Monday, March 24, 2008

Liberating Yarn from the UFO Archives

A few weeks ago I started a charity scarf with Lion Brand's Jiffy yarn, just about the only acrylic yarn I hadn't already sworn off using, making a narrower version of the Palindrome reversible cable pattern. I got nearly to the end of the first skein and stalled, fretting about how short it was going to be with just the 2 skeins I had in stash. So it sat for a while, and I checked out the local Michael's for another skein, with no luck; then more time passed and I finally stopped in at JoAnn's and found another skein. This is no-dyelot stuff, so I wasn't too worried about matching colors. So that Friday I picked up the scarf while at my seniors' group, and discovered that I had come to hate working with the yarn. It squeaks on the needles! Yechhh! I've since hauled it out twice at my group's afternoon meeting, knitted a few rows, and promptly switched to my always-one-there baby hat.

Saturday morning I decided I have had it with even Jiffy yarn. I hauled out the charity yarn bins and dug out the UFO piles. I frogged and wound into balls, and then frogged and wound some more. I got rid of quite a few projects that have been faintly nagging at my conscience to be finished 'one of these days':
  • A pale yellow Red Heart Baby blanket, stalled out at a few rows past the 400+ stitch circumference where the border begins (3 years old)
  • A Homespun pillow meant to look like a lamb. I REALLY hate Homespun! (3-4 years old)
  • A partially-finished pair of crocheted leggings for a friend who long ago gave up on getting them. (2 years ago)
  • A diagonal crocheted box-stitch multi-colored striped afghan, with about 8 different colors of RH and no-name acrylics. These skeins went into a separate bag; it's now an afghan 'kit'. (BTW, for the crocheters in my tiny readership, this is a fun and fast pattern.) (2 years old)
  • The beginnings of a scarf and a shawl, both for charity and from the same chunky blue-grey acrylic, of which we got 20 skeins. (last fall)
  • The said Palindrome scarf and all the other skeins of Jiffy in my house.
So I have 4 big bags of yarn to take to my group on Friday. And my 'charity yarn' bin (just one bin!) has alpaca, wool and wool blends in it, plus a bit of Simply Soft and acrylic/nylon baby yarns. Our group does get donations of nicer-fiber yarn from time to time, and two or three of us always snag it to make shawls or scarves from. We started doing this after one of our older ladies was going to double-strand some sportweight wool with a Red Heart-type baby yarn to get the worsted/chunky gauge she was used to. We intervened to save the lovely wool!

OK, feel free to call me a yarn snob. All together now:
You're a Yarn Snob!!
Acrylics do have all sorts of uses in the knitting and crochet world, especially for nursing homes and hospices. My seniors' group support those and other places where a machine wash-and-dry yarn is a necessity. I've just decided not to spend my knitting time using them. The items I'm going to knit from now on will be fundraisers at our charity boutique, and the money we raise from their sale will go to charities that don't need our handmade items. Our group just gave $500 from last fall's boutique sales to a local group that serves Easter dinner to the needy.

The pictures are two projects that came from the non-acrylic yarns. There's a Comfort Shawl I knitted from the Knitting Daily pattern in a mid-blue mohair/acrylic blend and the so-talented Gaye's shawl - the Sun Ray pattern from Shui Kuen Kozinsky at Elann - in a glorious alpaca.

And BTW? If the Sun Ray shawl isn't already sold to one of our members (the Comfort Shawl went to a fundraiser a friend's group was having last fall), you can buy it - the price should be around $25US. Yeah - *that* cheap!


Grace Yaskovic said...

I was with my MIL yesterday She can knit but she crochets like a dream, she makes really great beautiful things BUT she uses only acrylic yarn and the cheapest she can get so nothing is soft. She truly believes that its wool--because its worsted , I can't convince her that worsted is a weight, and she loves the Vanna White Yarn and she (Vanna) would never use acrylic, and its so expensive it can't be acrylic----whatever!!!! My other pet peeve with her wonderful work is she knots everything and doesn't weave it in or clip the threads so everything looks mussy!!!

Sandra said...

My name is Curlerchik, and I too, am a yarn snob.
Like I always say, life's too short to use crap yarn.
I've given all my crap stuff to my son's school - the primary grades have a ball using it for crafts and such. I've also donated a bunch to one of the senior's homes around here.

Cindy G said...

I am fainting at the thought of your letting that glorious shawl go for $25. I hope someone local snaps it up fast, and really appreciates what a valuable prize she has found.

You aren't a yarn snob. A yarn snob is someone who says no one should ever even consider knitting with _______ (fill in the blank). You are just someone who has found what she does and doesn't like for herself. Nothing wrong with that.