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The importance of stash

Updated: Jan 15

This started as a quick post about finding what I needed in stash, but became a bit more philosophical.

Almost everyone (including myself) talks about stash in a negative light. Having too much. Being overwhelmed. Stashing down. Making from stash. Dying and leaving all your stash behind (horror).

Last year I was quite focused on stashing down. I wanted to empty at least one of my 12 storage baskets of yarn. By Augustish last year I'd emptied 2, but then decided to collect together all my other yarn secreted around the house and fill those empty baskets. Now I'm back to almost 1 empty basket, and honestly that would be full if I put my decorative yarn into my stash cupboard (yes of course I have decorative yarn).

I was thinking about continuing my stash down this year. At the January Knitters' Guid NSW Capital Region many people stated that stashing down or knitting only from stash is their goal for 2024. But our intrepid president Liz bucked the trend and said she was going to buy the best and most luxurious yarn she could afford and to enjoy knitting with it.

And that got me thinking. I tell people I have lots of stash, but honestly I have no more than 2 years of knitting/crochet yarn on hand, 2 years of spinning fibre (okay, maybe 3) and about 1 year of weaving. Is that enough? Well, how much does one person need? There's always more yarn to buy.

Or is there. Last year I made the personal long-term goal of buying a Louet Jane loom with all the trimmings as soon as Australia goes to war with China, because after that happens things like new table looms aren't going to happen very much. This might sound trivial, but it's important to me, and when you're in a workplace that discusses national resilience and geopolitical tensions on a weekly basis it's hard not to make plans.

But then the World Economic Forum, a group not known for its alarmist or eccentric views, has announced that we're on the brink of a polycrisis, with 1 in 5 economists predicting the next 10 years will involve 'persistent crises leading to catastrophic outcomes' [Update: I cited the January 2023 article here thinking it was January 2024. The latest announcement has 17% of surveyed economists predicting looming global catastrophic risks']. It's 90 seconds to midnight on the doomsday clock, the closest it's ever been. With the ongoing war in Ukraine, the war in Palestine and the Houthi strikes in the Red Sea I fully expect the doomsday clock to move even closer when the 2024 announcement is made next week.

So I'm starting to think... is 2 years of stash enough?


Here's the original thought I had for this post (before the existential crisis):

I'm contemplating starting a temperature cross stitch for 2024. I started one in 2020, tracking the maximum temperature for the day. Then I started also tracking the days the days bushfire smoke from the 2019-20 bushfires smothered Canberra, and then I marked the major hailstorm that damaged homes, national landmarks and wrote of tens of thousands of cars.

By about April 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, I realised that if there was any year I would want to track, 2020 was not the one. I took the whole project, 1/4 done, out to the household waste bin and threw it in. Good riddance.

I don't think this year will be markedly better, but I hope it won't be worse than 2020. Plus, I found a really pretty pattern: Rainbow Temperature Galaxy by Climbing Goat Designs.

I wanted to get some really nice galaxy style fabric to stitch it on. I found a few options online, before realising that I had both white fabric and fabric paints in my stash, both of which I could use to make my own fabric.

I started getting my supplies together but didn't have any Aida to paint on, so I went to raid my partner's cross stitch stash. And that's when I found some Aida I'd painted almost 10 years ago, back in my very first small business venture on Etsy. It was perfect!

So yay for stash and for things made years ago an squirelled away and found again.

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