My Stash

Today at lunch, Cassandra and I were talking about stash - that pile of yarn or fabric or beads or [name your craft item] that doesn't have any projects associated with it. Stash can really be a burden.

Ooo! Shiny!
I think that most crafters are like me. When you first start a new hobby, you're enamored of the supplies and there's an undeniable siren song that happens every time you walk into the store. The aisle containing your current obsession calls your name - "come! just look at all the beautiful colors and textures! you don't have to BUY anything...."  But, of course you DO buy something because, really, you might never be able to find that stunning wedgewood blue mohair ever again.

The most immediate problem with this behavior is that you quickly start chewing up storage space with stuff that doesn't have a purpose. The next problem is that you've just burdened yourself with having to find a project that fits your supplies. This is the exact definition of putting the cart before the horse.

Not my actual stash
I have three distinct stashes - yarn, fabric, and beads. I haven't actually made any jewelry in about eighteen months but I can't bring myself to sell or gift any of my beads. I love them all like little, round, semi-precious children. Most of the fabrics I bought had intention behind them at some point but that intention has been long forgotten, and now I'm not even sure I like the fabric anymore. My yarn stash grew, primarily, from gifts. In the beginning, I bought yarn as the spirit moved me but I quickly learned about the dangers of doing so.

Yarn is really project specific - more so than fabric or beads, in my opinion. For any given project you need the right weight, style, and yardage of yarn and, if you're picky like me, you also need the "right" color. It might be easier to work through stash if I wrote my own patterns but...

85% of my yarn stash
My resolution for 2010 was that I wouldn't buy any yarn that didn't have an associated project. I also made a pact to visit my stash before I went out and bought any new yarn, just to ensure that I didn't have something suitable in my possession already. This was a really successful exercise and, truthfully, I don't have a bad stash anymore. I still have more than I'm comfortable with but at least it only takes up one "organizer" in my craft room. I've met people who have entire ROOMS filled with stash. I have nightmares about these people going into their stash rooms and being consumed by their yarn.

The lack of storage space in my house requires me to be parsimonious with my stashes. As I mentioned in a previous post, I've turned one room into a craft room so I've recently been forced to assess my stash and figure out how best to store it in the new space. This exercise has been a good one in that I'm much more aware of what I currently have on hand and it's spurred some really creative ideas about what to do with all of it. I'm talking yarn and fabric here...

The beads remain untouched. They sure are pretty to look at though.

- Alex

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