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Thinking about stash

When I started knitting, like most knitters, I bought yarn, made something (okay, made a scarf) and then bought more yarn and made ... another scarf. And then I "graduated" to jumpers, socks and whatever. I had a yarn shop literally at the end of the street, and bought yarn for every project as I needed it. Mid last year a couple of things happened that changed that, and led to me having a stash: Cleggs had Rowan at half price, I went to Bendigo wool show and followed that up with a visit to the Sock Summit. So, I was then the proud owner of stash. And it makes me uncomfortable, although I'm not sure why. My entire yarn stash fits in here (props included for scale):


(That's the yarn stash, the spinning wool lives somewhere else)
I don't know why I feel uncomfortale about owning yarn that I'm not knitting with right now. Is it guilt, because there are children in Africa without wool? Is it fear that having yarn forces me to keep knitting? What would happen to the yarn if I stopped?
But I have also found some upside to stash. Although I have previously rather mocked the concept of shopping the stash, when I was sick I really appreciated being able to reach into the stash and have a project waiting for me. And being comfortable with stash lets me buy yarn when I see it, or when it's on special, or when the Australian dollar is particularly strong.
All of this is in my mind because I'm going to Bendigo again in a couple of weeks (yay!) and i will be buying yarn that I won't knit immediately. There is some wool I can only get IRL there, such as the natural sheep coloured wool that Leon loves to wear.
I know some knitters with large stashes who are entirely comfortable with that, and others who are not. I know it's just a matter of working out what I'm comfortable with and doing it, but that seems to be a fine line for me. I guess I'll keep with the rule, as long as it all fits in the trunk.

The one part of my stash that doesn't elicit mixed feelings is the amount of sock yarn I own. Sometimes I just get it out and play with it. It makes me smile.

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