By Amelia © August 16, 2019

Every specialty has its own vocabulary, but a word shared by many is "stable". It's an acronym:

"Stash Beyond Life Expectancy"

I knew I was STABLE with my fiber stash, but I'm a newly empty-nester and looking at spending part of the year in an RV to have some fun before my grandparent years (no hurry, kids!) The US has so much natural beauty to enjoy and I've not had much opportunity since family camping trips as a child - Camping as a parent is work, so thanks, mom &dad!

This upcoming long journey has me planning out what to take and revisiting my "stable" of fibers and yarns. In so doing, I found that I was not only stable, but likely STABLER - I had Stash Beyond Life Expectancy and Reincarnation! If skeins were horses, with my stash, beggars would ride (to borrow a pre-automobile metaphor).

The pre-sale stash (well, a corner of it...)

I cut my stash in half right away with a stash-busting and extra-tool-busting studio sale in my studio and on Facebook and Ravelry; my friends near and far helped with the redistribution and well-wishes for my journey - I may even have added a few stops as we circle the US, so look for some meet-ups along the way or let me know when your group meets and I will try to drop in when I'm near.

It took a hard dose of realism, and Netflix providing the Marie Kondo series, to get me to admit I had too much of both fiber and tools. It's been a blast rehoming fiber and tools - so much fun to see friends and make new ones as they found special treasures and spindles they've been wanting, and the messages of how I got them started with my book, Productive Spindling (available online from Bosworth Spindles while I am away from my own copies) or classes they took (and yes, I am still teaching! Happy to do a group or private lesson while I'm on the road if we can merge timeframe and location :-))

But I digress. Half my stash was still STABLE. I did some back-of-the-napkin math on how much stash I'd need for the trip. If I did a fair bit (okay, a lot) of spinning, cranking, knitting, crocheting, nalbinding, and weaving, I might have the following "output":

  • 2 pairs of socks/week on the sock machine
  • 1 scarf or tote a week on the rigid heddle
  • 1 crochet/knit/nalbound had per week on the hook or needles
  • 4 oz. cotton/week on the charka
  • 4 oz wool/week on the wheel or spindle

Now, that's likely at least double the output I'd be likely to produce since I plan to be hiking and exploring as well - and I'm bringing a ukulele so there should be some play time as well! But it's still a starting point, so let's work this through. If I assume a 40 week journey (it could be!) and 4 oz. per scarf/hat/socks, that works out to 60 pounds of fiber. So I started out with that all lined up in the hallway and the reality that it was too much, sunk in fairly quickly.

But there is a bit of a rethink I do need to do - the handspun will feed into the crochet, weaving, and cranking, so if I spin for a week and then use that fiber the next week, and don't overload myself, then I would have a fortnightly (that's 2 weeks) plan of:

  • 4 oz wool, spin then weave/crochet/crank
  • 4 oz cotton, spin then weave/crochet
  • 4 oz yarn to crank, weave or crochet (or nalbind!)

That feels more do-able, 8 ounces of spinning every 2 weeks and some commercial yarn so I don't feel pressured to spin everything. But to be completely honest with myself (and you!) even that may be overreaching, if I get distracted by sight-seeing, ukuleles, or writing ... but it feels right as a starting place.

So what does that reduce my number to? 12 oz times 20 fortnights = 15 pounds. Heck, that's very doable in the RV - my clothes probably weigh more!

The "finalists" in the trip-fiber selection.

When I did mail order and wool shows, I had a lady who showed up at Black Sheep Gathering each year to buy her wool for the year - so it is possible to avoid stable (and even lots of stash). I'm hoping my reset and time on the road will give me a different perspective on fiber acquisition and use.

The fiber going with me fits in this nice large (waterproof!) tub, which can ride on the back of the RV on the rack:

The tub, filled to capacity with fiber & yarn.

I'd be interested to hear if you are a "stasher" or have a more just-in-time fiber acquisition policy - let me know in the comments!


© August 16, 2019 by Ask The Bellwether, posted at http://askthebellwether.com/


spinningdownunder said...

I've known this as SABLE: stash acquired beyond life expectancy. Whatever, the meaning is the same. It implies a duty that we all have towards our children to leave an assorted amount of goodies to be distributed among other crafty folk who will eagerly grab it so that they in turn can become SABLE and carry on the grand tradition. ;) !

Rachelle said...

I also know it as SABLE and I've achieved it in several of my crafts (knitting, spinning, sewing, weaving). My original log in for most places was sable before it became trendy, but I had to change to sewsable for most things as that still applied to me, but wasn't trendy and therefore was still available to use!
I do occasionally buy for a new project that I'm starting right now, but often I'm adding to stash instead, in fact I did that the other day, now I need to do more knitting!

Leslie said...

I'm a stasher. Impossible to not buy that gorgeous skein, even if I dont have an immediate plan for it. I crochet and weave steadily and know I will find a project for everything, even if I am a few years ahead on yarn. Have a wonderful trip!

thecrazysheeplady said...

You know...you could put together some packages of fiber goodies for your future self and have them ready for an enabling friend to stick in the mail to your next post office town while on the road...just sayin' :-D.