The Great Stash Reduction Challenge Part One

by | Jan 25, 2011 | Uncategorized

Every artisan keeps an inventory of materials in the same way that a cook keeps a pantry full of basic ingredients. We call it our “stash”. The stash includes the fundamentals such as yarn, fibres, dyes, accessories for sewing and items for embellishing.

And yet the stash is a lot more than things. It is full of future projects, ideas that have yet to crystallize and plans to do great things. There may even be a few memories tucked into it.


The stash is the starting point for many projects. We play with ideas by arranging yarns together to see how colours and textures mix. Like a cook, we often go to the stash to find something to spice up an otherwise bland piece. Or perhaps one truly lovely piece of yarn becomes the inspiration for an entire project and we arrange the rest of the ingredients to show it off.

We all need our stash.

But there is a hidden menace lurking in the cupboard. The stash grows and it keeps on growing in spite of our best intentions. You start by purchasing basic materials for a project but of course, you paid attention to the label that said “buy enough of the same dye lot to complete the project”. You are cautious and so you end up with material left over. Add it to the stash.

During a trip you visit a specialty yarn shop. You must buy the yarn as you may never come that way again besides it is so beautiful it won’t last and you have just the project in mind. The same happens when you go to a conference or a show with vendors. Everything looks wonderful and you are so full of inspiration from the conference that you just must have the fibre to fulfill all those wonderful ideas. The shelves and boxes start to fill up.

Yarn and fibre are expensive, so when you see a bargain you are tempted to snap it up. You might not have an immediate plan for it but you know that it will come in handy and it is your favourite colour. Now you are hooked on buying and dreaming about what you can make. You buy more storage accessories. You start inflitrating additional cupboards.

Next you will be haunting thrift shops and stash exchanges. The shelves won’t hold any more. You start stashing material into plastic bags, green garbage bags if you have become a true yarn junkie. Spouses start to grumble ineffectively as you rearrange their “stuff” to make more room for your stash.

Finding a specific item is like going on an archeological dig. You keep finding items you can’t remember buying.

Your stash is out of control. It is time for an intervention. And thus was born The Great Stash Reduction Challenge.

Check the next blog for more on how the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners plan to wrestle with this problem and have some fun.

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