Elsewhere online I'm doing a "31 Days, 31 Things That Make Me Happy" sort of meme. Though I expect that eventually I'll get more specific about things within yarncrafts that make me happy (such as wool, or 2mm needles, or lace knitting), for now, here's the post about yarncrafts in general and how they make me very happy. (Some of this has been told on this blog before, but this is a make-up post, so I want to get it out there anyway!)
Things That Make Me Happy: Yarncrafts! For me, that's knitting and crocheting. I started crocheting in late 2000/early 2001. I'd always wanted to give it a shot, and I'd even found a kind of cheap yarn that had a cute picture of sheep on it and a little bit of wool (this turned out to be Wool-Ease by Lion Brand, which I used for years and years and am just destashing the last of these days). I made a few blankets and was quite happy with them.
Then in May 2001, we bought our condo, and right around that time I learned to knit. I mainly learned by using The Complete Idiot's Guide To Knitting And Crocheting, and I learned using 14" long straight metal needles on acrylic yarn. In retrospect, it's amazing I learned at all with those materials, and I totally deserve an award. It is not surprising to me that, while learning to purl, I grabbed the needles out of the yarn and threw them against the wall. Also, I was trying to learn from a book that was primarily teaching me English-style throwing instead of Continental-style picking. After several months of crochet, I was used to holding the yarn in my left hand and keeping the tension there. I finally gave up on doing it the way the book said and started trying it the way that felt natural to me, and it worked much, much better.
More than seven years later, I'm still doing yarncrafts all the time. I still know how to crochet (and have been doing a good bit of it lately as I turn out small market bags, which I'm going to try to post the pattern for over at the knitting blog soon), but I do prefer knitting. So far this year, I've completed 50 projects (as well as tossing or frogging 17 others), as part of my goal to wind up with a neater, more organized stash. (It's not working as well as I might have hoped, but at least I have a spreadsheet now.) Meanwhile, I'm also trying to knit from the stash more often than I buy new yarn. This is working somewhat better, as I've knit or started 67 projects from the stash and only 38 from new yarn this year. We'll see how I do by the end of the year. This doesn't really keep me from buying new yarn (and man, it doesn't help that Cascade 220 is the yarn of the month at Ben Franklin — I so want to pick up enough yarn for a sweater, maybe one for me and one for Grant, both, not to mention that I could buy lots and lots of yarn for new sheep), but it's kept the yarn-buying under slightly more control. More or less.
One of my most meaningful projects was a stained glass project using yarn from my late great-grandmother. My grandmother sent me her stash when she passed away, and though there wasn't enough yarn in any one color to make any specific projects with it, there was plenty to make a scrap afghan. And so I turned all that yarn into an afghan that looked a lot like this, and gave it to my grandmother that Christmas. In retrospect, since it came so early in my crocheting career, it may not have been my most skilled, polished project ever, but it made my grandmother happy, and it makes me happy when I see it.
Knitting makes me very happy. :) Yarn makes me very happy. There are certain things I've never tried to do, because I don't need more hobbies at this point (dyeing my own yarn and spinning), but I love the parts of yarncrafts I do participate in, and I'm glad to have finally gotten around to discovering them.