While other people have to accept the loss of valuable possessions followed by months of homelessness, the worst I have to deal with is a fusty cellar and an untidy house. And since my house is always untidy, this is probably the best chance it's ever had of becoming presentable. Having essentially resigned my possessions to the water when I locked the door a week ago, I'm feeling sufficiently detached from my clutter to begin purging it; and that feeling, plus the Ravelry invite (one of the functions of Ravelry is the option to catalogue your yarn purchases), makes this the perfect time to evaluate my stash.
I never planned to be a stasher, and yet somehow I here I am, with a heaving full wool box. Perhaps the explanation for this lies in the fact that, even though all the yarn I have has been bought with something in mind, that something tends to be vague speculation unrelated to the knitting time and talents I have at my disposal. I know that for lots of knitters, the stash is a joyous thing to be fondled and wondered at, a playground for creativity and a resource for ingenuity. My stash makes me feel a bit sad, for the most part. The expensive unused yarn makes me feel profligate, and the cheap unused yarn makes me feel shabby.
The things which cause me the most grief are the things I've had the longest (in my brief knitting career, that means "more than12 months"). How about this GGH novelty yarn? Isn't it just too much? Too many colours, too many bobbles - and then, just to permanently demolish any idea of restraint, shot through with metallic thread. Actually, I made a small tube-style handbag from it with reasonable success, but thanks to my terrific naivety about calculating yarn amounts, I ended up with about three times as much as I needed.
And then there's this Noro Aurora. All nine balls of this Noro. I've swatched this over and over, and cast on for several things, but I think the sad truth is that I don't like self striping yarn. I certainly didn't like this (see right), a tank-top for my boyfriend in Noro Blossom which ended up as a hideous, pom-pom studded, unfroggable (thanks to the aforementioned pom-poms) monstrosity. However much it appeals to me in the skein, I have to concede that me and Noro are never going to hit it off, in garment form anyway: while I appreciate that there's a certain zen in just "letting Noro be Noro" and allowing the yarn to fall into whatever pattern it chooses, in practice I find it pretty boring to have all the design choices snatched from me by a showy colourway.
I have rather a lot of Debbie Bliss Maya too. This discontinued yarn is a kettle dyed, handspun, thick-and-thin single, and I'm still very taken with the colour. Unfortunately, I bought it to make this shrug which was intended to be a breast-feeding cover-up. Now, I already knew a fair bit about babies when I started knitting, so only my ignorance about fibre can explain the fact that I thought it was a good idea to bring together a squirmy, spitty creature like a baby, and a pilly, feltable yarn like this. I thought better of it and never finished it. The ladder just visible in the centre of the picture is the last remains of a YO I made (and fixed, several rounds later) while in the midst of labour pangs, and is the reason why I will probably always keep the sleeve section. The rest of the hanks will have to wait until I get the itch for a felting project.
The truth is, my lifestyle and my taste mean that the best yarns for me are one-coloured and machine-washable, dk or 4-ply. Not the sort of yarn to elicit cries of "scrumptious!" from the world wide knitternet, but the sort of yarn that I can turn into items I will wear, and wash, and wear again. And with that in mind, my current urge to declutter hasn't stopped me from acquiring more Rowan Wool Cotton in - ooh! - ecru and dark brown. I wonder what those colours could possible become? (Clue: I just bought these shoes as a thank-you to my poor feet for carrying me through the filthy floodwater.)
If you wish to make a financial donation to those who have come off worse in the floods than I have, this page from the BBC website gives information on making donations.