One Stash, Two Stash, Lace Weight, Sock.

The other day I made a rather flippant comment on Twitter that generated quite an interesting debate. The question I asked was

Is it wrong i have 2 stashes?

First of all, I feel this needs a little qualification. I have a stash for work and a stash for my own personal knitting. There is occasional crossover but as a general rule, my more expensive yarn is in my stash and the more experimental “fibre” (some of it is paper) lives in my work stash. If I’m designing a sock, I do tend to use personal stash, if I’m designing a shawl or stole, I often buy something specific. Samples are knitted out of the work yarns and commissions tend to supply the yarn themselves.

Of course this question was posed to knitters who may have been biased. As I pointed out “I suspect no knitter will say ‘Yes. You will burn for such decadence'”, but it did raise a debate of what constitutes “stash”. For me the answer is simple. All the yarn that I possess is stash. This is why I have 2. It’s a practical thing based on boring tax stuff and because my work stash tends to use harder wearing *acrylic* yarns. My personal stash is a glorious mixture of sock, lace, chunky and cobweb weight yarn. They are separated into boxes so similar weights live together but to me it’s all one collection of yarny yuminess.

As other people commented on what “stash” is to them, the different interpretations were interesting. Some subdivided and organised their collection as I do but each subdivision was a stash. Even the way people did this separation intrigued me. Whether it was by weight, colour or even dyed and undyed, people found different ways of organising their yarn.

Then there was the person who had small piles of yarn “all over the place”. Each one of these was counted as a stash. I had a glorious image in my head of a knitter desperately wandering around a house with the small piles of yarn acting as a sort of fix from one room to the next. Like leaving chocolates lying around in case a passing diabetic needs emergency sugar to prevent themselves slipping into a hypoglycaemic coma.

Some people had one stash,  others had multiples. Maybe a better question would be –

What constitutes a stash?

There are no wrong answers here but I find the answers fascinating. Do we as knitters break up our stash when we fear approaching SABLE?* Do we dot it around our homes so there is always that sense of (re)discovery? Do we feel we have a better control over our yarn if we organise it? The curious thing to note here is at no time did anyone ever question if they would ever actually knit all their stash. Lets be honest., that’s not what a yarn collection is really about is it? Whatever the definition of stash is to you, it’s lovely just to sit with it. Or roll around in it. Like a yarny Smaug.


*SABLE = Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. A term coined by the wonderful Stephanie Pearl-McPhee for the stash that is so large that even if you were to only knit for the rest of your life, you would not use all the yarn within it.

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