My sister sent me this. She's a knitter, but it works for quilt fabric too.
Now really. Do you look at this squirrel and think,
"Good for you," or do you think, "Get help"? And why should stashing yarn
be any different? There's nothing like shopping for yarn to make me envy squirrels.
Ever see squirrels with their nuts? They race around gathering them,
stashing them here and there, getting ready for winter. If one squirrel
happens to stash a whole lot of nuts, I suspect the squirrel's loved ones
are all, "Way to go, Nutkin! Good job!"
I also suspect the other squirrels do not:
- Make snide comments about "Hoarders <http://www.aetv.com/hoarders/>."
- Say things like, "What is it with you and the nuts? Don't have enough
by now? Didn't you just get some nuts last week? Where are we going to
- Suggest that the squirrel sell/donate his/her nuts, because clearly
they'll never all be used.
- Imply that the squirrel spends too much time thinking about nuts.
- Roll their eyes and say, "They're just nuts. You really care that much
about nuts? This is a cry for help, Nutkin."
You get where I'm going with this, right? There's nothing like stashing
yarn to make your loved ones think you're nuts.
To the untrained, nonknitterly eye, a stash is nothing more than a
collection of yarn. But look a little closer, and you see a mosaic of the
knitter's soul and priorities. Examining my stash, for instance, you will
Bought with a project and a recipient in mind. Elaine's
birthday. Sue's Xmas gift. Amanda's graduation gift. Given how long it
takes to knit something, who wants to be scrambling at the last minute for
the right yarn? Not me.
The project is known, the recipient is not. I know that
sack of assorted sock yarn will be knitted up and distributed to assorted
loved ones, but I need to play with it first and see if those colors
scream, "I was meant for Mia!" "Jonathan doesn't know it yet, but he needs
me!" "I was born to be worn by Bill!"
For when you're between projects and/or need something
fast and simple. Naturally, it's in assorted colors, weights and fibers,
because one must be prepared for all sorts of knitting emergencies. You
really want to be stuck on a long-distance bus ride surrounded by
hyperactive toddlers with nothing but a cobweb lace shawl to knit? Neither
*Luxury yarn. *
When life gets hard, you need some special softness. This is
why God (or at least Carl and Eileen Koop) gave us Bijou Basin yak yarn
. Why Malabrigo gave us Silkpaca.
Why alpacas, yaks and silkworms were born, basically. A little of it provides a lot of
comfort, and no stash is complete without it. You don't know when you'll use it, but when you need it, you need it desperately.
Basic workhorse yarn that you know you can rely on.
Regia and Cascade Heritage
sock yarn. Wool
of the Andes
sweater yarn. Yarn you would marry if it were human. Pair it with a basic pattern and you've got something you can knit on autopilot, when you're so stressed
you can barely think straight, when everything's going to hell and you just
need to know that *something *in your life can turn out the way you
planned. It's therapy in fiber form.
You're not sure you're going to like it. You're not
sure what you'd make with it. So rather than invest in a lot of it, you get
a single skein, just to try. If you like it, you can commit to more. That
way you're not stuck with 1,200 yards of electric blue fun fur that you've
concluded won't make an attractive sweater after all. Experimental yarn
saves budgets and sanity. And who wouldn't want to invest in that?
The leftovers from projects past. Yes, you could ditch them,
but then what would happen the next time you needed trim for a pair of
mittens? Or became seized by the urge to knit a bunch of iPhone sweaters?
This is like having leftovers in the fridge or freezer, sans an expiration
date. Would you chuck the makings of a perfect pot of soup just because you
didn't need it right then? Of course not. And besides, remnants also are
excellent for teaching others to knit and thereby spreading the craft,
viruslike, through the population.
Honestly, when I look at my stash this way, the only wonder is that I don't
have *more* yarn, not less. And really, I should be shopping -- we should
*all* be shopping -- to fill in the gaps. Do we really have enough
emergency yarn? Aren't we running low on can't-miss yarn? Isn't it time for
a new experiment, just to keep our creative juices flowing? Wouldn't it be
nice to roll our eyes, cluck our tongues and condescendingly tell a
nonknitter who dares question The Stash, "Well, yes, I *did* buy yarn last
week, too. But that was *experimental* yarn, and this is *emergency* yarn.
True, our assorted loved ones might not get it. But trust me -- the
And I sent this back:
Well, of course! But quilters have another category: Uglies
manufacturers can't hide ugly yarn in the middle of pretty yarn. Fabric
manufacturers do, with precuts. You buy a jelly roll (usually 40 strips, 2
1/2" by Width of Fabric.) And the outside strip is lovely, but the inside
strips, that you can only see 1/4" of, are some of the most gawd-awful
prints you ever saw. Uglies also hide in grab-bags, in fabric swaps, in
that bag of fabric that belonged to your neighbor's late Aunt Ethel, that
she brought home just for you
.... And sometimes they just show up in your
stash, because apparently you were suffering from brain fever and bought
them off the dollar-a-yard table to rescue them. (DD1 inherited several yards
of The World's Ugliest Fabric that way. She uses it to fit patterns to her
sewing clientele, before she cuts into the expensive stuff for the real
They do have their uses. They work as Experimentals, when you look at the
directions for that new technique and say "That CAN'T be right!" so of course
you don't want to cut up GOOD fabric for it, right?
And Sister replies:
See, I knew you'd understand!
Unfortunately, the latest yarn fad (cakes)
DO often hide butt-ugly colors in the middle of pretty ones. You think you're buying dark blue / light blue / white and somewhere down there between the light blue and white there's 10 yards of purply-brown. (???)
Just ask Mom! She bought several cakes of "the hot new yarn" and found that. Boy, you should have heard her cuss! I didn't know Our Mother knew words like that! (She actually dropped an F-bomb the other day. I nearly drove off the road.)
Anyway, yeah. Knitters put the ugly stuff into a scrapghan and then give it away. Or chop it up to stuff toys, if they knit or crochet toys. (I don't.)