Thursday, August 23, 2007

Monkeys, Stash, and Strangers

Odd title, isn't it? Well, it might make more sense as you read.

If you look at the left sidebar of the page, you'll see the buttons of some of the blogs that I read. I'm a big collector of buttons. I don't know why, since I don't like buttons in "real" life. I just find them fun, colorful, and a great way to help others link to the sites I enjoy. Anyway, you'll see an animated monkey and a Monkey Swap button. It's that Monkey Swap button which is the first part of this entry.

I joined the Monkey Sock Swap (as you can tell from the questionnaire I answered a few posts ago) and began the wait for a pal. It seemed like an eternity, but then it happened. My pal was assigned! I promptly went over to her blog, printed out her preferences, and began to comb through my favorite online yarn shops for the perfect yarns - not only to knit her socks with, but also to send her along with a pattern of her choosing so she could knit some herself. After two hours of considering and discarding many choices, I finally found the perfect yarn. It had all the colors she wanted. It was by a dyer I love. It was PERFECT. The store had enough in stock. I promptly placed my order with a request that it be expedited so I could start the socks this weekend. For as long as I've been knitting, I've never been a fast knitter. I'm exact and my stitches all look the same, but I've sacrificed speed for quality - anally so. No matter. I just knew I had to give myself plenty of time to finish the socks and get them to her before the deadline, especially since we're going on vacation a week before the swap ends. I found the pattern she wanted. I bought it. I've bought some gifts already. Everything was going great. Then I found the perfect yarn for her pattern. Same thing - it was by a dyer I love, the store had enough in stock, and the pattern was promptly downloaded. This was a snap, thought I.

Then I got a letter in my e-mail - a highly anticipated letter - from the lady who has me as her pal. She told me she'll be reading my blog (hello, secret Monkey Pal!!) and that she couldn't tell me her name, but I got the feeling that she's watching to see if i want or need anything (well, maybe that's because she told me so). I'll have to be careful what I say here. Anyway, those two things made for a glorious day.

For whatever reason, I decided to look at my stash today just to see if I had anything which could be used in the swap. Mind you, this was after I had already spent two hours looking and buying the PERFECT yarns for my pal. I opened up just one of the 14 bins now in residence in my room and found ...


Naturally, I very carefully laid all of these skeins on top (just in case I really don't like the ones that are coming - HA! fat chance) - and took out three of them to show to Hubster. He looked at them and said, "Wow! Those are PERFECT for your pal's color preferences. Look at this one! It has ALL THE COLORS your pal likes!" (Hubster takes an active role whenever possible in my fiber-induced hazy world.) Then came the inevitable statement. "But you already bought some yarn for the swap." Then came the inevitable question. "Why didn't you look in the stash before you ordered them?"

I looked him right in the eye (no mean feat, considering that I'm a pudgy 5'7" and he's a pudgy 6'4") and said, "The stash is sacred."

Whereupon he looked at me, shook his head, and went out back to turn the filter on in the pool.

I went back to the bin, put the skeins away, and stared at the mountain that is my stash. How did I become so unfamiliar with what's in it, I thought? This is the pile of yarny goodness that comforts me when I'm sad, makes me even happier when I'm already in a good mood, something I've carefully built up over the years, a living, breathing thing which I have no relationship at all with. Yes, that's right. I don't have a real relationship with my stash anymore.

Back in the early days, when I had only a few precious skeins, I knew them by heart. I knew every intimate detail about all the skeins, from the dyer to the colorway to the yardage. Now, it's an enormous pile of skeins lovingly packed away in bins to keep them safe from moths. They're in a room with the drapes drawn so the colors aren't affected by the sun. I go in there all the time and open the bin most convenient to me, fondling the yarns on top. But do I really know what's in there anymore? Nope. I can still tell you the dyers (most of them, anyway), I still have my Opal bin which contains nothing but collections and rare balls of Opal (and which I'll never use since I found out about indies), but my system of having a bin for cotton, wool, sock clubs, yarn clubs, etc, has long since fallen by the wayside. I just didn't have enough bins. And for those hellish months we had to live in a residential hotel, my precious bins were put into storage at Bekins, far out of my reach. I only had room to take a shoebox-sized bin with some of my favorite skeins to work with. Then I discovered Etsy. Then I had to buy one, then two, then five under-the-bed flat storage bins for all the yarn I bought there. And that all brings me to today.

We were going to go through my room last night, but my sleep-starved body is finally rebelling and fell asleep with a piece of pizza still clutched in my hand, I tried to stay awake, but I fell asleep at the computer again. So here I am at 7:30 a.m., a little sleepy but nowhere near ready for bed, writing my daily missive. And I'm a little disturbed. When did I lose touch with my stash?

What scares me is how many other skeins which are PERFECT for the swap are lurking in the other bins. I honestly didn't think I'd have any, since her colors aren't mine. But I have them. Lots of them. And I'm willing to bet that by the time I take a peek into each bin, I'm going to have an enormous PILE of them.

I hope Hubster has a good day at work. I also think it's time to become reacquainted with my stash by biting the bullet and inventorying the skeins on Ravelry.

But first, I have to go yarn shopping. I saw this incredible colorway which I KNOW I don't have.


Rosie said...

Congratulations on the Monkey Sock Pal connection. I'm also part of the Monkey Swap and I'm excited about the whole process.
Can you tell me how you find and post buttons to your blog. I've managed to add two buttons but it's such a hassle and I can't even get them centered. I figured a pro like you might know the shortcuts. Thanks.

Wool Girl said...

This sounds just like me at times...I get so excited about getting THE perfect skein of yarn in JUST the colors I want, that I go out and make impulse purchase, without even looking in my already overgrowing stash!

Anonymous said...

Hi Pam, you sound just like me, I have triuble sleeping at night and spend most of my night knitting socks or on my laptop blogging etc, I also have a huge stash of yarn, most of which I will never use, now I have found sock knitting I am not really interested in any other knitting, and as like you I am not a quick knitter, never will be, that yarn will stay in my bins indefinetly. Glad I found your blogg. I am also a Member of the Monkey sock swap, I am really enjoying knitting the monkey socks nearly finished the first sock. Take care, and happy knitting. Sheryl (UK)