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Crocheters, like Knitters, buy, collect and use a lot of yarn. Some may say they have a yarn obsession. Well, there are many reasons why we get obsessed. Let’s learn about it together.
It’s Saturday and you have all your coupons ready to go. You walk into Michael’s, Joann or your local yarn store and know exactly what you are going to get. In a very confident walking style, you aim for the yarn aisle. There are crafters all around you. Sometimes they are even blocking your way and you need to walk between the aisles to get to the yarn. But you don’t give up. You feel the rush of endorphins go through your body and you get excited with each step as they bring you closer to the yarn aisle.
You heard about this special brand-new yarn that everyone is talking about and you have to touch it. I’m sure you can already imagine what it might feel like, as you have seen pictures of it. The colors are bright and bold and you know exactly which project you will be using it for (even though you have so many work-in-progress bags and boxes at home). Let’s not talk about how much yarn you have, right? Cause that is not important right now. You just have to have that new yarn.
At the Store
You made it! You’re in the yarn aisle. You see the yarn. It’s on a special display, right in front of you. “Oh, it looks soooo much better than the pictures”, you tell yourself.” You start walking faster, more determined to touch the yarn. With a big smile on your face, you almost run to it.
The moment you touch the yarn, the world stands still. It’s you and the yarn and the feeling of relief that you are holding it in your hand. You want it all. All of it. All the colors.
Then your brain is slowly coming back to reality. Can I afford it all? Can I really buy it all? Where do I put it? Can I hide it? What will my husband say? What will I make with all this yarn?
Now your exuberance begins to wane, and you feel less excitement, and more neutral or sad. But you still want the yarn. It’s sooo soft and beautiful.
You decide to get just a few to test it out. So, after you checkout, using your coupons of course, you again happily walk out of the craft store with a bag full of brand new yarn.
Does this sound familiar?
Let’s talk about why we really get so yarn obsessed. I have 5 main reasons why we want to have all the yarn, even if we don’t have the space to put it in its proper space.
Crocheters Get Yarn Obsessed Because Of 5 Reasons
Dopamine Creates Pleasure In Your Brain When You Want New Yarn
When people get obsessed, dopamine is produced in the midbrain’s area called the vental tegmental area (VTA) which is responsible for us feeling rewarded or having pleasure. When an intense pleasure is experienced that feeling is reinforced. When you combine that with the power of our memory we can create obsessive behaviors. Obsession can create a “problem” when there is an issue between the orbital frontal cortex and the basal ganglia which are responsible for cognition and emotions. When there is an imbalance between serotonin and dopamine, a more intense emotional reaction to something that means a lot to us is experienced.
To summarize all this science jargon, lots of hormones are responsible for us creating an obsession. For crocheters and knitters, they experience lots of emotions, triggered by hormones, when they want, buy, see or touch yarn. When these events happen often, it can create an obsession. For some, it can be very unhealthy but for others, it can be controllable.
But what event can happen that makes this even harder to control?
Well, that brings me to the next point.
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Yarn Colors Can Trigger More Obsessive Behaviors
When a crocheter sees a specific yarn color they typically imagine a specific project they can create using it. The same feeling, although sometimes more obsessive, can be felt, when we want to crochet a specific pattern and we are looking for a specific yarn weight in a specific color.
Colors have an amazing effect on our brains. All of them trigger emotions. For example, red makes us feel and think of love, romance, and warmth, whereas gray, will make us feel neutral and creates more of a timeless feeling.
Again emotions are directly connected with our memory. So when we see a specific color we feel emotions that are hardwired through neurons in our brain. The more important a specific color is to us, the more we can create an obsessive behavior toward a specific yarn color.
That brings me to my next point: emotions.
Yarn Makes Us Feel Emotions That Can Turn To Obsession
The feelings we get when we touch or see yarn can be so over the top, that sometimes we don’t even realize what we are doing until reality hits us hard and brings us back down to earth.
These feelings all come back to a few triggers: seeing, or touching yarn, as well as creating something with this yarn – for someone else or for ourselves.
Yarn and the use thereof allows us to feel relaxed and calm. It can create self-confidence when we see how our fingers can create unique and special crochet creations simply by using yarn and a crochet hook. It brings us to a mood that allows us to easily be distracted from reality. All that is due to a trigger in the reward center of our brain. We are hardwired to feel empathy towards others. So we want to give. Crocheters, like knitters, are known to create a lot of projects and donate them. For that to happen we need yarn.
It’s like a cycle. First, you want to impress/please others, so you create projects with yarn. You might sell, gift or donate it. You might even keep it for yourself to feel pride and see others give you compliments which in return increases self-confidence. This cycle continues when you want to continue feeling this way, but need yarn. Yarn becomes the medium to the desire to feel happy and loved by others or ourselves. We all want to feel happy. So, in this case, it might look like we are yarn obsessed, but we actually just want to feel happy.
This in return brings me to the next point in regards to why we get yarn obsessed.
Collecting Yarn Can Create A Habit That Can Become Obsessive
As I mentioned before, crocheters love the feeling of creating projects using yarn and their crochet hooks. But in order to make them, you need yarn. You can always reuse the crochet hook. But yarn can only be reused when you have ripped out – aka “frog” – an old or not well-loved project.
But we all love to be inspired and motivated. Many crocheters get that when they go to a craft store, check out patterns in books or surf on websites. Some just need to look at their yarn wall. I created my own storage unit and love seeing my yarn. I know what I have – in specific which colors, weights, and brands I have in my storage. So when an idea comes to mind I can check whether I have the right yarn for the project.
The Fear of Missing Out
Because we worry about missing out on creating a specific project (may lose interest later) we either want to have the yarn ready to go in storage or we want to be able to buy the yarn.
In order to keep the happy feeling, we feel we need to continue to buy more yarn. It becomes a habit all because of the trigger of the reward and pleasure center of our brain.
But this habit can also turn so obsessive that it can turn into a bad habit similar to food addiction or gambling. Most yarnies are not seen that way. Cause it’s just yarn, right? Well, their spouse and their bank accounts might not agree. When kept under control, especially the emotional connections to it, it should be fine wanting to have more yarn and collecting it.
I always tell myself, I can say to myself that I don’t “need” that yarn and can stop myself, I’m ok. But if you can’t, you may need to talk to a doctor.
Speaking of medical advice, collecting yarn can also have lots of positive benefits.
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Yarn Collection Can Be Simply a Hobby – Instead Of An Obsession
Did you know that a hobby, such as collecting yarn and “playing with it” can lower the risk of dementia by 40% (according to a scientific study done by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota)? Yes! So it’s actually good for our brain to solve “problems”. So when we crochet and need to interpret an intricate pattern and then create something artistically and visually with our hands using yarn, we actually use both sides of our brain. We keep it active. It helps us stay “sharp” even when we get older.
And can we please all talk about how yarn never argues with us at the end of a long day? Yes, we still might make mistakes when we crochet, but that is not because of the yarn, but rather because we get frustrated, or distracted with other things or thoughts. So make sure to appreciate your yarn 🙂
So Are Crocheters Really Yarn Obsessed?
Yes and No. It depends on your situation. Does it make us feel amazing when we get new yarn, collect it, stare at it and desire to have more of it when we want to crochet something? YES! But does that mean we are obsessed? Well, I will not judge you if you are. I gave you now 5 reasons why people might consider us obsessed, how our brain works when we show behaviors correlated with obsession, but in the end, it’s all about the general idea. We are happier and more relaxed when we can crochet using amazing beautiful yarn. So let’s just stick to that, shall we?
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