Can you have a slight obsession? If it’s an obsession, by its very nature is it not slight? Perhaps I just have an obsession that I can control – provided I can create something in the process. I have knitted for a very long time and although I’ve had times when I have done very little, but for the last nine or so years I’ve had something on the needles continually. It’s funny how you get involved in something again. I started work in an organisation that had two very enthusiastic knitters, who would sit in the staff room working away each lunchtime. I am pretty easy to influence and their growing work awoke a sleeping need to join them. I also discovered Ravelry, that is a complete delight for anyone interested in wool.
I’ve always had a slight but mostly controlled obsession with the stuff. I can remember standing in a wool shop in a rural part of southern Germany over 30 years ago and simply aching for some deep crushed strawberry mohair. I must have revisited the shop numerous times to inspect this delight and eventually decided that I could justify the expense and had a marvelous idea for a project. Not being in a particularly sensible frame of mind, I bought enough for a sweater/cardigan for me.
I had two daughters at the time, one was only a few months old and the other not yet three. I had no idea when I was going to have the time or even the inclination to create this fluffy pink object. The reality was that once we got back home to northern Germany, the delight in the wool faded like the Bavarian sunset. The wool sat around for a while. I did get as far as a swatch but once it was on the needles I didn’t even like it. I still ponder on this episode and no doubt there are deep psychological reasons to explain it. I can remember quite clearly the nagging compulsion to own this wool. I’m not a fluffy person really. I’m not even that keen on pink. That wool wheedled its way into my psyche, created a thirst to be slaked and demanded to be owned by me.
Thankfully, false desires like this are few and I have a very small stash of yarn. I know that a stash is a matter of pride with some knitters, but I like to have and make one thing at a time. I usually have plans in various stages of development for the next few projects. I currently have work planned to the end of this year, four projects in total. I get the wool according to the decisions made for each project. Obviously I have a lot of small bits of wool around and tend to use these for smaller items like hats. I still do get enormous pleasure from having, working with and creating things with wool. I love the process of knitting and the steady growth of ideas from a quick sketch, the wool needed, even the sometimes lots of swatches, and then the rhythm as the work grows. There is some research done on the benefits of crafting, making or other creative activities and I’ll be looking more deeply into this next week. Crafting for calm, or ‘craftfulness’ can provide a vehicle for meditation, distraction, reflection and concentration.
Just as an end-note. I gave the pink fluff of wool away a few years ago.