January is sale time. April is Wonderwool Wales. May is shearing (in some places). So I have three major flashpoints when it comes to the augmentation of my stash, and I’ve just fallen horribly at the first hurdle. Well, sort of.
I took two positions towards the sale at Knit One in Dolgellau, where I also help out one day a week. One was the hardline approach – I was not buying anything. Nothing. Not a single skein. (Adopt statue-like position, indicative of high moral stance, rather like something from Parliament Square.) The second was more realistic. Give in.
Guess which won out?
Four things got bought: some blue Louisa Harding chenille for a scarf, a couple of skeins of Noro for another one, and enough for two garments: some of Debbie Bliss’ Bella (cotton/silk/cashmere) for a sweater, and some more Louisa Harding, a cotton yarn called Ondine in two colourways, for a summer cardigan with contrast trim; my old one needs a decent burial. I think that’s allowed. Hm. (And let’s not look at the definition of ‘things’ there too closely – in actual fact, there were 33 separate skeins or balls, aka ‘things’.)
This raised the whole issue of my stash. I’ve got the Large Laundry Basket of Doom (think the Tardis, in that it holds a whole lot more than appears possible from the outside), a bag on the bed in the spare room, a couple of baskets in the main room downstairs and – oh, yes, a couple of carriers behind the sofa. Cough.
It was time to get it all out and do some serious assessment. Plus, and this was possibly a bit late given that I’d already been to Knit One, doing so might work as aversion therapy. I’ve tried it in the past, but I’ve not been systematic, and Ravelry allow you to record your stash. Since I am hardly ever separated from my iPad, I thought I might be able to use the stash pages to help me be sensible. Ok, Ok, I know, stable door, lock, horse, bolt.
What a fascinating exercise. I got everything out, triaged it and sorted some unsatisfactory stuff for a charity shop, then threw out some useless bits (saving these is an indirectly inherited tendency: after my step-grandma died, we found a brown paper bag labelled ‘string, pieces too short to be useful’). Then I photographed the lot and uploaded it to Ravelry. And it wasn’t half as bad as I thought, either, even if there were a lot of single skeins. Plus I found some things I’d almost forgotten about, possibly due to trauma:
This is angora, bought at Wonderwool Wales a million years ago. I was knitting in this when I mangled my hands and had to set it aside; when I recovered I couldn’t find or recreate the complicated pattern so had to frog it. I began it again, then put it aside for some reason. It’s a big shawl / stole / thing and won’t bear frogging again, so I must finish it, and I will.
The same year I also bought this:
It’s natural alpaca, and it’s 4 ply – I must have set it aside because I couldn’t manage small needles, and there isn’t enough to make anything other than a shawl or scarf if it’s doubled up (did I mention the number of single skeins/potential scarves?). It was lurking beneath the bags of odd bits, and I must use it – it’s unbelievably soft.
The whole exercise revealed that I’ve actually used quite a bit recently, and I’m left with one really good result: there is only enough wool (not cotton, or blends based on cotton) for a couple of garments.
When I started spinning, I knew that my stash would increase enormously because everyone, but everyone, warned me about it. I also knew that I wanted to spin wool, preferably local wool. As a result, I’ve evidently been unconsciously running down the quantity of commercially-spun wool in my stash, using it up. Definitely a result. And not an excuse… honest.
(And if you’re on Ravelry too and haven’t used the stash page on your profile, like me, then give it a go. Really, really worth it.)