You may or may not know that Our Fearless Leader, Sara, is from Louisiana. A few weeks ago in the run up to Ash Wednesday, Sara got rather thoughtful and went into a bit of reverie about home. She spoke of how her kinfolk would be gearing up for Mardi Gras, otherwise known as Fat Tuesday. There are similar colourful celebrations in Brazil and Venice where people don masks and feathers. Festivals carry on into the night with all the colours, lights and sounds. There is so much food! There is so much drink! People dance, sing and have fun! There are also tales of so much dissipation!
In England, it is a bit more subdued (collective sigh…). The faithful call it Shrove Tuesday. But it is affectionately known as Pancake Day. It was called this because the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday was the day when everyone is supposed to use up rich foods, like eggs, milk and sugar before the 40 days of fasting during Lent.
As is the way in most of our conversations in the shop, we went from nostalgia to factual to surreal as we mused on the secret (and not so secret) behaviours of all the knitters and hookers we know. Basically, we talked about our (unhealthy?) interest in all things to do with our hobby. We talked about the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. This is when we came up with the Seven Deadly Sins of Knitting & Crochet.
Lust–Wool Kleptomania or the intense desire or need to buy ALL THE YARN! This is really signified by a secretive demeanour when buying and bringing yarn into the house without the spouse knowing. You spend hours walking around events like The Nottingham Yarn Expo or some other event with your grocery money or the Secret Bank Account money that you keep and use to embezzle from the joint account…. Hypothetical, of course!!!!
Envy–Wanting the wool others have or “painful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage”. You will be sitting at your knitting circle and everyone is having a good time. Then someone comes in with a delicious looking yarn that is softer than a baby’s bottom. The colour swirls into a lusciously variegated riot of beauty and all you can think of is that lovely, lovely day at the seaside when you watched the sunrise and that glorious warmth on your face…This leads to…
Gluttony–Wool Hoarding or the excess in acquiring such skeins, balls, cones and cakes for one’s own pleasure. Such acquisitions are “earmarked” to be used “at some point” to make “presents” for everyone “this year”. Heard in the shop: “I don’t really need another ball of yarn but I FEEL I need it…” That sums it all up, really.
Greed— Not wanting to share your wool with anyone or unnecessary or shameful hoarding. We have either been on the receiving end or the delivering end of this when we are ok to offer up that bargain bucket wool we found at the charity shop, that DK in white or baby blue, to the newbie in the circle so they can practice casting on. But answer truthfully; would you part with the hand-dyed skein of Paco-vicuña called Inca Sunrise? Hmmm? … Hmmmm?!
Sloth— Not doing anything because you need to finish that one more row or disinclined to activity or exertion. “Here comes summer, we need to hit the gym. There is a beginner’s aerobics on Monday night… NOPE! I need to be at the knitting circle. Oh well…. “Or how about this scenario:
Mum: Daughter of mine, you need to learn how to run a household now. It’s time.
Daughter: Before or after my GCSE homework? What do I need to do?
Mum: After the GCSE homework. Wash the dishes first, dry them, put them away then do the same with laundry. So you understand what it is like, remember to clean the rooms as you go. Don’t worry about the garden. Your brother needs to learn how to deal with that and to throw out the trash.
Daughter: But he’s three.
Mum: Don’t worry. I will be out in the garden supervising whilst I make this jumper for him. Then I need to make your hat for winter so… oh! can you put the kettle on for me?
***Please note, no children were hurt in the creating of this scenario***
Wrath–The emotional response to perceived wrong and injustice done to us in the course of our knitting or crocheting. There are two instances when one loses their temper when working on a WIP. The first one is shouting at your pattern, needles or yarn for not cooperating. This is often followed by chucking said materials across the room or down into your knitting bag and then storming off into the kitchen to flip the kettle on. In the time it takes to brew the tea and pad back into your comfy chair, you soften and seek to make amends with your pattern/needles/yarn. Usually, that bit of time to step away gives one clarity and progress is often made in the second (or third) pass. All is then well with the world because our hobby is a very forgiving hobby.
The second instance of wrath is more serious. This is when we lose our count. This is often preceded by someone walking in, seeing you sitting there (apparently doing nothing) and deciding to engage in some kind of conversation with you. What they do not seem to comprehend is that you are mid-row working cables in an extraordinarily complicated array of mental math. Vengeful anger and serious indignation bubbles under the surface and then you unleash your fury like a sorcerer releasing fireballs. Now, I know I have waxed lyrical about knitting being therapeutic. But everything has a dark side. Intense concentration in anything can make the most tranquil knitter/hooker raise a hornet’s revenge when interrupted mid-row. I am not making excuses. I am simply stating facts here….
Pride — Showing off your stash or showcasing finished projects on some social media platform. The actual sin is the quality or state of being proud and possessing an inordinate self-esteem. Ok. For me, I do not think you can have too much pride in your work. Think about it. You spend hours honing your craft and someone comes along and appreciates it. Sometimes they even ask you to make them something! Part of you thinks you are the bee’s knees. The other part of you wants to charge them up the yang (unless they are family and then you kind of just agree.) Some of us get so good we open up an Etsy shop or sell on Ebay. I think it is a lovely thing to be so confident and proud of your work. I cannot and will not count this as a sin. Go ahead! Snap a picture and show it to the world on our preferred social media platforms! Make a video and upload it! Celebrate it!
But do remember, sometimes we think everyone feels the way we do about yarn. We think we can leave our stuff everywhere. We hijack a corner in our living room or take over areas meant for other family members. We believe our way is the right way.You leave your stuff out because you are sure no one will disturb it and then here comes the cat, toddler or dog!. In minutes, your work comes off the needle or the yarn becomes an unrecognisable tangle of shame! This is when, actually, Pride comes before the fall.
So with this, just take care and understand that with all the bright and light side of our craft comes the darkness… We really do need to be balanced and understand our foibles no matter how funny they can be.
To quote our Fearless Leader Sara “REPENT! THE END OF YOUR PROJECT IS NIGH!!!”