Hi, it’s Kathryn (Marly’s blog content director) here today. My personal area of specialty is working at the intersection of art/craft and healing – specifically using knitting and crochet to improve your mental health and quality of life. So, once or twice a month, I’ll be popping up here on the blog to share some thoughts with you about that. Today’s tip: don’t wait to use your luxury yarn. You know, the yarn that’s expensive, precious fiber that you’ve been putting off using until “someday.” Someday is today and you deserve to use that yarn right now. This post is an excerpt from my book “Hook to Heal: 100 Crochet Exercises for Health, Growth, Connection, Inspiration, and Honoring Your Inner Artist.“
Note: This post includes affiliate links. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, Marly gets a small percentage of the sale. It’s a great way to support her and your own price doesn’t change at all.
Use the “Nice China,” Wear the “Nice Dress” and Knit or Crochet with the “Nice Yarn”
I thought of this exercise from my book Hook to Heal because of an entirely unrelated book that I was reading. In the memoir All Happy Families, Jeanne McCulloch writes:
“Look, china breaks, that doesn’t mean you don’t use it.
Look, a heart breaks, that doesn’t mean you don’t use it.”
It reminded me of how often we are afraid to use the wonderful things in life. As if we must save them for a “better” time when we “deserve” them more. But the time is now. And we make our lives richer when we use the nice things. And often when we use our “nice” things, more nice things come to us. But we fail to do in part because of a fear of scarcity. Here’s what I wrote about that in Hook to Heal, in the chapter on Creating Abundance:
Holding Back Due to Fear of Scarcity
Fear of scarcity shows up as a frequent problem in creative lives. So does it’s flip side: fear of abundance.
Fear of scarcity comes from this feeling that there is not enough. Therefore, you must hoard what you have. In contrast, fear of abundance comes from the belief that if you have too much then you’ll have problems associated with corruption and obsession with material goods over spiritual matters.
In both cases, the fear creatively restricts the individual. And let me just say that most of us do have one or the other or perhaps even both of these fears.) By building abundance in our creative work, we are able to generate more of the things that we want. We do this not only for ourselves but to give to the world around us.
Don’t Save Luxury Yarn and Other Nice Things For Later
One of the most basic, and very common, ways that this manifests in people’s everyday lives is in the “saving” of nice things “for the right occasion”. In recent history we typically saw this with “the good china”, the most beautiful dishes were only taken out to celebrate huge holidays at home and collected dust the rest of the year. Although this sometimes still happens, what is even more common now is to save our favorite clothing for some other day instead of just wearing it “for no reason”.
Think about it; do you have a favorite dress or even a favorite t-shirt or pair of jeans that makes you feel so great when you put it on that you never want to wear it just to go to the store but instead save it for some “big event”. So often, those events don’t come. Or if they do, you have ten different things to wear that you’ve been “saving”. You can celebrate abundance in your everyday life by allowing yourself to use all of the things that are special, that make you feel great. Yes, even in a pandemic when you’re not seeing anyone outside your house, you can wear the nice dress.
Want to know the story about how I used my grandmother’s satin napkins – a wedding present that had gone unopened for half a century? That’s in Hook to Heal.
There is certainly a time and place for really fabulous things – the wedding dress or the irreplaceable ancient heirloom – but for the most part our nice things can be used in regular life, adding abundance to the everyday and infusing life with more magic. And you can start with using your luxury yarn.
Life is Abundant and Luxury Yarn Represents That
Crafters hoard their nice yarn out of fear of scarcity – or fear of abundance. I love to buy expensive hand-dyed hand-spun luxury yarn. I especially love to make those purchases at fiber festivals where I can sometimes meet the animals that gave their wool to me.
But then I don’t want to use those yarns because usually I’m just making some random item that is a lot more about process than product. Therefore, it seems like a “waste” to use that yarn on a random granny square that doesn’t even have an intended purpose yet. And that’s okay in its way. I can keep a few of those skeins on my work table and handle them and enjoy their texture just the way that they are. However, I have to be careful not to let my stash of “too good” yarn overtake my space while only using the yarn that doesn’t feel “as good”. We deserve to work with the luxury yarn. We shouldn’t relegate ourselves to the “less good.”
Life is abundant. My dictionary says first that it’s “a very large quantity of something,” However, it then goes on to a definition I like better which is: “the state or condition of having a copious quantity of something; plentifulness”. It’s not about having excess; it’s about having plenty. Ultimately, it’s about having a lot of what we want and knowing that there’s more around the corner. My dictionary’s example is “vines and figs grew in abundance.” I love that image. Nobody needs tons of vines and figs but isn’t it so beautiful that they grow in abundance?! And when we look for it in the right places and treat ourselves to it in the right ways, we have beautiful abundance as well.
Life so often feels scarce. We have too limit time. We have too little resources. Perhaps we worry that we don’t have enough love or that we ourselves aren’t “enough.” But actually, life is abundant. We often have plenty. And the more we embrace and enjoy things like the luxury yarn we already have in our stash, the more we feel that abundance. It’s a good feeling.
