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:
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 knitting, sewing 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.
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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