I’ve been working on the same pair of socks since October.

It’s not like me to take so long for socks, even if they are a size 13 (men’s!), but my knitting time has been somewhat reduced since then. I no longer work nights, and I’m too busy to fuss with it anyway. I don’t even see the point in bringing it along with me for breaks I probably won’t get, especially since I commute by bicycle and it’d just be one more thing to pack and haul and unpack. Not that I’m some super-serious Lance Armstrong type that is concerned with every excess gram of weight, but space is kind of at a premium for me; I only have so much cargo space on my bike and in my locker. And when I get home, I’m sometimes too exhausted to do anything besides eat dinner and go to bed.

I have gotten some things done. I’ve spun up a few skeins of yarn, I’ve knit an adult-sized sweater, and in doing so I have made a small dent in my stash. There’s no joy in that victory, though, because I’ve acquired so much other yarn and fiber to fill the hole.

It’s a fairly common trope in the fiber world that social media (Instagram being the chief one I concern myself with) is a terrible enabler. It’s also a long-established weakness of mine that I’m terribly susceptible to advertising, and this is no exception. When I switched hobbies from hardcore couponing to knitting, it made me feel good to think that I was more interested in creating things than acquiring them, but four years later, I’ve acquired enough fiber and related accoutrements to fill a room in my house.

It bothers me. My lack of impulse control is usually couched in some horse-pucky justification like “at least I’m supporting a small business!” That’s its own issue, anyway, because I’ve made the argument before that just because a business is small and local doesn’t make it any more worth supporting if they don’t offer good customer service.

But I have limited time to use what I have, not just in the day-to-day sense, but on a larger scale. I’m nothing if not morbid, and I am reminded daily that I’m not going to live forever. It saddens me to think of leaving behind bins of lovely stuff that I never got around to using because I had to squirrel it away to make room for yet more lovely stuff. I mean, obviously after I’m dead, I won’t know or care about what happens to my damn yarn, but it kind of sucks to think that I would be reduced to some random knitter’s lucky estate-sale score or thrift-shop find.

So I need to get my yarn-purchasing under control, and to do so, I’m going to have to set up some guidelines. I hate to use the phrase diet, and I’m not going “cold-sheep”; I prefer to look at it the same way I have looked at eating better and becoming healthier: more conscientious consumption and better choices. I don’t need to buy something at an out-of-town LYS just because I was there. I won’t purchase from RandomIndieYarnCo for the same reason I won’t go to a drive-thru: it’ll be good for that one moment when I open the mailbox, but later I’ll just feel like a bloated sucker because I just put some of my hard-earned money into someone else’s pocket when I am clearly able to do the same thing they do, I’m just too lazy. And they certainly don’t appreciate my business anyway.

We joke a lot about being whatever-holics, and while I realize it may be insensitive to those who truly do struggle with addictions, I think it also offers some valuable guidelines for controlling the compulsion to consume. One major step that I’m going to have to take is to limit my exposure. I’m not talking about throwing a blanket over the television, but I am going to be going through several lists and asking myself some questions: why are you listening to this show? While many of them are simply vehicles for advertising the host’s business, does this one also offer particularly interesting insights or amusing content? Why are you following that person? Are they your friends, or do you have nothing in common other than this particular interest?

Maybe my feeds won’t be as sparkly. But on the plus side, it’ll give me some time to work through this closet full of yarn I’ve hoarded.