Saturday, September 24, 2011

Where I explore why I feel let down by my stash

Fact:  knitters acquire stash.  It just happens inevitably.  Many of us, like me, start off virtuously only buying yarn for our next project.  This seems like a great idea, until the first yarn emergency strikes.  

Maybe the resolve ends the first time you sign up for a test knit on a Saturday afternoon and realize there is no way you can cast on until at least Monday and find yourself thinking "boy, if I only had a spare skein of worsted (or laceweight or fingerling or DK or bulky) in the house, this wouldn't have happened".  So next time you are at your favorite yarn store, you pick up a skein of your favorite color Cascade 220 "just in case".  Of course, the next yarn emergency requires a different weight or color or yardage, so you buy another "just in case".  Little do you realize that you have just taken your first tentative step on the slippery slope that, in its extreme, can lead to STABLE (stash acquisition beyond life expectancy).  

For many of us, our self control (or, more likely, our budget) prevents us achieving STABLE condition, but we still wind up with a more than impressive collection of beautiful fibers just waiting for our attention.  These yarns appear from a variety of location:
  • bought for "next projects" that were re-prioritized or reconsidered,
  • souvenir yarns purchased from non-local yarn stores that carry a brand or line that you don't normally have access to,
  • purchases from indy dyers whose wares we can't resist trying after hearing another knitter swoon over, 
  • gifts or discards from other people
Some people scoff at a knitter's stash, but honestly, do we tell cooks that they have too many spices (do you REALLY need cardamom, coriander, AND cumin)?  or golfers that they don't need more than 1 putter?  when we visit an artists studio, do we sneer if they have more than 3 shades of green paint or acrylics AND oils?  No.  So I refuse to be defensive about my yarn stash, which fits very nicely into 2 Rubbermaid tubs, thank you very much!  Oops, that was rather defensive, wasn't it?

But while I refuse to feel defensive or insecure about the quantity (or quality) of my yarn stash, I do admit that sometimes I feel kind of let down or betrayed by my stash and it took me until today to figure out why.  I love yarn.  I love the feel of it, the texture that can be sleek and cool like silk or bamboo, or weightless, warm, and fluffy like alpaca, or just plain soft like merino wool (ooh don't believe people who say "wool is itchy!", there is butter that is scratchier than good baby merino wool).  I love the color of it, the depth and richness of hue, the way it can soothe the eye or be the visual equivalent of 10 minutes on a treadmill.  I love the almost infinite possibility that exists before needles and pattern are selected and the slip knot is cast.  I love it, but it lies.  Ooh it lies like a fickle lying liar.  

See this?

It's 800yds of Luxe (25% tussah silk, 75% superwash merino) from The Unique Sheep (non Rav link) in the Silverlode colorway.  This is one of their unique and awe inspiring gradiant colorways.  Notice (even in the bad picture) how it segues smoothly from deep rich blue at the top through the blues to finish as a silver gray at the bottom.  It is a work of art that two amazing women thought up and hand dyed just for ME.  I was searching for just the right color to make a Weekend Shawl that would remind me of the 24 hours Bob and I spent at the Oregon coast 2 years ago.   I didn't think the "right" color existed -- and then I found this.  The pattern of the shawl evokes the water rushing onto the shore. The dark blue at the top is the deeper water of the ocean, lightening up as it becomes shallower at the shore. The light blue is the shallow water rushing over the sand and the silver gray is the foam being pushed ahead of the water.  Perfect.  The mental picture is so clear.  But it is a lie.  That isn't a shawl.  It is 800 yards of incredibly beautiful yarn.

Just like this ... 

(Madelinetosh merino light in Tart) ... is NOT an Asterope

This ... 

(Knitpicks Shadow laceweight yarn in Cattails, much less spinachy IRL) ... is NOT a Maia.

THIS ...

has stubbornly chosen to remain 10 skeins of Classic Elite Moorland in color Loch Ness, refusing to turn itself into THIS:

These two little suckers have refused to even TELL me what they intend to become, firmly remaining ... 

Black Bunny Fibers (non Rav link) Bulky Blend (85% merino, 15% alpaca), 350 yds of Ocean Rock (it's a bit greener and brighter IRL), and 

KnitPicks Shadow laceweight in Oregon Coast colorway.

To paraphrase a real conversation:
me:  ... and I got a skein of Oregon Coast (holds it up)
Bob:  you didn't just buy that for the name, did you?
me:  ooh, look, a butterfly!

Okay, so perhaps it is a bit of hyperbole with more than a dash of anthropomorphism to claim that the stash yarns LIE.  But do you see the problem?  I don't BUY a yarn.  I BUY a concept, an idea, a vision, a dream.  And frequently, the concept, idea, vision, dream is realized (at a rate of about 6 kilometers of realization so far this year), but until then I gaze longingly at my stash expecting to see Weekend Shawls and Asteropes and Maias.  And instead, in the box, gazing back at me, is just beautiful fiber and beautiful dreams.  

Maybe "just" is a bit harsh.

Maybe ... just maybe ... it is enough to have dreams and the skills to turn those dreams into reality.  Someday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, do I hear you, Rainy. That's exactly it! Why does it not just magically become the thing? Even better, though, why do we not have 48 hours a day and 15 extra hands to enjoy the process of making all the things? Get on that, science.