A phobia is an irrational and persistent fear of …. something. ‘Irrational’ meaning that it makes absolutely no sense to be afriad of, say, the number ’13’. How could a simple number hurt you? And ‘persistent’ meaning no matter how many times someone says, “How could a simple number hurt you?” you’re going to continue to believe the number 13 is lying in wait under your bed, just waiting for you to fall asleep so it can pounce!
There’s a phobia for almost everything under the sun (and under your bed!). In fact, there’s even a name for people who fear monsters under their bed – Teraphobia. (Ha!) And, many people have phobias – you meet them every day.
But it wasn’t until I started working at Joann that I realized two things:
There are a lot of different phobias I didn’t know about!
There are a lot of different phobias pertaining to sewing!
Textophobia – fear of fabric
I recently met a woman who has textophobia, an irrational and persistent fear of fabric, all fabrics. Pointing out to her that she wears clothing made out of fabric on a semi-regular basis has no effect on her. (Just kidding. She always wears clothes!) She’s heard it a million times and she still knows, with utter and complete certainty, that somehow, fabric will eventually be her downfall.
Koumpounophobia – fear of buttons
One might wonder how anyone could be afraid of buttons. As long as you don’t swallow them or stick them up your nose they’re just harmless little bits of plastic with the very important function of keeping your clothes from falling off your body. But try telling that to the man I met a few weeks ago who turned a sickly shade of green when I tried to help him find a replacement button for the one that popped off his shirt. For some reason, buttons that were already on his shirt were OK, but he couldn’t bear to touch buttons on those little cards or loose buttons just lying around.
Enetophobia – fear of pins
Personally, I love pins. When I was much younger all we had were those simple straight pins and some of those pins with the little colorful balls on top. These days you can get pins with little birds on top, or hearts, or flowers, and they come in zillions of colors impossible to resist. But a friend of mine knows a seamstress who can not even look at a pin without visibly cringing. She cuts all of her patterns using pattern weights and uses clips when she’s sewing.
Linonophobia – fear of thread
I have to admit I haven’t met anyone with linonophobia, but I’m sure there’s someone out there who has an irrational and persistent fear of thread. But, since I’m usually working at the cutting counter and I can’t imagine that anyone who fears thread would do much sewing, we haven’t crossed paths – yet.
I myself have the irrational and persistent fear of several things – large buildings, large bodies of water, flying, movie theaters, and centipedes. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on the state of my pocketbook, none of my phobias are related to crafting. But, what about you? What makes you shudder or screech or maybe even run away in terror? C’mon. I shared mine, now you share yours!
Donna Anderson 'works' at Joann Fabrics at 4600 W. Broad St. in Columbus, OH. Just look for the crazy old lady behind the cutting counter. As a kid, she ran with scissors and ate paste. She's since found safer, more creative ways to use her Fiskars and Mod Podge. Next time you're at the store, stop by the cutting counter and have a chat! (Just please don't ask her about lightbulbs!)