Your own stash is either a shadow lurking in the corner of your mind, clouding over the joy of obtaining yarn and matching it to the perfect puzzle-piece of a pattern or it’s just the right amount for your happiness. Sometimes stash is beautifully displayed in soft baskets or tucked solo onto shelves in a broad expanse of color. My stash evolved into my desperately needed distraction in the toughest year of my life.
I normally didn’t buy much yarn. I have some discretionary income but we mostly spent that going to a movie or picking up dinner. But after my dad’s diagnosis, my yarn stash became something different. An unknown cancer origin filled my family’s hearts with dread. Waiting for each biopsy, scan or test result brought more furrowed brows than lighter shoulder tension.
I started purchasing yarn. Slowly then with more frequency. My husband and my movie dates were replaced with housework or errand running for my exhausted parents. I didn’t realize the time spent at the movie had filled up my bucket so I had more to give others. Without the refilling, yarn buying came in as a substitute. I could relieve their burdens with tasks. I could relieve my own burden with stash additions.
My Instagram alerted me to shop updates. Stunning photographs perused with the flick of my thumb pulled my thoughts from reality. That tiny thrill of knowing yarn was on its way was the sweetest, simplest distraction.
And then suddenly (it’s always a shock even when someone has been ill), he was gone. The smack of it still closes my throat 7 months later.
This same year held many other milestones: parent’s 50th wedding anniversary and 70th birthday (he celebrated both); my husband turned 50; my brother turned 50; my nephew and great-niece turned one; dropped my youngest at college; moved my oldest back home after college graduation didn’t yield a job; my body launched into early menopause; my husband lost his job. Stash acquisition became my relief.
This year dawned slowly, my mind still fogged by the utter sadness of change. As the days brightened into spring, I was able to finally see what I had accumulated. Beautiful skeins soft to the touch filled the shelves. I didn’t regret any of my yarn binging. I want to put it to the best use possible.
I had made project bags with my mom during the difficult year also. Keeping our hands busy so we could avoid seeing the terror in each other’s eyes. My dad liked to listen to us banter in the sewing space in the loft. We would find him dozing in his chair when we would stop to ask him what he needed.
I took those project bags and matched skeins with patterns and dropped them inside, drawing the bag tightly closed. Now my shelves are filled with eager sets waiting to be knit. I took an inventory and at my current knitting pace, I have a project a month for 3 years.
I am grateful for this stash now. It reminds me of what my heart needed at that time. My stash gives me purpose and focus. It leads me to learn new techniques. And when the days are darker, I visit those waiting project bags, and squish the yarn until my heart smiles again.