We've been doing some cleaning and re-organizing lately. This was inspired partly by a need to make room for all the new clothes and toys the kids got for Christmas and birthdays (Anya's is Dec 14, Daniel's is coming up on Feb 7), and partly by rearrangement of some furniture in our house so that Anya can sleep in her own room. We're having pretty serious sleep issues with her, and a solution is nowhere in sight, I'm afraid. I'd like to blame it on the fact that our house is so small that she's had no choice but to sleep in our room (and thus in our bed for most of the night), but the real reason is that she's a clingy, needy kid. This too shall pass. I hope.

I believe I am a person capable of living simply, at least by American standards. I've had the same everyday shoes since 2001; I know this because I saw them in a picture we took that year at Christmastime. I've been wearing the same coat for 15 years. We don't have a dishwasher or a garage, and I am okay with that, mostly because I grew up without either of those things. We are a one-car family (so far). We just downsized to having one dresser in our room instead of two. I can be ruthless about getting rid of things because I am not sentimental and our house is simply too small to accumulate without regular purging of things we don't need.

And then there's my stash. All the rearranging and sorting made me realize just how much I've got. It's definitely embarrassing. It's almost obscene. And while I've been knitting since I was 8 years old, I haven't been stashing for that long. I think it started big time when Daniel was a baby. I was home most of the time, and knitting filled a void of some kind. I had more time to knit than when I was a full-time student, and I had way more time to think about knitting and plan projects. By now, it's just a little out of hand. I send yarn to Stephanie every once in a while when I know it's something I'll never use and I think she'll like it. Otherwise, I keep it. You might say I'm hoarding. I far, far overestimate what I can do in a given amount of time. I suspect if I knit only from my stash for the next two years I'd barely make a dent.

I don't have this problem in any other area of my life, just the crafty part of it. Why is it that I have no problem emptying my drawers and closet of clothes and shoes and culling toys, but nearly every time I pick up a skein from my stash, I think first "I should probably give this away," then "No, I might use it! I was going to make x, y or z with this! I can't give it up just yet!" I guess it's because creating things is just so important to me. When I'm knitting or cooking or (occasionally) sewing, I feel productive and worthwhile. I like having supplies on hand. I like to look at what I've got and get inspired.

My husband's hobbies don't come with this tendency to accumulate, fortunately. He likes to learn programming languages in his spare time, so we've got several books with incomprehensible titles. He's just started brewing beer, too, but the equipment for that doesn't take up much space compared to my tubs of yarn and sewing machine in the basement. You just don't stash brewing supplies, you know? Especially if you plan to store each 5-gallon batch in a keg rather than bottling it.

What I can't decide is whether or not this is okay. Sometimes I feel guilty for having more than I need, and sometimes I think my stash is my business and as long as I'm not spending money I don't have, I shouldn't worry about it. I knit a lot for other people, and I've knit a lot for charities, too...What do you guys think?


Dee said…
As much as I want to tell you to purge your yarn (I can give you my address) I think your stash is your business. It is a creative outlet full of possibilities and future stress relief. Why would a person need to give that up?

Dee Anna

p.s. I will give you my address if necessary, if not you can send it for Dee Anna, care of Steph.
Do what makes you happy, and don't worry about it. It's not like it's going to spoil or "go bad".

Steph said…
Heehee. I see my knitting friends are already making the moves on your bling.

I was rereading the Yarn Harlot before going to bed last night (the original) and I have to admit, being pretty much a non-stasher, aside from the extra ball or three, I was mildly shocked by how much yarn she professes to have that she remains completely unwilling to actually knit, because she likes to pet it or whatever. However, I don't think you're at that sort of level. You will never have to worry about being snowed in with no yarn to keep you sane, and in that godforsaken northern clime in which you live, that's definitely something.

Wait until he really, really gets into brewing. We have siphon pipes and carboy cleaning brushes hanging from our dining room ceiling. I'm sorry, but in this house the brewing takes up waaay more space than the knitting.
Anonymous said…
Oh, I so could have written this myself. I have such mixed feelings about my stash.

Yesterday I did a full-on stash evaluation. This was sort of forced by our having gotten a new bedframe, which my old underbed boxes full of yarn won't fit under. I basically did what Clara Parkes describes here (although I only just found that link a minute ago), and my "unhappy pile" is now residing in said underbed boxes, waiting for my friends to come take what they want from it tomorrow, with the rest to be given to charity. I still have plenty to knit with, and getting that stuff out of my life is a great feeling.
Mrs. Allroro said…
on the incomprehensible titles: I tried to organize my hubby's books by topic once. That was a joke.

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