Crochet Supplies and The Ability to Ignore Them

By Veronica Smith – 26 Comments

When I met my husband in 1986 I already had a reasonable supply of wool. My stash was all wool, as I have a thing for natural yarns. I made him a jumper and he thought I was the most talented person in the universe, mind you when you are first in love these things happen. On our honeymoon some 14 months later he took me to a yarn shop and we purchased some lovely mohair, I had never had anything so expensive before. As the years went on more yarn was purchased. Soon I was pregnant with our first child – excellent excuse for more wool. Mind you I probably needed to have sextuplets to justify it all. I wanted another child so the quantity was OK I reasoned. However I purchased more during the second pregnancy.

I am not sure exactly but I think it was about this time I started hoarding yarns. I had progressed by this stage to include some acrylics. I was running out of places to hide the stuff in our tiny house. I was obsessed. Some strange monster took over me but I could not help it. In 2000 we moved into our new house. Hubby had a study and I had a craft room all of my own. Into it went the sewing machines and the fabric, and of course the precious yarns and threads. I had more room now so I kept buying more. Hubby never ventured in except to drop off the occasional coffee or inquire if he would ever be fed again.

Then it happened, the fateful words, “If you bring more wool into the house I am leaving”. I knew it was an idle threat but he was desperate to shock me into doing something. I then noticed something that I seemed to have ignored for some years. His obsession with computers. His study is large as he does work from home occasionally however now there was only a narrow path from the door to him. The rest of the space? Computers. Lots and lots of computers. Old ones, antique I think, new ones, the ones he was using – yes plural. A printer we used and some sundry spare ones. Seems he had been squirreling them away for some time now, you know, in case. In case of what I am not sure as computer parts are out of date by the time you get them home from the shop (yarn does not go ‘off’). It so happens that he was acquiring people’s cast offs and bringing them from the car to his study when I was in the shower or when I slept. My attention was drawn to them when 2 spilled into the hallway that leads to my craft room and his study. My shin located them in the dark.

I looked, and then pointed. We don’t speak of it.

The yarn is still building up faster than I can humanly make it into something. I will retire someday and have no spare money to purchase yarn so I need to stock up now – that’s my story and I am sticking to it. As for the computer parts, well maybe they will be valuable antiques and we might make our millions selling them to a collector. Oh, they are still coming into the house along with the wool. We each just turn away.

Ain’t love grand?

We could have worse habits.

What’s your household like? Do you have a house-mate / partner that is a hoarder as well or are you the only culprit?

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26 Comments

  1. Angie says:

    Hey Veronica! I thought I was the only person on earth married to a computer “geek” that hoards computer parts like that; our lives almost mirror one another. I have tons upon tons of yarn that I keep “needing” to do “something” with while my husband is constantly acquiring people’s cast offs to fix-up or sell or something. One of my favorite places to get yarn from is Big Lots b/c although the yarn isn’t that “good” they always carry something different and they all go for just a buck!

  2. HeldyDeldy says:

    Veronica. You’re a real good writer. Your topic and treatment of it had me rolling on the floor and sending the link to a few friends. Thanks.

    Rachel, congratulations on finding Veronica. She is perfect for here. For months our family has enjoyed CrochetSpot for the clear and friendly tutorials and super cute designs. This just makes it richer.

  3. Tina says:

    Veronica, we seem to be in neighboring boats! My stash has taken over both my living and dining rooms (I don’t cook, so who needs to use the table?) But my hubby has lately taken to reading “graphic novels”. You know, those things we used to call comic books. So, much like you and your husband, we each turn the other way and don’t mention the multiple elephants in the room. But I really appreciate your pointing out the fact that retirement will cut into the available funds for acquiring yarn. Since that will be happening within the next 5 or 6 years, I’d better get to my LYS this weekend and start stocking up.

  4. Diane says:

    Doesn’t every one need SABLE?

    SABLE = Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectacy

  5. wendy says:

    oh your story did make me laugh! I am also a hoarder. It started off with card making supplies, I have a room full of them. It has now progressed to fabric and that pile is starting to grow rapidly! I’m glad I built up such a stash though as now we have no money to spare for a while but I’ve got plenty to work with. It’s just a shame I didn’t hoard some yarn, I don’t have much of that at all!

