This morning on my way to work I was listening to one of my favourite podcasts Two Ewes Fiber Adventures episode 14. The hosts mentioned in passing that they didn’t understand why yarnies feel guilty about their stash when painters don’t feel guilty about their collection of art supplies, and cooks don’t feel guilty about their stocked pantry.
I have also been keeping up with Natalie from Knitty Natty and her progress as she attempts to eliminate her stash. She has been very good about reminding her viewers that just because she is taking this journey doesn’t mean that we have to and even if you enjoy owning yarn, that is enough of a reason to keep a stash.
So, why do we feel guilt when we look at our stash?
Why do I feel bad when I have guests and they say to me “wow, that’s a lot of yarn” instead of being proud of my collection?
My thinking is that it goes back to the whole idea of knitting being the “women’s craft” and therefore “anti-feminist” (when we know it is in fact empowering to women and a political act).
What I mean by this is that men are not criticised for their garages filled with tools and gadgets. They are not chastised for collecting various items for their hobbies (such as modelling tools, guns, car parts, etc.)
Honestly, for less “womanly” activities, women would probably be celebrated for their collections. It would be considered empowering to have her own garage packed with tools.
Yet, remember how I said that the cook can be proud of their pantry? I know many women who have a collection of canned food and stocked freezers. (Of course this is in the case where the woman does the majority or all of the cooking/food planning).
This is because it is seen as a useful collection. If you have a stocked pantry you are a wise woman who is able to make dinner for her family without going to the shop. This means you have thought ahead, you think about saving, and you are innovative.
Perhaps the issue is that having a yarn collection means that the female crafter has claimed her hobby beyond just being useful. She has made the decision that her hobby is allowed to take up just as much space as her male counterparts.
Perhaps, being proud and instead of guilty of our stash is the next step in political knitting?
What do you think?