Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What's in Your Stash?


(I apologize for the mediocre camera photo.  The weather has been so gloomy lately that I can't take a decent picture anyway.)

Lately, I’ve been finding that I have things to say...things to say...to knitters.  I spend a lot of my Facebook time talking about knitting, posting my works in progress, and apologizing to the nonknitters, who take it in stride and enjoy the quirkiness of knitterly language.  Then I remembered.  I have a blog for that!

When I first started this blog, I honestly believed that I would write about knitting.  I was a novice knitter at the time, but I enjoyed reading a lot of knitting blogs.  It made sense to me that I would want to write about knitting too.  In a fashion that I would call typical, my interest in knitting waxed and waned over the years, and the number of posts about knitting was minuscule.  I have enjoyed writing about myriad other things, such as my parenting experiences and my attempts to live a more ecological, sustainable lifestyle.  Lately, I haven’t written much of anything (even though I wanted to), and I hadn’t knit much of anything either.  Then, at New Year’s, I resolved to “knit the stash.”  

If you are not a knitter, you are probably in the wrong place...then again...you may have landed here to read about my adventures with kohlrabi or life without paper towels.  “The stash” refers to a knitter’s library of lovely yarn purchased over the years.  Sometimes, it is yarn purchased for a particular purpose - that hat that I plan to knit Aunt Bertha.  Sometimes, it is yarn that has been donated or given to the knitter.  Sometimes, it is souvenir yarn; the hank of Berrocco I bought on vacation in Cape Cod; whatever I bought because I couldn’t afford the Swan’s Island when I was in Camden, ME.  Some knitters, the kind who have REAL knitting blogs, and podcasts, and vlogs, have garages full of yarn; odd balls for scarves, 20 skeins for sweaters, 20 for an afghan.  I probably have about 2 large storage bins of yarn that is “stashed” (see...sometimes word origins are so obvious) in various places throughout the house (and not in storage bins, obviously, that would be too orderly).  It doesn’t matter how much yarn is in a knitter’s stash, however; it is always simultaneously too little and too much.  It takes up space, we are not actually knitting it, and it evokes feelings of guilt.  But we enter a yarn store, see something lovely online, run into some locally sourced homespun at the farmer’s market, and suddenly we don’t have enough yarn.  We. Need. More.  It is a knitter’s Murphy’s Law that s/he will find the perfect pattern but lack both the yarn and needles necessary to knit that pattern.  Patterns for the yarns in the stash, obviously, are impossible to find.

My resolution to knit the stash involves several goals.  One of them relates to Christmas gifts that may or may not happen, but so far, it’s happening!  The others are more transparent.  I enjoy knitting; it calms my brain, it can challenge me or reassure me, and it keeps my hands busy so I don’t eat as many Goldfish crackers.  Therefore, I should do more of it.  My third goal for knitting the stash is to reduce the amount of yarn in the house, which leads, naturally, to goal number four, which is to save money by knitting the yarn that is already in the house.  

So far, I’m about 1 for 4 with these goals.  I have been KNITTING!  I have not only begun projects but FINISHED THEM!  Some of them will stay close to home (an ear flap hat for the boy, bright orange fingerless mitts for me) and others (Sh!) have gone straight into “The Christmas Box.”  As I completed projects, I got some of my knitting mojo back.  I’m a little more comfortable challenging myself and trying new things.  That little bit of lace at the top of the fingerless mitts?  LOVED it!  The hole-y, messy thumb gussets in my orange mitts?  Learned from!  Now I think the thumb gusset is one of the most beautiful, ingenious inventions in the knitting world.  (Knitters are saying “You should try socks again...”  I know.  I will feel exactly the same way about turning a heel).  Knitting makes me happy; I like to do it, look at pictures of it, read about it, and listen to podcasts about it.  I’m so happy to have it back in my life.  If you are a nonknitter, you are probably thinking that I am making wild progress in working through the stash.  Well, no.  The more I knit, the more the stash grows.  A new pattern needs new needles and new yarn.  The yarn I have?  Not right for anything.  Will I give it up?  NO WAY!  It’s perfect!  Knitting things for people?  Score.  Getting yarn out of the house?  Not so much.  Saving money?  Ha ha ha ha ha.  Um.  No.


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