Buying supplies online: Good or bad idea?

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered some yarn online to complete a project for a friend at work.  I got it a week later, to see that it was the wrong colour.  I wanted a grassy green or khaki green.  What I got was luminous green!  I was pretty bummed, I spent more on yarn online than I would have done if I had just walked to the shops.  I asked the seller if I had received the wrong yarn only to be told that ‘We have your order as apple which is what we have sent you’.  OK, thanks…. (I would share the pictures but I don’t want this to identify the seller)

I learnt something interesting when I did an online course on the mind.  Our interpretations of situations and senses can often be very different to everyone else’s.  In fact, there is very compelling evidence that that is so for colours.  I suppose you all remember that dress that broke the internet?  Blue and black v white and gold.  This is a prime example that we view and interpret colours differently from other people.

Blue and black vs white and gold (BBC, 2015)

I knew this when I bought the yarn.  In fact, this was the first time I had ordered yarn online.  So why did I go ahead anyway?  I was desperate to get the project finished as quickly as possible but depression stopped me wanting to leave the house.  As a result, the project will be finished late, my friend will get them late, and I will only have my silly self to blame.

So I’ve learnt my lesson, buy yarn from the shops!  However, other supplies are quite easy to get online.  The banner you see on this blog site, my crochet hooks, I bought online.  I would never have found them in the shops.  In fact, it was cheaper to buy that set (23 hooks, six tapestry needles and a case) than it would have been to buy each item separately.  OK, they are not pristine quality, but they do the job perfectly.  Other supplies like row counters, stitch markers, safety eyes and other accessories are fab online.  The choice is extensive, which allows you to decide how much, or how little, you want to spend.

Of course, quality is dependent on price.  I have bought very cheap stitch markers which snap just by looking at them and tape measures have not been accurate.  This is something to bear in mind.  Another factor is where you are ordering from.  I ordered stitch markers which took a month to arrive because they were from China (and I paid the cheapest shipping fee), if I ordered something which was important to finish a project, for a friend, I wouldn’t find that time acceptable, therefore I would pay extra.

The reason why I go cheap is because I am poor.  If I were to spend far more money on supplies, I’d never have any!  I had this conversation with a family member a couple of years ago, who could not understand why a moderate to expert knitter wouldn’t spend money on good quality yarn, to which I said ‘If I did, I’d never knit or crochet anything again.’

There’s taking rough with the smooth, then there’s buying tat.  So, for me, online shopping and browsing is a life saver as it allows me the options to buy cheap or moderate quality supplies, depending on what the item is.  But I still enjoy browsing in the shops, nothing beats seeing, feeling and holding what you want to buy in real life.  It’s just a case of seeing which option is best for what.

Craft and depression, depression and craft

I do a lot of reading around mental illnesses, be it conditions, trending news and the rest.  A common suggestion for coping with mental illness is to participate in hobbies as it allows the person to concentrate on something productive, keeps them active (physically and mentally, depending on the hobby) and provides a result.  It’s definitely a far kinder therapy than medication and talking treatments.

But a symptom of depression is a lack of interest in previously pleasurable activities.  And if that activity is important to your life, depression essentially robs you of that.

I started knitting and crocheting because of mental illness.  It helped to give me some substance in my life.  I could use a ball of yarn and some sticks to create something beautiful.  The biggest pleasure is making something, from scratch, for somebody else who truly appreciates my time, talent and love devoted to it.

During depressive episodes, it’s difficult to craft.  It’s an effort to drag the bag over, pick up my work and figure out where I left off.  Then there’s reading a pattern, which was simple before.  And when I begin, I make constant mistakes, big and small.  Then the last scrap of interest is gone.

It’s often swings and roundabouts.  If the depression is too much then crafting is out of the question, when hobbies are meant to be a suggested way to treat depression.  And if the depression is manageable but I’m struggling to think and concentrate, that can trigger the depression to worsen.  It’s no surprise that, sometimes, I’d rather not pick it up when in the pit.

Crafting for other people is often the incentive to carry on.  If there’s a deadline and expectation, it gives me the much-needed kick up the arse to get it done.  And whilst making them might frustrate me, the appreciation I receive is definitely worth it!

This blog might sound like I don’t enjoy knitting or crocheting.  Don’t get me wrong, I do!  It’s the depression which interferes with my life that makes me frustrated.

Thank you, friends and family

After sharing my blog site on Facebook, I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive responses from everyone who’s visited!  I’ve got an idea for a logo, some projects I want to do for the gallery and potential orders.  I didn’t expect my blog to take off the way it has so I would like to say thank you to you all.  

Watch this space for more blogs and gallery updates and keep messaging me for ideas for the blog, knitting and crocheting tips and project ideas.