Friday, March 29, 2013

Stash Guilt. Why do we do it?

Last week on our Facebook page, Heather shared a post from Do Ewe Knit? it was one of those cute, little, old timey e-cards:





Being the contemplative type, the ensuing comments, and my own first hand observations as YEE (Yarn Enabler Extraordinaire) for the past 3 and half years in our brick and mortar shop, has got me pondering "Stash Guilt."  Why do we feel guilty about having a stash?  What's wrong with having stash?!

Perhaps it all starts with the word stash.  The word stash as a verb means: to put by or away as for safekeeping or future use... Nothing wrong with that, it's just planning for the future which most people find desirable.  But the second part of the definition: usually in a secret place may be the root of the guilt.  Stash as a noun is: something put away or hidden. So we have a choice in how we look at stash, we can put our yarn and fabric away for future use or we can hide it away and keep it secret.  So, why do we choose the secret place/hidden away aspect?

I've observed that there are some people who have no problem just buying yarn and/or fabric for future use.  They seem to mostly be the people who work through projects consistently. On the other hand, it seems like the vast majority of people, either by choice or necessity hide their yarn away.  It then becomes a guilty pleasure, akin to secretly eating that whole pint of your favorite ice cream or that whole batch of brownies late at night, when no one is looking.  Something we do to indulge or comfort ourselves.

I often wonder why do we feel guilty? (I find myself doing it too, at times!) Do we like to feel guilty? Does feeling guilty enhance the pleasure of having the stash?  Is it fun?

For me it is enjoyable to have the stash and I think I'd have to admit that it's fun to have something my SO can tease me about.  Yes, my stash gets out of control from time to time.  I do need to keep it corralled and organized for sanity's and my relationship's sake.  But the fact is, I'm going to have a stash! I'm unabashed and unashamed of having one. I come with stash! That all there is to it!

This has lead me to put up a sign in the shop that says "Why no, I don't think I have too much yarn!"

What do you think?  Why do you feel guilty!  How do you deal with it?  Share you stash guilt here we'd love to hear about it!

Happy Stashing!

Terry




14 comments:

  1. When I was in art school I had to have many colors of paint and pencils and pastels. There was no shame in that...you need them to create, they are your tools. I've come to think of my yarn stash in the same way.I love getting the urge to create something and being able to "dive in" to the stash, knowing that there will most likely be something there to let me begin my project as the creative urge strikes.

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  2. That is so true! What a brilliant way to look at it! I too have stash guilt... Need to hide it and think of projects.. Well, maybe not any more. I am an artist at heart! Stashes live on!

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  3. I brought my stash out from the back rooms and closet and made it a part of the living room, via a wall of fiber. When I come home I love seeing all the colors waiting to become something. A good portion of my stash is already dedicated to projects that I think I want to do at some point in time, but a good portion is just there cause it makes me happy. If I do get stash guilt it's cause I can't get to all the projects I want to at the same time (I'm a slow knitter) or if I've been foolish/selfish and added to my stash at the expense of something else needed. Otherwise it's my stash and it makes me happy so no guilt allowed :)

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  4. I live far far away from any LYS and do most of my yarn shopping either on line or while on vacation. So it could be argued that I have created my own personal small LYS filled to the brim with yarn that I adore. What could possibly be wrong with that? I love my stash!

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  5. My stash is HUGE. I'm a weaver and a knitter and I simply love yarn. I have baskets laying all over the place in my studio, I have yarn trees full of coned yarn, I have shelves stuff with scraps and leftovers and my own "magic balls" started in various weights. It's so wonderful! And I buy more yarn...and a lot of times I don't even know or care what it will be one day...it just will be! Potential. When friends come over and see my stash they always ooh and aah, and I sometimes feel embarrassed at the excess of it. I remind myself that painters probably never feel embarrassed at all the canvases and paint that they have "stashed" away. It's curious why we'll feel guilt of embarrassment over something that fuels our creativity.

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  6. I like the Yarn Harlot's term "Stash Containment" although it is kind of negative term...containing. hmm. I have always been a 'color-holic'. Paints, pens, fabric, yarn. I like to have choices for when a project pops into my mind. However I have realized over the years that my mind has grandious ideas of how fast I can work that pile of magic color into those projects and then I have to be a little more realistic and give some away. (To good homes.) I think it is more the creative side than the hoarder side that a 'stash' reveals. Honest. Really. Darn, did I really buy more yarn? :) Helen

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  7. Oh and one more thing...at least it isn't fattening and when I'm working those projects, I don't eat...keep the oils on the fingers from getting on the fibers. Helen

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  8. I've been feeling a lot of guilt about my stash as of late. Did the desire to do Spring Cleaning bring it about?

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  9. I have a stash of both yarn and fabric because I prefer to work from yarn and fabric that is on hand rather than buy for each project. And I frequently discover when I do buy for a specific project that I end up using that yarn, or fabric, for something else anyway. So I'm not hiding anything away anymore.

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  10. I love this discussion. Used to work in a yarn shop, and you can imagine how huge my collection of yarn is, just for starters. I have intense stash guilt, but I do have moments of clarity when I realize, as others have said, I am an artist and I have a wonderful palette of yarn, fiber, and fabric.

    Thank you all for sharing; I aim for guilt-free fiber joy.

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  11. I have a ton of yarn and continue to buy more. Fortunately, my husband is very understanding. I like knowing that if I'm inspired to start a new project at 10PM on a Saturday night, I'm covered. Sorting through the stash at least every few months is necessary!

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  12. I have no stash guilt but I do have a limitation on storage. I am currently on a yarn diet for that reason. I recently cleaned out my stash and have 2 large bags of odds and ends, less than 3 skeins of a particular yarn that I plan to donate to friends and charity to make room for what I really want to stash - sweater quantities of yarn. Tastes change and so I adjust my stash to my taste. I wish I could fit it all in the house so I could see it as often as I want.....

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  13. i have only been knitting 3 years. in that time i have aquired a stash, (who hasn't). i am in the same boat as many commenters who like seeing the creative colors and textures abound to inspire. i can't help wanting more beauty in my life, going to lys is like being a kid in a candy store, (i live in portland- recent yarn crawl included 18 yarn shops). i'm pretty good at finishing my projects before starting a new one, but when the fire strikes and i see either a wonderful sale, or stroking a wonderful skein in the lys, well, i'm going to buy. once in awhile i have a distinct project in mind but most of the time i match yarn i already have with a raverlry pattern.

    i always ask for yarn for xmas and birthdays and my mom gave me a large bag of yarn that was my grandmas, (she passed on 16 years ago). talk about yarn stash.

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  14. guilt implies something stolen but we pay for all the stuff we put in our stashes or it is gifted to us so chuck out guilt and be happy

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