I spent most of today struggling with the urge to go out and buy more yarn.
I’m sure you’ve all had that impulse–I’m bored with the current project, let’s go out and get more yarn! Because shopping is fun, shopping has all the joy of novelty–I could make this! I could make that! And, of course, the yarn is fabulous.
The only problem with this is that I have enough yarn. I have three pounds of multicolor skeins scattered across the living-room carpet. I have a pound of black superwash yarn, I have skeins of cochineal-dyed and sandalwood-dyed and marigold yarns sitting in the basket. I have two kinds of white sock yarn waiting to be dyed (both luscious silk/wool and cashmere/silk/wool combinations), not quite a pound of white superwash yarn, and eight or nine random balls of all varieties. And, God help us all, I have two pounds of gray wool yarn wending its slow way to me, straight from the fiber mill.
None of which reduces the urge to go out and buy more.
I realize that my yarn stash is very small as most things go–it all fits into a single big plastic box under my bed. But anything more than what I’m using at the moment is a waste of space, money, and yarn. I can only use so much yarn, I can only use it so fast, and right now, my single box of yarn is more than enough to keep me busy. The only reason I want to go buy more yarns is because I’m bored, and I want to try on the novelty of a new project, however briefly.
Nonetheless, there are cheaper ways of managing this than buying $100+ of useless yarn.
I think boredom is essentially a speed mismatch between you and your environment. If things are moving too fast for you to absorb, it’s overwhelming (exciting, etc.). If things are moving slower than you are, that’s boredom. The answer isn’t necessarily to speed up the environment (which is what buying new yarn is all about); sometimes the answer is to slow oneself down. So I spent some time meditating, and then working on a lace project that requires slow patience. That worked pretty well.
(I remember traveling in the Third World: one has more patience there, because time flows differently. We’re overstimulated here–every moment must have an exclamation point, every instant needs to be filled. I wish sometimes that I could cut off that Western restlessness and go back to those sunny days in Laos, waiting for the bus that would come eventually, in its own sweet time.)
So I have been slowing down a bit, but also am convinced that I’m suffering from cabin fever. I’ve been stuck at home for the last week, monitoring my work email but with very little else to do besides knit, spin, and crawl slowly up the walls.
So I’m taking a road trip up to Mendocino, starting tomorrow morning. I plan to drive up through Mendocino to Ukiah, where some friends of mine live, and spend the afternoon blackberrying with them before heading leisurely back to Mendocino and the coast. Or maybe I’ll spend the second day in Napa instead. Or both. I like the idea of going up the foggy coast (especially since I remember a little cottage with a fiber artist–rug weaver–that was fantastic to visit; she had different shades of naturally-dyed, handspun yarn festooned across the place), but I also like the idea of going to Napa. I can’t afford the spas, but lunch at the Culinary Institute of America is not to be sneezed at, and there’s always the possibility (oh please!!) of getting into the French Laundry off their waiting list.
(I can’t afford to eat there, either; but for The French Laundry, I’ll make room in my budget. If you’ve never eaten there, save up your pennies and make the reservations–you’ll never regret it. Thomas Keller talks to God. He’s that good. And I am not given to swooning.)
So, off to Mendocino in the morning.