A Stash of One’s Own – a book review

If you love yarn and talking about it, I highly recommend the anthology “A Stash of One’s Own” by Clara Parkes. I listened to the audio version, and it’s been such a relaxing read (yeah, I call it reading.) Franklin Habit’s story about his Mum’s stash is… just so beautiful, I can barely mention it without gettin’ all choked up.

The other day, my husband pointed out used bookstores and suggested what if they had that for yarn? I pointed out that once you use it though, it’s gone. You can only harvest “used yarn” when you rip things out. Of course, people do swap and sell yarn from their stash, it’s not exactly like reading a book.

Once you use it, it’s gone, writes Clara Parkes in her anthology “A Stash of One’s Own.” You can picture each writer’s stash, reflects that person’s approach to the world. A stash is a self-portrait. Some, like Gudrun Johnston, carry precious stash with them all over the world. Some keep it light and don’t keep any stash at all. Kay Gardiner is a minimalist, “My stash is no stash at all.” Some are defiant. “My stash is monumental. I will never spin all of it, and I don’t care,” writes Jillian Moreno.

Reading the book has made me consider and reconsider my own stash, and given me some inner peace I think.

I love Clara Parke’s idea of a stash as an archive. Her philosophy is that you have to be able to “see” your yarn to inspire creativity. I keep mine in plastic crates, but it’s in a room with a big bed, and I’m often dumping out the bins and stash-diving. It helps with the pain of finishing a great project, to be able to inspire and think about the next one. I can remember where I got each yarn, and all of the things I thought it might eventually be. For now, it’s just yarn and that is OK too.

I have a shocking amount of yarn. (Not shocking to me, of course.) I mean, it’s so voluminous, I tried to Marie-Kondo my way out of it. At that time, I was feeling overwhelmed and embarrassed by riches. My stash wasn’t inspiring, it was a big long to-do list. It was like looking at a pile of work, and I had what Hannah Fettig calls “Stash Guilt.” Yarn, yarn, everywhere, and not enough to knit. I would buy single balls of yarn, because I didn’t know what I needed it for, or how much I would need. I just wanted to TRY it.

At that time, I did get rid of a lot of “wtf” stash which I bought before I understood yarn or myself – but what remains now is whittled down to pure treasure. Now it’s “a collection” instead of a to-do list nagging me to do more. I’m enjoying the process of transforming it into gifts or wearable objects, but I’ve decided it’s a valuable thing of its own.

Going through your stash?