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S.T.A.S.H. (Stuff That Always Stays Hidden)

So, the stash. Beginning knitters, beware ... like beginning dragons (who start with a ring or bracelet here or there, maybe a doubloon, but eventually hollow out entire mountains so they can rest on 3,000 cubic tons of gold) you too will acquire more of a stash than you planned.

I am a relatively new knitter (I wish I could claim to be a relatively young knitter, but it doesn't work like that) in that I have been knitting for about 4 years, so I have accumulated 4 years worth of stash.

Nope, I don't mean the amount one would expect a knitter to accumulate over 4 years, I mean I've accumulated enough to keep me permanently knitting for the next 4 years without acquiring any extra.

You see, I finally catalogued my stash, both on (the best web site ever, I will go on at length in a later post) and in Google Sheets. Turns out I have about 180 balls/skeins of yarn in my stash, not counting the yarn for my current projects (about <>COUGH!<> 50) or sock yarn, 'cause that's just for socks and not worth keeping track of, so add another 10 balls for that, and then there's the bag of miscellaneous/various/unlabelled/leftover yarns (let's say 30, because as long as I'm lying about it I may as well make it a lowish number--you're not going to come over and count), giving me in round terms about 250 balls/skeins of yarn.

There are 52 weeks in a year, and I think I knit about 1 and a bit balls of yarn each week. Some projects (like an Orenburg* shawl) would take longer, and other projects (bulky hat!) would go faster, but on average, let's say I work through my yarn at that rate. Thus, mathwise, it's a good 4 years before I use up all my stash.

Here's a photo of how I wish my stash always looked. I have acquired a heap of Jamieson & Smith jumper weight 2ply for my Persian Dreams blanket, and lovingly lay them in a basket, and delicately placed it near my bichon, Cody. He's a sweetheart and likes cosying up with me while I knit, sip tea, and watch Australian competitive reality television (don't ask how I obtain it, lest the Australian secret police find their way to me).

In reality, though, most of the balls/skeins are stuffed into plastic bags (I try to keep the same yarn family together, so a small plastic bag with five different colours of worsted weight Owl by Quince & Company would live in the same bag), and then I shove that bag into a bigger bag (so various other worsted weight bags can happily live together in the same larger bag) and then the bags get shoved into plastic bins that may or may not contain other weights (like every bin except the worsted one, which is bulging unpleasantly at the seams--extremely unsettling when one knows it's constructed out of supposedly rigid plastic.

But this isn't so bad. I may have a S.T.A.S.H., but at least I don't have a S.A.B.L.E., an acronym that the ladies in my knitting group find hilarious. It stands for "Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy," and I am not there yet, as I certainly plan to have more than a good five years left (I'm only 52!)

If I continue at the current rate (acquiring a year's worth of extra knitting for each year I knit) then, given my life expectancy of approximately 90 (I'm fairly healthy, and the online "guess your life expectancy" quizzes have handed out pretty high scores) I can keep acquiring yarn for the next 18 years without quite hitting S.A.B.L.E. status.

So that's my plan. I will happily slow down on the yarn purchases once I'm 70.

In the mean time, I'm making a valiant effort to knit more. Normally my knitting time is 10:15pm to 11:45pm, but I've started to:

Knit during Meetings

Knit during regular, boring, non-Australian-competitive-reality-tv shows

Knit during visits (like at the hospital or hospice)

Knit during rehearsals (only when I'm not actively doing the choreography, it does get in the way)

With luck this increased knitting will reduce the stash enough that I can delay S.A.B.L.E. until age 75 or so. Wish me luck!


  • GGN Norwegian Ski Sweater (the first row of Chart A)

  • Persian Dreams Blanket (row 19 of the second hexagon)

  • Feather Duster Lace Shawl (I'm repeating, for the first time, the body section)

  • A Church Mouse sock (prior to heel)

  • World's Simplest Mittens (prior to thumb)

  • A Hitchhiker Scarf (I forgot about this--because I started it over a year ago. It's for when I'm needing mobile knitting and every other project is stuck at a complicated point).

  • Simply Ribbed Scarf (I also forgot about this--again, because it's ancient and intended for emergency mobile knitting)

  • Random Hat (I also forgot about this, because it's the project that's currently my emergency mobile knitting. I take leftover yarn and knit a hat. It's exciting to be capable enough to just knit hats without patterns, and it really only just happened this month) Don't look for the pattern, "Random Hat" is just what I call it and there is no matching Ravelry pattern or otherwise.

*Orenburg Shawl = a particularly impressive style of lace knitting from the Orenburg region of Russia, developed about 250 years ago, knitting so fine that it can apparently be drawn through a wedding ring. The Feather Duster Lace Shawl that I'm sloooooooooowly working on is similar in its lightness and multiplicity of yarnover holes.

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