Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stash Diving

Most knitters have a stash of yarn of some size tucked away. I have yet to meet a knitter who bought yarn for one project, which they finished before venturing forth to buy more yarn. This knitter may exist out there but he or she is a rare bird.

My stash is much smaller than it once was. After a couple of divorce-fueled personal downsizing sessions, my personal stash no longer fills a walk-in closet but fits into two large plastic containers and a few smaller baskets. And I feel the deficit.

What is this insatiable yarn hunger that many of us have? It isn't as though all the sheep might disappear and we'd be left without. Nor is it likely that all of the yarn stores and internet resources will dry up. And many of us have the ability to spin our own yarn, if push came to shove. So, why the compulsion to acquire more yarn?

In culling through my stash, I see a wide range of types and motivations present in the various yarns. There is the acrylic charity knitting yarn found at Goodwill and various discount stores. Not my favorite stuff, but necessary for items to be given away and which require easy washing. Then there are the specific project yarns, generally high quality natural fibers chosen for all my own handmade clothing and for those chosen few who know how to care for them. There is also the hand-me-down yarn that someone else wanted to get rid of. Also of high quality, but it tends to sit around for awhile until I feel inspired by a project. And last, but most certainly not least, is my sock yarn, which is in a category all its own.

My love affair with knitting socks began over a decade ago and has only deepened over time. As my financial fortunes have ebbed and flowed, the constancy of sock yarn has remained. No other medium allows for such variety of colors, fibers and weights for such a relatively low cost. Silk, wool, cotton, silk & wool, washable wools; space-dyed, self-patterning, stripes; neutrals and wild colors; all singing a siren song to me to make yet another pair of socks. And I cannot turn my back on that oh so alluring ball because it may not be there the next time and I will have lost out on those socks.

While I can exercise restraint with yarn for sweaters and scarves, the sock stash continues to grow and change and, I expect, that will remain the case far into the future.

Perhaps artists are the same way about paints and brushes, or photographers about equipment. And I know as a writer that I have an extreme attraction for interesting pens and notebooks. Maybe by stashing yarn, knitters are merely loading their palettes for whatever their creative voice needs to express next. I suspect this may be the case. Or, perhaps, our gluttony just runs toward yarn.


Denise said...

It doesn't take as much yarn to make socks, so a skein here and there is easy to quell that need to reward with something new.

As a quilter is the same with quarter yards, known as fat quarters. Dog knows, one better grab that special fabric because it won't be there later.

Cross stitch has it's own siren song of special fibers, patterns, kits and fabric.

Darn, I'm just doomed.

Sabrina said...

My stash isn't as large as most, but it is 75% sock yarn. I haven't bought anything new in a while, but I feel the urge. There's just something about sock yarn that makes me all giddy.