Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Evolution of a Yarn Collector

Thoughts on a Stash.

I’m deliberately making this an image-free post so you will think about your own collection rather than mine, and whether any of this resonates, and so you can answer my question at the end.

One thing I've learned in the exhaustive tour of my stash is that I still like most of what's in there. It’s hard for me to get rid of yarn that I haven’t had time to knit, but that I still like. I do have plans to de-stash five big bags, at least, but the rest either has a purpose or will. Clearly I am able to get interested in knitting things much faster than I can actually knit, but that's a whole 'nother blog post. Two more things occurred to me after the Great Stash Exposition of 2007: the stash is consistent; and the stash has evolved.

Consistently, I am drawn to rich colors, jewel tones, woodland greens, sky colors, blacks, grays, and natural wools. The light colors I buy tend to be light shades of a complex color rather than a bland pastel. I'm fascinated with Sundara's overdyed somewhat-solid yarns, and have been buying quite a few hand-dyed yarns, both from indie’s and the big names, to see how different colorways are put together with a view to dyeing my own. Spinning will add even more to the exploration of how color and fiber can be manipulated on the way to useable yarn (and heaven help me it will add fiber to the stash).

Setting aside the antique stash, the yarns I have bought in the past three or four years have followed right along with the popular knitting craze evolving from novelty yarns (including, I admit it, some fun fur scarves for Xmas a few years back, but it was Classic Elite Ibis, not like, actual Fun Fur) and self-striping sock yarns, to my current focus on alpaca, cashmere, qiviut and unusual wools. I’ve gone from Zodiac to (Blue Sky) Alpaca.

Some of my big yarn errors, and most of the de-stash, will be perfect yarns for someone else. I’ve learned about fibers and yarns that I love knitting, and others that because of my unique hand/arm issues I just can not enjoy and should not knit no matter how much I like or appreciate the yarn.

I sent some Patons Cotton Top off to someone who was thrilled to get it, but it was torture for me to swatch it. I’ve already had comments on not de-stashing my Kureyon, and yes I did try to knit a Lizard Ridge square, and it hurt my arm. Not worth it. Someday, the wavy short-rows, maybe. As a scarf or wrap, in some soft Diakeito, or handspun, I could do that. The huge cone of cotton/wool/microfiber/silk will make some weaver very happy. These days, I won’t even look at ribbon yarn.

So, I’m still a sucker for sock yarn, but I’m trying to be more thoughtful in my yarn purchases, and more ruthless in my de-stash. Good news came in my acceptance to the de-stash blog. Now I can get some items ready and posted for sale and send them off to good homes.

So, tell me about your stash, and your stash lessons learned.