Separation anxiety (of the yarn stash variety)

There is a lot of stress involved with a cross-country move. Last month when my mother and I trekked from the East Coast to Colorado in my little Prius, we were quite lucky. We had beautiful although rather warm weather, we only got stuck in noteworthy traffic once (crossing the Mississippi River), and we still liked each other after spending endless hours together.


For me, the stress was in the packing. I decided early on that if something did not fit in my car, it simply was not coming. This was a hard and fast rule. So, my furniture is still in New York with my ever-so-understanding boyfriend, along with my bicycle, my easel, almost all of my books, my vacuum and most of my kitchen gear (except my rolling pin and cheese slicer, you know, the necessities). The most heartbreaking (non-living) leave behind though was my yarn.

Yes, I’m sure I could have squeezed it in amidst everything else, but this would have required more smooshing and stuffing than I felt my stash deserved. That yarn is special, and I did not want it to get pulled, snagged or unwound on the trip. It is all nicely arranged in an immense laundry hamper and some baskets in New York, and they simply would not fit in the car. I like to be able to see out of the back window, and these containers would have completely eliminated my view.

The day before I started to drive, I gave my boyfriend a tour of the things I was leaving behind. He has very generously offered to bring my accumulation of random stuff with him when he joins me next year. Winter clothes can wait until then, I said (perhaps unwisely). And how often do I really need the vacuum? That can come with you. As can my most everything else. But I would like to have my yarn with me. Will you mail it to me  . . . please? He looked at me, eyes wide, eyebrows raised. What, he said, all of it?

It’s hard to explain the bond between a yarn person and her or his stash. It’s not that I’m going to make something with all of it immediately, it’s that I want the ability to use any of my yarn at any time. Of course I don’t need it. In yarn store rich Fort Collins I can easily find more. Last weekend’s trip to the Estes Park Wool Market was also helpful, and I adopted some lovely wool to be made into slippers. But those balls of string in New York are much more than balls of string. I have the orange wool I was given by friends at the end of an amazing summer in Vermont. I have the cotton I like to use for potholders and coasters. I have the chunky hand-dyed wool blend I bought my senior year of college that I haven’t used yet because it’s just so pretty as a skein. I have all the leftovers from countless projects, straggling bits and ends waiting to be reimagined as glamorous somethings.

I’ve been told my yarn will make it to me, a little at a time, over the next few months, little boxes of eastern memories finding their way west. In the meantime I will continue to file away patterns I want to make with my stash, saving them until my yarn and I are reunited in Colorado. Any of you out there who have also experienced stash separation anxiety, know you are not alone.

Thanks for reading…and get knitting!

P.S. – If you're looking for some inspiring ways to use your stash, check out the preview  of the Fall issue!

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