I have a… prodigious stash. It’s truly impressive. Whether the impression it leaves is one of awe and envy or “slightly horrified with a side of there but for the grace of God” depends on the viewer. One very common response to it is “I showed the pictures to my partner so they’d stop giving me a hard time about mine.” This is a public service I am happy to provide because, all in all, my stash makes me happy. It’s filled with old friends: some of them come with baggage, some of them are fun to hang out with, some of them are just plain weird but I like them that way. The ones I don’t like I just shove to the back of the shelf and ignore.
I’ve been hanging out in my stash (note that I say “in” rather than “with”) more than usual the past few weeks, and have decided that it can be divided into three major groups: the visitors that turn up and then leave again; the long term residents, there for the long haul; and the quirky characters that add some dimension but rarely get any air time of their own.
The short term stuff I can easily identify. I know just what it is, and often exactly what project I bought it for. I might even have notes about how I planned to use it. Since I know what it is, I know just how I expect to use it someday: 8/2 cotton for tea towels, Tencel® and bamboo for scarves, 2 ply wools for blankets, etc. It’s only in the stash because I haven’t had time to get to it yet; it’s just passing through. I look at this stuff and still feel at least moderately inspired.
Then there’s older stuff I know some facts about, usually including where it came from. There’s some silk that a friend in PEI gave me 20 years ago. There’s a big box of brushed mohair that no one else wanted. There are cones of mohair loop I got pounds of at Convergence in 1996. I have a pretty good idea of the fibre content and the weight, and can therefore pretty easily figure out just how much of it I have. There are several pounds or cones of many of them, sometimes in a variety of colours. Often, these are hand-me-downs from other weavers, or even from my past self.
These long term residents are the yarns I can envision a project for with a bit of effort, but those projects are at the bottom of the queue and get knocked farther down with each new yarn purchase. These are the yarns I don’t part with because it would be wasteful: the ones with Potential – and what a weight that Potential can be. These yarns do not inspire; they drain. These are the ones I really should Marie Kondo right out of my life, but can’t because P O T E N T I A L.
And then there are the mystery yarns. Most of the time I can’t remember where these guys even came from. I have only a rough idea of their fibre content: probably a wool blend? some synthetic? that one looks like rayon? I usually only have one package of each, and definitely don’t know how many yards are in that package. There might be enough of some for an entire project; there’s definitely not enough of others for anything but a stripe in… what? A towel? A scarf? These mystery yarns don’t exactly inspire, but they intrigue. They’re fun little puzzles I haven’t solved yet. There’s not enough of any one for it to become a Responsibility but they’re also small enough to overlook and ignore. I haven’t had (or made) the time to solve their little puzzles yet.
I’ve gone on like this for years, buying new yarn and adding it to the visitor wall, while the quirky characters continue to be overlooked and the long term residents fall further and further down the queue. It will probably continue like that forever, unless something radical hap–
to be continued…