Yarnaholics Anonymous

spring cleaning

Look at my shame. LOOK AT IT.

This is the story of how two well-meaning crafters came to terms with how they’re Yarnaholics. It’s a common story in the knitting/crochet community. A women buys her first skein of yarn and suddenly ten years have passed and her yarn stash has taken over an embarrassing large portion of her house. It has its own storage area in the basement and the office. It’s hidden inside the end tables in the living room. It’s squirreled away in clear plastic bins underneath the guest bed, and now her own bed too. The house is bursting at the seams, and she makes jokes with her husband about how he’ll be thanking her when the apocalypse comes and they’ll have plenty of yarn to make nets and sweaters and other post-apocalyptic essentials.

For Megan-Anne and I, yarn hording sprouted from necessity. There was a time when we exclusively knitted and crocheted items to sell at craft shows. We were coupon queens and bought one-pounders of acrylic yarn at the big box stores. We made blankets, socks, and a plethora of amigurumi and winter accessories. We had a blast and used the extra money to help pay for Megan-Anne’s premed program.

Then it occurred to me a few weeks ago, we haven’t attended a craft show (as a vendor) in nearly two years!

I went downstairs and stared into our storage area full of purple plastic bins. A couple of them held Geek-A-Long stuff and another housed our super secret project. The majority of them, however, contained yarn waiting to get turned into craft show wares. Even though I knew our circumstances wouldn’t change and there probably wouldn’t be time in 2016 either, I told myself we would do craft shows again next year. Like a true yarnaholic, I convinced myself we needed that yarn. Then, I went upstairs, made myself a cup of coffee, and tried to ignore the nagging feeling in the back of my mind.

The next morning, Megan-Anne and I went to our favorite diner to have a meeting over breakfast skillets and coffee. We were supposed to discuss sock designs and yarn, but it quickly dissolved into:

We need more space.

I don’t know if every designer or indie dyer dreams of the day they can buy a property to run their growing business out of, but I do. Almost every afternoon, as I get lost in answering a stream of emails about the Geek-A-Long, my mind wanders to how much easier it would be to launch our line of yarn if I didn’t have to climb over boxes of it just to get to my desk.

Umm… Did I mention Lattes & Llamas is developing a line of sock yarn? Yep, you heard right! Megan-Anne spilled the beans earlier than we’d planned. You can expect to see a formal announcement in the coming weeks, but here’s a sneak peek at our tonal primary colors:

Anyway, there we were, sitting in our usual booth, bickering about where to store our growing supply of Lattes & Llamas Vacation Yarn. Then the image of those purple bins popped into my mind and I blurted out that we were yarn hoarders.

Megan-Anne said, “We’re not yarn hoarders, Jac. We’re building a stock for the launch. It’s necessary.”

“I know. I’m talking about the craft show yarn.”

Megan-Anne looked at me sideways. “What about the craft show yarn?”

Then we ordered apple pie and had what Grandma Betty liked to call a “Come to God” talk. We discussed the reality of ever having time for craft shows again, and whether we would even want to use that yarn if the time came. Ultimately, we agreed to donate it to our local women’s shelter.

As knitters and crocheters, it’s easy to hoard yarn. Each skein is full of possibilities. You can hold it in your hands, rub it on your cheek, and think about what you could make with it. And the hardest part is knowing whether “could” actually means “will.”

If I’m being completely honest with you and myself, there were skeins of luxury yarn I should’ve added to the donation pile, but I couldn’t bring myself to part with them. I know I’ll never search the internet for someone selling the retired colorway I need. I know I only kept a few, because they were gifts, even though I hate the color or find it too scratchy.

Baby steps.

If your stash has gotten a little big and you’re ready to give spring cleaning a try, I highly recommend you donate the yarn to your local women’s shelter. During our Lent giveaway last year, Megan-Anne touched on the realities of domestic abuse shelters from the child’s perspective, but the same is to be said for the adults as well. They had to leave their lives behind, and what people forget is that usually means personal possessions as well. To combat this, Shelters try to provide activities in an attempt to rebuild normalcy and relieve stress. And as we yarnaholics know, a pair of knitting needles and a skein of yarn holds a lot of stress relief power. So, if you’re ready to purge a few skeins of yarn, give your local shelter a call. They’d love to put that yarn to good use.

~ Jac
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.” – Semisonic, Closing Time