Well, enough odd introspection. Enough rambling holiday tales. Let's talk about yarn.
I'm only a very new knitter, and in general I'm not exactly crafty, but I'm sort of getting hooked. The meditative powers of knitting are, of course, well known. And crafting things is good creative cross-training. I get more writing ideas when I'm engaged in a physical project like knitting or sewing.
I am wary, however, of the stash. A few years back, I made a foray into quilting (and maybe I'll go back to it when the sewing machine can be set up without endangering curious little ones). I have such a high tolerance for repetitive, boring tasks that I enjoyed it quite a bit, and made one or two things I was happy with. But shopping for fabric played a large part in the whole enterprise: buying fabric that might one day be used, or buying one thing, then using another. Now we have an entire piece of furniture dedicated to storing my fabric stash. It is a little cupboard in the hall, and, although it also does a nice job holding up a decorative bowl full of fossilized clams, it also seems kind of wasteful and silly, and I'd really rather not build up a yarn stash that also needs its own piece of furniture. (Let alone spend the money that would require. The day care costs: Yowch, they are killing us.)
Enter the nearby giant thrift store. A week or so ago, I discovered the bin of plastic bags of used (or should I say pre-owned) yarn, and dug around long enough to find this:
I'm starting to make a striped, felted bag out of it, and I'm loving imagining the history of the material. It feels like I'm carrying out work the previous owner never got to, and I feel a responsibility to her. Look at those labels! This is old stuff. And the photo doesn't show this, but there were also tiny pieces of yarn coiled into meticulous little skeins. Too short to use for anything I know about, but carefully saved nonetheless.
I'll be keeping my eyes on the yarn bin at the thrift store from now on. I like the idea of basing these little projects on scavenging rather than shopping, carrying out the good intentions of someone's long-ago shopping trip. And maybe someday somebody will return the favor by putting the remains of my fabric stash to good use.