Speaking of yarn stashes: First, my current yarn stash is just not that significant. There was a time when it was, well, gargantuan. All the photos in this post are borrowed from the internet.
Creating a Massive Yarn Stash
I was machine knitting and hand knitting, and even though it all was a slow slog knitting-wise, I felt that I would and could knit anything. Nevermind that even machine knits took at least a week and often two to complete (and then the pattern took time too). I felt I had the capacity to knit endless quantities of yarn, so that is what I bought. I liked going to local yarn shops (research), but every trip became an opportunity to purchase because. Well, ideas of what I could do. Looking back, I can’t judge too harshly because I was developing my skills and knitting knowledge. Granted, I could have done it without owning all that yarn, but it was delightful amassing it.
So I was acquiring yarn at a rate exceeding my ability to consume it. We lived in Portland and I had a huge studio (probably 3 times the size of my current office) and every spare space was occupied by my yarn stash. At some point it did occur to me that I could buy single balls to try out–but that came later. Although I was buying a lot of yarn, it was all stuff I loved, in colors well-suited to my preferences. I would occasionally rearrange everything to change the energy in my studio and it was a pleasure to touch and review everything.
Yarn Stash in Smaller Space
Then we decided to move to San Francisco where real estate is a very different story. My first office/studio here in SF was half of the laundry closet (it was a large one), then I moved to space under the stairs. But before we moved, I cataloged and boxed every bit of yarn I owned (after culling some of it). This was 1998. Most of my stash moved into a storage locker. When it was unpacked into the locker I recorded where every box landed so I could get it easily when needed. But my stash mostly existed as an Excel file. I could picture every yarn because of how I had handled and loved it in its previous home.
We moved to our second home in SF, a flat in North Beach. My office was the second parlor of a Victorian, that had a large walk-in closet. The flat turned out to be smaller than we realized and that closet was completely jammed with my clothes, furniture, shoes, coats, and part of my yarn stash. I could see some of my yarn from my desk, I knew how much I had of everything, but I kind of didn’t have to deal with it. It was my perfect (past) yarn stash.
The One Who Buys the Most Yarn Wins
One year we had a family contest where I gave prizes to the family member who had a) used the most yarn, b) made the largest number of items, etc. As I was giving the prizes (for which I was not eligible under the rules) Mitch allowed as how he thought there should be a price for the person who had actually spent the most money on yarn–him!
At some point after 2003 I realized I shouldn’t have a personal stash, and mostly I don’t. I have yarns that I use for Jill Wolcott Knits, and every once in a while I acquire something for myself. I have one of those plastic bins in the garage that has cashmere/spandex yarn that purchased in NYC years ago. I’ll knit it for myself someday!