There are tons of threads on Ravelry that allow posters to show off their yarn stashes. To the uninitiated, knitting is much like any hobby. Take origami, for instance:
Yarn is similar. A pattern calls for 1300 yards, but the skeins are 400 yards each, so instead of 4, you buy 5. But then, you knit below gauge and only use 4. But then, you keep the 5th ball instead of returning it because hey, some day it might get a hole and need to be patched, or perhaps this yarn might make a nice matching hat, since sweaters with matching hats are totally chic:
If I go into a yarn store, I don't always have a project in mind, either. Maybe there's a sale, or I'm in for a new needle and something pretty catches my eye. I might start going through possible projects for the skein, trying to sniff out the potential. I bring home the new yarn and plop it in a box, hoping to use it on my next project. Thus, stash is created.
Stash levels vary from knitter to knitter. There are people who just buy what they need, return what they don't use, and donate any fractional amounts to thrift shops. There are people with a teeny little bag by the couch. There's me, with two unfilled boxes arranged in colors and neutrals:
And so on, and so on... until we reach professional yarn stashing levels. Mochimochiland did a blog post about a huge yarn stash that is as big (or bigger) than some yarn stores:
Which leads me to wonder: what's the "healthy" limit? Is there a point where you run out of time to knit all of the yarn you own (we call this SABLE: Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy)? Is it really so bad to have a ton of materials for a hobby? It's just yarn, right?
Depending on the amount of space one has, and the tolerance of roommates or family members, that amount could vary substantially. For me, I find myself getting a little depressed when my stash fills up my two little boxes. I look in there, remember all the potential I'd given to those purchases, and start to feel hopeless to achieve the goals. If I'm planning a big project, though, I generally DO buy new yarn for it (something that befits the pattern), so the majority of my stash is comprised of single balls that are completely unrelated. Looks like tons of accessories are in my future...
How about you? What's your stash like, and what's "too much"?