What is a stash?

My dictionary defines a stash as “a secret store of something,” and when it comes to yarn, that’s pretty accurate.  Knitters hoard.  They buy yarn they have no business buying, then they bring it home and put it in a place where no one will see it.  They have paper bags stuffed with yarn, closets stuffed with yarn, trunks stuffed with yarn.  Me, I have bins in my basement, neatly stacked and out of my husband’s keen sight.  Other yarn I store in the open in huge (two gallon) glass jars.  Since these are for decoration, no one questions them.  I stuff in another skein, then another until the lids won’t close.

How do knitters get to this state?  We fall in love with a skein of yarn, though we already have multiple projects on needles at home.  We buy more yarn, even when we know there’s no way in hell we’ll ever live long enough to go through the yarn we already have, much less use this new skein.  But we can’t live without it.  Sometimes it’s the color that does it.  Sometimes it’s the content.  Blend a little cashmere with fine merino wool, and I’m a goner.

But.  There are times.  When we do use yarn from our stash.

I had such a time this week when the new Knitters’ Review arrived.  This is a great little online newsletter, by the way, and it’s free, if any of you knitters want to subscribe.  In the 1/5 issue, Clara Parkes, its creator and a renowned knitter, told of finding herself over the holidays in the biting winds of downtown Portland (ME) without a hat.  To save others from the same fate, she went home and designed a quick-knit hat and is offering the pattern free on her site until 1/15.

Stash-buster!  I immediately dragged out the mesh cube hidden behind the ficus in my office.  This cube holds my bulky yarns, several of which were the right weight for the pattern.  Picking one, I wound it and began to knit.  Clara calls it The Shoemaker’s Hat, and it’s worked from the crown down.  Here’s what mine looks like right now:

I’ll post another picture when it’s done.  And here, by the way, is the Drawstring Cowl/Hat I was dreaming about in my 12/21 blog.  I knit it over the holidays and have worn it a lot. It was a quick and easy knit, if you’re into sock yarn and lace, and it’s light but warm, totally practical.  A good project for the new year, for sure.



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  1. Kathryn in Montreal on January 9, 2012 at 11:32 am

    I can totally relate… I am a quilter and we have stashes of fabric. I have a cedar trunk and a full closet of fabric. All great projects but I have to hold myself back from buyig more.

    And I started knitting socks over Christmas. I’ve completed one pair, almost done the 2nd pair. And I have wool for two more pairs… and I’m going to my wool shop again this week to check out more. I’m hooked on socks! Afterall, I have to knit enough socks to have wool left over for that scrap sock wool blanket you blogged about last fall….

  2. Pat Capozzoli on January 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    I have boxes of yarn ,all colors and ,and types O never know what I am going to make so I am prepared all the time,I crochet and knit,and I also have many books to read and of couse many of them are Barbara’s.So when I’m not knitting I read.

  3. Pam Lord on January 9, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Love seeing pictures of your projects, Barbara. I must admit, although I crochet, I am envious of people who can knit. Perhaps I’ll post a picture one of my afghans on my site for all to enjoy. Stay warm!

  4. Angela Moore on January 13, 2012 at 2:21 am

    Can I ever relate to what you are saying. I don’t knit, I just can’t get the hang of it, but I crochet, and my stash is overwhelming. I can’t imagine how long it will take to use up all that I already have. By the way, the cowl is really nice looking. I love the color yarn you used.

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