Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Stash and Burn

I'm way behind the times here, but I am finally getting back into the world of knitting podcasts. I found Cast On with Brenda Dayne in 2006 thanks to a blog post from Amy Singer at I spent worktime, bus rides and nights at the theater catching up on old episodes. I got caught up a month or two before Heather was born and I think I managed to stay current while I was on maternity leave. But I got behind again, partially because the podcasts weren't posted as regularly but mostly because I just wasn't able to multi-task as well with an infant and a full time job.

Even though I am still not caught up in all aspects of my life (ha), the fact that Heather has a regular 8pm bedtime and a more predictable schedule makes it easier for me to carve out time for myself and get back into some of my old routines. I don't know that things have really changed that much, but they have changed enough.

So I got caught up with Cast On again, just in time for Brenda to decide that she would only be posting episodes once a month. So I went searching for new knitting podcasts to listen to. The first few I tried didn't really click with me, so I posted on the Brenda Dayne fan forum on ravelry looking for suggestions. I found quite a few good ones and also discovered some podcasts put out by the American Theater Wing.

Now there are close to 200 podcasts on my iPod waiting for their turn to be heard. :-)

I'm currently about halfway through the "Stash and Burn" podcasts with Nicole and Jenny. I find them to be very fun to listen to and an interesting perspective on stash. I understand where they are coming from and their feelings of being overwhelmed by their stash, but I don't find that I feel the same way. I don't want to choose projects because they'll use up more stash...or put fringe on a project to use more yarn...or make hats to use up oddballs. I want all of the yarn in my stash to become the best projects that I can make at the time and to be something that I really want to have or to make or to give to someone. Sure, I could spend lots of time making washrags with my cotton...but I don't really need any of those right now and personally they aren't a present I like giving (unless we're talking about a cute baby washcloth).

So I wondered if my state of mind was different because of how I view my stash or if I just had less yarn than Nicole and Jenny. I'm not sure where they are now, but when they started, Jenny had more than 60,000 yards and Nicole had about 38,000 yards. I couldn't resist on Monday night and I did a quick count, too. I only counted full skeins and this doesn't include the couple of cones I have since I don't know exactly how much is on them (although it is probably 1,000-2,000 yards on each of the 4 cones). My quick and dirty total was 42,150 yards.

I don't feel the need to say anything drastic, like I can't buy any more yarn, or make rules about what I can or can't buy. I will say that the next time I want to make something for me or for Heather (when Ivy and the patchwork tortoise are done, at least in theory), I will go into the stash. Same for gift bibs, burp cloths and baby wash cloths. But for baby sweaters and other gifts, I generally know what I want and it usually isn't in the stash already.

It probably also helps that the stash is located in our dressing room right now instead of my office. So I see it multiple times a day. It doesn't make me feel guilty or overwhelmed. Mostly it makes me delighted about my future knitting options and excited to try the new yarns that have been waiting patiently for me.

Sorry for the long, rambling post that is more like a diary entry than an interesting blog post. It's just something that Nicole and Jenny have me thinking about and I wanted to state where I stand. :-)


Anna said...

I think that makes a lot of sense, and it's why I left myself that loophole in my "rules" about being able to buy for gifts. I started doing some "secret knitting" from stash and realized I didn't like what I was doing, and what would be the point of knitting something that didn't feel right to me? So I bought more and didn't feel bad about it.

If it comes down to it, and I just don't want to use that yarn, I'll probably donate it to Three Rivers Crochet, and consider it a lesson learned about what I want to knit with.

Michelle said...

I know I don't have near the stash that many experienced knitters have, but I don't think I'll ever really feel bad about it. Right now I tend to buy for specific projects vs. buying for the sake of yarn prettiness, but who knows what the future will bring:)

Amanda said...

Reading about your 42,000 yards of stash makes me feel overwhelmed. If it is in my house I feel like I need to knit it now! If only I could find the time again!

Chris Rovente said...

My name is Chris, I'm from the American Theatre Wing and writing an article about user response of our website, podcasts, and other online materials. I was hoping I could get you to participate in this article, since I came upon your blog mention of our Downstage Center & Working in the Theatre podcasts...

If you would like to participate please e-mail me at: