GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED. Thank you for all your entries. Results are on their way…
So… what shall we do today? How about a book review with a giveaway? Does that sound OK?
Introducing A Stash Of One’s Own, an anthology of musings about yarn collections, edited by Clara Parkes.
At first I thought I was the wrong person to write this review, because for all that I love yarn, and knitting, and crochet, I have near-zero desire for stash. (Sorry. I do realize that this makes me a weirdo, and is the main reason that you cross the street when you see me coming. I understand.) In this house, excess yarn gets rounded up and taken to the charity shop fairly regularly, and the stuff that I do need to keep for projects occupies an annoying amount of real estate in the corner of my study. But this book is edited by Clara Parkes, whom I’ve admired ever since I first read The Knitter’s Book Of Yarn, so I couldn’t resist.
A Stash Of One’s Own is a collection of 23 essays about stash, written by all sorts of folk who’ve had cause to seriously consider the matter, including designers, spinners, sheep-farmers, and bloggers. Amongst the authors, there’ll likely be some names you’ve heard of (Stephanie Pearl McPhee, Franklin Habit, Amy Herzog, perhaps?) as well as some you maybe haven’t.
And I have to say that even as a stash-phobe, I loved this book. I loved reading about people’s very different experiences of their relationships with their yarn. The most interesting thing wasn’t the stash, it was the personal stories: Franklin Habit’s childhood yearning for yarn that was “not for boys” which led to him buying all the pretties without much discernment the moment he hit adulthood, Clara Parkes’ reflections on the memories twisted up in her yarn, Meg Swansen on the feelings evoked by the stash of her famous mother (Elizabeth Zimmerman)… though I guess that when you have professionals curating your stuff, it becomes an archive rather than a stash.
Amongst the diverse voices, there were themes. It was interesting how many of the writers mentioned Marie Kondo,* even if it was to metaphorically chuck her methodology out of the craft room window. And many of the authors at least implicitly addressed the guilt around having this huge amount of stuff. Meanwhile Susan B. Anderson talked about getting rid of yarn. But there were three writers whom I enjoyed the most: Stephanie Pearl McPhee, because frankly she could write about tying her shoelaces and still make it funny and wry, Amy Herzog, because I could relate to her thoughts on having yarn in the house without it constituting stash, and Debbie Stoller, because she’s a feminist and she challenges the idea of stash being a cheeky, naughty, secret that should be hidden away by women, from their (male) partners.
If you like people’s stories, you’ll love this book. If you want a reference guide to managing all 20 000 skeins of your yarn collection, maybe look elsewhere.
And the book did change my mind about something: I do have a stash, it turns out, but it’s a stash of needles and hooks and notions and books, not of yarn. And that’s OK.
A Stash Of One’s Own was published on the 12th September 2017 by Abrams Press, and is available worldwide.
So I think I mentioned a giveaway? Abrams Press is very generously offering one lucky reader of this blog the chance to win a copy of A Stash Of One’s Own. Usual Twisted giveaway procedures apply. To enter, leave a comment on this blog post. To gain a sneaky additional entry, ‘like’ The Twisted Yarn Facebook page here and then leave a comment on the Facebook post about this giveaway. The contest will be open for a week, beginning RIGHT NOW, and closing on Sunday 5th November at 12.00 midday, UK time. After the gong sounds to mark the end of the competition, the inscrutable folks at random.org will be used to select a winner. I’ll then contact the person for their address, which I’ll pass on to Abrams Press so that they can send out the prize. If I can’t get hold of the winner within a week, another winner will be selected at random. GOOD LUCK!
∗ Queen of getting rid of stuff. You’ll love her or you’ll hate her.