I’ve said it, it’s out there in the open. It started years ago, I could see it coming but it just took hold and I couldn’t stop. If we are to analyse this properly let’s go back to the beginning and see how it developed from first symptoms to diagnosis.
I think the hoarding tendency started way back to when I was the age of 9. Then it was fabric before I moved onto the seriously hard yarn addiction. I was just dabbling in light fabric and trimmings, collecting pieces of fabric and lovingly stashing them away into a nightie case in my cupboard. I knew every piece of fabric in that nightie case, from the fairy fabric to match my wallpaper to the thick jumbo cord from a pinafore, I would unfold them, stroke the textures and refold them before placing them back in their bed. It then moved on to GCSE Fashion and Textiles, an A Level would follow before the degree took hold. When the degree really took grip I began to dilly dally in collecting Vogue and Elle magazines and stack them in my student flat, at this stage it is clear to see it was becoming serious, but it was still mainly fabric and light trimmings.
Fast forward some years, the airing cupboard is rammed with a fabric stash, the are drawer units full of glittery ribbons and bias bindings, Indian sequins and buttons of sorts and sizes but there are cupboards, under bed drawers, storage bags, chests of drawers, bags upon bags of yarn hidden discretely from view, projects in pretty boxes and a room loving transformed into the “Wool Shack”. I love yarn, I love colour, I love the fact that you can have a million different colours, different dye methods and finishes, weights, fibre contents and textures and only someone else with this infliction will understand this addiction. From Madeline Tosh speckled hand dyes from America, delicate natural dyes of Eden Cottage Yarns from the Yorkshire Dales to the robust yarn of the Toft Alpaca bread in Warwickshire. They are all gorgeous and I want to squish, stroke and smell them and be taken back to the weaving sheds of my university days where the smell of steamy warm oily yarn is still in my mind.
I ask you to watch this video and in particular 2.40mins in where she goes to her stash, those of us with this condition nod silently in understanding and appreciation, “yes, she has it too”.
Today I await another drop off from my trusted dealer at Wool Warehouse, something to keep me going, a little pick me up. Some of you will recognise that excitement of waiting for the drop; the sound of the postie walking to your front door, you trying to open the door without behaving like Kathy Bates in Misery, this time trying not to grab the parcel from their hands and slamming the door shut so to feast on the order and then work out where on earth you’re going to hide it like this old thing I’ve always worn.
Looking back again it’s hardly surprising; I come from a family of women who do not, who can not and will not not sit still to watch TV without something being create by hand. My gorgeous soft skinned Grandma always with her knitting needles chiming in her hands, her metal sticks ringing with her high speed knit one purl one. My mum, crochet, knitting, sewing, tapestry endless creations, for me the habit is crochet. We family crafties are not the only ones, I love to watch Gogglebox to see what the Michael’s family mum is making. I bet she’s got a fabulous stash off camera, show me that please Channel 4!
Knitting and craft addiction has recently been proven to be good for you and your mental health not bad, read this article and many others on this subject. For me being addicted to yarn pleases me, it makes me relax and sit down, when I can’t get my fix from being outdoors, when indoors creating is my alternative dopamine fix.
I follow Jane from Sydney, Instagram’s amazing Queen Babs yarnbombing extraordinaire, catch Jane at about 14.56mins in as she explains the importance of yarn to her health and happiness. Instagram, like Pinterest, is another habit of the yarn addict for the insight to the world of other addicts and their habits.
So let’s look at the facts:
Signs and symptoms
- Hoarding and manic collecting tendencies
- Packing a small stash to take with you wherever you go, leading to
- Hoping for a delay, whether it be at the dentist waiting room, GP surgery, train travel, roadworks, school play
- Getting through the day knowing there’s a drop due and the first call home is to enquire whether the postman has been?
- Habit of touching other people’s clothes and home accessories made from yarn resulting in a glazed expression, that is the sufferer thinking about yarn
- Glazing over when the day is dull, again, thinking about yarn
- An inability to sit still without yarn, looking at pictures of yarn or reading about yarn
- Anti social behaviour and impatience surrounding deliveries and receipt of goods
- Inability to travel without the use of KnitMap
- Wandering off alone in a foreign city, looking for a shop found on KnitMap
- Taking longer to pack holiday yarn than holiday clothes, photocopying / downloading patterns before leaving
- A fear of loosing hooks and needles at airport security.
- Usually hereditary, friendship inspired, personal preference.
- Two or more of signs and symptoms is a sure sign that you loved has succumbed to the condition.
Cure and Prognosis
- It’ll never reside, be happy
- You will live longer with a healthier and happier mind, we’ve seen the evidence has proven this.
Living with someone with a yarn addiction
- Get your own hobby
- Turn a blind eye, or
- Learn about it and empathise
- You can support this condition healthily, gift purchases of yarn will be most welcomed and appreciated all proven to strengthen the relationship
- Websites offering support can be found such as http://www.knitmap.com, book a holiday based on a yarn crawl
- Give time for the discovery of new yarns stores on holiday, be patient.
So, I’ve confessed about my addiction to yarn, am I sorry? Do I offer repent? I have to admit, no, NO! Sorry but not sorry. I think I have just given a justification, this therefore, is not a confession but a declaration, a coming out, I am a yarn addict and I am proud!
I have a cure to my habit it does not involve denial or abstinence but that story is for another time. Till then.