All who create with fiber have a stash, a collection of fiber, carefully hoarded and nurtured over the years. I have had a sewing stash since high school. Who hasn't gone into their favorite fabric store and just had-to-have that print, that suiting, that slinky jersey. And the accompanying thread, seam tape, interfacing, and zippers (Why do I have so many zippers?). My other stash was small, mostly because I didn't have the extra funds and because I usually bought with a specific project in mind. So, if I were planning an afghan, I selected the pattern and yarn, bought what was needed, and started hooking. I'd be left with a small amount of yarn, which I wound up and put in a box. I bought most of my cross stitch as "kits" and just threw away the little bits of leftover thread. All was well.
But somewhere between motherhood and middle age, things got a bit out of hand. One Christmas years ago, I made afghans for everyone in my extended family and all my co-workers while watching TheJAG and assorted British mysteries (Harm and Poirot entertained me for hours). I was also becoming known for creating lovely baby blankets. I swear, some women in my department at work got pregnant so they could get a Karen Blanket. I think this is when I started buying yarn without a project in mind. (For those without a stash, this is the number one warning sign--Beware!).
I even opened an Etsy shop and started selling online.
Early in the 21st Century (heck, I like typing that!), I was getting 40% off coupons via email from Hobby Lobby every week, so I would go and buy yarn or tools. Sadly, the marketing mavens at Hobby Lobby know how to suck you in with gorgeous displays and with the mark-down shelf positioned cleverly next to the yarn. (Hmmm. Might as well look through and see if there's anything useful).
Again, a danger point I didn't see. Thus, all the cross stitch and crewel kits.
Finally, I quit smoking in December 2007 and needed something to occupy my hands, so knitting became a compulsion-but I haven't smoked since! I think I reasoned that the money I did NOT spend on cigarettes was to be rightfully spent on stash!
Recently, I've made several forays into the sewing room, sorting and grouping, and its terrifying. I have about four cubic yards of yarn (boy that sounds better than 36 cubic feet!), two dresser drawers of sock yarn, scores of needles, hooks and scissors, numerous 'project' bags, and a library of leaflets, magazines, books and tomes. When Hancock Fabric closed down in College Station, I bought a Vogue pattern cabinet and the top drawer is full of sewing patterns, the middle two with cross stitch and embroidery, and, of course, yarn in the bottom. I made a vow last year to NOT but any more stash until I had worked some of it off or given it and away and I've done fairly well. I have finished two cross stitch beauties ( gave one to my friend Kristi, keeping the other for me) and am started on a third. However, its baby time for a couple of expectant moms and I need to make two blankets and I don't have much baby yarn in the stash.
The big question: Do I work with what I have, or buy 'new' yarn for the babies? (After all, it's for the children....)