I resisted writing a blog for the shop for a long time. I'm highly protective of my privacy, and with the shop's social media engagement, weekly newsletters, and podcasts, I wasn't convinced of the need for a blog, to be honest. But, as it turns out, the one aspect I do miss of my former life as an English professor is being able to disseminate research and information, so I broke down and decided to start a Yarn/Fiber Blog. Many of us have turned to yarn, fiber, and craft throughout the covid-19 pandemic as a way to navigate a world where the future seems more nebulous and ephemeral than usual. This turn towards craft as an anchor isn't new. Before opening the shop, I was researching this phenomenon as it plays out in literature. Plenty of evidence exists depicting the ways in which people turn to handcraft when the rest of their lives seem out of order, when the world seems too big or too uncertain or too scary. But, I think yarn, fiber, and craft offer us more than just a way to burn off excess energy and order our thoughts. This past year, they've also given us tools for communicating our love and care for others when we cannot be with them. I think about this past holiday season and the sheer number of handmade presents that people were planning on giving. (Whether or not those projects were finished is another matter.) If we probe the edges of the desire and the drive to make someone a present with our own hands, the desire to wrap them up in something soft, squishy, and tangible, most of us aren't surprised with the suggestion that such acts are physical manifestations of our emotional attachments to people; such a suggestion isn't something new. But, this past year that urge to make for someone else seems to have taken on new meaning, new significance, perhaps because we are continually confronted with the fragility of our lives. Craft this year seems to be more than simply an expression of "I care about you, so I made you this." Rather, pandemic crafting for others seems to expanded into a declaration of "I cannot hug you and hold you close right now because I want to keep you safe, so I'm going to make and send you a piece of myself that you can keep close, that you can touch, that you can hug because I miss you, I love you, and I'm hurting in my longing to be with you." I've never been a fan of Valentine's Day. I would go so far as to say that it is my absolute least favorite holiday on the calendar, way way way below National Moose Day (which is an AMAZING holiday, btw). However, this year, perhaps Valentine's Day has a little bit more significance, and I can't help but wonder how we might be able to meld our love of craft with this particular day to continue offering those we love with something handmade and tangible to hold on to.
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