I heard that giggle 🙂 We’ve all be guilty one time or another. That moment when you step foot in the yarn shop. Your heart starts racing. You gasp with delight as your eyes roam from one surface to another. Color and texture as far as the eye can see. Like a kid in a candy store you start to get giddy. Slowly you take a step in. You stop and look around. Which way to start? The alpaca, the cotton, the textured wool…what to do? It’s all so overwhelming.
You take another deep breath and put one foot forward, then another. Your hand reaches out and plucks a soft alpaca ball. You roll it in your hands and give it a tender squeeze. You admire the content of the yarn and appreciate the color combination. Gingerly you lay it back in its nest with the others. You stroll along, your outstretched hand with fingers extended lightly glides along one skein after another.
Suddenly you look up and there she is. Your eyes meet…the shop owner has walked into the room. Silence descends upon the room and you find yourself holding your breath! Like a kid with their hand caught in the cookie jar you have been caught! What is she going to do? Then she walks slowly towards you, your hand still resting on the yarn. You can see she is about to speak. What will she say?
“Stop drooling on the yarn, we wouldn’t want it to get all wet” she says and then with a slight chuckle she continues….”we’ve all done it, we just have to pet the yarn!” Oh my…there, the cat was finally out of the bag. She understood and she was OK with it.
As a shop owner I can’t tell you how many times this scene played out. But why is it we have to touch and finger every last skein, ball, hank, fleece and fiber in the shop? So I decided to ask my friend Goggle.
This is what I found out. There are a lot of very scientific articles out there about the chemical make up of the brain and all the actions and reactions the body goes through but I didn’t want this to be a science class.
Bottom line: Soft, fluffy things provide a sense of security and comfort. (I get grumpy when I haven’t worked with fiber in several days…how about you?) One experiment explains this phenomenon: Harry Harlow’s monkey experiments. If your want to know more here is a link:
Studies on touch preference over the years have generally yielded the same results: We like things that are soft or smooth; we dislike things that are jagged or sharp; depending on what we’re feeling, we experience a mild sense of pleasure or displeasure. Research has shown that these preferences can have measurable effects, influencing our moods and how we relate to others. Touching also brings up memories. Some metaphors we use: A particularly harrowing experience is “rough.” A sweet moment makes you feel “warm and fuzzy.”
Like smells and songs, certain textures can call up specific emotional states — the sense of calm coziness, for example, that comes from stroking the fur of a cat, or wrapping yourself up in a fleecy blanket. (This past semester my students made fleece blankets that were donated to people living in long term care facilities.)
One blanket was given by my student to a woman because she was always complaining her knees were cold. This is what the student said about the experience;
“I brought the blanket in to her and explained how we had made it in class (she had already known of my major). She was beyond thrilled. She began to cry and said that she had never received such a thoughtful gift. we talked for the next ten minutes, and during that time, she refused to let go of my hand or the blanket. In fact, she clung to the blanket the entire morning, and wouldn’t stop smiling. She did not want to have her picture taken, but she asked if I would extend her gratitude to the class for the wonderful gift. I would like to thank you again for allowing me to take the blanket, because I know that it had such a positive impact on her..”
So there you have it! Keep on petting the yarn…I encourage it 🙂
Happy creating! Anita