Why do we stash? (And has “stash” reached google-like status where it is both a noun and a verb?)
I guess my stash started with yarn left-over from completed projects, an eclectic mix of whole and part balls of different colours, weights and fibres. I believe that I may have even referred to them as “leftovers” and on some level, their existence irked me: Project complete, job done, yet there were still, quite literally, some loose ends that for various reasons (some practical, some not), prevented me from parting with them. And still, over a decade later, I haven’t needed any of that yarn for repairs, matching accessories or for any other of those apparent “reasons” (except to justify getting new forms of storage!). But does this alone constitute a stash? For me, I don’t think so. Some of this yarn is now part of my stash, but only some of it. Have I (subconsciously) differentiated at the “whole ball” level? And what is the “non-stash” remainder called?
Looking at my stash (or is that Stash?), I can pin-point when, where, with what and why it started: October 2008, Ullapool, with 11 gorgeous skeins of “Pina” by Mirasol: 80% Baby Alpaca and 20% Bamboo. Yes, the type of yarn that you would imagine virgin mermaids on a sun-drenched Peter-Pan type island had spun with their baby-soft hands. And the “why”? Well, for many reasons:
(1) We were on holiday, I was in holiday mode (= frivolous) and so my normal reluctance to spend, what can only be described as silly amounts of money on yarn, had been temporarily eroded.
(2) We’d just driven for an hour on very twisty roads (= non-knitting compatible) from our beautiful, yet isolated, cottage near Lochinver (in the Highlands) with the explicit mission of finding yarn (okay yes, and tea and cake) i.e. I’d selfishly imposed on valuable walking time to go shopping (although in my defence, it was pouring with rain and blowing a gale – without which, I’m sure the idea would have been summarily dismissed!). And so in honour of sacrifices made, I just had to buy something. Clearly.
(3) It was for charity (http://www.mirasolperu.com/). Now that’s a hard one to argue against.
(4) The yarn is beautiful, just beautiful.
However, and this is where I’ve just realised that maybe I don’t actually have a stash (!!!):
(5) I have a pattern, a plan of how to turn yarn into Project.
And this is the same pattern with all my “queued projects”. Looking in my various yarn hide-aways, I only have a single skein of unallocated yarn (and this was a gift). So, when is a stash not a stash? When is it just a collection of projects in waiting?
Perhaps, dear Carrie, stashes – their definition, contents, management – are as personal as all our other knitting choices? Perhaps the only truly defining feature of a stash is that it compromises yarn on which we have no immediate intention of working? That it can be a collection of often single balls / skeins of yarn with no designated project. Or a series of project-sized collections, perhaps even with the appropriately chosen pattern / design stored away with the yarn. And perhaps it even contains leftovers. After all, the art of “stash-busting” can be equally applied to all of the above.
So what does your stash mean to you? And are you pleased that you have one? My stash, currently strewn all over the bedroom floor, is my equivalent of holiday memorabilia: Happy results of sniffing out those treasures of independent yarn shops selling locally-produced or unusual flavours of yarn, sometimes in batches too small, too new or too seasonal to grab the attention of our bigger retailers. I love that I can associate each piece with a place and a time and that one day, I’ll be able to do the same with the completed Project. That said, its exact contents do not need to be broadcast so nakedly to the non-knitters of the household so please forgive this abrupt end: I need to make like a squirrel and stash!