January 6   An unexpected lesson

Posted by


Over the weekend I was gifted the task to build Alex’s yarn stash. Apparently this is a very real problem for some people – no stash – and it turns out, this is in fact my dream job. I’m seriously thinking of starting a freelance business for it. Well, not that seriously. Anyway, Alex is bad at yarn stashing. She is also bad at buying books at a faster rate than she can read – but you know that if you listen to Galactic Suburbia. I was given a budget and free range by basically the best husband in the entire world. Saturday night, I poured over online yarn stores, browsed through yarn company catalogues, debriefed with Deb, discussed the limiting factors of postage and conversion fees with Chris. And basically had a mini freak out.

My mini freak out basically was – look how big *my* stash is, look how much money I must have invested in it over the last ten years, *what* am I going to be get for Alex? But beyond that, it finally dawned on my that a yarn stash (any stash) requires time, curating and investment. If you only buy craft supplies for the project at hand, you’re subject to the price of the product on the day you need it. When you curate a stash (ok, fine, collection) you take the opportunity to buy things when they are on sale, or in bulk, or when there is free postage. You grab limited editions and one of a kind supplies that may never be available again (I have a thing for indie hand dyed sock yarn, you might have noticed). And if you decide on a whim on a rainy Sunday that you want to take part in a KnitALong that’s starting that day or the next, you can stash dive and find something that will work – or you can play around with various choices, even cast on and unpick, before committing to your colour or yarn weight choice. And truthfully, I’m mostly a spontaneous crafter.

These thoughts made me second guess my 2015 Resolutions list – why was I aiming to Reduce This Stash then as though it was a bad thing to have? And what would happen when I did start working through the stash and ran out of things – like, mostly recently, anything neutral grey? Would buying yarn unattached to a specific project be bad? Be undoing the goal? Was I saying I’d never buy yarn without an already specified purpose? What was my intended outcome?

And, in a similar, but not immediately obvious, story, yesterday I procrastinating an hour and half by organising my tea stash. As you do. I went looking for a different tea for my tea pic of the day and discovered I had a bunch of really interesting and different teas that I’d completely forgotten about and therefore, was not drinking. Cue impromtu tea organisation which even involved David Allen style labelling, and decluttering of Other Alisa’s tea stash (She drinks chai. I can’t stand it. She bought like 5 different kinds). Now I can see what I have and am excited to try a few of these too:


This is my tea chest wedding gift from Helen and Stewart (I left her really cute post it note on it). All kinds of interesting teas had been neatly filed away by Past!Me.

I realised whilst labelling and decluttering my teas that I’m actually a tea drinker. Or, that I am a tea drinker  (again) *now* after spending the last month or so getting back into the habit of drinking tea everyday (and cutting back on instant coffee). At one point in the tidying, I accidentally upended one canister of loose leaf tea and spilled it on the floor (my hands still not fully recovered post pregnancy *glares at the liars*) and C said, “Well that’s one way to use up the tea stash faster”, and that comment made me a bit annoyed. I realised I didn’t want to “use up the stash” ie to get rid of it so we didn’t have it anymore. I realised that I didn’t want to then feel bad about buying more tea when I empty out of some of those drawers. I didn’t want the idea of “stash” to constantly have a negative implication; I wanted to continue being a tea drinker with a nice range of teas in the cupboard (or in pretty canisters across my kitchen bench *pokes out tongue*).

Both these incidents reminded me of a thought I’d started in a comment on Ben’s blog last week about how New Years Resolutions shouldn’t feel, or be about, a goal that only when you reach it you will be happy. That if you want them to stick, they should be about the journey and that the taking of this journey is what will make you happy. And less focus on the destination. You know, habit changes, where the goal/destination redirects the journey but otherwise is more or less irrelevant by the time you get there. The resolution should be about helping get you to that change in lifestyle, not about some thing that you can only tick off at the end of the year.

But where does this leave me????

“Reducing my tea stash” was about drinking a cup of tea every day to get me back into enjoying tea drinking again. Taking a photo every day of the cup was to make that goal accountable, and it’s helped me learn a bit about taking photos.

“Reducing my yarn stash/WIPs” was about kickstarting me back into loving knitting again, finishing off stale projects so I had things to enjoy from what I’d spent my time working on made. And to reduce guilt about buying more yarn – if the stash turns over (even on a 5 year turnaround), then I’m a knitter and have supplies. If it just continues to grow over time (as it has done in the last year to 3), then I have a yarn shopping addiction problem. But at the same time, I should not feel like I’m eyeing off a mountain of already assigned future time and project debt aka burden. My yarn stash is not a To Do List I am a behind on.

So much food for thought. I’m going to look at reworking/redefining/repositioning my 2015 list.

Thanks James for the new perspective!

Note: For those wondering BUT WHAT ABOUT ALEX’S STASH? On the Sunday, I got an email about a closeout yarn sale at a discount supplier and I managed to get her a pretty good start on a few of her colours and some neutrals in fingering weight. I also managed to save her some postage by getting myself some of that neutral greys I was needing (I got it on sale for me, and also reduced postage as I shared it with her stash) – total WIN WIN and the trigger for the above blog post. Now the Aussie dollar is at an all time low so I am going to need to be smart and stealthy with how I spend the rest. And whether I post it to her one skein at a time (fun, but obviously $$) or give it to her as one big bulk stash (would her brain explode?).

Today’s drink: Black tea (pic here using a Noir filter because pretending you are a private detective in a noir novel is more fun that first Monday back at work at your regular day job)

Today’s total word count: 3535

Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 22 396

Progress on: Wrote 2000 word piece for the Galactic Suburbia Papyrus fanzine, signed off on final edits for Years Best YA 2013 proofs, quote sorted for Garden Project, recast on Catkin shawl, knit the first clue on Edith’s Secret, cast on for Quicksilver shawl.




Tags: , , , ,

Add a Facebook Comment


  • By Alex on 7 January 2015 at 7:45 am

    I love this post too. Obviously. I love that you got so much enjoyment out of it and that it was so useful to helping your thinking about stash etc – and I definitely agree with your thoughts around tea, and stashing. I think “reducing tea stash” is definitely better/more usefully translated to “enjoying all of my tea”.

    I don’t have quite as much of a problem with buying books as I do with yarn, and the reason is exactly the thing about projects: I can easily imagine wanting to read that book AT SOME TIME. Yarn, though… will I actually find a project for that? What will I use it for? How do I use it? and then, as recently, hey here’s a project buuuut I don’t have the yarn right here, right now.

    I am incredibly excited about receiving the yarn you’re curating (which is TOTALLY the right word here and makes this project seem EVEN MORE AWESOME), yes receiving all of it at once would make my head explode but yanno, feel free to do whatever you think will be the best ending for this particular episode :D

  • By AlisaK on 7 January 2015 at 9:49 pm

    So it’s the needing to imagine what you will definitely use it for rather than having faith there will be a time when you will need something and your colour choices will fit? Maybe that’s just length of time to the craft?

    I’m totally curating for you but have to wait a bit and see what the dollar does.


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment