On Stashing and Busting

So, I have never been one for collecting. There was a bit of a brush with Beanie Baby collecting in the late 90s, but after a quick explanation from my mom about what "value" means (something is only worth what someone will pay for it), I haven't been into collecting items for the sake of collecting them.  However since, rediscovering knitting, and then spinning, in the past year, I have a new collection, my yarn and fiber collection.

Having a full-time, well-paid, job over the summer (for the first time) I found myself stashing yarn like crazy.  I wanted to try out all the yarns I had admired from afar, or rather Ravelry, and I had nothing stopping me.  So I stashed and stashed and stashed.  I haven't totaled up the amount I spent on yarn in 2010, mostly because it will make me cry.  I am still totally financially solvent, but I have a somewhat absurd yarn collection, in my eyes.  Sure there are plenty of people out there with way more yarn than me, but due to many, many moves as child and young adult, I don't like having too much stuff, because it is way too difficult to move.

My goal for 2011, was to end the year with less yarn than I started the year with.  So far, I have been successful, I have stashed a bit more yarn, but I have knit up a whole bunch more.

Accounting for a fair chunk of my stash (which if you have Ravelry you can view here) Knit Picks Palette and Wool of the Andes for felted (or rather fulled) bags. Initially I had planned on making the Grazing Sheep Bag from I Heart Felt, the Billington Bag from the Knit Picks Independent Designers Program  and the Reflecting Pools Bag from the Knitter's Book of Wool (which as a side note is amazing and a must-read for all knitters).  This added up to quite a few balls of feltable wool, however I started the Grazing Sheep Bag and the intarsia was making me crazy, so I went back to the KP IDP program and found the Alluvia Tote, designed by the fantastic Allison Haas aka. Alaskan Purl.  I after digging through my stash I found I had a bunch of green Wool of the Andes, and decided to use the greens, along with a ball of taupe and white, to do the Alluvia tote.  The remainder of my WotA will go towards the Billington Bag and possibly an electric heating pad cover (which I am hoping to design at sometime before I stop needing the pad.

I must say, as I work on the Alluvia Tote which is a blast, I am really enjoying the fact that I am using up my stash.  For so long I was so afraid to use things up, like a nice lotion or fancy jam.  But really, yarn, like all wonderful luxuries, are best used.  Although that hank of Handmaiden Sea Silk I ordered over the summer hasn't been used yet, because I am not quite ready to commit it to a pattern, but I will I swear.

Are you a stasher or a buster?  Do you  have a hank of something that you haven't knit yet, because it is too special?  Or do you only buy yarn with a pattern in mind?