  6. Peggy says:

    I’d been living with my Dad as a caregiver for the past year and took some of my stash with me, storing some of it until I would once again have a place of my own. I used some of it, added to my collection, and then recently packed it all up as my lovely Dad passed away in January. My goodness — I sound like Shirley Temple — I had a lot of yarn there. Fortunately I found some great large plastic storage bags at the recycling room where he lived, bags that had contained a bedspread set and sheets. I stored all my blue yarns in the bedspread bag (nicely divided into 2 large sections where I could split heavier from finer yarns) and keep other colors or projects in smaller bags. One miscellaneous batch I sorted into smaller plastic bags and placed in a large moving box (yarn does weigh a lot less than other items I packed), along with baskets with lids I used for themes (my college colors, etc.). Some are with me at my new temporary home that I’m sharing with friends and others are in storage ready for me to retrieve.

    Maybe I’ll have a closet like the one in my last apartment for craft supplies.

    Our stories have been great fun to read and compare to others I crochet with; one was hiding yarn in her basement away from her husband’s comments. (Her knitting and crochet pieces are fantastic — one just one a first prize at a knitting event in OH.)

  7. Sherry says:

    Veronica’s story made me laugh. I too am a hoarder of yarn, material and “seed” beads. But my first love will always be the yarn. I know I have “at the very least” enough yarn to make 20 blankets probably a whole lot more…I’m just estimating. And on top of that I have collected cotton yarn for dish clothes. My reasoning too is that I won’t have the money later in life. I typically buy my yarn at wal-mart, Joann Fabric, Michael’s or Hobby Lobby usually getting the acrylic yarn since its affordable. But occasionally I will go into a local “Yarn Shop” and “wish” The yarn is so much more expensive but beautiful!

  8. Mellie says:

    Haha! Oh, this is me, so much. I used to have just a couple of bins of yarn, but now they take up an entire closet. And every couple of weeks or so, I’ll go through my spreadsheet and update what I’ve used and what I’ve bought, and what projects I plan to use each for. And just like you, my DH thinks it’s ridiculous, but I pointed out to him that while other girls might be using the money to go out to clubs and bars, or buy expensive purses and shoes, I’m happy to be right here at home, crocheting away. And he’s okay with that!

  9. Sandie says:

    My husband builds models, mostly of starships – beautiful things, very detailed. When he recently painted his office, which is where he builds his models, I discovered he has about two dozen (or more) still in boxes waiting to be built. Even so, he comes home with more because they are “only making this many so if I don’t get it now I’ll lose out”. Almost all of my yarn is made into thing which go to charity with the occasional gift thrown into the mix. I do try to be reasonable since I don’t have unlimited space. But really, I agree with the other lady, I profess to SABLE. Hopefully someone will use it after I’m gone. My daughter crochets so it won’t be wasted.

  10. Metta says:

    A spreadsheet! What a great idea! I have huge plastic storage bins stacked up the walls in my craft room, and have to go rooting through to find out what I have when the idea of a project strikes! A spreadsheet! You are a genius!

    I have gone through a jewelry making phase…and still have enough beads and supplies to stock a craft store. Then went into tearing fabric into strips and crocheting purses out of it…Of course I have boxes and boxes of fabric that I haven’t used yet…in the craft room, of course. When I was crocheting “rag” purses, I decided that I wanted to crochet things with yarn again…and have begun collecting yarn and patterns, and now have 12 big storage bins full of yarn by color, and 4 fairly large bins full of patterns and ideas! Oh yes, several years ago, I took a watercolor class, and of course I bought every tube of watercolor paint available, plus brushes and pads of watercolor paper….and then even further in the past, I took a silversmithing class, and still have all the tools, findings, etc from that. Say, is anyone seeing a trend here? Yes, I will admit that I am an obsessive crafter! I kept saying that when I retire, I will have time to do all this stuff again….but I AM retired now, and finally see that I have way more things I want to do than I will possibly have time to to, even if I live to be 100! Do I have any regrets? Nope, not one! Keeping your hands and imagination busy is probably one of the secrets of long life…at least I hope so!

  11. Cat says:

    I’m not a hoarder… yet. I just started crocheting a year or so ago, so there hasn’t been much development in that direction. Plus, I’m a grad student always looking for money, not ways to spend it.

    Despite this, when I get look for a house, I shall make sure it has enough room for all the lovely yarn. Thanks for the warning, guys!

  12. Michelle says:

    I about died laughing reading this and all the comments. Can I just sum up by saying “Me, too!” We have computers standing around and computer parts in bins. We have a giant steel craft supplies rack stuffed with bins and bags. Right at this moment, I have two laptops on since I’m working, and yarn in a bag on my lap, since I’m taking a break. Craft and computing… twin creative obsessions.

