Stuart took the kids to the basement for a little while this afternoon so I could have some practice time. He ended up doing a lot of cleaning and moving stuff around while the little people did who-knows-what. We have to clear enough space for some big windows to be cut next month, which is step 1 of the renovation project. Anyway, most of my yarn stash is down there in plastic tubs. It's not as though they're hidden away or that I've tried to keep it a secret, but something about seeing my stash moved over and stacked in a different spot made me feel just a little bit of shame. That, and my husband's wry look in my direction as he piled the tubs under the stairs and out of the way of the windows. He doesn't have hobbies, at least, not any that take up space. He had a brief foray into beer brewing, which has sadly gone by the wayside, but my yarn occupies more real estate than his brewing kit, so I refrain from commenting about it. I'm lucky that my husband is not judgmental, that he understands me well enough that at least if he doesn't get why I like knitting so much in particular, he gets that it's an important part of my creative life. He's the one who reads computer programming books in his spare time and even takes them into the bathroom when normal people would take Time magazine, say, or a crossword puzzle. He's got his quirks too, you know.

(He also knows that I'm responsible financially and he trusts me not to spend money on yarn stupidly, which is legitimate. I have to say I'm floored when I read on Ravelry forums women who post comments like "Oh I wish I could buy such-and-such yarn/kit/needles but my husband says I'm not allowed!" and of course I don't know the whole story; maybe a husband is too controlling, or maybe she really does have a spending problem and needs to be watched. I'm not judging here. I'm just more independent than that.)

But it's still a big stash, and while I have been pretty good about not adding to it too much, I've still made a few purchases here and there instead of diligently knitting it down for the last couple years like I intended to. I'm not making promises here, or resolutions, or starting a yarn diet, because I know myself well enough to know that's making rules for myself is simply an invitation to break them. (Let me tell you, the new American yarn lines Quince and Shelter are just about enough to make a girl abandon any yarn diet!) However, I really need to make an honest effort to use up yarn faster than I acquire it, which is always a good policy, whether or not one is preparing for basement renovations. I've also listed a few things on craigslist that I know I won't use, and I plan to donate a few skeins to a nearby community center for their knitting class.

Why do I feel guilty anyway? I haven't spent money that I don't have. Really, my stash grew over the last 8 years or so because I simply bought yarn faster than I could knit it (and fell down at a couple of online sales, but I'm over that now). It's not like it will spoil or rot, and as long as the mice and moths can't get to it, my stash will last as long as I let it. Is this fear of excess? Guilt that I have more than I can use when so many people are facing hard times?

Whatever my issues are, I'll tell you one situation in which I can never say no: when my child asks me to knit him (or her) something. Daniel specifically asked me to make him a sweater in his color of choice - black. Three weeks ago I bought the yarn, a few days later I dropped all my other projects (including a sweater for me I swore I would have finished by now!) and knit it for him. It's a simple top-down jacket with a zipper, and it's blocking now.

(Here's what it looked like a week ago before I finished the sleeves):

What can I say? My boy won't wear my hand knits forever. He also loves when I make him socks, so it's tempting to knit nothing else for the forseeable future. I'm a sucker.


Jessi said…
You know, nothing bothers me quite as much as a grown woman saying that her husband won't "let" her do something. Now, I occasionally say something like, "I'm not allowed to buy any more yarn until I finish the Christmas crochet," but I'm the one allowing.

On another note, I have the same issue with the stash guilt, and I have to remind myself that I spend less on yarn in a year than we spend on garbage bags. I don't know why that makes me feel better, but it does.
canadahauntsme said…
Heh. "yarn diet"

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