I’m moving. I’m moving to a smaller home. Everyone in the family must pare down possessions to accommodate. And that includes -gasp- my knitting stuff. Books, yarn, tools, bags, accessories…every item must be assessed and either accorded a space in the new house or -gasp- GO AWAY. Some yarn and books have already been shuffled off to loving new homes.
I expect that, after the initial fairly painless paring-down, I may have to go back and make decisions that feel akin to cutting off my left arm. It’s hard to decide whether it’s worth hanging on to that lovely silk, or the sweater’s worth of alpaca, when for the past 4 or 5 years I have knit mostly with sock yarn. Styles change, my tastes change, and I don’t want to kick myself for giving up on that Norwegian wool. But if I’ve owned it for 10 years and not knit it yet, does it deserve to be relocated yet again?
The size of one’s stash is a very personal thing. It is dictated by inclination, financial means, and space limitations. It may also depend on the tolerance of one’s family and the cunning of one’s hiding places. The amount of yarn I own may seem obscene to one person, an inspiration (or an aspiration!) to another. I definitely have what is referred to as “SABLE,”or Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. Hopefully I will turn my children into knitters before I die, so I can go gentle into that dark night knowing that my yarn will still be loved.
At the same time, I yearn to live a more considered life. I recently visited a friend in Manhattan, and was impressed by how her family lives in four modest rooms. I have decreased my yarn-buying over the past year, asking myself each time I am tempted, not, “Do I need this yarn?” because of course the answer to that is “No,” but, “Does this yarn blow me away? Do I love it?” Yarn that I bought because it was on sale, or I liked it well enough, or I thought it would be a good basic to have around just in case the fit came upon me to start knitting an Aran sweater at 8pm on a Thursday: these yarns sit in my stash, always the bridesmaid, never the bride. A quick search of my stash on Ravelry (and oh, how I love the stash-library function on Ravelry) shows that I have 12 skeins of sock yarn that most of us would consider “green.” Yes, there are many shades of green, but do I need to have 12 of them? Green isn’t even my favorite color. What will I do with a dozen different skeins of green sock yarn? (Sheepish admission: I had more than that, but have sold or given away some sock yarn this past week. Second sheepish admission: I appear to still have at least 20 skeins of blue sock yarn.)
In the end, I will get rid of a lot, move, and then possibly get rid of some more. I will have scrutinized my stash, reminding myself of what’s in there, and what I’ve forgotten. What will remain should be a stash that I love unreservedly, where every skein is an inspiration that I can’t wait to cast on.