I was reading a novel set in an overstuffed yarn shop, where classes were held. Every imaginable course seemed to be offered: spinning, weaving, felting, dyeing wool, knitting, etc. Despite all that was available, a comment was overheard that Mimi (the owner) herself had a hoard of yarn in various plastic bags stuffed in closets and drawers “just like the rest of us.” I thought about that awhile. I too have an ongoing relationship with yarns, crocheting being my first choice, but I switch now and then to knitting for a little variety. I, too, have bags of assorted balls and skeins and small bits stored in totes and overflowing into corners in closets. When my sister came to visit recently she said, “can I move some of this yarn so my clothes will hang straighter?” Maybe there is too much? I only buy yarn when it is on sale, or if I am in the middle of a project that can’t be completed without another skein of cobalt blue or that rich red, or I am short on the basics like cream or white. Or if I see a new colour that is so beautiful that it reaches out and claims me as I stroll past. Our church has a mission project, “Romania Knitters,” that ships boxes of items to orphanages: knitted and crocheted blankets, hats, mittens, children’s clothing and simple toys. The group attracts a varied group of volunteers, all ages, attendees or not. I receive a call often, “I have a lot of yarn right now. Please say you need some more.” OK, I’m all right with that. My friend who scours garage sales gives me the same call.
So, I have more bags of yarn to tuck in somewhere. Sometimes the yarn on offer is a huge ball that will likely make a project by itself; often I go in search of something to coordinate. I don’t like to begin without knowing that I will be able to complete the task. That, in fact, is a theme in my life. I am not a procrastinator. I am, however, reluctant to begin anything that is a new learning curve for me. I don’t want to try if I expect to have difficulty completing a new skill. I dread the thought of failing in something. Years ago it took some coaching by two friends to get me involved in a local writing group. I had the desire to write but all attempts on my own failed to produce anything suitable. I hadn’t found my own “voice” and was still trying to write in a genre that wasn’t my style. A little consistent mentoring and several workshops later and I was underway. We went for several years to Edmonton to attend the Alberta Christian Writers Fellowship, a writers’ group that met every fall to teach, encourage and critique the work of new, struggling and accomplished writers. As usual I held back, staying with my friends and observing, but I learned a great deal despite myself. That is often the way with me. Every new thing I feel led to try, the only hindrance is me. Whatever I am working on, I keep tripping up on my preconceived ideas of what it is going to look like. It is very difficult to hone my skills if I don’t begin and then give myself permission to learn as I go. I am still a work in progress.