Sunday, January 21

Hankerings - Stash & Yarn Acquisition


My hobby has, of necessity, been fed through what I like to refer as The Poor Woman's Guide to Crochet. Through the Grace of God and a deeply held conviction in faith I have never been unable to do whatever I chose to be doing. Life is a simple act of faith and if you can grasp how just being given the next morning can be proof of that faith, then you will truly live. Meantime, it takes a lot of paying attention in order to do it all. It takes making the effort to go that extra step, it means just having enough faith to keep putting one foot in front of the next, to walk into that thunderstorm and know that while you may not escape the rain, you will survive the drenching.

My blogspace today will entail explaining how I continued to create within the realms and confines of poverty, or lack of time, or whatever reared it's ugly head for the day. My Labels area will explain any acronyms and terms that I think need clarification so if you are unfamiliar with a term check there. Outside of that, any other terms or anything else you might need explained, feel free to contact me via the Comments link at the end of each posting.

Stash & Acquisition

The topic recently came up about yarn stashes and how creative we crafters get in finding places to keep ours. Living alone means that I don't have to be creative in hiding it from any One in particular, but I still have to give thought to where it will sit. How will it function, where is its place in the house, or how will I function, interact with it? How best to create an environment where it's accessible for me, readily at hand without looking so. A large part of creation with fiber is compelled by a desire for the tactile and whether we are touching lives as mothers, as artists, as women or as crocheters, be it acrylic, fur or cotton slub the need is as pressing as the next breath, because it's a deep passion that infuses our souls. In part, it is definition of ourselves.

Crochet is a part of our history, a tool for our sanity, a space for our individuality and stash is one of the tools of our trade, just as the musician has instruments, the painter canvas. It's a rite of passage into our actively creating selves. I thought I might share with you just a bit about my own stash. I started with no stash, just buying yarns needed for patterns I picked out. As those projects got completed I took the leftover yarn from them and tossed them all together into a crate and stash was born.

Shortly after I started crocheting again I ran into a few women who had quit, or had daughters who had quit and had yarn they handed down to me. I gratefully accepted this boon and added it in, found I needed a larger crate so I replaced the smaller one with three of those large Dollar Store, put-together-yourself, cardboard boxes, using the original smaller crate to hold my project yarns as I worked.

For the next couple years I happily worked from this acrylic stash, making scrap afghans, scarves and hats, and various small projects I whittled down half of the stash, then my mother, no longer able to knit or crochet, passed along all her yarns. Well now I was in a spot where I either had to come up with more tubs, or something as useful. I chose to transfer my yarns into Avon boxes because I have a friend who sells Avon and I could get the boxes free. They're wonderful; just wide enough to take the length of a skein of RH, oblong, not too big, not too small, with lids. They stack nicely and you can write the contents on the outside so you know what's there. I heartily recommend them and urge you all if you have that source available to you to utilize it. You won't be sorry that you did. Once again, I happily transferred materials and made a space in my study where I could stack the boxes. By now I'd accumulated about 12 boxes, all of it donated acrylics that I'd sorted and tried to box by colors.

I hadn't at that time acquired the dreaded YAS, but it wasn't to be much further behind. I fell in love with a few patterns from the Internet (where I get all my patterns, eh, make that 98.7% of my patterns, there again, the poor woman's way to acquire materials) that called for yarns I hadn't any familiarity with and thus began a yarn quest which took me to yarn lust. Making a special trip out to the yarn stores in town, I went through the couple in my area and noted the yarns, petted the yarns and cooed over them. At the time I could only look with envy; I didn't have disposable income for such luxuries.

Being the sort of person who hasn't money for luxuries, I would scour the discount shops in my weekly cycle, sometimes I would find acrylic worsted weights at discounted prices (which I bought gladly), but nothing else. In challenging my skills I would find patterns via the Internet that offered me the chance to learn a new technique or stitch, or that gave me the opportunity to learn a new type of crochet or try patterns that called for various yarns, but I could only go so far in these, I certainly couldn't substitute a worsted weight for a bulky chenille. I just bypassed the cute ponchos and thick sweaters and delicate lace tops with a wistful sigh.

My downfall came when the closeout stores finally started carrying the novelty yarns, then both novelty and specialty yarns as they began receiving them in closeout lots. Suddenly what was unattainable became a temptation and an opportunity to let my imagination out to play.

That simple stash stacked in the corner of my room has slowly evolved until today it incorporates a closet stacked full of fru fru yarns packed away in cardboard boxes, content marked many times over. A spare room (eventually destined to be the craft room) holds a couple tubs and some boxes filled with acrylics of various types, a few old suitcases with thread and a crate of plastic bags earmarked for yet another project as soon as I collect enough of the ones I want. Of course, meantime I'm collecting them all so I can practice with colors that I don't particularly want to use when making my own bag!
My current workspace gives easy access to the closet of yarns and has a 4 drawer filing cabinet of which only one drawer holds patterns printed from my Internet searching. An armoire, with several overnight cases full of items to aide my craft stashed beneath, is filled with supplies, tools, books, a few WIPS, and my cotton yarns. Beside the armoire is a plastic wheeled cart containing PIGS and beside my lamp and chair, right in front of my end table is a large tub and a small one with yarns that I'm pulling from for a project. Eventually those will end up back in with the other tubs in the aforementioned future craft room.

Now you may think this is an awful array of materials, but though I think that myself most of the time, I so often find myself looking for something in particular to make a pattern and cannot seem to find just the right item in there that it speaks to the relative deficiency of my hoard. Never enough yarn. Never enough time!

I have to say, at least I know where things are since this transition in my stash has been a recently achieved, albeit transitory, goal. I also managed to find a craft box, wicker, rectangular box on slender legs that I settled in front of the filing cabinet and a vintage vinyl-wrapped box on rollers, actually a sewing box but I'm using it to hold projects. It does double duty as a footstool. Once we set up the craft room, and the sewing machine, we will see if its use shifts since it has racks that hold spools of thread. I somehow doubt it because it's just the right size for me to elevate my feet while crocheting. So relaxing!

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