  13. Valorie Davis says:

    I told my husband there is a special place in heaven for men married to women who crochet (and collect yarn). He just rolled his eyes.

  14. frances says:

    first off to the lady who lost her dad my condolences. my insane stash came in handy this past year. i was diagnosed with with stage colon cancer and did the chemo and three surgeries. one of the things that kept me sane was crocheting and the colorful basket of yarn by my recliner. i did some projects for charities and some fun stuff for me and my family. i am through treatment not yet in remission. for my birthday this past spring i got gift certificates for yarn! the only not so great part was my son found the stash i was hiding in the back of my pt cruiser!:)

  15. susan b says:

    I am not a hoarder…my name is Susan and I’m a yarn addict. LOL That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

    I’ve done better over the last few years – mostly because the Walmart in my town whittled down their Red Heart Eco Yarns to nothing. Darn them.

    I took my stash of extra Lion Brand Homespun, you know the extra half-balls of yarn and such and started a scrap afghan for ME. I love it cuz it (1) used up a lot of yarn and (2) reminds me of every ‘ghan I made with it in the past. It is the only afghan I have kept.

    I took my single skeins of baby yarn and made dolly blankets for my co-workers little girls. That was fun and fast!

    Currently I am down to about three (ok that, too, is my story and I’m sticking to it) projects that need to be done. LOL We will not talk about those that are half in progress – they don’t count because they are already started. I am so lucky. In my spare room in a captain’s bed, the kind with a BIG cabinet under the bed…guess where my stash is? No one can see it so it must not be there…right? LOL

  16. Veronica Smith says:

    I love hearing everybody’s stories – and thanks for reading mine.
    Everybody – star-ships, paints, seed beads, card making and everything else – craft rules!
    A special place in Heaven :) . I find it amazing that computers and crochet seem to mix well – opposites attract? love the “I don’t cook, so who needs to use the table?” but I am not sure my family would go for that. Elephants – I also have squillions, how weird is that?
    “SABLE” = Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy – brilliant.
    Sherry – have you read the article in the “fun ramblings” section called “The Stuff You Can’t Afford – But Why Can’t You? http://www.crochetspot.com/the-stuff-you-cant-afford-%E2%80%93-but-why-cant-you/#more-8649
    Susan B – The self confessed addict, “YA” meetings? (yarns anonymous) A 12 step programme on how to acquire and hide more yarn.
    Thanks for all the smiles, laughs and ways to stash more!

  17. susan says:

    ;o) Veronica…you have a gift for touching our hearts and making us laugh with truth. Keep it up

  18. felisha greene says:

    h ci V, I thought this was the funniet letter. I to have an on going pile,the colors suck me in.

  19. Karen says:

    Too too funny!! Loved reading this and all the comments afterward! Just couldn’t stop laughing! I agree with Felisha, the colors do just suck you in. Yarn Addicts unite!!!!

  20. Louise says:

    Veronica, I am a combination of you and your husband. My special room is full of computers and big bins of yarn. There’s cables and skeins everywhere. It’s a beautiful nightmare!

    I never realized how much time I spend thinking about computers AND yarn until now. There’s something appealing about the combo. LOL.

    Why is it with all my yarn I still never have enough for specific projects nor the right colors?

  21. MariAngel says:

    “I told my husband there is a special place in heaven for men married to women who crochet (and collect yarn). He just rolled his eyes.”
    I still have tears rolling down my face from laughing so hard I had to run for the bathroom!
    That is so my husband! He grew up with a knitter/crocheter so he knows about SABLE ! (I inherited his mom’s knitting and crocheting paraphernalia when she passed away in 2001)
    Thankfully, he along with my daughter and my best friend are enablers.
    And as for Elephants, oh yes!

    He has several collections that he will never part with.

