The Knitting Junkie

A friend of mine gave me the following article from “Lady’s Circle” Dec 1990. The author is a crocheter, but I think the article is applicable to any craft. I have taken the liberty of changing the words “crochet” and “craft” to “knit”.

Knitting – an innocent hobby, right? And knitters – those talented people who can take a skein of yarn, needles and create something beautiful and practical for adults, children and homes. They’re normal people who lead normal lives.

But then there are the knitting junkies for whom a skein or two of yarn and a couple of patterns are hardly sufficient to whet their knitting appetites.

For the knitting junkies, yarn and pattern buying are their weak spots. Yarn buying can be a truly horrifying experience for the uninitiated. Mates of junkies have been know to pass out cold in the yarn department, or most especially at the checkout stand. Normal knitters are content to buy enough supplies for one project at a time. But you see, junkies do not buy yarn one or two skeins at a time. They buy dozens of skeins. You can recognize a junkie very easily at the store. There’s a gleam in their eye as the monkey on their back takes over their senses. A person who is a totally rational being in a grocery store becomes a glassy-eyed zombie when suddenly faced with rows, and rows of yarn and needles at a wool store.

As their condition worsens their home fills with bags and bags of materials – each bag containing a project to be completed.

And, oh my goodness, the patterns! Beware of the junkie who has gotten their hands on yet another catalog of new patterns. There is an overwhelming desire on the junkie’s part to own every pattern that appeals to them.

There came to be, in my home, a growing need to tell of this addiction, because – yes, I am a knitting junkie. Knitting is the monkey on my back. My husband took the whole complex situation of my knitting addiction with great calm. Only his eyes showed his alarm at my buying habits. They would widen and the eyebrows would lift as if to say “She’s finally done it. She’s gone round the bend!”

“Do you actually require that much yarn right now?” he’d ask, as I completely filled a shopping cart with yarn.

“Of course not, silly. But I’ll use it eventually. I have to buy it now. It’s on sale!!!”

This is only one way the addict rationalizes their spending habits.

In my home, I have a large wooden case approximately five feet by six feet which houses somewhere in the neighborhood of two hundred skeins of yarn of every imaginable hue. I have another case a trifle smaller than the first, containing hundreds of patterns – undoubtedly thousands of dollars worth. The horrifying part is that it’s never enough. Someone, somewhere is always designing something new; something wonderful that the junkie simply must have right now for fear that it won’t be there later.

There comes a time when this problem becomes such a growing dependency that the junkie can’t possibly keep it to themselves, but feels they must share it with others. Unfortunately, there isn’t a Knitters Anonymous to help out.

Some friends and family looked amused when I began knitting. (My mother, bless her heart, unwittingly led me to this addiction.) Some saw this hobby, I’m sure, as simply another way to spend my husband’s money. One sister-in-law looked with disdain at my new hobby and insisted that her brother was indulging me much too much. Others just smiled and probably thought “Isn’t that cute, she has a hobby.” A brother-in-law called me “Granny” as I sat there knitting one project after another. Then on Christmas and birthdays, these Doubting Thomases watched as I gave my homemade presents away to others. Then came the oohs and ahhhs. “Did you make this yourself?” someone would ask.

“Yes, I did.” I’d reply smugly, hoping the Doubting Thomases were listening. Here you see the knitting junkie getting strokes. The junkie feels justified in buying more patterns and more yarn; after all people like their work.

Then people at my husband’s place of business caught the sight of some of my knitting and wanted to buy it. Business boomed! Here’s yet more justification for more yarn buying. I was making money at this now.

That’s when young people in my neighborhood began to show an interest in knitting. Several of them expressed a desire to learn, so I willingly taught them. That’s when I became a pusher!

Fortunately, this is one addiction that won’t kill them, maim them, reduce them to vegetables or cause them to hurt others. If they must have something in their hands, something to do; instead of cigarettes (regular or funny ones), or a glass of something, or a can of beer, give them knitting needles and some yarn. I guarantee they’ll get a wonderful sense of accomplishment – a high of the best kind.

I am, and will always be, a knitting junkie, and proud of it!

–Alanna Parke Kvale

I thought is was funny, but it also hit home in several places. Oh well, just one more skein of yarn.

Love, Arlene in Toronto

“There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.” – Unknown

Originally submitted to the Knitlist by Arlene Williams and reprinted here with her permission.

Copyright © 1998 by Arlene Williams. All Rights Reserved.
No portion of this document may be copied in any format without the written consent of the copyright holder.

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