About a year and a half ago, I decided to handle a break up in a mature and adult way – by learning a new skill. So I went to Target, bought myself some knitting needles and some yarn, sat myself down in front of Netflix and YouTube, and taught myself how to knit. I didn’t make much at first. The first thing I made was a potholder. Eventually, I bought a loom and learned how to make hats and scarves. My first big project was about 10 months later when I hand knitted a blanket large enough to cover my full-size bed. The process took about three months but I found it extremely therapeutic for my depression and anxiety.
I wanted a new challenge, so I bought myself an assortment of crochet hooks and taught myself how to do that, too. I originally bought the hooks with the intentions of having my grandma (an avid crocheter) teach me how to do it – something we could bond over when she was too weak to do anything else. But unfortunately her health took a turn for the worse faster than we thought and I didn’t get a chance to do it.
However, it didn’t stop me from learning. And some point, I had to ask myself: holy shit, am I addicted to knitting and crocheting? Here’s what I observed:
- An overabundance of yarn
I have enough yarn in my apartment to knit hats for an entire small country. No lie. Yet, it doesn’t stop me from coming home with more yarn every time I go to the store.
- Starting a new project… and then starting another without finishing anything
Maybe it’s because I get bored midway through a project and want to switch it up, but I am constantly finding myself starting new projects while in the midst of another. I’ll be knitting a hat for a friend, then start a blanket for myself, and then I’ll decide to make a baby blanket for a pregnant family member or friend. Either way, this extends the process of making said projects, if they get finished at all.
- A good percentage of the last five gifts you have given anyone have been hand knitted or crocheted
A hat for my brother, three baby blankets (two for some cousins and one for a coworker), a blanket for my dad…it’s an inexpensive and more meaningful alternative than some store bought junk that they’ll likely lose or break – and they’re much more fun to make than wandering aimlessly for hours on end around a shopping center.
- You use it as a coping mechanism
When my anxiety and depression get bad, the only thing I need is to do something. When it’s an uphill battle to get out of bed and I haven’t the energy to get out and do something, I knit or crochet. It’s a way to focus my brain on something other than the darkness in my mind. It’s both productive and therapeutic, and it gets me thinking.
- You start viewing articles of clothing as a challenge
The world is now your oyster. You can knit or crochet anything you put your mind to. Or at least, you can try, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will turn out like it was intended to. But you’re sure gonna have a ball (get it…ball! Yarn ball. Ahahaha) trying. You might find a charming sweater at a store with a hefty price tag and you’ll suddenly be convinced that you can create an exact replica and do it for half the price (you probably can’t, but bless you).
- Your ideal night usually includes some kind of handcraft
Sometimes I sit at work and daydream about sitting on my couch and imagine the soft yarn slowly sliding through my hands as I weave back and forth. Hell, sometimes I do it at work. Either way, I can’t wait to clock out and get home to sweet, sweet needles and spend the one-on-one time with them that I work so hard for.
- You want to teach everyone around you
I have legitimately used “do you knit?” as an icebreaker before. And if the answer is no, I ask if they want to learn, followed by offering my services to teach them how to weave their own balls of wonder. Sometimes I lowkey get offended when someone tells me they have no interest in learning.
The first step is acknowledging you have a problem, though I have to say that knitting is a problem I would rather have over, let’s say, hard drugs or alcohol. It’s fun, it’s healthy, and it’s a good creative outlet. In fact, I would even go as far as saying that knitting is an addiction I wish everyone would have!
Feature Image via screengrab of New Girl
I’ve read your articles /stories, and I’ve found them similar to my life.
I’m getting divorced from an alcoholic verbal abuser, who I THOUGHT LOVED ME.. BUT AFTER MANY YEARS OF ASKING HER TO TAKE OFF FOR A WEEKEND TRIP, OR SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS GOING OUT TO DINNER IT WAS ALWAYS NO., I expressed my love for her daily, when leaving for work… going to DD for a coffee so she didn’t have to do anything but microwave it when she woke up, to get a simple “Ya thanks” Your stories make me sad we never met.
I’m not a GQ Model, nor the guy on the front of the Mad Magazine, but I’m getting older so what halfway decent looks I had are eroding, now that 66 has come and almost gone. I look forward to reading more of your stories, as I now have a daughter who is 21 & knows everything. I really need a fresh perspective on my situation, but most of my friends are dead or retired. I’m hoping I’m not alone for the 20 or so years I have left on this earth. Please take care, and I’ll be looking for your next article, as I sit here on Christmas eve, 2021, with nowhere to go, except home, and no one who cares where I am. Goodnight Kait.