    1) Assorted painted miniatures of fictional characters along with the supplies for painting such.
    2) Enough books to start our own lending library (about 1/4 are mine) LOL
    3) Computer parts, old monitors and ancient towers (what is it with those things!)
    4) Magic the Gathering decks (used to play pro but that was a lifetime ago)
    5) Poker paraphernalia
    6) Board games! lots of board games we never play! (stored in MY bedroom/office/craft room) My bedroom is NOT THAT BIG!
    7) large Graphic Novel (Comic book) collection

    I have:
    1) stamp collection
    2) yarn and yarn accessories
    breakdown of yarn: 10 large rubbermaid bins, 4 large boxes, 3 under the bed type storage bags, 8 reusable shopping bags, 2 large fabric bags. Most of which are stacked in my bedroom that also serves as the office. OH, and my daughter is bringing another bin’s worth of yarn. See above about enablers LOL
    My daughter found one of these vintage hinged velvet-lined carrying cases 2nd hand that has multiple storage boxes within. It’s packed with knitting/crochet accessories.
    3) 61 gigabytes of patterns, magazines, books, about knitting and crochet on a separate drive (computer has 3 hard drives and 2 external drives)
    4) that 1/4 portion of books of which about 1/4 are about knitting and crochet
    5) a plastic reusable bag filled with fabric for lining hats, dresses, bags & purses
    6) tiny wind up toys (my BFF enables me for this one!)
    7) beading supplies (only takes up the space of one of those 3-drawer bins on casters)

    There seems to be an afinity for nerds and fiber lovers to attract each other.
    May be because we are hoarders at heart?
    Don’t speak a normal language?
    Whatever it is, I love it!

    Angel

  22. Maribel C says:

    Just a quick note, we will always have time TOMORROW…but when will tomorrow come…oh yeah when it’s TODAY… Just love each other and make sure you don’t get lost in your things today, for tomorrow you may not find each other.

    Yes I do hoard yarns, Hello Kitty items, stationery, amongst other knick knacks. & the Husband he hoards Video game systems starting with my original “CRAZY EDDIE” store purchased Atari 2600, but we do keep them locked away for the most part. Once they start covering walls, floor to ceiling then I think that’s a moment to sit back and take self & “stuff” inventory. We don’t have enough time for all the yarn life has to offer, & realistically can you finish that weekend scarf in a weekend, while taking care of YOU, the house, spouse, kids, and friends. If the answer is yes to the weekend scarf then set a schedule for yourself see how many projects can be done in a week, a month, 6 months, a year.
    Have friends and family over to share your spoils, what greater feeling than to have someone else work on something you really didn’t have time to accomplish in the first place. I share my yarns all the time, along with my initial plans. Sometimes my friends surprise me and make the afghan I always wanted, but didn’t have the time to make & sometimes they make things they give you credit for inspiring, so however you control your supply just remember piles of yarn are just piles of yarn until you create something magical with them.
    Go forth and Crochet, Knit, Needlepoint, whatever gets your creative juices flowing but remember to just do it already…

    Thank you Rachel for helping me create some lovely flowers that all my nieces have been wearing on their headbands and as broaches. Pictures soon to follow.

    Maribel, New York

  23. Anne says:

    Veronica, this was a fantastic article about the darker side of having a yarn addiction. I, too, am a hoarder. Unfortunately my boyfriend and I live in a VERY small apartment so my hoarding is limited. Luckily the hoarding the boyfriend does is much worse than mine. The only thing I hoard is yarn, well dragon’s too, but that’s another story. But the boyfriend hoards multiple things. So I’m secure in the fact that I’m the lesser of two evils.

  24. Elizabeth says:

    An old post, but new to me. Perfect description of me and my husband, down to details. The difference between he and I is all in presentation. He has a mega-desk in his office to hold his three-monitored Frankenputer; I prefer putting anything and everything on the walls so mine looks like a padded cell covered in push pins. Great site, btw!!

  25. Katy says:

    I’m so glad I found your post, Veronica :)

    I’m fortunate to have a husband whose biggest passion is gardening, so he takes up a very small space in our little home :)

    Unfortunately, I’m a total bookworm, and crochetoholic so, while the living room is decorated with endless bookshelves, our tiny spare room has become the residence of my wool stash!

    I am definitely of the same mind as any true crochetoholic, in that SABLE is my one true weakness – I can sort through my books when space runs out, to make more space for fresh books, but woe betide anyone who suggests I might – just – have enough yarn to last me a lifetime! :)

  26. Veroncia says:

    Oh gardening. My mum is a fantastic gardener and has been the head of many horticultural societies over the years. It skips because i can kill a plastic plant. I have managed now however to have quite a successful garden of cacti and succulents – seems i can’t kill them. My daughter however has a green thumb.
    I do not know what the weather is like where you live however you can pass it off for insulation. Keep the warmth in for winter and the heat out in summer. Yarn is a great insulator. Stack containers and chests of draws around the edges and tell hubby your going ‘green’.

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