Some Thoughts About Yarn

A long time ago I wrote about books. I remember one specific thing I wrote: how I built my library on the ideas of possibility and potential. My books were purchased because I wanted the possibility of spending a heady afternoon with lord Byron or a quiet, thoughtful evening with AS Byatt. Often I wanted the potential read more than I wanted the actual read. I think the same thing goes for yarn. The other evening I saw a moth fly out of the yarn cupboard. A tiny, beige creature of winged doom. I opened a bag and saw another moth perched on a ball of yarn. Gasp, splutter, this-only-happens-to-others, and I flung the offending bag into the freezer. I subsequently started rummaging through my other bags and only spotted one other bag with potential destruction (i.e. one very dead little beige monster). A bit of a wake-up call. This does not just happen to other knitters.

Luckily our local supermarket has a deal on plastic containers with lids. I bought three huge ones and started to re-pack all my yarn. It was time for another wake-up call. Three containers only scratched the surface of my yarn stash. I need eight more containers if I need to keep all of my yarn safe from moths (or the scourge of Glasgow tenements, carpet beetles). Eight. Eight.

I had to sit down on the (yarn-covered) floor for a moment. Deep breath.

The thing is, I have some lovely yarn in my stash that I cannot wait to knit. I have earmarked some of it for projects: Flyte, Shirley, Acer, Snapdragon, Miette, Still, Topstykke, and - oh - those thirty odd shawls I need to design. You know.

But the majority of the yarn is there because of the possible, potential projects. What to make with my three hanks of Noro Cashmere Island? Or the two hanks of Sirritogv Colour? Or the yak laceweight? The mountain of Kidsilk Haze? Often I think I want the potential knit more than I want the actual finished object.

When I moved across the North Sea, I had to get rid of most of my books. I marked them with tiny stickers. Red: We’re through. Yellow: we need to talk. Green: we’ll be together forever. Eventually I got rid of the reds and yellows (freecycle was useful). It felt like such a relief. A millstone removed. But six years later, I can still see the gaps, the ghosts. I still reach for books I no longer own.

I wonder how I will deal with my yarn stash in years to come.