Stash aversion therapy

It’s less than a week to Wonderwool Wales, one of the most tempting and completely insane events I have ever visited, and I’m thoroughly over-excited. There are going to be about 160 stands, almost all of which will be laden with goodies I cannot live without (though I might draw the line at trying to fit an actual alpaca in the boot of the car).

And now, of course, I spin as well as knit, so there’s even more I have to resist. Plus I’m growing my own…

There’s more to my problem, though. I went a wee bit mad last time (‘wee bit‘??) and then injured myself about a month later, so I haven’t really used much of the stuff I bought. And here we are again.

Last year I was very impressed by one of our knitting group who said, quite firmly, ‘I’m not buying any yarn’ and then stuck to it. She had achieved such Zen-like control by getting every single item in her stash out the night before.

So I decided that if I got my stash out, it might help me be more discriminating when faced with all the fabulousness that is Wonderwool.

I started to empty the old laundry basket that holds my stash. (Do not be impressed that I could fit it all in a laundry basket. It’s a big laundry basket, plus there’s the bag of shawl skeins, the bags behind the sofa and the basket on top of the laundry basket. And the one next to it. Stop looking at me like that. I know people with more.)

Part of the problem is my inability to turn away from a bargain, like a great heap of Twilley’s organic cotton at half price, a huge amount of 4-ply cotton from Save the Children, or a cone of emerald green cashmere (yo!) from another charity shop. You can just see the latter lurking beside the basket, being coy behind a plastic bag. It’s yummy. How could I resist that?

And then I have the willpower of a maggot when confronted with things such as Fyberspates laceweight or beautifully coloured alpaca:

I know just what I want to make with them, you see. (And they’re both from Wonderwool – 2009 and 2010 vintages.)

Then I stopped fondling my shawl yarns and added a few more bags:

Among this lot are some left-over yarns that I really must use up. I also found enough Yarnworks’ Donegal Tweed to make a garment, and it’s ages since this rather lovely heathery yarn was available. Some I found in a charity shop, some was left over from my early knitting and some came to me from a friend of a friend who had shockingly – whisper it low – given up knitting.

I’d no idea I had assembled so much. I’ve examined it closely and there’s no moth damage or anything like it. Now all I have to do is come up with a pattern; Fair Isle, I think – the colours seem to go together well.

I felt I’d achieved something, at least, so I ploughed on.


Time for me to put everything back, at which point the lid came off the laundry basket.

There was a basket of roving nearby, so I got that out too. Initially I was impressed; there wasn’t that much, and it was all delightful. These are a mix of Welsh Black and silk on the left, and dyed merino and silk on the right…

and they’re both from a Wingham Wools day that the Meirioneth Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers hosted in the summer. I could barely use my hand so I went along for the craic, the way you do.

But before I could start congratulating myself on my restraint, I remembered there was more in my spinning basket, and I had somehow forgotten to consider fleeces (not quite sure how, as there is one beside me now as I type, sitting in an old feed sack). Oops.

So, last night at the Knit and Natter, I announced my intention of not buying any yarn at Wonderwool this year. The Zen Mistress (who is excited herself, and had brought last year’s booklet for our WW virgins to look at) said ‘Look me in the eye and say that,’ and – oh dear – I couldn’t.


17 thoughts on “Stash aversion therapy

  1. del

    Someone who stopped knitting?? Poor thing, was it due to injury? I can’t even imagine.

    Well, I’m not your mom (or your banker, heh) so while I hope you can stick to your plans, only for yourself, I wouldn’t mind seeing what you buy either 😉

    1. kate Post author

      I know – stopping knitting, and apparently it was voluntary too! She just went off it…. can’t have been a real knitter…

      And I’m not buying anything!

      (yeah, right)

  2. Harriet

    I am deeply envious of your visit to Wonderwool this weekend. Maybe next year …
    Are bets being taken on whether you buy or not?! Have fun!

    1. kate Post author

      You should definitely come over (I think next year it’s a little later; early this year because of Easter)… I know of people coming from Ireland, but also from Germany and even the US, and it’s well worth it.

