Monday, November 3, 2014

The value of a stash

My yarn arrived today. There was much more in the box than the supplies for the mystery knit-a-long. I also ordered what I need to create several Christmas gifts. I made a deal with myself that I had to start one of those gifts before I can cast on for the Stephen West shawl. So I immediately pulled out the four colours for one of my secret projects. One of the colours looked so wrong that I had to double check to confirm that my order had been filled properly. It was. It turned out that I was subject to the common phenomenon that a large skein looks very very different than a small sample on a card.

I hummed and hawed for a bit and then I went upstairs and rooted in my yarn collection. I came up with a different but related colour in the same yarn. When placed with my other choices the new yarn was just right. I have already incorporated it into the project and am very happy with the results.

New choice on top
But this experience got me thinking about the term 'stash'. All hobbyists need supplies. Woodworkers have drawers or bins of hardware and stacks of exotic wood, people who tie fishing flies own a huge selection of beads and feathers and colored thread, model airplane builders have bits of wood and plastic and electronics .... Most of the items in those workshops were acquired and stored without a specific project in mind. They are kept just in case they are needed.

People who work in fibre (mostly women) also maintain large collections of fabric and yarn and thread. Yet those collections are often disparagingly referred to as 'stash'. People who visit are not impressed by the forethought required to create the collections, but instead wonder if all of the supplies can be used before death intervenes. 

Is it a gender difference or a function of fibre-related activities being seen as a domestic activity rather than a 'proper' hobby?

1 comment:

  1. I have always disliked the term and refused to use it in defining my supplies and tools. I do however refer to my Larabars and my box of Snapea Crisps as my stash..I expect those will be consumed in a timely manner, but my art and fibre materials may never be. And that makes perfect sense to me.