In honor of #SpeakGeek, I'll tell you about my lifetime obsession with yarn.
I’ve had a long love affair with yarn. Some of my earliest memories include raiding my mother’s stash to finger knit belts, headbands and Christmas tree garlands. As a young entrepreneur, I would often go door to door with my wares and kindly neighbors would buy these questionable creations from me.
I didn’t progress beyond finger knitting until a few years later, when my grandmother briefly showed me how to both crochet and knit. My lack of coordination made crocheting particularly difficult to control, so knitting seemed more favorable at the time. I started an adequately ambitious project of a multi-colored afghan square blanket. I think I managed about one line of that before it was put away.
Five years later, I picked up the hook again and attempted to crochet. My control was considerably better, and I figured out how to avoid dropping stitches. I first attempted to crochet a blanket in a round, and the result was semi-successful. It wasn’t round at all, but it was a blanket. I wanted to unravel it, but my mother made me keep it -- it now has a place of honor as the cat condo cover. After that marginal success, I decided to start on another blanket -- this one would be done in rows, and would be six feet wide and eight feet long. I had difficulty starting small, it seems.
I would crochet off and on after starting that blanket, and I would occasionally do smaller projects in between. I’m happy to say that I did eventually finish that blanket. Nine years later. This coincided with a sudden, rapid improvement in skill. I started crocheting DS cases and scarves, and the near instant gratification was addicting. After finishing a 9-year-old blanket, it was thrilling to take a project from concept to completion within an hour or two.
Many scarves, blankets and hats later, I started tinkering with amigurumi. This started in 2008, in between writing my thesis, but it didn’t get serious until 2010 when I began crocheting Cthulhu dolls. All of a sudden, I had a product that I could sell reliably... and my hobby became a home business, and an obsession.
I’ve always loved looking at yarn and I would often pine over the various colors and textures. But then came the concept of business expenses... and my humble bin of yarn exploded into a whole closet full. I have yarn of every color, thickness and texture -- I have wonderfully soft acrylics, intriguing wool blends and a plethora of cotton. I can identify many brands on sight (especially useful when buying the bulk “100% unknown fiber” unmarked bags) and there’s nothing more thrilling than finding a batch of vintage wool in a garage sale.
I have more yarn than I know what to do with, but that doesn’t stop me from wandering into specialty wool shops and pining over mohair and other natural fibers. While I can convince myself that discount acrylics will be used to create profit (and are therefore a sensible expense), I would be hesitant to actually use the delicate, expensive specialty yarns. I know that I could fill my house with wools of every hue, just so I could look at the skeins, pet them and dream about what I could make.
And then yell at my cats for playing with them.