Monday, January 26, 2009


Most knitters are familiar with the term stash-diet. This is what die-hard knitters do when they can no longer close their cupboard door (or maybe their front door!) because of the size of their stash. Stash-dieters either reduce the amount of wool that they purchase yearly or cold-turkey and refuse to buy any more wool until their stash reaches manageable proportions again.

Last year, I reluctantly joined the ranks of the stash dieters - the stash weighed nearly as much as I did (if not more!) and it was becoming a safety issue - there was a real risk that the floor of my flat would collapse under the weight, killing the elderly lady downstairs and diminishing property values in the block significantly. *This was before I moved into the shop - now the only person at risk from my stash is myself!

If you've read my posts, you'll know that the stash diet was not a success. In fact, while on the stash diet, my stash increased by nearly 10kg!

Luckily over Christmas, I had some time to think about stashes (and weight and health issues generally!), and it occurred to me that I'd never actually dieted in my life. However, one thing I can do quite successfully is exercise. At my best, I was putting in about 15 hours of high impact activity each week and looked pretty darned good. (I couldn't walk properly because my knees were a mess with tendonitis, but that was beside the point. Vanity over ability to walk any day!). And thus the term stash-gym was born.

A stash-gym is very simple. You line up your projects and work out a strategy for knitting or crocheting as many projects in the shortest time possible. The idea is that intensive activity leads to (stash) weight loss. And it works!! Since I started my stash-gym, I have lost 50g of hand-dyed bamboo (now three pretty crocheted chokers), 150g of Big Wool Tuft (two jumper fronts, decorative cuffs and collar for a Big Wool shrug), 40g of leftover Big Wool (shrug) and about 100g of leftover Jo Sharp tweeds and mohairs (now being converted into the Textured Garter Stitch Scarf from Eclectic for my Mother's birthday surprise - she is certainly going to be surprised, she thinks she is getting a book!). I have also shed 10 balls of black Inca (in the process of becoming a vest for my stepmum's sister) and at least 10 balls of Jo Sharp Aran Cotton (now a pretty striped singlet from Knit Issue 2 and a matching striped lacy headscarf from Saturday).

When the vest and scarf leave the building, I have another two Jo Sharp singlet tops and a Rowan Cotton Rope poncho warming up in the foyer, ready to spring into action. Completing those three projects should reduce the stash to a mere 12 garments worth plus miscellaneous leftovers. Plus there is an additional benefit to all this activity - after an intensive knitting session, I can't move my right arm or shoulder properly. This prevents me from using the internet or my credit card to purchase additional stash - a win-win situation!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The stash diet and the stocktake...

Let me start this post by saying that I reckon New Year is over-rated. Gyms and weight loss clinics rub their hands in glee as January approaches, because they know that for the next six to eight weeks, they will be busier than the proverbial one-legged man in a bum-kicking competition. After about eight weeks though, even the most diehard resolution makers have given up. Hopefully by this stage, the gyms and weight loss centres have made enough from the joining fees and the optimists who paid for an annual membership up front to cover their costs until next year!

Let me continue this post by saying there's an element of jealousy here. The chances of me sticking to a New Year's resolution for eight weeks are very slight: on a par with the chance of me being abducted by aliens or maybe even slightly lower. The fabled stash diet, subject of two posts and many heartfelt promises, has yet to manifest.

Part of the problem involves big plastic storage bins. In 2008, we stored our stock in cardboard boxes. Very economical, but it made it rather tricky to find things in a hurry - particularly when the store room was a mess from the last time we'd tried to find something in a hurry!! Also, the boxes tended to tear after they'd been yanked out of a stack a few times. In December, I decided enough was enough, and I bought some big plastic storage bins from a local discount store.

Armed with the plastic storage bins, we did a stocktake and re-organised the store. The store now looks lovely and our inventory is up to date for the first time since we opened our doors back in August. Where's the problem, you ask? Well, we had a bin left over, so I borrowed it as a temporary stash storage method. After all, by leaving my stash piled up on a shelf, I was risking a valuable asset! I could lose the lot to moths at any time! Although I suspect my stash might have defeated even the most famine-striken of moths, I was not prepared to take the risk, so I appropriated the bin and carted it up to my flat.

By sitting on the filled plastic bin, I managed to close the lid. There were still a couple of bits of stash lying around, but the majority of my valuable asset was safely stowed away. Unfortunately, a full plastic bin looks a lot less scary than shelves crammed with wool, brimming shopping bags and baskets, paper bags hanging from bedroom doors and balanced precariously on top of wardrobes... a plastic bin induces the delusion that the stash is under control. This was dangerous when I'd just received a discount voucher from another LYS in my former home town on the nice side of the Yarra. Add to that, the LYS stocked some yarns that I hadn't been able to obtain from my supplier - ROWAN yarns!! They also had some discontinued Rowan stock. I need say no more. Next weekend when I go to pick up my shopping, I'll stop by the discount store and buy a couple more plastic bins...