Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Hoarder of Interests

Sometimes I watch the shows on television about people who hoard stuff. I don't have the problem and feel sorry for those who do. But I can relate.

For decades, I carted around stuff necessary for several hobbies. I could never quite let go of the stuff or the idea that I should like the hobby, despite the fact that I sucked at it and was not truly interested.

Knitting and sewing are in that category, taken up decades ago because so many of my friends and relatives enjoyed them. And I didn't spend ten years making an afghan with all those holes in it to not have some attachment to knitting! I still have some knitting needles tucked away somewhere - you never know when a guest will come for Christmas, and I will have to make an extra stocking for under the tree - but the wool and pattern books are long gone.

I still have the very expensive, if aging, sewing machine and actually use it for curtains or mending, every once in awhile. Fortunately, I have stopped buying fabric for the possible chic outfit I could possibly, one day, create. It mattered not that neither I nor anyone else would ever wear the "outfits" I did manage to make; I had boxes of patterns, buttons, interfacing, and fabric for years.

Now, I've become a hoarder of interests. It takes up no space at all. On forms asking for a person's interests, I have a hard time not putting all these "almost" hobbies - the knitting and sewing, ceramics, making christmas ornaments, embroidery, and rock collecting. Is collecting those little bits of sea glass a separate hobby? - maybe I could have sub-categories? 

Okay, I'm lying - this is Gilles Marini, not our waiter, but you get the idea.
(Actually, perhaps I'm cheating a bit about embroidery. Years ago, a girlfriend and I took a class every Saturday morning, followed by lunch at a French bistro - there was a very sexy waiter there. We never missed a class!!!)

There is a pattern here. Mostly my hoarded interests involve crafts and probably a certain amount of residual guilt for not ever liking them. All the women I knew as a young woman, or so it seemed, were so exceptionally talented and genuinely liked these hobbies.

One friend could look at a designer sweater; then go home and make it. Another ended up taking tailoring courses and making suits and coats that sold. My mother's cross-stitch could just about be framed from either side, it is so perfect. Maybe these talented women were just too daunting for a not-very-interested dabbler.

So when those hoarders on tv have such a hard time giving up a set of knitting needles or dress pattern, I sort of know how they feel.  They are probably driven by many of the same impulses that cause me to hoard interests, even if I no longer hoard the makings for them. A little to the left or the right, and maybe it could have been me.

(photo credit - sewing machine)
(photo credit - yarn)
(photo credit - Marini)


Hels said...

ahhh Chris, I hear you *sob on your sisterly shoulder*

Having lots of hobbies and interests is great; the more the better, I say. The trouble is... you didn't select areas in which you could succeed brilliantly like your mother or suit-making girlfriend.

The way to go is to look at a] your talents, b] your areas of boredom and c] what you truly suck at. Are arts and crafts sexy, uber-feminine and creative but you can't do them to save your life? Do German classes, bridge tournaments, archaeological digs sound too academic and too butch?

God knows I tried the feminine arts and failed miserably :( Now I happily answer questions on Hobbies and Interests with some honesty - attending art auctions, collecting antiques, visiting historical museums, visiting colonial architecture.

I am a total failure in the sisterhood. But I knew that in Grade 2!

cooper said...

I have knitting and crochet stuff somewhere, from college, when some of my friends would actually knit and crochet. I tried. I have instruction books. . Despite moving I still have this very large bag of yarn, knitting needles and crochet hooks, along with books and directions.The pictures look pretty, and you never know.

I promise myself I will give them away this week.

ChrisJ said...


Good advice. I do put down the things I actually like and am good at, but have trouble leaving the other stuff out.

It took me much longer to get it - into my twenties and even thirties for some things.

ChrisJ said...


Ah, maybe I've given you a little push. Besides, if it turns out that you do develop a passion for crocheting, the materials aren't too, too expensive to replace.

Also, if you do, I'd like a tea cozy, please!

Pearl said...

wow, talented friends.

collecting interests are tidy too.

I buy books on crafting far more than I ever craft. on the list for someday is to make my own clothes to get off the torture rack of off the rack.

ChrisJ said...


When I ever did make the odd outfit years ago, I was on the torture rack of "kind of ugly and doesn't really fit." I opted for off the rack!