Observations of a Yarn-phile in Her Natural Habitat

Observations of a yarn-phile in her natural habitat

This observer is pleased to make a preliminary report on Subject J and her behavior. Subject J is of interest because of her deep and long standing obsession with yarn. She seems perfectly aware that society at large does not find yarn, the making of yarn, or the making of things with yarn to be a noteworthy pastime. She also seems to think that society at large should pull its collective head out of its collective butt.

It should be noted that Subject J’s yarn related activities are preformed in, around, at often at odds with a certain black feline. This creature is officially named The Anti-Spinning Feline Overlord but more often goes by “That Wretched One” and “Jerk”. There is a second feline, Cowardly Boy Cat, but he stays off by himself and only takes part in the yarn activities when there is occasion to open the yarn closet. Subject J can never remember to fully close the yarn closet door, leaving it open by a sliver every single time. She is usually alerted to this when the door hinges creak in a creepy sort of way because Boy Cat is prying the yarn closet door open with his face. We have observed that Subject J owns a can of WD-40 lubricant but we doubt she will ever apply it on those creaking hinges. She must rely on that sound as an alert that the yarn closet has been invaded because she is (apparently) incapable of remembering to simply close the closet door.

Here is a description of Subject J’s current yarn related activities. She calls them “projects”. She works on them all the time. She rarely seems to accomplish much.

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Hue Shift Afghan

This is a charming project, made up of two color miter squares, knitted in a certain way that reduces the amount of sewing up required. This observer has noted time and again that Subject J has an aversion to “sewing up”. Perhaps that is why she was attracted to this project.

in progress hue shift afghan

The was an initial a plan to knit “a square a day”. It seems that reality is “a square a week”. In the meantime, the in progress, unfinished afghan sits on her craft table waiting for its square a week. This storage location makes it very accessible to That Wretched One, aka Jerk, who seems to think that it is just fine, big enough, and makes quite the comfy cat blanket. Subject J is forever shooing That Wretched One off the in progress Hue Shift Afghan (link to the pattern). It would certainly be easier on all parties if the blanket was put away while not being actively knitted on. But then perhaps it wouldn’t even get its square a week.

Two Color Mitts

Two Color Mitts is a project in need of a better name. It has been the focus of most of Subject J’s obsessive activities of late. There have been no less that three previous version of these mitts made. The old versions still exist, laid out like fallen warriors on her computer desk. Perhaps they serve as a comfort of sorts. Perhaps that make Subject J feel as if, even though she only has one and half small, little mitts finished, there has in fact been a stupid amount of knitting done on this project.

knit mitts in progress

If only she could get a design right the first time, then these mitts would be done already. Then she could move on and start that mosaic cowl design that she has been sketching out and talking about and generally whining over for a week.

Knitting In the Round Made Easy – a FREE guide from Craftsy

A New Trickery

Subject J is in the middle of teaching a two-part class on her Trickery pattern (link to the pattern). So it was inevitable that a new Trickery would be started. The cast-on happened at the first class.

a new Trickery Stole

Then she went home and raced to get through the edge section. (Got to stay ahead of those students don’t we Subject J?)  Now its sitting and waiting for the Part 2 class which is starting the center section.

A Crocheted Beanie

Our Subject got tricked into starting another project. Truly, this impartial observer can attest that a wicked, manipulative friend of hers tempted her beyond all reason and thus another project was born. Here is how that happened:

The two yarn-philes, Subject J and her wicked friend were playing with yarn and drinking coffee at a nearby doughnut shop. They have really good lighting in there and the whole place smells like fresh doughnuts so why go anywhere else? It was early in the coffee/doughnuts/yarn session that the wicked friend tossed these two skeins on the table.

discontinued Dreamweave yarn

Then she said: “Hey, look what lives in your stash now.”

Subject J replied: “Oh no. That’s not happening. I have plenty of yarn of my own. You can’t be ditching your stash with me and hey there’s some silk in this.

Then followed a lively discussion of how Sensations Yarns was re-named to something else quite some time ago and the new company certainly didn’t make 75%/25% wool/silk yarns anymore. By the end of that conversation it was quite obvious to everyone that Subject J had accept the two orphan skeins of yarn. But she was determined not to add to her already too-large yarn stash. The only solution was to start a new project with it right away. Two days later she finished this simple crocheted beanie.

crocheted beanie

Subject J seems inordinately proud of herself for having outwitted her wicked friend and for having actually finished something.

Spinning Silk

Observations shows that Subject J spins to relax. She always has a spinning project sitting around but it only gets her attention when she can’t sleep, or when the world around her proves particularly frustrating. Or stupid. Two of the four ounces of her 100% bombyx silk got spun this week so that tells you how things have been going.

Or we should say two of the six ounces got spun. It seems that as Subject J was finished plying the 2 ounces of the gold and red roving, and feeling no small amount of satisfaction from that accomplishment, she discovered a second gold and red roving in her fiber stash. Which means she hadn’t really accomplished as much as she thought. It also meant she was in possession of another two ounces of some pretty expensive roving. There was a mixed outpouring of joy and muttered foul language over this discovery.

spinning 100% silk

A less impartial observer would have laughed at Subject J and lectured her on the consequences of keeping such a disorderly fiber stash. Yours truly, however, kept quiet and made notes for this report.


A report that has come to its end… for now. Subject J’s obsession with yarn is boundless so there will surely be more to come. If you have any similar observations to make on Subject J, or the obsession of other yarn-philes, please feel free to share! Its a fascinating study.

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33 Comments on "Observations of a Yarn-phile in Her Natural Habitat"

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You have been a busy bee. Your pace would kill me in a week.


Thanks for the laugh. I am so like this!!

Ooooo !!! LOVE the mitts, and seeing as they are SO beautiful, I think they should be called “Nova Scotian Mitts”. Why ? Because they are the colour of the North Atlantic and the sea weed along the shore, and also, they have the main colours of the Nova Scotian Tartan. Of course, I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for Nova Scotia, as that is where I am from, but that is beside the point. Also, of course, Nova Scotia means “New Scotland”, and the mitts also have a homespun look to them, that reflect that country and her… Read more »

Goats on threads coming down from the ceiling would thrill and delight me beyond measure! Are they cashmere goats? Or angora goats? Could we bring some sheep down on strings too? Or maybe a pony? Don’t mean to be insensitive to your fear, Jpod. Just offering another perspective.

Kay Landreth

How do you feel about sewing cardigan sweater pieces together? I might learn to like stitching your squares and I have a basket full of sweater pieces from at least a couple of UFS’s.


Ah yes…those sweater pieces to sew up…. I think that is why I learned to knit in the round with no seams. When I do have one with seams I try to pass it to my mother to sew up, and sometiimes she can be persuaded to sew on buttons too. I do however have a pile of blanket squares to attend to…but I have now mastered Frankie Browns ten-stitch circular blanket so no more seams there!