Saturday, January 13, 2007

So many!

A couple of days ago I decided I had to crochet a scarf or a wrap or an afghan or something, out of as many different textures of yarn as possible. So of course this meant I had to rummage around in my stash pulling out appropriate yarns. My stash lives in one very full closet, except for fleeces, which are in the garage, and "rummaging around" really means "pulling out all the boxes."

As long as I was doing that, I decided to Make a List. (Hey, it's January..) I wish I had guessed ahead of time how many boxes were in the closet, but I didn't. My husband, who has only limited familiarity with the closet but who has seen me barricaded behind the stacks of boxes I've pulled out, guessed 27.

There are 60.

My three year old counts "one, two, three, so many." And I get it now. Once you get to a certain point, you just can't wrap your brain around more. It's just "so many."

How could I have 60 boxes of yarn & fiber? I hardly even buy any -- well, okay, the giant box with no label is from Henry's Attic last year, and there was that box of Fisherman's from when I was making soakers ..... but still. 60.

It broke down to 32 boxes of knitting yarn, 4 boxes of weaving yarn (the boundaries between these two are a little fuzzy), 10 boxes of spinning fiber (which is of course intended to become yarn for knitting or weaving), 3 boxes of needlepoint yarn, and one Other (lace fragments & ribbons). The closet also holds my knitting machine, my combs, occasionally my wheel, Christmas presents (not now), rainy day surprises for the kids (did I mention there's a lock on this closet?) and one box of fabric scraps. But mostly it's wool & yarn.

It's a little sobering. All of that is wonderful stuff -- I've weeded out the not-so-wonderful stuff over the years. Sometimes I know why things are still in the stash. Often I bought a wonderful yarn at a great price, only to discover that there wasn't quite enough to make a sweater for myself. So I might hang onto those 12 skeins of Rowan silk & wool a little longer, until Charlotte is old enough for a really special sweater. But other yarns are just there because I changed my mind about what I was going to do with them & have never gotten back to them.

Sometimes it's hard to use stash yarn. I had ideas for those yarns, and my new projects aren't the same ideas. And while I'm not knitting up those old ideas, if I use the yarn I feel like I'm giving up on the idea. If I use the cotton/wool blend for a casual cardigan, does that mean I'll never knit the Celtic knotwork one I imagined (in detail) about 10 years ago?

I guess the real question is, if I don't use the cotton/wool blend for that casual cardigan, is there a hope in hell that it will ever become the Celtic knotwork sweater?

I'm not making any huge promises to stick to yarns already in the stash. But I will definitely shop there first. And it's hard to imagine what I'd need to make that couldn't be made out of something that's already on hand.

And if it isn't on hand, there's always those 10 boxes of fiber. (Three of them are angora. I honestly hadn't remembered how much of it I had on hand. Maybe I could spin the yarn for my own Bohus sweater. Hmm.)

Now I wonder if I should inventory the fleeces in garage. Do I want to know? Can I afford not to know?

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