family member stumbles upon some of it. The Yarn Harlot has some great ideas for stash stashes, some really quite ingenious, although I would add (rather sanctimoniously) for anyone considering using their freezer for this purpose that even the most energy efficient freezer uses around 300kWh/year to run and filling it with wool isn't the greenest of ideas. A few people have even been known to declare themselves free of stash, buying yarn only for their next project. I don't know many of these.
Most knitters collect, and most seem to reach a point where they feel some guilt at the size of their stashes, and there are many support groups around to help. Stashalonging is always popular, where people declare that they will not buy yarn (apart from on days off, of course, and when there is a real bargain, and and ... I've done one of these and it's hard not to think of yarn all the time when you tell yourself that you're not allowed any) for a self inflicted period of time - sometimes up to years!
But there are those to whom the idea of using yarn from the stash is abhorrent. It is there to treasure. This yarn is special, like their own yarn museum. I read of a yarn the other day that was 'rare' - this is something that had never occured to me before. A rare sock yarn. If there was a fire, which yarn would you save first? Would you ever dare knit it up? Would you sell it for a profit? Do people store stash incase of a great yarn shortage? I don't know. I have no answers. And what becomes of yarn that isn't used? These knitters who declare that they have more yarn than they could ever knit up, are they depriving the yarn somehow of it's purpose?
I myself have a smallish stash, some bought, some that arrived as generous gifts or acquired though swaps and some odds and ends in different colours which are useful for toys, etc, but most of it is earmarked for projects, or at least a vague idea of a project.
I actually seem to have more finished things that I don't use and I'm not sure what to do with but can't bear to part with. I wonder how many other people there are with a shawl stash? :)