Lovin' My Stash
This little ditty from Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol showed Ebenezer Scrooge’s love of money. He didn’t want to spend it; he didn’t want to use it; he certainly didn’t want to share it. He just wanted to have it–to know that it there, to run his fingers through the coins, to admire the weight and clink as they fell.
I fear that I feel that way about my fiber stash. I have a basic comfortable stash (sort of like a basic comfortable savings account). A few bags of fleece, a couple of shoeboxes of cotton roving, that bag of hemp I might spin someday.
But then there are my gold coins–my basket of yummy spinning goodness. The basket that I like to open, spread out its luscious goodness, fondle, and gloat. Softness in a sometimes harsh world. Pale gray alpaca, gentle as the creature who grew it. Camel down and silk–cream and caramel. A wee bag of qivuit, the last from a trip to Alaska, with a memory of spruce-scented chill air. More alpaca, this time blended with silk in shades of flaming red. Angora from a fluffy bunny. Buttery cashmere. Yak–even the name is funny. Say the two names, one after the other. “Cashmere”, lingering on the sibilant “shhhhh.” A soothing, luxurious word. Then “Yak”, sounding like a hiccup. A hiccup from a long-haired cow. Yet so melting to the fingers.
I gaze at them, touching lovingly. And then I put them away. Like any proper miser, I don’t want to use them. I want to keep them, to hoard them, to have as my secret haven.
No more. Unlike gold coins, this glorious stuff will eventually turn back to elemental dust. I don’t want to be like my grandmother, putting things away “to keep them nice” until they rot on the shelf. There’s more out there if I spin this up. Vendors would be happy to send it to me to refill my basket. Will I lose the memory of an alpaca’s kiss if I spin its fiber rather than storing it? Is there a law saying I can’t wear a cashmere/silk lace scarf with jeans and a T-shirt, wrapping myself in luxury rather than just gloating over it? Wasn’t Ebenezer Scrooge happier when he started using some of that gold?
So it’s coming out of the basket. The cashmere is with a spindle in my purse–what better way to soothe life’s annoying delays then with such an indulgence? The flame alpaca silk is on a tiny Turkish spindle, bought especially for it. The angora was spun and plied with a pale celery bamboo and is now a soft shawlette. Ounce after glorious ounce sliding through my fingers. And now I have room for more!
–Ann Elizabeth Durham