Handmade: ‘Yarn diet’ may be just what doctor orders

Jocelynn Brown
The Detroit News

I’m a “yarnaholic!” And, in case you’re wondering what a yarnaholic is — probably because you’re not among the countless knitters and crocheters having a love affair with luscious fibers — please allow me to explain.

■A yarnaholic is someone who has at least two stashes of yarn, but only one the family knows about.

■A yarnaholic believes fiber is good for one’s well-being and, therefore, has no problem spending grocery money on yarn.

■A yarnaholic has a close friend who often says, “You have yarn on the brain!’ (OK — I don’t see a problem.)

■A yarnaholic can always find a place to store, or hide, more yarn.

■If a yarnaholic had a boatload of fine yarns, chances are he/she could still find at least one more must-have skein to add to the stash.

■A yarnaholic doesn’t believe there’s such a thing as having too much yarn.

■A yarnaholic relates well with other yarnaholics.

■A yarnaholic feels the sudden need to run to the nearest yarn shop when writing a yarn-related column. (I’ll be back shortly.)

Several weeks ago, I was having too much fun looking through a large collection of yarn. There were balls of cotton in almost every color in the rainbow, boucles in chartreuse and fuschia, merino wool in different weights and colors, variegated yarns, ribbon yarns blended with gold metallic thread, hand-dyed fibers, acrylic blends and more. It was almost like combing through bins at my favorite yarn shop — only I was in my yarn closet!

I imagined knitting/crocheting hats (my favorite thing to make), lace tops for summer, scarves, cowls, etc. Oh, the excitement that comes when you see yarn you forgot you purchased. It’s like discovering it for the first time, all over again. Hmmm, maybe that’s why yarnaholics buy so much yarn — we forget what great finds we have hidden away. I must admit, sometimes, I think I enjoy the thrill of buying yarn more than the process of knitting/crocheting.

Rummaging through my closest was the moment I realized it was time to go on a “yarn diet,” because even with all that yarn, I still had the urge to buy more. Clearly, I need an intervention, of sorts.

If, like yours truly, you suffer from “yarn addiction” and would like to go on a yarn diet, here’s the plan:

Yarn (Lover’s) Diet

■Set a goal. Do you want to reduce your stash by a third, half or completely?

■“Shop” only from your stash, and as often as you’d like. Think of it as “calorie-free.”

■Knit/crochet as fast and often as possible, so you’ll see results (a smaller stash) sooner, keeping you motivated.

■Knit/crochet as many items as possible to donate to charity.

■Avoid sweets, exercise and drink plenty of water while knitting/crocheting.

■Invite other yarnaholics to join you on your mission. (Yarn dieting alone is no fun, I’m sure).

■Don’t allow others to tempt you with great yarn finds, unless they’re part of a 75 percent off sale! In that case, don’t hesitate to call yours truly with all the details. Besides, what’s a diet without a little cheating?

■Find small ways to reward yourself with the completion of every project, including the finishing.

■Avoid giving in to sudden “yarn attacks.” They can ruin your progress.

■Determine how much money you’re saving each week (or month) by not buying yarn. You might want to tuck it away somewhere in case you have a “yarn emergency.”

■Once you reach your goal, however long it takes, take the money you saved and make a mad dash to your favorite yarn store(s) and shop like nobody’s watching to rebuild your stash! You deserve it!

But — with all that said, if you happen to see yours truly in a yarn shop anytime soon, please just shake your head, and politely look the other way while I satisfy my insatiable appetite for buying yarn. I’ve been known not to stick to my diet!

Detroit News Columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150, or