Monday, March 7, 2016

Addicted to Yarn

Imagine a yarn den, where women loll in comfortable chairs, eyes fixed dreamily on the needles or hooks moving rhythmically in their hands. Fibers of all kinds spill from their laps, and trail exotic or homely lengths across the floor. Quiet attendants, soft of voice and foot, offer freshly-wound cakes of yarn to those whose stock is depleted. The air is redolent of lanolin and coffee, punctuated by flowery whiffs of tea. In the rough world outside, there are dishes to be washed, bills to be paid, floors to be scrubbed - but no one who frequents the yarn den minds such mundane tasks. All that matter here are stitch, gauge, and project. To the yarn addict, the world is indeed well lost for yarn.


What opium was to the Victorian era, what alcohol or medication is to our own, yarn is to me.

Yarn - or, to be precise, working with yarn - is my creative outlet, my treat at the end of a long day, my mental relaxation. It's the way I pass time in waiting rooms and airports, and my therapy in times of stress. What could be more soothing than crocheting a granny square or working stockinette in the round? Watching stitch after stitch slide off the needles or hook with comfortable regularity, though the world about me be crumbling - this is peace and sanity.

Of course every addiction has its downside. Yarn is so absorbing and forgiving, so quiet and kind. It's easy to spend more time with it than I ought, while neglecting more important things such as husband, grocery-shopping and cooking. When the design fit is on, I can (and do) spend hours on end playing happily with the same few yards of the stuff, lost to all around me as I struggle to perfect a stitch pattern or refine a technique.

"Addiction" may, in fact, be the wrong word for how I feel about yarn and yarn crafts; "obsession" is probably more accurate. Either way, there's a bright side: unlike many of the addictions that plague society, making things with yarn is actually good for our health*. And, as my sister says, yarn is cheaper than therapy.

Those of us who love yarn - and love working with it - know that every time we knit or crochet something, we add a little beauty to the world; we wrap loved ones and needy people in warmth; we give away a small piece of ourselves. So this is one addiction (or obsession) that I won't be too worried about. (But I do need to strive for moderation in this, as in all things.)

Could somebody please pass me that hook?

To read more about the health benefits of knitting and crochet, see these articles:
http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/health-therapeutic
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/25/the-health-benefits-of-knitting/?_r=0

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Speaking of knitting and crochet, here are some recent projects of mine:

1. A Triumph-ant Hat for Mr. M, featuring the modified logo of his favourite motorcycle brand:


The grey yarn is a sportweight, heavenly-soft 100% alpaca from a local farm; the red is Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock. The colourwork band is worked in stranded knitting, with duplicate stitching used for the "swoosh" that runs from the R to the H. It's lined with a foldover hem for extra warmth.

A BIG "Thank You" is owed to Techknitter, whose excellent posts on horizonal fold lines in knittingsewing shut hems and facings, and using Kitchener stitch to finish a hat top, gave invaluable help and guidance in the design and construction of this hat.

2. In progress: a new crochet edging, designed specifically for National Crochet Month:


Stay tuned for the free pattern - I'll be posting it sometime in the next week, with instructions for using it to trim a simple fabric scarf. This pattern will also be featured on the March 17th episode of Underground Crafter's (Inter)National Crochet Month podcast series.

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Wishing a happy National Crochet Month to all my crocheting friends - and happy National Craft Month to us all!

How are you celebrating?

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21 comments:

  1. Let's meet in the yarn den!!!!!!!! Regula

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  2. Fabulous hat for a handsome husband, wonderful job! I do appreciate all the expertise you share with your readers. thank you. a yarn den would be wonderful, from Iowa.

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  3. Oh yes! I have a yarn obsession indeed. But as you say, better a yarn obsession than some others. Great hat. The pattern is wonderful as is the crochet. Could we please meet in the yarn den?
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  4. I didn't realise there was a National Crochet month! I have moved my yarn obsession to fabric obsession for the time being (my obsessions come and go) but I do feel similarly in that working with my quilt makes me happy and gives me comfort. x

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  5. Please add me to your yarn-den list! Shall I bring the cookies?

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  6. I don't think I'm addicted to yarn, but Lord knows it's hard to lay the needle down once I get started. I tell myself that I'll just crochet to the corner, but when I reach the corner I keep going. Usually Mac walks in and asks, "Do you know what time it is?" , meaning, are you planning on fixing lunch today.

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  7. Hi Sue, thank you for linking up. Can I please get on the list for the yarn den? That sounds like exactly what I need at the moment. I love yarn and crocheting with it. If I could just get knitting down, I'd really have a problem. A wonderful problem. :) I love the hat! How cool. Your husband looks very handsome in it. I love your new crocheted edging too, very pretty. I hope you're having a good week so far.

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  8. But do you inhale? :-) I got a kick out of your description of the yarn den. Are the attendants handsome men by any chance? Are we all in recliners? If so, sign me up. The hat you made is quite impressive.. does hubby ride a motorcycle? ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  9. I love the idea of a yarn den......I've been feeling very much like I could do with hiding away from real life and from having to make decisions which are far too emotionally draining. Your hat is a real triumph - such a clever idea and design. I especially like the foldover hem, what a good idea. Juliex

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  10. Please, please, please may I reserve a comfy chair in the Yarn Den? With toast and coffee? Pretty please?

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  11. The hat is absolutely fantastic, you'll be taking orders for that one. The Yarn Den sounds utterly blissful, a place of zero stress. I'm relaxing just thinking about it. CJ xx

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  12. The hat is lovely it looks perfect. I can relate to your yarn den 100% I Have one here and I get quite annoyed when people intrude haha. My crafting has had to take a back seat because of decorating commitments and I'm getting withdrawal symptoms yes I would certainly say I was obsessed too. :) xx

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  13. Dang, I fell asleep in the corner of the yarn den...the doors were locked, I had no way to get out...and there I was all alone with all that yarn...oh look, knitting needles...hmmmm what shall a girl do? .....update next comment.

    Love the hat. Your knitting (like your crochet) is always so perfect. Your tension is spot on! Wishing you a most lovely day sweet friend. :)

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  14. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, yes. The laundry? Not right now, I'm in the middle of the row. Grocery shopping? Nah .......I need to figure out this tricky spot. We can eat out.

    Yarn obsession --- yep.....I got it!

    My new blogs: http://pointylittlesticks.blogspot.com and http://meanwhileinflorida.blogspot.com

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  15. If I was near that yarn den I might never leave it. I swear yarn makes me more happy than just about anything, I know that is crazy but it does. I am utterly obsessed with it and very happy about it. Love the hat,
    Meredith

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  16. The hat looks marvellous; isn't it amazing how blocking makes it look more wearable?

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  17. It's wonderful your infos. Thank you very much
    ______________
    kristen stewart hot

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  18. Whether addiction or obsession, it really is so very good for you that it doesn't matter when you think of the benefits does it!! xx

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  19. Ahhh yes to yarn and yarns about yarn :) Yesterday I mailed off a crocheted baby baseball cap to a CA friend and today I got to meet with some friends to knit blankets for preemies. Thanks for showing your new pretty edging, and for the links to the articles. The hat you made for your husband is amazing. I admire your many talents, Sue! xxxxx

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  20. I had been ill for a while last year and every time I took my yarn and a hook I felt better. I love yarn and everythingas much as you do and I love my obsession, it is one of the truly positive things in my life. I like the hat you made for your husband, I wish I could knit. Viola

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  21. Hi there! I'm at work surfing around your blog from my new apple iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the excellent work!
    _______
    Fashions

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