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Friday, May 22, 2015

Confessions of a Yarn Ho

Photo by Rachel
I’m a yarn ho.
My husband says I need a twelve-step program for my addiction. I tell him that’s ridiculous. I can quit any time I want to.
I just don't want to.
I’ve taught a number of people to knit and crochet over the years, and I’ve discovered that my students have all fallen into one of two discrete categories: those who never even completed their first potholder because they simply didn’t get that into it, and those whose eyes take on the rabid glaze of a malnourished wolf cresting a hill overlooking a valley filled with thousands of plump, bleating, un-shepherded sheep.
Must. Have. More. Wool.
Idle Hands Are the Devil’s Playground. (I.e., I Am Utterly Unable to Sit Still and Do Nothing.)

It’s a visceral thing, this need to make. The deep and ravenous yearnings of a yarn ho are temporarily satisfied only by endless lengths of fuzzy fiber passing through the fingertips, inch by inch, twirling into intricate slipknots that fall off the smooth, cool hook or needles into swelling waves of gorgeous fabric.
The first five words of the Bible sum it up: In the beginning God created. And we’re infused with that same ache to make, whether it’s buildings or bridges, prose or poetry, theses or theorems, canvases or carvings, movies or magic.
Or sweaters, scarves, and socks.
I Lie Like a Single-Stitched, Torn-Calico Rug.
Telling my family I’m going to pop into the yarn store for “just a sec” is a blatant and shameless untruth of heroic magnitude, and every one of us knows it. The gourmand can’t stop after one potato chip. The boozehound never says “Whoa, Nelly” after the first bottle. And the yarn ho doesn’t walk away till she’s seen and touched and maybe even smelled and rubbed against her cheek every luscious skein in the store. Twice.
And when I tell Hubby, “I just want to finish this row before I come to bed,” what I really mean is, “Don’t wait up.”
Hos hoard.
Like any self-respecting junkie, I keep a stash. I have shelves, drawers, boxes filled with the stuff, in every color of the rainbow, and nearly every weight and fiber content ever manufactured. I could, at this very moment, make an amigurumi bearded dragon, a pair of size 25 clown socks, or a Cabbage Patch Kids chemo wig, without ever leaving my house. If the apocalypse or TEOTWAWKI occurred, I might starve to death or slowly desiccate from liquid deprivation, but I could knit my own body bag and crochet a virgin wool, Tunisian-stitch pillow cover to accompany it.
If I Love You I Will Clothe You.
Greater love hath no yarn ho than this: that she sacrifices her wool stock for her friends. I’ll spend $30.00 on yarn to spend 40 hours making an item that you’d spend $150.00 to buy in a store. Because I love you. I sweater my children, sock my buddies, and afghan new babies and brides.
And I occasionally cross the line into WWGM (What Would Grandma Make?) territory.
I Am Terrified of Channeling Grandma.
My grandmother was a dear and lovely and generous woman. Who made some hideously kitsch crap:
She’d glue seashells onto the oval dome-cups of pastel Styrofoam egg cartons, then attach a dozen or so cartons together in cylindrical shapes to form lampshades. Which she used.
Yarn-embroidered plastic canvas was her go-to answer for everything: toilet-paper snuggies, covered-brick doorstops, Christmas ornaments.
No combination of colors—purple and teal, orange and fuchsia, black and gold and celadon—proved too garish to be woven into placemats, napkin rings, or teapot cozies.
Every time I give a hand-stitched gift I search the recipient’s face for traces of my own birthdays and Christmases past: “Thanks, Grandma. I’ve always wanted a… yarn-covered, Styrofoam, beaded disco ball?”
Grandma was into yarn-bombing before yarn-bombing even became a thing.
Photo by Sherri Lynn Wood
(Love you, Grandma. Rest in peace.)
I’m Scared There’s No Yarn in the Afterlife.
A number of things disturb me about heaven, as described in the Bible. There’s no nighttime, and in fact, no darkness. I kind of like the moon and the stars and candlelight and the way the night smells different than the day.
Marriage will no longer exist. Most of the time that makes me really sad. There are moments, however… never mind.
And there’s nothing in the Word about A.C. Moore, Hobby Lobby, or Michael’s stores in heaven. But the Bible talks a lot about lambs, especially in Revelation. And lambs produce wool. So, logically…
Oh, God, please. Please don’t ask me to spend eternity without yarn implements. I’ll die.
Photo by
Diane Hamilton
Well, I mean… I guess I’ll already be dead. But…
Keep the harp; just give me some alpaca.
So There It Is: I’m a Yarn Ho.
I’m the woman trying to count stitches with her fingertips as her child passes the bleachers, in possession of the ball, yelling, “Watch me, Mom!” because he knows the odds are good that Mom’s attending to her blanket’s emerging picot border instead.
I’m the selfish shotgun passenger who makes her husband drive every single hour of every single road trip, because her nerves get frazzled by all the screaming in the car when she works both the steering wheel and the circular knitting needles simultaneously. (Everyone multitasks these days. Chill, people.)
And I’m the woman staring with the rabidly glazed eyes of a ravenous wolf at your lace shawl, or your husband’s Coogi sweater, or your toddler’s knitted Rapunzel hat. I’m not a stalker or a home wrecker or a child abductor; I’m just thinking, Oh, yeah. I could make that.
I’m At Peace With My Addiction.
I could have so many worse problems than jonesing after yarn.
Okay, I probably do have a number of other problems, but that’s beside the point.
My obsession hurts no one: it relieves fleeced creatures of their winter coats when such coats are no longer desirable; it produces beautiful and functional apparel and accessories; and it pairs nicely with my husband’s obsession for watching corny martials arts flicks, military history movies, and engineering/technology documentaries. “Wasn’t that weld-by-bolt-by-screw analysis of the construction of the Alaskan oil pipeline fascinating?” the man asks. In complete earnestness.
“Yes, dear,” I lie. “Now go ahead and hit the sack. I’ll be up after I finish this row.”
Sure I will.

Photo by elitatt

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