Stash Monster

Quite frankly, I’m starting to worry. I’ve read of other knitters who have issues with stash management and I’ve laughed politely at their woes. They lose track of their needles? Of how many they have? They have unfinished projects hogging perfectly good needles and sending them out to buy more? How cute. I have shaken my head and chuckled at the trials of disorganized people who can’t stick to one project at a time.

Christmas is coming. Did I mention that? It came to my house last weekend in the form of a very expensive care package from my mother, containing a boatload of yarn. I will never say no to a gift of yarn…no, that’s not true. I have met yarns that I would not let within a ten-foot radius of my stash, but given that ninety-five percent of my projects to date have been made with acrylics (not always the nicer ones either), I can honestly say that the pool of yarns I will reject utterly is quite small. That being said, of the said boatload lovingly sent and adoringly received, only two small skeins actually relate to projects I had planned on doing. My mother, you see, has a habit of introducing me to Things I Had No Idea I Needed In My Life.

Like toys. Last year, I went to visit my parents during one of my school breaks. On the way to drop me at the bus station to head home, Mom and I stopped in at A.C. Moore and she filled my suitcase with supplies (yarns, needles, and a book) pertaining to the creation of knitted bears. I had been accustomed to being the sort of person who was torn between laughing at people who knit toys and secretly admiring the prowess in whipping up cuteness out of thin air and string. Now I am officially in the camp of people who can whip up cuteness out of thin air and string and like it.

The most recent surprise attack of inspiration for creative genius was earrings. Mom was inspired to buy me more than 400 yards of sock yarn for a project that requires approximately 6, which means that I now need to make approximately 66.6 pairs of sock earrings before Christmas. A numerical coincidence? I think not.

Still, the project is so small and tempting that I had a hard time restraining myself from casting on the moment I managed to wind the yarn. (Not a small time requirement–I have only recently graduated from working mostly in worsted, and it was only in winding this massive hank of superfine yarn that I suddenly understood why people invest money and craft space in ball winders.) I had to finish the ears and eyes of a stuffed toy, and being an “organized knitter,” I didn’t want to start another project before I finished those ears. I therefore decided to stay up long past midnight working short rows in an almost flat round to finish the ears. Because keeping careful stitch count when you can barely keep your eyes open is a smart way to knit.

Who’s laughing now?

I am, actually, because my natural airheadedness has led me to develop a great capacity for laughing at myself. The ear of this particular toy is worked over 32 rounds. How many rounds did I knit before I realize I was following the instructions for the arm? Fourteen. I don’t care how tired you are–nearly fifty percent of an ear finished is far too much to knit without noticing that you’ve got an arm protruding from the side of a stuffed toy’s head where an ear ought to be.

After a few, brief hours of slumber, I did manage to rip out the arm and replace it with an ear. We won’t discuss the state of the grafting at the top of that ear…I’m just going to hope that the young recipient is not a skilled knitter. After my epic struggle with what was meant to be a simple Kitchener stitch, I was hesitant to move on to something new, but I attempted the earrings. Given the results, I may stick to earrings. I have more of a knack for them, it would seem, because I managed to turn out two pairs in one day with no particular catastrophes.

So here’s my new plan: everyone is getting earrings for Christmas. Even Dad. Now the only question is of what to do with the yarn monster in my living room that threatens to obtain sentience if I don’t turn it into a pile of presents before Christmas.

That, of course, is why I have cats.

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