Do you ever wonder why – no matter how much yarn you may have – so much of it seems useless when you’re actually looking for something to use? Why is it that everything at the store seems so much more exciting than the yarn at home? At first glance, you might think I have a large and exciting stash of yarn in my back room. You might think that – but you would be wrong. Check your stash. You may be harboring more than a few of these fiber felons among the skeins, too…such as:
There’s not really anything wrong with this yarn. In fact, it’s very useful. That’s why you have so many skeins of it, in multiple colors. It’s just…it’s not very interesting, is it? It doesn’t exactly scream, “Make me into something amazing!” It’s easy to be seduced by something new and exciting at the store when your stash is filled with yarn that’s practical and reliable.
Whatever potential this yarn may have, it might as well be on the moon because it’s tethered to an unfinished project. Reclaiming it would require slaying the sleeping dragons of sweaters the wrong size, blankets too big to finish, and mistakes not noticed until ten inches later. For some special yarn it may be worth it, but otherwise – it’s best to let sleeping dragons lie.
Buying yarn on vacation is fun and – on the surface – seems like a practical souvenir. Unlike a knick-knack that will sit on a shelf and collect dust, a skein of yarn will provide hours of enjoyment, all the way from selecting a pattern to using the finished project. The problem lies in that expectation: what project could possibly be worthy of the yarn you bought in Tokyo, or adequately capture that week you spent in Ireland? Only something very, very special, and so in the stash it stays, waiting for a moment or project ‘special’ enough.
Like the Souvenir, the Splurge is a skein that may never be used. It’s that lustrous skein of silk, that tiny ball of qiviut, or that handpainted artisan handspun way out of your normal yarn budget that seduced you with its beauty and called to you beguilingly until you scooped it up, cradled it in your arms, and brought it home to your stash. There it stays: waiting for something “good enough” for its unworldly radiance that’s able to justify the steep price you paid for it.
Even more ordinary yarns can fall into this trap if it’s something more expensive or special than you normally use. I learned to crochet with acrylic yarn, and for years that’s all I used. I remember when I bought my first ball of plain wool: it took me months before I touched it, both because I wanted to make sure that whatever I made was “worth it” and because I was afraid of ruining this more expensive yarn.
Also known as: What was I thinking?! For some reason, at one point you thought that buying this skein would be a good idea. Who knows why? Maybe chartreuse pom-pom chenille eyelash yarn was on clearance for the irresistible price of just twenty-five cents and you thought it would be crazy not to stock up. Maybe the skein of thick-and-thin sequins dazzled you just long enough to hop into your cart. Maybe that completely sensible yarn looked like a vastly different color under the fluorescent store lights. Whatever the reason, it’s here now, taking up space and occasionally leaping out at you from the shelf crying, “Why don’t you LOVE me?!”
So, next time you’re out yarn shopping and a skein of something wooly, fresh, and gorgeous is begging to come home with you, take a step back and ponder whether it’s just going to end up doing time in your stash as a fiber felon.
About the Author
Melissa Mall is an at-home mom with four sons seven and under. They are currently residing in Arizona after a three-year stint in Japan and are having a fun time readjusting. You can keep up with their ordinary adventures over at her blog, or take a peek at her crochet patterns and tutorials at Inner Child Crochet.
Article & images © Melissa Mall. All rights reserved.