Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stash

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? :)

19 comments:

NM said...

Deep, giant cow, deep.

Piglottie said...

Tis an intriguing subject, knitter's stashes. For me, I suppose there is an element of liking to collect but I get a lot of pleasure just looking at the gorgeous colours in my stash (especially on dull grey days like today). I dont feel guilty about it, and think its sad when people do - what harm does it do? I do however want to cut down on yarn buying as like you touched on, I feel sad that there is gorgeous yarn in my stash and not being knitted up and worn. But there are always temptations :)

Super Monkey said...

I have reached equilibrium with my stash. I use about as much as I buy. If I could speed up my knitting a little bit then I'd slowly creep towards total destashification. I'm not sure that's entirely healthy though. If I create too much space in the tree house the Professor steals it for lasers.

Kai said...

I've been stashalonging for nearly a year now and yes i've fallen off the wagon, but not as much as i expected.
I still have a huge stash, but it's diminishing slowly!! :)

Christina said...

I don't have a huge stash, most of it is for socks or shawls!!! I have only enough other stash for one project for myself and that's a cardigan!!

Queen of the froggers. said...

Too much stash scares me, I worry that I can't knit fast enough and I get bored of what I bought so end up selling it!!

Liz said...

I think you must always balance your stash...use some, buy some. It's like keeping the earth round with no holes in it. Bit like knitting really. Oooh, that was a bit deep for me!

Mary said...

I have a reasonable stash, I'd say. I tend to buy packs in the sales of colours that I know I'd wear and then look through when I see a pattern I like to see what suits. My real weakness for random purchases is sock yarn, it's just too easy to justify buying two teeny-weeny skeins...

Badger said...

Stash am good.

I heart stash.

Enough stash makes a little fort for hiding in.

Stash makes Badgers happy.

acrylik said...

I've been thinking about this recently too - not only do I have a yarn stash, but also a paper stash too (not as large as the yarn stash, thank goodness) and I want to figure out what's stopping me from using it. Is it the thought that I won't be able to get hold of it anymore? Or the thought that I might mess up with something I paid a reasonable amount of money for? If it's the latter, then hey, I can just rip it out, right? But still... Far too much to ponder on for a Sunday morning before I've had my first cuppa ;)

Fiona said...

I only buy for my next project......... it's just that I see so many projects I want to do. It's not stash, nooooooooooooo. ;-)

gilraen said...

I collect yarn, I love it, I knit up some of it, but I still love it. I get as much joy from 'tidying' my yarn as I do from knitting it. I'm also trying to knit socks in as many different sock yarns as I can. I can't help it if they make them in so many nice colours.

I also collect bag handles, beads for jewellery and knitting books.

Very thought provoking Helen. I feel like I've been to my therapist, challenged ;) :D

LittleBerry said...

Great post Helen. I must admit I do reflect on my moderate stash and find that I am only guilty about part of it, the mound of Rowanspun DK which I bought as it was discontinued but then discovered it doesn't hold ribbing.... I am still pondering it's future... Apart from that I consider my stash to be 'manageable'... perhaps I will write my own blog post on this topic based on your musings ;)

Hawkesley said...

I have a largish sock stash and was trying to be very good and not buy any more sock yarn until I'd reduced it to a more manageable level. But I kept seeing lovely socks knitted and I didn't have the yarn so today I bought 3 skeins....Ooops. Oh and I forgot about the Harry Potter yarn I bought the other week....!!

I do get a lot of pleasure from opening up my boxes and admiring my yarn stash :-)Great post Helen.

clarabelle said...

Interesting post... I've wittered on about the 'meaning' of my stash a while back, but I think I'm relatively in control of mine, as long as I have a whip to hand.

Thanks for your post on my site, Helen, btw.. which I totally agree with!

Kath said...

Great post - I've been trying to think of my stash as a series of projects to be made up and make myself realise that I've enough yarn to knit up for a while yet. My weakness is bargains - prices that are too good to be missed. But the colour has to be right - I won't buy anything just because the price to stupidly cheap! But I'm sure someone would!

artyfartykat said...

Mmmm, thought provoking!
I don't have a very big stash, mainly sock n shawl yarn. I just wish I could knit faster, to use it up more quickly, so I can say I NEED to buy more, rather than would like to buy more!
I know learning to spin is going to increase the rate of stash enhancement and also give me a dilemma, whether to buy fibre or yarn or fibre and yarn.......Its a hard life!

Riggwelter said...

the trouble with my stash is I have a lot of rubbish yarn that was given to me for some reason or another, although all that yarn is slowly disappearing through these weaving workshops I've been doing, I am now considering giving a great deal of it to charity but saving the nice yarns and starting all over again.
I really don't have enough room for a stash the size of mine (saying that, mine really isn't as big as most I have seen).

I like piglottie's idea of enjoying looking at all the wonderful colours...yes I definately do that.

Artis-Anne said...

I am catching up with posts after being away and this post caught my eye. A topic that is both a source of worry and delight for me. I have way too much yarn at the moment . I used to buy and knit up but since I gained weight (Steroids ) I can't knit to the size I hopefully will return to and I think that is the reason that I have been buying too much. BUT then I thought socks and shawls and okay socks are always useful but shawls ? I love them them but I don't wear a lot of them and still snuggle on the couch into a cheapo odds and ends one I made years ago whilst cashmere ones are lanquishing upstairs waiting for that special outing !!
I am not even mentioning the fleece that I have now gathering !!