My Fiber Addiction

Romance Writer Weekly

This week, we’re talking about hobbies, and my reaction was, “That’s easy. Knitting.”

I’ve knitted since I was a child and my mother taught me how to create fabric by making loops with sticks and yarns. As one might expect, those early efforts, executed in whatever scraps Mom was willing to sacrifice, were lumpy, off-kilter, and praised because I’d gotten through them, not because they were more than learning exercises.

Blue and white socks with swans and celtic knows
My Valkyrie socks, a personal triumph in color work. The yarn lies flat and doesn’t bunch, as can happen when you don’t allow the strands behind the knitting enough ease.

I persevered, though, and my skills increased over time. I created scarves and sweaters I could wear in public without feeling embarrassed. Then, fifteen years ago, I really caught the bug. Rather, I discovered the wonderful world of independent yarn dyers and beautiful fibers delivered to my front door. I bought a few skeins (less then five) and promised my husband my stash would not outstrip the small plastic tub I stored them in and I’d knit a skein before I bought more.

:: pause for hysterical laughter at how long that idea lasted ::

One small tub grew to two, then to three, and then a bigger tub, and I started buying yarn for projects I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to for months. Some of that yarn is still marinating in my stash, but that didn’t stop me from buying more. As of today, Ravelry, home to so many fiber afficianados, tells me I own 323 separate colorways. That’s not skeins of yarns, but colors. Many of those have multiple skeins, so I’m easily topping 600 in the skein department. That is a lot of yarn, and I know I haven’t added everything to my Ravelry collection. (Every time my husband says this might be an excessive amount, I point him two the folk who have over 2,000 colorways listed.)

A shawl in progress. Lace netting toped with leaves in a blue-grey linen yarn.
The project I’m currently working on, my Leaf Wreath Shawl. This is in a gradient yarn, though you can only see the barest change to a richer blue at the top of the leaves.

After being laid off from the corporate job a year ago, adding to the stash became a luxury which could be cut from the budget. But that’s why knitters stash in good times; so we have something to in lean ones. It’s allowed me to reconnect with some of those projects which have lingered too long in an unfinished state. Knitting soothes me. Except when it goes wrong. Then it’s an invention of the devil sent to test my soul and patience.

I will freely admit to being a selfish knitter. I knit for my own pleasure and have not made it a habit of turning out baby blankets or adorable little sweaters for friends who are expecting. First, I’m not seeing that many pregnancies in my circle. Second, my rate of finishing projects is only slightly faster than George R.R. Martin writes. Which is why when I told my husband I had gathered yarn for a bucket list project, his reaction was “Do you really want to put yourself through that?”

Picture of Shetland Lace Shawl
Shetland lace with few rest rows, done in cobweb weight yarn. Lots of cobweb weight yarn. Image copyright Sharon Miller

“That” is the Princess Shawl, inspired by one presented to Princess Alexandra in 1861, hand knit in Shetland Lace. This is a piece which I know will take years, and which I will likely have to frog sections of numerous times. I have done a swatch, but need to block it so I know if I want to use size 0 or size 00 needles. (There are needles smaller than those sizes. I may be crazy, but I’m not that crazy.)

What about you? Do you knit or crochet, or enjoy any other fiber-related hobbies? Let me know in the comment below, then hop over to see what Leslie Hatchtel enjoys doing. But don’t forget to grab your FREE copy of her book, Bound to Morocco.

Bound to Morocco cover“What if your family sold you to a Sultan’s Harem? Drugged and kidnapped, Shera finds herself on a ship to Morocco to serve the Sultan. Abandoned and alone, Shera must find a way to escape and confront the people who betrayed her. She gets help from an unlikely source: the man who kidnapped her. But, he has his own secrets. And, when their partnership turns to love, the two must face constant danger to endure. But will they ever be free?”

Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy.

The patterns for the Valkryies socks and the Leaf Wreath Blattkranz Shawl are both available for purchase on Ravlery.