      Well, it is really, really worth it if you’re going to buy stuff, which I, of course, am not.

    1. kate Post author

      Thank you…. I have a feeling I’ll need it! WW is indeed wonderful, and gets better every year; I must remember to take my camera…

  3. bigmonkeypie

    My philosophy has always been to look at yarn collecting as its own hobby, so I say as long as you’re not spending the rent money, have a ball and don’t worry about whether you’ll ever knit it all!

    Then again, I did just rip my last pair of good pants and I’m looking at my savings account going, “I can’t spend that money on pants – I need it for NH Sheep & Wool!” So, maybe I don’t give the best advice.

  4. Knitsister

    Let’s compare notes next week and see who bought what and who bought more. I am very impressed by your stash ;), at least I have the excuse of being given lots free and needing lots for stash is only marginally bigger than yours!!!
    Have fun on Saturday.
    Hugs from the other side of the mountains x

    1. kate Post author

      Now that is embarrassing… I’ve got no such excuses!

      Ok, I’ll post what I buy (which won’t be yarn, of course), if you post what you buy… Have fun Sun!

  5. Marilyn Raphael-Mathews

    Oh my, how exciting is this? My hubby wants to see Wales, and we agreed he’d take me to Wonderwool Wales in 2012. I WILL be purchasing to my heart’s content. No raw fleece 😦 though, US Customs were a big hassle when I brought a fleece from Cockermouth 2yrs ago..I got it home, but almost missed a flight etc. I would like to be able to SHIP additions to my stash home to the USA (So. Utah). Is there a Post Office nearby to facilitate my shipping stash home? My hubby has very little stamina and must rest often. Are there benches here and there where hubby could sit and people watch while I gawk in the stalls? Nearly 6 months of glee-filled anticipation, what fun!

    1. kate Post author

      Oh, you’ll LOVE it, it’s my favourite show ever. And I’m not just being nationalist here! The 2012 Wonderwool is going to be bigger than ever, apparently, and will have things like sheep-shearing competitions – plenty to entertain a non-knitter (or people-watching partner, plus the people are really interesting and the sheep are pretty good too). Not sure about posting purchases back, but if you’re on Ravelry there’s a Wonderwool group and I’m sure someone there would know. Or there’s Wonderwool’s own website…

      When we were in Shetland this year I asked someone at Jamieson’s how on earth some of the US visitors got their huge amounts of stash back without waiting for the post, and was told that the trick was to take nested suitcases. Only fill the smaller one and put it inside the bigger one for the outward trip. Then you’ve got an empty suitcase you can fill with yarn for the journey back! (But possibly not with sheep…)

      1. Marilyn Raphael-Mathews

        I KNOW I’d have a problem with customs trying to bring home a sheep! lol We’re excited to travel a bit, and fit in my favorite crafts too.

  6. Marilyn Raphael Mathews

    We fly to the British Isles in just a few weeks. It is very exciting! We’ll plan to stay two full days in Builth Wells for Wonderwool Wales. Is it a very long drive to the National Wool Museum from the Wonderwool site? The internet site makes the Museum sound interesting, and driving through the Welsh countryside will be lovely. I’m not sure I can talk my fellow travelers into a second “wool” adventure. any suggestions? Thank You!

    1. kate Post author

      Oh how exciting!! You are going to have such a great time… I’m really looking forward to Wonderwool myself, squeaking like an overexcited puppy at the very thought. It is a great show – lots of indie dyers.

      The Museum is good, and it shouldn’t take you too long to get there, but I will add a not of caution about driving, though. Yes, the countryside is wonderful (not that I’m biased in the slightest, ho ho), but the roads are often quite a shock to visitors if they’ve not encountered them before, especially from outside the UK. They can be narrow, often have restricted visibility and are therefore a bit tiring to drive. But – in my opinion – it would be worth it; the two would complement each other and the non-woolly people would find the museum really interesting – an insight into the past… and the present…

      I’ll copy this into an email in case you don’t pick up my comment reply – have a wonderful time!


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