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Stash as unlimited possibilities

June 22, 2012

Stash.The debate that comes up when describing this particular knitting issue has been hashed and rehashed. I have read sides in favor of stashing, their reasons as varied as the knitters themselves. Some stash with a particular project in mind and buy a little extra just to be sure. Others will buy yarn to add to the stash as if the world will suddenly run out. Some use stash a source of inspiration, or as a type of scrap-book with each skein containing a memory of a trip or big life event. There are knitters who may buy only enough for one project, but before they get to there they have changed their mind or have forgotten. Some knitters are proud of the size of their stash (whether it is large or small,) others who keep it hidden as if it were a terrible secret only to be whispered about in covert code from the back of the room.

I know there are some knitters out there that don’t have a stash. For some of them the idea of keeping extra yarn around that does not have a particular project in mind is seen as wasteful. These knitters will find the pattern they love and then go out and purchase the yarn (or a good substitute) for the particular project and cast on. Though what they do with any extra is still puzzling me. There are knitters who are unable to afford to keep a stash up it may be because of hard times, when the yarn budget is cut, or they no real room to store it in large quantities.

There are disagreements on what constitutes stash, and if you were to ask fifty knitters, you would likely get pretty much fifty different answers. I know of some knitters who don’t consider yarn with specific projects in mind to be stash, others who see the little bits of scrap yarn from left over projects as proof of stash. There are knitters who claim that sock yarn doesn’t count (due in part to its small size)  and knitters who only have stashes of sock (fingering weight) yarn.

The variety of explanations of the definition of stash mean that there is no right answer. I tend to fall into the first category. I do have a stash, I don’t think there is too much, and only rarely feel like there is too little. There is yarn there I bought with no project in mind (or I have gotten by now) and skeins that are destined for very specific purpose. When it comes to stash I find myself sometimes struggling. I may buy yarn with a specific pattern in mind and once I am home, I hold off on making the pattern (hence the reason I sometimes forget,) waiting for…I don’t honestly know. I find myself hesitating to use the skein I picked up (even if I have twelve other kinds in similar colors) even though I know I could theoretically get more.

I still have to remind myself that the stash is meant to be used, it is a tool of my craft. I have gotten over some of my hesitations but it’s still there. I think sometimes it’s based on fear. The fear of lost potential. When yarn is sitting there in a skein (or hank or ball) it has the chance to be almost anything. The possibilities are limitless until I cast on and determine the course of its future.

I have come to realize its the same way I feel about writing (and is most likely the cause of my “writers block”) when I look at a blank page, or an empty word document, there is potential. When the story is forming in my head there is potential. As soon as I commit the words to paper (or pixels) I have set the course, with each word building up, the future is being set, there becomes a definable path, a sense of finite order. I know that until the book is published (or at least read by someone other than me) I can change the story, but it isn’t the same. The same limitless possibilities aren’t as easily seen. Committing those key strokes changes the story, whether that particular part sticks in my mind or not when it’s erased, does affect the story. I have directed the course for the future. This is also probably why I tend to never get farther than a few thousand words when writing. I am constantly going back and trying to fix the story, trying to expand the possibilities. Recapture the unknown.

In the end, I do pick the yarn and cast on. I do start writing the story. I set the course, and move forward.

From → Knitting, NaNoWriMo

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