What makes me buy yarn?

So for today’s blog post I thought I would touch on yarn – otherwise known as ‘stash’. We love our stash don’t we?

In the timeline of stash development most knitters (but not all knitters!) start off with good old acrylic, in mostly pale solid colours. For perhaps baby gift knitting such as cardigans, blankets and hats.

Overtime (and this period of time varies depending on the knitter) we visit yarns shops and gradually meet more and more new pretties (yarn) and slowly our stash grows from acrylic to merino, from merino to alpaca, from alpaca to silk or cashmere (the good stuff!). Our fibre exploration grows and grows. There is so much natural fibre options out there these days and once you are hooked on the natural stuff it is very hard to go back to squeaky acrylic (IMO).

When you get to this stage I was told that means you are a yarn snob. But I say stuff that label. It just means you embrace the natural beauty of the world. Acrylic does have its place – personally I just can’t knit with it any more as it makes my hands itch.

So as you discover new fibres for knitting you also gradually get to grips with colour. I absolutely adore colour. For me colour is life! Why just have dull pale shades of black and white when you can have rainbows!

And colour is a huge thing to. There are deep tones, brights, pale natural shades and neons. There are solids, semi solids, speckles and gradients.

In fact the choice of both colour and fibre is mind blowing!

Now I’m going to set you a task – this weekend have a really good dig through your stash. What do you see? Do you see any trends? Do you have lots of one particular colour? One particular fibre? Do you have lots of every colour and fibre? Stash dive and explore. I promise you will be surprised when you look at the bigger picture.

For me colour goes along side my mood. So some days I crave bright pinks and reds (like a hug) and other days I need calm so I’m more drawn to blue. There is a psychology behind colour too. And as an holistic practitioner colour also means healing (I will talk more about this soon).

My colour palette used to focus on shades of reds or pink. Actually I would knit a lot with red. But over the last couple of years I have noticed this has changed and I’m exploring colour more & more. But not more muted tones. I’m actually growing a deeper bond with warmer tones of colour, although I’m still not sure about wearing neons. I have knit with them but I think you need a particular confidence to wear them and I’m not quite there yet. But Stephen West knows how to rock those beauties!!

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen me posting about my purchases last weekend at a yarn festival. Here’s a flash below. As you can see I really do love colour! I think its the colour that draws me to yarn purchases the most.

Did you know if you’re a member of ravelry and you have your stash uploaded there you can do in a colour search in your stash. I will put up a tutorial on how to do this over the weekend.

So take an hour this weekend. Review your stash. Explore what you have and come back next week to find out more about what your stash says about your personality.

Enjoy!

PS. I bet you find yarns you forgot you had too!!

 

Is yarn cheaper than therapy?

The more people meet in the fibre industry, the more people I find with a common connection – anxiety and mental health issues. There is a terrible taboo out there about mental health issues in general but its more common than a lot of people realise.

In today’s world we are constantly bombarded with advertising, who we should be, how we should look, what we should buy, what we should be watching on tv… the list goes on. There is a lot of pressure to conform to the ‘norm’ which causes stress – and this stress sometimes leads to anxiety and mental health issues that can have a huge impact on your life.

I say this from experience. I have suffered from anxiety for several years now. I have always been open about this, in the view that talking about it helps people to understand and break the taboo – although a lot of people still judge you for it (trust me on that!).

My anxiety started when I was very ill in late 2008 and I had terrible days of pure panic. I couldn’t breathe, I was on the floor gasping for air at times. I thought I was going to die of a heart attack from palpitations in my chest. But after seeing my doctor it was all down to stress and anxiety.

Thats when I got back into knitting.

I’ve always been a knitter really. My mum taught to make a garter scarf when I was about 4 and I remember going through primary school being crafty. In secondary school I loved art but sadly had to ditch that subject when I started GCSEs because it was in the same choice block as child care & development (and the time I wanted to train as a nursery nurse so I could either work in day care or be a nanny). So when I left school I drifted from this craft for many years, although I did make the odd baby gift for friends.

But when I developed this anxiety I knew that I needed to do something to distract my mind. Knitting just seem to click (forgive the pun! lol). It helped me focus, it helped me feel calm and it helped me feel in control again – and believe me that is the biggest challenge when you are having a panic attack! You feel really out of control of your body and you feel like the room is spinning around you. It is a terrible thing to experience and some panic attacks were worse than others.

So how does knitting help?

Knitting is a form of mediative mindfulness and research has shown that mindfulness is a very effective method for treating depression and chronic illnesses. The repetitive nature of knitting creates harmony and its rhythmic movement distracts your chatterbox (brain). Similar to yoga, knitting allows you to switch off to daily stresses, focus on the stitches/pattern, and calm your mind to allow your body to relax.

Knitting has many other benefits as well including increasing your self esteem through learning and creating, improving your mood, and reducing loneliness through involvement in knitting groups and social activities.

So is yarn therapy?

I would say yes 100% but I’m bias I guess as I’m a knitter and us knitters love yarn, don’t we. But as knitting is proven (through research) thats its good for your health & wellbeing, then that must mean yarn definitely is therapy.

 

Question is it cheaper than therapy. I’m on the fence with that…if you had 10 sessions of therapy costing 400-500 pounds would you spend that much on yarn? I’m saying nothing…my lips are sealed!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Have you ever experienced anxiety or stress and felt the benefits from knitting (or crafting in general)? Please leave a comment. Lets all getting talking abut this more to take away the taboo of mental health issues.

In my next few posts I’m going to talk about some of the other therapies that have helped me deal with my anxiety, sharing some techniques that you can try out yourself.

Dálki

 

BLOG POST UPDATE: There was over 8,500 downloads on ravelry for this hat pattern when I offered it as a free download when it was first released.

It’s now a paid pattern again but lots of people have fed back to me that they LOVE it because it is such simple construction – so great for budding beginners who want to make a hat for the Autumn/Winter (yes folks it’s not that far away now!!).

For some yarn inspiration you can see the current list of projects on ravelry here


You may have already seen my recent published Dálki Hat. I released it on Ravelry a few weeks ago, initially free for the month of February. But given its popularity and the numerous messages I have gotten to say “I missed it…can I have a copy?” I have decided to offer a discount this week in celebration of EYF.

Continue reading “Dálki”