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!


myself said...

Andrea, you are an inspiration :-)

I think I need to get to know more people to whom I can give FOs made from stash (I have a friend who likes to buy yarn for things that I make for her, which usually ends up adding a bit to my stash) ... my adjunct granddaughter is my current muse, but clothes for 1-year-olds don't use up much yarn

I really want to come visit CCCK but you must promise not to let me buy anything other than knitting needles and other stash-burning aids ... unless it's some yarn that would be absolutely perfect for a pattern at the top of my queue :-)

-Audrey (mataharimau on ravelry)

Andrea Tappe said...

:-) Thank you Audrey!! I assume you're inspired by the stash-gym, not the dodgy shoulder... :-(

Maybe we should set up a "training buddy" arrangement, where you bring some of your stash in and I ply you with coffee and encouragement until it's gone and vice versa (like arranging to meet a friend at the gym so that you can't pike out of doing your session)! ;-)

Good luck finding homes for all your stash-busters!

Cheers, Andrea