Those of you who like to play with yarn, fiber, and cloth probably all have a stash of some sort, and know what it means to have a stash (both denotatively and viscerally). You may even have a vague idea of how you ended up with a closet (or room, or barn) full of whatever it is you are stashing. You can skip ahead to the * if you want to.

For those not initiated in the ways of the stash, here’s a little insight into how they get that way.

In theory, a fiber-crafter thinks of something s/he wants to make, finds a pattern, and goes to buy the materials. When one is a newly-minted fiber-crafter, this is, in fact, usually the way it works. But as a crafter completes a few projects, something happens. Their creativity grows in ways they may not have expected, and a shift takes place. They see the material or yarn first, and decide what to do with it later. If it takes a while — say a few years — to figure out what the stuff (in the textile sense of “stuff”) wants to be, the stuff goes into hibernation. If this “finding stuff first” pattern persists, the crafter ends up needing a fair amount of space for the hibernating stuff to live in.

Stashes also grow for two additional reasons. One scenario is when you get everything you need for a project and then decide that the stuff doesn’t go with the proposed end-product. When this happens, the material gets stashed to wait for inspiration. The other is when a crafter buys or has a “little extra” left over and saves it for a future project. Personally, I cannot bring myself to throw away an amount of yarn bigger than a walnut. I also keep bigger scraps of fabric from patterns I cut out — anything bigger than 4 cm by 4 cm, though there’s no hard-and-fast rule. I might want to do something with it later, so into the stash it goes.

[Another sub-set of the stash is a crafter’s collection of Unfinished Objects (UFOs), or what one of my sisters refers to as The Department of Incomplete Projects. We can talk about them another day.]

*Stash-havers, you can start reading again here.

Most of my stash is in a storage unit in Vo Dilan’, having crossed the U.S. twice, but not yet having made the jump across the Atlantic. I have a little stash here. There’s some silver-grey worsted weight yarn that I thought was going to be an intricately cabled pullover, except that I could NEVER get it to gauge — a rare occurrence for me — and so got parked. And there’s a small mountain beautiful hand-painted merino that I bought because I couldn’t help myself, waiting for inspiration to strike. Happily, both piles of yarn now have projects coming.

The grey yarn is going to be this pullover, though a bit longer.

Suvi Simola's "Baby Cables and Big Ones, Too" at Ravelry.

Suvi Simola’s gorgeous “Baby Cables and Big Ones, Too” at Ravelry.

And the hand-paint is going to be a turtleneck. In my next post, I’ll explain how I discovered that the yarn wanted to be this particular sweater.

Lori Versaci's extremely clever Ribbed Turtleneck

Lori Versaci’s extremely clever Ribbed Turtleneck, also at Ravelry

These two patterns are Rubi-approved already because they are knit in the round and are beautifully shaped. Like Elizabeth Zimmerman before me, I refuse to knit anything in pieces and sew it up — if there’s a flat-knit pattern that I really want to make, I usually rewrite it to work in the round. More than that, these designs  also have lovely fitting details that make them appealing — no knitted feed sacks here. And! They’re going to knit up quickly (worsted weight FTW), so I might even get to wear them this season.

Stay tuned for progress reports and FOs. I’m just about ready to cast on the turtleneck.