Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If I show you mine, will you show me yours?

I'm currently working on a tutorial for provisional cast-ons for our cowl knit-along in Ravelry (go here to check out what's going on and join in, if you'd like).  But in the meantime, I thought I would give you another little peek into my world (scary prospect, I know).

As I mentioned on Ravelry, I recently discovered the KnitPicks podcast, by Kelley Petkun and I am very quickly burning through them, as I'm knitting.  If you go onto iTunes and search "knitpicks podcast", you will find it.  There are 149 episodes (you can see them if you click on "see all") and I've already listened to at least 18 (in 2 days).  What can I say?  I'm learning a LOT from her.

Anyway, I was listening to her talk about her stash (she's the owner of a knitting catalog company, so you can assume it's probably pretty ample) and I recently read the Harlot's posts about her "stashroom" (for the record, I don't think that's the only stash Stephanie has - that's probably just the largest accumulation at the moment...I'm sure she's got several additional closets full of yarn and works-in-progress).  It kind of got my mind reeling about just how much fiber some people have stashed away.  Though I totally drool at the idea of entire rooms dedicated to yarn, I can not imagine owning that much unspun fiber and unknit yarn.  My house is 864 s.f. (80 m2, so says my iPod Touch).  That's slightly larger than a shoebox.  Most people's 2-bedroom apartments are bigger than my house.

What I'm saying is that I have a very humble stash.  Up until this past weekend, it was all contained in one large Rubbermaid tote (you know, the large blue ones that regularly go on sale at the hardware store or Zeller's and you buy them, knowing you'll need them for something).

When I took over the living room with my craft area, I needed something a little smaller, so that I could tuck it into a corner.  What I got was a couple of black plastic bankers boxes (from Staples).  They're stackable and attractive, in their own tidy way.  Bonus.

So, I took the opportunity to take some photos of the stash, so you could see that you don't need to have rooms full of fiber to be a Serious Knitter:

A bag full of cottony/flaxy/synthetic yarn donated by my grandma, last summer.  It's actually quite lovely and I'm thinking I might knit up a lacy lap blanket with it someday.  The hemlock blanket, perhaps?

The most luscious aubergine-y superwash (enough for a long sweater).  I'm not sure which pattern I want to make with this one.  Maybe something Veera-inspired.  Or maybe something Cecily Glowik MacDonald-inspired.  Ladies, you're killing me.

Next door to the aubergine is another sweater-worth of a beautiful navy/slate blue in the same yarn.  I have to take a good look at it and figure out if it will be suitable for a sweater for my husband.  Tora inspired this one, with the beautiful sweater for her husband. If I don't have enough, it will become another sweater for me.  Blurg, I hate it when that happens.

A pile of leftovers from several projects.  They look nice all mixed together, don't they?  I'm feeling another freeform blanket/wrap thing coming on...

Two hanks of O-Wool cotton/wool blend (grey) which I don't like and some local sock yarn that I'm not crazy about, either.  Lori, you want?

A tiny collection of odds and sods that I keep to use as scrap yarn (for provisional cast-ons, for example).

A sweater's-worth of this delicious chocolate brown Lamb's Pride which was earmarked for a Sunrise Circle Jacket, but now I'm not so sure.  I'm letting that one evolve...

Another little pile of odd bits.  I keep these around for those times when my husband feels like knitting (he starts little squares of garter stitch and works on them for a few weeks, before casting them which point, I unravel them, put the needles away and wind the yarn back up until next time).

That's the corner of my new stash box in the photo, see?

And the remnants from my yarn swap with Wood, last Christmas.  That charcoal is going to become my cowl for the knit-along.  It's not going to knit up to the same gauge as the pattern, but I'm just going to knit more repeats until it's the cowl is the same size as everyone else's.

That's it.  That's the almighty stash.  Despite the fact that I live a 45 minute drive away from the nearest yarn shop.  I don't order yarn online, I don't buy stuff unless I need it (ok "need" is subjective, I will allow) and I don't collect yarn.  I don't care how beautiful something is (qiviut, I'm looking at you), if it's financially painful to consider, I don't buy it.  I've never spent more than $75 or $80 dollars on a project.  Ever.  And I don't buy synthetics (anymore).

I just wanted to show you that it's possible.  This is the biggest stash I've ever had and to be honest, it feels a bit excessive to me.  I need to go on a bit of a stash diet in order to make me feel more comfortable with it.

Having said that, are we still going to the mill on the weekend, Lori?  I will have to show some serious self-restraint, but I am strong.  I shall conquer the temptation!

Off I go, to work on provisional cast-ons, while sucking back inhuman amounts of peppermint tea and other fluids.  Fightin' off a cold, I am.


  1. I love that sunrise jacket. Are you familiar with the pattern, and if so, is it idiot-proof?

  2. sock yarn: yes please!
    that hemlock blanket makes my heart swoon...

  3. i don't know how you do it! i've just started the whole knitting thing and have only bought yarn for a specific project. but what do you do with the leftovers? when is the ball of yarn too small to keep for the next project? i've only knit 5 things or so, but i already have 5 extra remnants of yarn. my husband does not like the idea of this pile growing!

  4. Hi Laura,

    I do whatever I can NOT to have leftovers. I tend to modify patterns so that I can use up all the bits and bobs and avoid remnant stash accumulation. The other thing I do is I tend to knit almost exclusively with worsted or DK weight yarns, so the leftovers can be mixed and matched to make little funky projects (like a little multi-coloured Tomten Jacket - you can see that in my finished projects on Ravelry). They're not works of art, but they're fun to do and functional.

    Lori: I know! Everything on BrooklynTweed makes me drool, but that blanket takes the cake!