Exercise for Creating Abundance: Use Your Luxury Yarn
The exercise: Use your nicest skein of luxury yarn to crochet something frivolous.
The purpose: Use something that you’re afraid to let go of in order to open the door for more to come in.
Operating from a fear of scarcity can severely limit your experiences of life. It can be helpful to build up your faith and trust that there will indeed be enough, that your family will always get fed and the universe will provide you with creative tools and that there is always more yarn where that came from!
What is Luxury Yarn?
Luxury yarn might be one-of-a-kind, hands-on, hand-dyed yarn made of a really unique fiber such as yak wool. However, it doesn’t have to be that. In fact, it might not even be expensive. Luxury yarn or the “nice yarn” in your stash is just whatever you love so much that you’ve been a little afraid to use it up. It might be a really soft wool or a particular color of a favorite yarn that you’re worried you’ll never find again. What is luxury yarn to you?
Fun fact: Back in 2015, Marly interviewed designer and author Cirilia Rose who was working with Zealana to promote their possom yarn. It’s actually a luxury yarn!
Marly’s also shared Kristin Omdahl’s Bamboo So Fine luxury yarn. And she’s chatted multiple times with Knitlandia author Clara Parkes; when her book Knitlandia came out it stimulated a conversation in the comments all about the joys of cashmere yarn. And in a review of Sandi Rosner’s 21 Crocheted Tanks and Tunics, she wrote, “Yarns chosen were intended for summer or warmer climates, so she looked for washables in linen, cotton, bamboo, silks are not generally machine washable, but a luxury fiber can be so worth it.”
And a tip: SOAK Wash is one option for washing items knit and crocheted with luxury yarn.
Yarnspirations Luxury Yarns
You can find quite a few luxurious yarns over at Yarnspirations. To get started, you might want to check out:
- Sugar Bush Nanaimo Yarn: “a fingering weight blend of baby alpaca and mulberry silk”
- Sugar Bush Bliss Yarn: “blend of cashmere, mulberry silk, and superfine merino”
- Patons Alpaca Blend Yarn: The alpaca makes it luxuriously soft while the acrylic makes it washable and durable
- Patons Silk Bamboo Yarn: This blend is so silky soft!
And of course Marly’s Chic Sheep Yarn, which is 100% merino wool, is always a treat to work with!
Luxury Yarn Exercise Steps:
- Take out your most precious skein of yarn. You know the one, the one that you felt a little bit guilty paying so much money for and have had in your stash for three years now because you are waiting for the exact right item to make with this super special skein of yarn.
- Crochet something less-than-special with that skein of yarn. Make a dishcloth or a really basic scarf. Or make something nice that you’ve really wanted to make if you must, but the more mundane, perhaps the better.
- Enjoy this new thing that you’ve made. Use it. Or place it where you can see it every day. Heck, crochet a granny square or knit a rectangle then place it in a frame and hang it on the wall to enjoy.
- Go to the yarn store and buy a new special skein of yarn. Take your time to find one that really calls out to you. This is reinforcement for your brain that there is always more out there.
Bonus Tips for This Exercise
- Keep your best skeins of yarn out where you can see them and enjoy them and get inspired to use them!
- Ask yourself how “Step Two” above made you feel. Many people react strongly to this part. You might want to journal about this.
- If you can’t go buy a new skein of luxury yarn right now (Step Four above), that’s okay. Go through your stash of yarn and see which skein calls out to you as the most precious skein now that the favorite one has been all used up. You will likely discover that your view has shifted and a skein you previously thought was “okay” is now “the best”. Challenge your perspective.
Taking it further: Donate your crocheted item to a thrift store. You have no way of knowing if it will be treated well and that beautiful skein might very well be “wasted”. It’s okay. Really. Confront your feelings about this in your crochet journal. Yarn is a safe space to explore very complex psychological challenges in life. When you do, you might find that you get stronger in other areas of life as well.
Marly Bird Knit and Crochet Patterns Using Luxury Yarn
You can use your luxury yarn to make anything that you want. If you need inspiration, here are some of Marly’s patterns that have used special yarn:
Stellar Stripes Shawl: Available in Knit and Crochet Patterns
Chemo caps are made with soft yarns because people going through cancer treatment have sensitive skin. What a great way to use a luxury yarn. Marly provides several luxury yarn options for this pattern including Stunning String Studio’s Luxury Fingering Yarn, which is a blend that includes merino wool and goat cashmere fiber.
This knit scarf pattern uses one skein of Bijou Basin Ranch “Lhasa Wilderness.” This luxury yarn is 75% yak/ 25% bamboo fiber. Luscious.
This pattern uses Bijou Spun “Himalayan Trail” by Bijou Basin Ranch. This luxury yarn is 75% yak/ 25% merino wool.
This men’s sweater vest pattern, inspired by fellow designer Drew Emborsky, is knit with a 100% fine merino yarn.