I recently experienced some... criticism?... for wanting to successfully stashbust my yarn and fabric. In a forum for yarn stashbusting, I asked for advice on how others were able to be successful with it. And the first reply I got was an individual who said I was crazy for stashbusting because I don't have all that much yarn (over 100 skeins, mind you) and I was very stupid for doing so. There was no way I could stashbust because there wasn't enough yarn to do anything more than a pair or two of socks (15 by my reckoning) and some dishcloths (or an entire PL blanket, *cough*). I'm an idiot.
Well, I'm still working on thickening my skin, aren't we all? And my reaction was not a nice one. I knew I wasn't stupid for asking for help, I know I'm in the right by wanting to stashbust, and this person must have been having a rough day or something. A moderator chimed in saying that I was fine, and offered some nice advice, as did several other people.
Later, someone posted a link to their stash of over 300 skeins, laughing (I hope from worry) about needing more.
I would like you all to know one of the reasons I stashbust, and it is a very personal one.
You don't want to burden anyone with your overwhelming stash if you were to pass away suddenly.
Why did I come to this conclusion, and why am I such a stickler about it?
A long time ago, my grandmother had to be moved out of her house and into an assisted care facility. Mind you, I love her, and this experience did not tarnish my view of her or lower her in my eyes by any means. But it did teach me a very strong lesson.
You see, Grandma grew up during the Depression, so she was an expert at "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without". She would hold on to things that were useful because she knew that you never know when they might come in handy, or when the economy might suddenly tank again and you would be left with only what was in your house. I totally understand this.
However, right here, right now, it's better for us to not stock up on things other than long term food storage, water, skills to live without modern conveniences, and money (specifically not having debt, having an emergency fund, and disaster cash). Yep. I said it.
Did you notice that things like yarn, fabric, and shoes are not in that list? There's a reason.
When tasked with cleaning out Grandma's house, my mother and I found a lot of really cool, neat things that we love having. But we also found a lot of "what the heck" items. I rescued some dresses of hers to use as costumes, there were a couple of really neat antiques mom kept, I even got Grandma's sewing desk that I use every day and hope to be able to live up to her legacy with, each grand-daughter got an apron too. We kept things that had meaning to us, but there were also a lot of items that we just couldn't keep.
By far, the most overwhelming thing was the sewing and knitting stash. Overwhelming. And the issue with it is that, well, things that were bought 10, 20, heck even just 5 years ago are not what is in the market now. They aren't in style, they aren't the same materials, they aren't the right colors, and so on.
There was a moment when I said something, and my mother mis-heard me. Her response to what she thought I said was to burst into tears and wail "You found MORE fabric?!?!!"
And I felt the same way. Tucked in the dark corners of dresser drawers, back in upper corners of closets, stuffed in shoes, even under old black and white family photographs stored in shoe boxes.
My mom is not a seamstress, she is not a knitter, her creativity is expressed elsewhere (the kitchen is one place). She was in tears over all of the stash that Grandma had because she didn't know what to do with it. And, as a seamstress and knitter, I was completely overwhelmed as well.
Sadly, the majority of the stash was thrown away. Yes, we tried to sell it, we tried to find places that would accept it, and when all was said and done, the majority still got tossed. Now I can not look at my comparatively small stash without thinking of my mother breaking down over Grandma's. I would never, ever want to do that to my family, current or future.
So yes, lady who criticized me, I am stash busting even though you think I'm crazy. I don't want to be the burden that you will be to my family if I were to pass away tomorrow. I'd rather use what I have now instead of waiting for "someday" or the "perfect project". If I use it and need more, I can get more. If I find a project that's perfect, I can find the yarn.
I'd rather my family remember me for the sweaters and blankets I lovingly made for them, than for the closet stuffed with good intentions and unfulfilled plans.