I’ve dabbled with knitting and crocheting for several years. Yarns have such beautiful colors and textures; and I find knitting patterns to be intriguing geometric formulas. This year, I have amped up my efforts to learn to knit and in the process I have been introduced to a rich and passionate community with its own eccentricities.
One common quirk that knitters seem to share is having a ‘stash’. A stash is a collection of yarn accumulated for undefined projects. I can certainly understand the compulsion to purchase serendipitous yarn, but the minimalist in me shutters at such a thing (this is a constant battle for me).
In fact, just recently, a knitting book was recommended for its concise directions and creative patterns. I quickly went to order the book but as I was considering the purchase, I remembered that I had a knitting book I haven’t even read. This got me thinking about the line between buying for inspiration and allowing the purchasing to become the hobby.
Every pursuit or interest has its own peculiar accoutrements and it is very easy for your true passion to be replaced with researching, hunting for, and obtaining all that wonderful paraphernalia. It is fun to learn about all the intricacies of a hobby; it is necessary to get things in order to get started and become proficient; and, it is certainly inspirational to have wonderful, new materials or tools. Somewhere in between is a place of creative productivity.
Stash syndrome is common in potters as well – but instead of fiber, potters seek out and collect tools. There are so many compelling tools that promise to help us make better pots. It is very easy to have lots of toys but never really play with any of them because we are too diverted by getting more gear. But acquiring tools will not make better pots; however, practicing with them will. If getting a new tool inspires you to try new things, go for it. But if the new tools don’t have any clay on them, stop shopping and go throw.
*Confession: I have stash syndrome with my Kindle. I spend more time searching for books that I might want to read rather than reading the books I know I want to read. I need to awaken my inner minimalist so I can focus on what brings me real pleasure.