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The myth of stash

1 Dec 2006

When it comes to my knitting, I am pattern driven. I'm a knitting pattern omnivore, I consume the magazines, the blogs, the freebies and the books with pretty much equal relish.

If I see a pattern I really like, a feel like I must knit it that very instant. There is a little adrenalin rush, a little excitement about choosing the yarn and the colour, and almost always involves a yarn purchase. My yarn choice is pattern driven, and since I can't predict my pattern tastes in advance, it is unlikely that any stash yarn (except the laceweight) will be suitable for the crucial knitting project that must be started IMMEDIATELY.

Over the past few years there have been a few patterns I have yearned for but have never knitted because the price of the yarn has been too steep. Kidsilk haze, for example, for that butterfly tank. Never owned a ball of it - always wanted to knit with it. But I'm over the butterfly tank now.

Muench Touch Me, always wanted to knit the vintage velvet scarf from scarf style, never could afford it.

I should just buy the yarn I want for the project I want to knit, ONE PROJECT AT A TIME, and then knit it. Choose another project, buy the yarn, knit it, and so on. Since I'm pretty strict on only having three or so projects on the go at once, this would lead to pretty sporadic yarn buying, and no false investment in stash.

But I'm a slow learner.

I've spent hundreds and hundreds on co-opped zephyr, some microscopically fine boucle mohair that I liked the name of, even though I had never seen it, random numbers of balls of cashmere/merino yarns, dishcloth cottons, feltable wools, ebay impulse buys etc etc etc. I could have just dropped the one hundred on the Muench and been done with it.

Those hundreds of dollars worth of yarn in the cupboard will never be used.

My 2007 knitting wishlist, how much of it can I use stash yarn for?

Let us see:

The Nantucket jacket in the Winter Interweave knits - need to purchase yarn
Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl from a Gathering of Lace - may need to purchase yarn
Reid Cardigan from knitty for Blair - probably have stash for it, depends on gauge.
A second pair of beuaudelaire socks - can use stash.
A Victorian Lace book project. Or two. - will more than likely purchase yarn
Vaanalin gloves from a gatherin of lace - will probably need to buy yarn
A pullover for husband - definitely need to buy yarn
Eunny Jang's fair isle vest from her site - definitely need to buy yarn.
A modular wrap from a back issue of vogue knitting I saw a few days ago - definitely need to buy yarn.
The vintage velvet scarf from scarf style - got the yarn as a gift!!!!
The chanel bag from Magknits - can knit from stash.

Items I'm knitting now, did I use stash for them?

Lucy in the Sky Cardigan - had planned on using stash, bought ten balls of cashmino only to find gauge was too fine, ended up having to buy more yarn.

Rose Of England Shawl - had to buy crochet cotton for this knit.

Green Cardigan of own design - had to buy yarn for this.

Candle Flame Shawl - had to buy yarn for this too.

So then, what's in the stash?

A pack of heirloom cotton for knitty's reid - no idea if guage will be correct, I suspect it will be too thin a yarn for the job.

A pack of heirloom cashmerino in blood red - this was for the diamonds cardigan, but I swatched too fine a guage for it, so I had to buy a different yarn. Now I don't know what to do with this yarn.

A full cone of zephyr in 'steel' colour - for FFL. Maybe. Still, I'm sure I'll do something with it. It is silver after all, next winter's hot colour. If it doesn't get knitted by next June it will be so yesterday.

Eight balls of cashmerino in dusty rose - this was also for the Reid but I prefer the cotton. Perhaps I'll use it for the beaudelaire's. There'll be five balls left over then, not enough to do anything with really.

Four balls of cashmerino in green - for the sleeves of an unfinished cardigan - I will do them.

A skein of noro kureyon - no idea what to do with this.

Four balls of extra fine boucle mohair from Be Sweet - no idea what to do with this or why I bought it.

Four balls of mohair blend yarn in black - for a scarf for mum that isn't even on the wish list.

Two balls of Aurora 8 - no idea what to do with this. Not enough for anything really. Pretty colour. Maybe I'll make some gloves with it, if it isn't too thick. One day.

Three hanks of meino that I hand-painted - I'll knit a dog coat for my sister's dog, not on the wish list either.

Two balls of kitchen cotton - for face cloths not on the list.

Two hanks of Lorna's Laces sock yarn - unknown project.

Three hanks of knitpicks alpaca cloud - for the beauty of it. As yet unchosen shawl. It is a beautiful colour. I will definitely knit this.

1/2 lb zephyr in ladyslippet - As yet unchosen shawl. The colour isn't quite what I was expecting.

1/2 lb zephyr in blueberry - As yet unchosen shawl. I do like the colour though.

100g handpainted zephyr in dark moody colours - As yet unchosen shawl.

Three balls of silk/cotton crochet yarn - failed ebay purchase for what I don't know. I've had this so long I should just chuck it out.

Four balls of berocco suede - I was so insistent on making that knitting bag they had on their site about a year ago, I bought the yarn on ebay immediately. The idea doesn't seem so appealing now - maybe I'll do the smaller chanel bag from magknits in this instead.

Four balls of alpaca silk in a winey colour - internet buy, colour not as nice as I'd thought. Have started a blanket with the other six balls. So, if the UFO is ever picked up again, this is the yarn for the job.

Two balls of grey zhivago - I dont' know what I'll do with this.

A hank of merino/silk sock yarn - probably not enough for two socks. Unrepeatable colourway from the US.

Several balls of varegated yarns in different weights and colours I'm not in love with, mostly hand dyed by self - will never knit these.

Loads of single balls and leftover lace weight yarn of dubious quantities and usefulness.

Basically, my stash is not helping me with the wish list. So, in order to knit anything I really want I'll have to buy more yarn. Which kind of makes the stash redundant.

See? That's a fair amount of money dropped on yarn (and I've just sold 150 bucks of stash) and for what? I may never use this yarn. Stashing yarn is a myth.

I can stop any time I want.

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