I’ve become somewhat spin-obsessed this week.

I’m sure it’s due largely to the class I didn’t get to attend at SAFF. I wasn’t really anticipating coming home with a wheel, although I did think I’d get a braid or two of fiber, maybe a really nice spindle, and a skein of yarn. Instead, I’ve been stumbling badly through the hoops of bureaucracy, dealing with various aches and pains, and just being annoyed at myself for not being more productive and more proactive.

It seems spinning wheels are everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I’m seeing and hearing about them a great deal because of all the fiber gatherings other people are attending, because I watch and listen to a lot of fiber-related podcasts and follow a lot of other yarny people on Instagram. I am starting to realize I need to pull back on that, because it’s crossing over from a little harmless enabling, to outright resentment. The resentment isn’t so much materialistic as “why do their lives work out so flawlessly?” but it’s still starting to get under my skin, because the excitement of ooh, new episode is immediately doused by the cold shower of “oh boy, a 20-minute parade of advertising disguised as my friend who happens to own a business just happened to give me this gift, and look at this other stuff I bought!

I know the root of it all is my own irritation at myself for being so susceptible to advertising and peer pressure when I fancy myself an independent and critical thinker; and the hypocrisy inherent in thinking I’m too mature to be following trends and hopping on bandwagons, while at the same time participating in things like Operation Sock Drawer and NaKniSweMo (and buying pretty yarn because I saw a pretty picture posted by a professional knitter whose job it is to sell yarn). I’m the problem*, but it’s a lot more feasible to hit Unsubscribe than to undergo the years of therapy I need, so that’s my plan.

Another issue, I think, is that I’ve started watching more and more video podcasts. Using the pictures to words conversion rate, a video of some delicious yarn accompanied by some gushing about how wonderful it is (and how wonderful the dyer is, and how wonderful the event was, and how wonderful life is…) is infinitely more effective at advertising than just a description and some gushing. (By way of research, I present the fact that I’ve bought at least two skeins of yarn based on still pictures, whereas the Webs podcast has at least a dozen descriptions of yarns a week, half of which are on sale, and I’ve never bought yarn because of Ready Set Knit.) So I would be perfectly content with just jettisoning videocasts entirely, with the exception of one where the host is more prone to showing WIPs, FOs, and handspun than… haul**. The audio shows do “stash enhancement” segments, but they also seem to focus a lot more on conversation (either with each other or with the audience) than acquisition.

At any rate, my biggest gripe right now with the digital knitting community is that they have something I want but can’t have right now – spinning wheels. And it’s not I-want in an abstract sense, like why does she get to have one and I don’t? because I know the answers to that. No, I literally cannot try out most of the spinning wheels I want because the wheel dealer nearest me (you might have heard of it) doesn’t have their usual selection available to try out because they took them to SAFF, and people bought them. And being able to try one was the solution to two problems: I couldn’t decide between 4 different wheels they carried, and even though I don’t yet have the cash in hand to buy the wheel (said cash is still working its way through a bureaucratic maze), I could at least try and get a bit of a fix.

Right now I’m stuck in a tough place: I still want to read all I can about wheels, even though it’s just serving to remind me of something I can’t, for several reasons beyond my control, have yet. I do know it will help to unsubscribe to several podcasts (and it might help even more to leave negative reviews, but that would require having an iTunes account, and I’m too lazy to set one up just for that, as I have no iProducts). I’d like to find some new ones, but it seems like every time I’ve tried to, they aren’t the same. It shouldn’t bother me, since it’s pretty much exactly what I want, but there’s a kind of familiarity I miss. Is it the familiarity of contempt, or the comfort of a good circlejerk?*** Probably a little of column A, a little of column B.

*and here lies another thing that annoys me about the knitting community in general, and yet here I am doing it: everything is My Fault. It’s not the pattern, the designer is a Wonderful Person. It’s not the yarn, it’s my own shortcomings in skill. I’m pretty sure the reason this is so prevalent is because no one wants to alienate a potential sponsor, but I seem to have picked it up even though I have no desire to ever enter the knitting industry.

**another deep, twisted root: it reminds me a lot of when I was a pretty hardcore couponer, and their forums were rife with photos of their haul. It makes marginally more sense when it’s something designed to be beautiful and shown-off than when it’s toilet paper and diabetic supplies, but it’s still very highly consumption-driven, especially when it’s only going to be stuffed in a box or a cupboard for months or years. It probably wouldn’t bother me so much, though, if one of the reasons I got away from recreational/competitive shopping and into knitting was that I wanted to focus on creating, not acquiring.

***that’s one problem inherent of a close-knit (ha) community — it can get a little insular, self-referential, and kind of a turn-off to outsiders. I roll my eyes every time I hear about a “podcaster meetup” at a fiber event, like they don’t all already know each other anyway. I do occasionally wonder if I’m the only listener who doesn’t have her own fiber-based business and accompanying podcast.