Are You A Yarn Collector?

There comes a time when every knitter has to face the reality of The Stash. This spring has been that time for me, and I tell you, it's been quite the experience. I learned a lot about myself in the process, to whit: Some people collect little figurines of cats, some collect shoes, some collect baseball stats. I collect yarn.

Yarn or Art?

Seriously. My stash is a Yarn Collection. All it needs are little frames around each skein, with a light shining on the yarn and a printed card off to the side: "Yarn. 100% silk. Hand-dyed by artisans in Nova Scotia, Canada. Private collection."

I buy skeins of yarn as though they were little works of art. Do I buy practical yarns, yarns that would make good sweaters? No. I buy the unusual, the special, the pretty. When I find a yarn I love, do I buy enough to make a sweater someday? No. I buy onesies and twosies, sometimes even foursies, but I do not buy the tensies or twelvesies required to actually make something for myself to wear.

Just as all collectors do, I specialize in certain types of collectibles. First of all, there is the obvious Purple Yarn. When I survey my stash, it is a bit embarrassing how much purple there is. Oh, sure, there is green and blue and pink (which is dangerously close to purple in the spectrum) and rose and mint and lavender and lilac. There are no yellows in Sandi's Stash, no beiges, no reds. Teal is a kind of blue, so it is well represented. The only orange in sight is the skein left over from my Tomato, which, if you recall, was knitted in orange and teal somewhat on a dare.

The other type of yarn I specialize in is From Plant or Beastie. I'm warning you: Do not get between me and the silk shelf in the local yarn shop. Also do not bother me when I am fondling hemp, linen, tencel, bamboo, cashmere or anything that once had a relationship with a sheep or a camelid of any kind. I touched buffalo fiber once. I had to withdraw my hand quickly, because it was very, very lovely, and very, very expensive. (If you don't try the drug, you can't get addicted, right?)

This is all very interesting, but it means I have a Problem. When it comes time to knit a sweater, I cannot knit from my stash, because there literally isn't enough yarn there to make one. This is a somewhat laughable statement to my husband, who, when I explain that I have to buy yet MORE yarn to make a sweater, looks at the bins of yarn that represent Sandi's Stash with raised eyebrows. I suppose I could knit a truly unusual work of art out of several different purple yarns…but sometimes a knitter just wants to make a sweater, for Pete's sake.

This got me to thinking: How do other folks buy yarn? Do you buy it for specific projects? Do you buy it because you love it, on the theory you'll figure out what to do with it later? Are you a yarn collector, who buys lovely yarns knowing full well you will never use it all? Do you buy in small quantities, like me, or when you find a great yarn, do you buy a sweater's worth of it, knowing that someday the perfect pattern for that yarn will appear?

I'm curious. I'm also hoping that it would make my husband feel better if he knew his wife's behavior was somewhat normal amongst her fellow knitters.

So, confess: What are your Yarn Acquisition Habits? Inquiring minds and all that. Leave a comment, because it's Monday, and we all would rather be talking about yarn than doing Monday things, right?

Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's needles? A bit more past the hem of the New Skinnier Gathered Pullover.

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