March 26, 2011

Blame It on Lucille Ball--a Stash Story

After my Jedi introduction into the world of knitting two years ago, I began knitting and planning knitting projects for little Amy Rose. I was still pregnant at the time and dreamed almost non-stop of this cherubic angel baby who would surely be my easiest since I did, in fact, have so much previous experience with 5 older children ranging from 10 years old to early twenty somethings. I would surely have excessive free time, I told myself, with this perfect little baby.

I bought book after book of lovely patterns, from the simplest to most intricate in style. I figured that I would eventually learn how to perform all of the most difficult stitches and techniques, so I may as well buy them now. And the yarn to make them. All of them.

This sort of thinking led to what my husband calls a time of darkness. The darkness being not the mood permeating our home, per se, but the vast sea of black ink found in the long-listed details on our American Express and checking debit card bills. I was on a tirade, purchasing all manner of knitting things ranging from Leisure Arts patterns found at big box craft stores like Michael's, to skeins, then hanks then balls and balls of more and more specialized yarns (the terminology increased almost as rapidly as my purchases--almost). 

I was mesmerized by the newly discovered beautiful local yarn shops here in Portland and Vancouver with their friendly, helpful staffs, and I couldn't believe the vast selections of everything fiber from online sources like Jimmy Beans Wool. There was so much to attain! I bought Addi Turbos, some for sock class, some for faster blanket completion. I collected Araucania, Malabrigo, Red Heart and Bernat yarns, all in varying fibers and weights. My book collection was getting absurd and was now stacking on the floor as I had used up the bookshelf. I considered getting rid of Steinbeck and Chopin to make room for Paden and Gardener. I was losing all perspective, like an 8-year-old budding engineer left alone in Lego land with his mother's checkbook, carte blanche. My American Express card nearly caught fire.

I was secretly searching for ways to make it seem like I was not buying so much, looking for nooks and crannies in the house for storage, then purchasing Rubbermaid containers in all manner of shapes and sizes to fit them. I can confidently say that you can fit enough yarn in one square Rubbermaid container to make about 12 pairs of socks (2 of them chunky weight), 2 afghans and at least 2 sweaters, depending on how strong you are and how motivated. You can estimate this by recalling how you did packing your last only-one-allowed carryon suitcase used on your last flight.

Daily, I was learning more and more online, joining websites like Ravelry and local yarn shop sites where I would learn about better and better yarns. I learned that nylon, for example, incorporated into wool yarn makes a more durable sock, then felt compelled to replace the old yarn I already had. Except I didn't remove the old yarn, because what if I learned something else and needed it back?

It looked as though the road to bliss could get pretty expensive. I started to wonder if the yellow brick road that Dorothy had  followed was yellow because it truly was gold. It might have even been a toll road. I sure hope she had some spare change in that basket under the dog.

Through these months of sheer excitement and obsession, my husband would remain encouraging--and patient. He still believed me to be a thinking person. Then one day, he decided to tease me by reading the lists of American Express charges out loud. Not the amounts, just the names of the stores. I think he thought the rapid fire sound might have greater comedic and, possibly, therapeutic effect on me:

"Jimmy Beans
Jimmy Beans
Jimmy Beans
Jimmy Beans

Then the debit card statement:
Crewel World
Jimmy Beans..."

...he stopped. I was about to explain that I needed a coffee each time I went out shopping. It was just part of the deal, and--"Hey," he queried, "Why did you put Jimmy Beans on the debit card? I thought that one was going on the AmEx."

Blank stare from me. On the outside. On the inside, my eyes were widening as I realized that I had done it. I had totally Lucille Balled it. And it wasn't just my red curly hair. I had gone so beyond the pale of rational thinking, that I had moved from not only trying to make my huge yarn fluff look small with all sorts of containers and storage spots, but I had started trying to spread the charges around, thinking they would look sort of, well, thinned out. A thinly veiled, hair-brained scheme that anyone in their right mind would spot in a moment.  I may as well have gone straight to a fast-paced chocolate packing factory and tried to eat all the candy on the conveyor belt to make them look boxed.

I exhaled--I hadn't realized that I had stopped breathing. I regained mental conscientiousness and gave a snappy retort, "uhhhhhh......"

"Honey," my gentle husband said, "maybe you should look at what you have. Maybe you have enough."

Inside I cried out "It's never enough!!!" But outside, I said, "Yeah, you're right."

I am happy to report that no marital altercation came of this. My husband, with incredible patience, waited for this latest craze of mine to burn out.

And it did. But not because I came to my senses, I simply filled up my closets--there was no more room.


Patricia said...

Janelle, I love your blog. I am so glad that I met you. I used to be addicted to knitting. I am from Chile and had a mother that could knitt anything. So I learned to knitt when I was 7. I became really good at it. But I moved to Arizona when I was 25 and it was sad, it so hot that it is hard to knitt and you can't wear warm clothes.(I missed wearing sweters, jackets, boots, etc.) I was so happy to move here almost 6 years ago and to have winters.
I almost feel like I lost my talent. I am ready to start learning how to read the instructions in English with all the abreviations,(that will be a challenge). I love to learn new things. So I am so happy to start this jouney getting back to my old hobby, and meeting new people and making new friends.

Patricia Judd

The Knitting Muse said...

Patricia, I hope you become just as addicted to knitting as ever!!! I am glad we are friends, too. Your entire family is so nice. : ) By the way, at knitting meeting the other night you were knitting SO FAST!!! WE have been talking about at work ever since!!! Talk to you soon,