“Personally, a special interest is an interest someone has that is deeply passionate about, that they want to engage in all the time, that is almost a part of their self-identity, that they have a powerful emotional connection to. It's not casual at all.”

Quote by Laura Anderson


Knitted pillow of diagonal squares

Image description: A pillow made out of nine knitted squares. Each square was knitted diagonally, which means the colors shift and pool in irregular ways. The yarn features a mix of bright aquas and oranges, combined with some softer yellows. The pillow has a bright orange border.


The connection Laura has to her biggest special interest, Yellowstone National Park, is something she described as spiritual and feeling passion toward the park. She looks forward to visiting Yellowstone every summer and planning her vacation. She has learned how to hike so she can see more of the park. She especially loves the wildlife and the different types of geothermal features. The yarn used in this pillow was hand-dyed by an artisan, who used colors inspired by Yellowstone’s hot springs. 

Though Laura only gets to visit Yellowstone while on vacation, she also loves to read about and look at pictures of the park. When Laura has a meltdown, Laura’s spouse will talk about Yellowstone to help her calm down. Because of the importance of special interests, Laura thinks it’s important for people to know that “whenever you shame a special interest, or whenever you try to teach someone that their special interest isn't okay, you run the risk of causing extreme anxiety and self-doubt and shame within the person.”