A Sheep on My Back

By

A Sheep on My Back
A Sheep on My Back

Some people have monkeys on their backs; I have a sheep on mine. I just love yarn. I love to knit with it, and I love to buy it. Unfortunately, it takes a lot less time to buy yarn than it does to knit it up; so I have way more yarn than I have finished projects. I read somewhere that the average woman has sixteen unfinished projects. I take pride in being above average. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from wanting more and more yarn.

My craving for yarn began when a knitter friend took me to a yarn shop for the first time. The gorgeous colors dazzled me. The soft, cuddly skeins seduced me. I was hooked. I wanted to knit.

This wasn’t my first close encounter with yarn. My mother taught me to knit. I made one sweater then tore it apart because the sleeves didn’t fit. It was years before I knit again. In the meantime, I had a brief fling with crocheting, also taught by my mother. But, after making four afghans and a few odds and ends, I lost interest.

Yarn just wasn’t very appealing in those days. It came in colors that would make a traffic cone seem tame in comparison. The textures were rough and scratchy enough that you could knit scouring pads with it. If you wanted yarn anyway, you had to search it out in variety stores and dusty, forgotten corners of department stores. It hadn’t occurred to anyone to open a store that starred yarn all by itself.

The yarn store my friend took me to that day was like a little corner of heaven. I wanted to move right in, snuggle up among the skeins and go to sleep. Since that wasn’t possible, I wanted to take home as much yarn as I could. Much as I’d have liked to, I didn’t buy out the shop that day; I just bought enough yarn for one sweater. Also needles, stitch holders, stitch markers and a stitch counter. I was proud that I’d restrained myself and hadn’t bought an expensive tote for my new knitting projects; I still had one at home from my crocheting days.

My enabler helped me to re-learn knitting; she taught me the English method, which for me was much easier than the Continental method my mother used. This time I took to it like a sheep to grass. I knit sweater after sweater, but oddly enough, my stash didn’t get any smaller.

There came a distressing period when knitting as a hobby suffered a decline. That meant that yarn shops held going out of business sales. Naturally I had to stock up against the possibility that yarn stores would disappear all together. My skeins multiplied like Tribbles.

Then suddenly knitting was hot again. Yarn stores began popping up like new lambs in April. New knitting magazines with tempting patterns turned up in bookstores. I wanted to knit everything I saw.

And, oh, the yarn! It used to be that yarn came only in wool, cotton, acrylics and blends thereof. But modern technology, the drive to be green, not to mention spinner creativity, have created yarns from bamboo, corn, soy, sea protein and other previously unimagined materials. Exotic animals such as alpacas, llamas, angora rabbits, musk oxen and cashmere goats contributed their fur to the yarn craze. And let’s not forget the not-so-lowly silk worm. I want them all, of course, in every color and every shade of every color. Hand-dyers now create must-have color combinations. There are very few colors I don’t love.

Indulging my yarn buying habit has become easier with the proliferation of patterns for smaller projects, such as scarves, hats, mittens and wrist-warmers, created by exciting new designers. Many of the patterns require only one or two skeins of yarn. What’s the harm in buying just one warm, soft, fuzzy little ball of yarn? Never mind that the yarn I already have is over-flowing the boxes, bins and hampers I try to contain it in and is threatening to take over my apartment?

Stresses in my life have shortened my attention span and my patience. I turned from knitting sweaters to knitting scarves. I knit scarves in basket weaves stitches, rib stitches and cable stitches. I’ve knit using plain yarns that highlighted the stitch pattern, and I’ve knit in furry yarns that hide mistakes. I’ve knit with eyelash yarn, boucles and with metallic blends. About twenty scarves in all, some of which I’ve given away as gifts. Despite this, the critical mass of my stash has only increased. It’s so calming to browse in a yarn shop for an hour or two. And it’s so hard to leave a yarn shop without buying anything.

I soothe my occasional pangs of guilt with the thought that there are far more damaging and expensive addictions than an addiction to lanolin. And few addictions that result in such lovely and useful items.

About this writer

  • A Sheep on My Back

    Some people have monkeys on their backs; I have a sheep on mine. I just love yarn. I love to knit with it, and I love to buy it. Unfortunately, it takes a lot less time to buy yarn than it does to knit it up; so I have way more yarn than I have finished projects. I read somewhere that the average woman has sixteen unfinished projects. I take pride in being above average. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from wanting more and more yarn.

    My craving for yarn began when a knitter friend took me to a yarn shop for the first time. The gorgeous colors dazzled me. The soft, cuddly skeins seduced me. I was hooked. I wanted to knit.

    This wasn’t my first close encounter with yarn. My mother taught me to knit. I made one sweater then tore it apart because the sleeves didn’t fit. It was years before I knit again. In the meantime, I had a brief fling with crocheting, also taught by my mother. But, after making four afghans and a few odds and ends, I lost interest.

