There comes a time as a homesteader when you reach a plateau, one where all the things you've begun to do on your own become a little overwhelming in quantity. It comes to each of us differently, but, rest assured, it comes nonetheless. You might find youself waking up in a cold sweat at the prospect of getting another twenty laying hens or get cramps in your wrists whenever you even THINK about kneading homemade bread. Sometimes it all just becomes a bit too much and one portion of it, if not all of it, makes you want to run for the hills. For me, my moment of madness took the form of recurring nightmares about being chased by my yarn stash, which had reached mythic proportions.
I really enjoy making things with my own two hands and teaching myself to knit was just a natural extension of this love to create and an overwhelming urge to possess (and cuddle) fiber animals. At first it was a cute little hobby, a way to pass the time, start conversations with strangers, make something useful and have the skills necessary to outfit my family in enough blankets and scarves to survive an ice age.
After a while though, I began to panic at the sight of a pattern, knowing full well that either I would not have the right type of yarn or a sufficient amount of any one color to begin a project. This wave of stress was brought on, not by the doing, but by the sheer thought of needing "more". Whether that meant yarn, needles or stitch markers didn't matter. It was the very idea of knowing I was lacking, that my preparation in hiding fiber throughout my home wasn't somehow enough and now I'd be required to find room for new balls of fluff in my overflowing closets and drawers. The prospect of failure and nightmares (no-seriously- I had them) had, for a while, swore me off that bit of DIY, but then I read a book titled Made From Scratch. I picked it up innocently enough at the library and, no sooner had I finished it than I became sucked into the blog the author, Jenna Woginrich, keeps about her farm, Cold Antler. Imagine my delight (and terror) at learning she had sheep (at that time two, Maude and Sal) and a budding fiber CSA. She was selling a drop spindle and what more could a punk rock, hardcore knitter want than to learn to make yarn too?!? (Hopefully you get where this is going...) Oh shit, I thought. I'm doomed to appear on that show Hoarders and I will have died from inhaling too much fuzz. Now, there's some Maude 2-ply hanging in my closet. And a bag of fleece from and old co-worker/friend. There they've sat, for months, holding out hope for the day I am no longer too busy or preoccupied or uninspired. They languish in the dark, waiting for a chance to share their beauty and softness with the world in some way, crying out for a purpose and form. All that's needed is a pattern and a solid time frame of focus.
Have I forgot to mention that I know at LEAST three ladies now due to have babies in the fall that will be requiring shower gifts? That one is my sister-in-law? That I made a sweater for the last baby born in the family? The prospect of hunting for a suitable pattern is daunting and brings back a panic just short of tears and cold sweats.
If I can't put in the garden, a bit of productivity with what I have surely won't kill me. Maybe I'd just better hunt down some Ambien and get prepared, but gift cards are easier to mail.