the purpose of a stash

I’ve been battling a lethargy lately that has affected nearly every aspect of my life. My knitting had dropped off, in favor of reading or watching movies. Admittedly, some of that was due to the antibiotics. But since the vast majority of my projects are stockinette right now, that excuse doesn’t hold too much water for very long.

I’d pick up my cotlin project and knit a row and then find an excuse to abandon it. The silk jumper (aka peacock pullover) lay hidden in a cotton bag. Lace sitting unfinished taunted me.

When I told myself that it was too hot to knit, I decided to take the dog for a walk. It’s a perfect 3 mi to and from The Knit Shop, and maybe they’d have something new I’d want – a book, a magazine, a pair of needles. Because, as my Dad says:

Buying supplies is the best way to get started without actually doing anything.

The walk was great, Charlie was a rascal (I’m working on training him to heel, sit, and stay), and when I got to TKS I tied him up outside. I walked in and greeted the two people there, and immediately the latest issue of Interweave Knits on display. Greedily, I snatched it up to check out this season’s patterns. Impressed, I immediately bought it and set out (the fact that Charlie kept barking prevented much small talk).

When I got home, I let Mum look through the magazine and we critiqued each piece. Several caught our eyes. I considered ripping out my cotlin WIP in favor of starting anew. Then decided against it, out of sheer practicality.

Mum and I watched TV for awhile, but then I had to leave for the Peace Corps Nominee Potluck. Which went exceedingly well. I won a PC baseball cap (for Dad) by being able to name the 3 goals of the PC mission.

When we got home, I went into my room to deal with all sorts of stuff. (I’m nearly up to date with everyone’s blogs now, well mostly.) Finally, when everyone turned down the idea of a movie, I admitted defeat and went to fetch my cotlin. But, something happened. Struck by a sudden realization that I don’t have a pair of socks on my circs, I got up to look at my stash chest. I pulled out the top drawer and thought:

OH. Yes. This is why I knit.

Jewel tones and hand-painted variegates, ultrafine fiber blends, exotics, and handspun sat in the drawer. I stared at the different skeins and balls of yarn, struck by too many ideas at once. 4 pairs of socks wanted to be knit. Opera gloves in teal or white? A spencer or a bolero? Two boleros? I dug and picked up different skeins, examined them, and put each back to look at another.

Eventually, I grabbed a ball (2 skeins) of Gloss and my knitting notebook and started designing. I cast on a swatch and periodically stopped to sketch, fingering the cloth I’d knit. It would be perfect for a summer bolero, to wear over tank tops on cool nights. As I flipped through the book, looking for my measurements page, I saw the design for the cotlin tank. I paused, put my pencil to the page with one hand and, with the other, I pulled the tank out of my bag and started on it again:

As of tonight, I finally have the neckline figured out. I ended up rummaging around in another stash drawer, to find the other balls of cotlin so I could work both sides of the neckline at once. It hit me, as I sat there knitting away happily for the first time in too long that this was what a stash was really for.

Inspiration. It’s seductive and encouraging at the same time. And, best of all, it keeps me busy.

What is your stash to you?


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