Sometimes I fear I'm not so much a crafter as a collector. I collect craft supplies. How else to explain the piles of yarn, fabric, paper, notions burgeoning in every spare corner (and quite a few not so spare areas too)? I have more than I can possibly use, and yet more keep appearing.
I've been this way since I was a child, when the lure of the bookshop and the stationers first took hold and my pocket money would be converted into paper (reading books, notebooks, drawing pads, sugar paper, coloured card, writing paper) and endless sets of colouring pencils, water colour paints and pastels. I still have a big box of supplies upstairs. The paints probably need to be given up for dead but the pastels sit there, waiting for small hands to be slightly less small so that I can gift them on. And I have more writing paper than a person who barely manages to send thank you notes (and shamefully didn't manage to do that for her son's birth or christening, or her daughter's birthday, last year) can possibly need. And yet still I linger over art supplies and coloured pens and have to fight the urge to buy them whenever I see them.
The only things that have changed since then are my interests have diversified, so wool, fabric and all manner of shiny accessories have been added to the list of items coveted and purchased, and my bank balance has increased, making the acquisition of these items ever easier. And then we come to Internet shopping.
Ah, Internet shopping. My friend, my enemy, my guilty pleasure, my downfall. I love Internet shopping. Many happy hours are spent browsing and buying all manner of bits and bobs. It is so easy. So quick. It comes with the pleasure of the postman delivering parcels. I've always loved receiving parcels. It is the perfect antidote to a hard day with the kids. It is so much less stressful than packing up the kids and taking them with me to the shops. And the kinds of shop that struggle on the high street these days (or maybe never really existed on the high street) like button shops, felt shops, ribbon shops and more can flourish online as women (and probably some men, but I suspect mostly women) like me sit down with a glass of Chablis after getting the kids to bed and daydream about all the things they will make in the free time that the wine and the pretty pictures on the screen temporarily makes then forget they don't have.
The lure of online shopping intersects with my enthusiasm for planning, resulting in many happy hours organising an ever-growing and unlikely to be completed list of things to make and do. And therein lies the problem. If I actually had to leave the house and go to a real shop, most of my ideas would stay just that. They would never leave the planning stage and that would be fine, because you can't get in much of a mess just daydreaming about stuff and you can still wile away many happy hours thinking and planning for when you finally get a chance to go shopping but you don't actually have to come good on any of these these grand ideas. You cant really get yourself in any trouble. Then in steps the internet and you get all carried away. You promise that you won't. Not this time. You've learnt your lesson (yes, I'm staring accusingly at you, 12 plastic tubs containing yarn that is yet to be knit up). But you have a really great idea for using some of the stash up and you only need a couple of extra bits to make it work... And, well a few fat quarters for bunting for your son's first birthday can't do much harm... Oh my, aren't those animal prints gorgeous? Robert Kaufman does such pretty prints. They'd make a perfect quilt for the safari themed nursery and, well, you never redecorated when you had the second baby and so he's been a bit left out while your daughter had curtains and cushion covers made for her before she was born and has received blankets (including that epic log cabin that you spent three maybe even four months knitting) and had her whole room redecorated not long ago so, really, he deserves a quilt.
And before you know it, you've emailed the fabric shop for help selecting colours to complement the prints and have ordered enough fabric to make two pairs of trousers for the kids, a dress for your daughter, bunting and a quilt. All of which you are going to do in your non-existent spare time.
- Lyn Collett
- Currently, I'm a stay-at-home mum to an inquisitive and often rambunctious three year old girl and her sunny little brother. In a former life, I was a lawyer. I know which I prefer. On the odd occasion that I get some downtime, I knit, crochet, read, sew, sing badly, dance even more so, enjoy a glass of wine and watch bad TV, sometimes in varying combinations of the foregoing and not necessarily in that order of preference.