    Yarn just wasn’t very appealing in those days. It came in colors that would make a traffic cone seem tame in comparison. The textures were rough and scratchy enough that you could knit scouring pads with it. If you wanted yarn anyway, you had to search it out in variety stores and dusty, forgotten corners of department stores. It hadn’t occurred to anyone to open a store that starred yarn all by itself.

    The yarn store my friend took me to that day was like a little corner of heaven. I wanted to move right in, snuggle up among the skeins and go to sleep. Since that wasn’t possible, I wanted to take home as much yarn as I could. Much as I’d have liked to, I didn’t buy out the shop that day; I just bought enough yarn for one sweater. Also needles, stitch holders, stitch markers and a stitch counter. I was proud that I’d restrained myself and hadn’t bought an expensive tote for my new knitting projects; I still had one at home from my crocheting days.

    My enabler helped me to re-learn knitting; she taught me the English method, which for me was much easier than the Continental method my mother used. This time I took to it like a sheep to grass. I knit sweater after sweater, but oddly enough, my stash didn’t get any smaller.

    There came a distressing period when knitting as a hobby suffered a decline. That meant that yarn shops held going out of business sales. Naturally I had to stock up against the possibility that yarn stores would disappear all together. My skeins multiplied like Tribbles.

    Then suddenly knitting was hot again. Yarn stores began popping up like new lambs in April. New knitting magazines with tempting patterns turned up in bookstores. I wanted to knit everything I saw.

    And, oh, the yarn! It used to be that yarn came only in wool, cotton, acrylics and blends thereof. But modern technology, the drive to be green, not to mention spinner creativity, have created yarns from bamboo, corn, soy, sea protein and other previously unimagined materials. Exotic animals such as alpacas, llamas, angora rabbits, musk oxen and cashmere goats contributed their fur to the yarn craze. And let’s not forget the not-so-lowly silk worm. I want them all, of course, in every color and every shade of every color. Hand-dyers now create must-have color combinations. There are very few colors I don’t love.

    Indulging my yarn buying habit has become easier with the proliferation of patterns for smaller projects, such as scarves, hats, mittens and wrist-warmers, created by exciting new designers. Many of the patterns require only one or two skeins of yarn. What’s the harm in buying just one warm, soft, fuzzy little ball of yarn? Never mind that the yarn I already have is over-flowing the boxes, bins and hampers I try to contain it in and is threatening to take over my apartment?

    Stresses in my life have shortened my attention span and my patience. I turned from knitting sweaters to knitting scarves. I knit scarves in basket weaves stitches, rib stitches and cable stitches. I’ve knit using plain yarns that highlighted the stitch pattern, and I’ve knit in furry yarns that hide mistakes. I’ve knit with eyelash yarn, boucles and with metallic blends. About twenty scarves in all, some of which I’ve given away as gifts. Despite this, the critical mass of my stash has only increased. It’s so calming to browse in a yarn shop for an hour or two. And it’s so hard to leave a yarn shop without buying anything.

    I soothe my occasional pangs of guilt with the thought that there are far more damaging and expensive addictions than an addiction to lanolin. And few addictions that result in such lovely and useful items.

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6 Responses to “A Sheep on My Back”

  1. Very humorous and insightful! The authors imagery and enthusiasm left me feeling that I needed to run out and buy a shopping cart full yarn just to cuddle with :)

    Bravo!

  2. Sandy N. says:

    I LOVED “A Sheep on My Back” (Dec.) Beautifully written with perfect similes: “Yarn stores began popping up like new lambs in April.” The story made me want to stop quilting and take up knitting.

  3. JoElla Roberts Cudney says:

    Dace and I went to grade school together and lost touch. Enjoyed reading her article very much and would like her to contact me if possible. Thanks. Hope to hear from you, Dace. JoElla

    • Dace Pedecis says:

      JoElla!
      How exciting that you read my article. I remember you very well. Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed my article.

      Dace

  4. Gaida Pedece says:

    Labdien, Dacīt!
    Es Tavu rakstu par adīšanu izlasīju datora tulkojumā un ar lielu nokavēšanos. Man nav citas adreses, tāpēc izmantošu šo, lai Tevi pasveicinātu no Latvijas un Alūksnes.
    Es ceru, ka neesi aizmirsusi latviešu valodu un izlasīsi šo vēstulīti un varbūt pat atbildēsi.Gaida no Alūksnes.

    Hello Dacīt!
    I your article on knitting I read the translation of the computer and with great delay. I have no other address, so take this to greet you from the Latvian and Alūksnes.
    I hope that you not forget the Latvian language, and will read this and maybe chit atbildēsi.Gaida from Aluksne.

    • Dace Pedecis says:

      Gaidinj!
      Cik skaists parsteigums! Man prieks ka Tu manu rakstinju izlasiiji un atsuutiiji komentu. Latvieshu valoda nav aizmirsta, bet apruuseejusi gan ir. Ludzu raksti man kad vari uz Pedecisdace@hotmail.com

      Sveiciens visiem Aluuksnee un Riigaa!
      Dace

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