Tuesday, October 21, 2008
What is Yarn Supposed to Be?
I had an e-mail from my sister today. She had knitted a shawl out of linen. Somehow you knit and then when you are finished you do something and some of the stitches drop down to the beginning of the piece. (Sorry I already deleted the e-mail and can't give you the specifics on the technique.) She was frustrated because somehow, someway the stitches had gone too far and come loose. Now was the debate on fixing the problem or ripping out the whole piece. We are not talking a difficult pattern as she herself said it was eighty inches of boring knit. Nothing was there to stop the mind numbing process of pure vanilla knitting. I reminded her that when I was knitting my lace shawl and found a mistake fifteen inches below the needles that she told me to rip it back or I would always see only the mistake. I knew she was right, ripped it out and re-knit it. It came out beautifully and is one of my favorite pieces of knitting. I told her to rip the shawl out. I even went on about the joy of the process of knitting. She would be getting to use "free" yarn and make a whole new project. I reminded her about my Huckleberry Shawl. I have knitted many things. I have knitted intricate lace. Number one on my list for comfort is my Huckleberry Shawl. This shawl started out as a sweater. Some kind of simple all knit stitch in black (which I liked) Homespun by Lion Brand. Surprisingly this yarn when washed is so soft and well, comfy. That sweater was the most boring awful sweater. I tried to like it. It was easy just knit, knit, knit. The more I knit on it the more I hated it. It was finally relegated to "the tub." Out of sight out of mind. During this time my daughter moved. Her 170 pound Mastif Huckleberry came to stay at my house. This was the most loveable, kind and sweet dog ever born. He could sense when you were sad or stressed and would come and lay beside you or put his head on your lap. Yes he was very slobbery but that was a part of his charm. At this time I came across the pattern for the Prayer Shawl. It is a very simple pattern and I thought I would whip it up. What should I use? I went through tubs of yarn and the closet of yarn and came across the dreaded black Homespun sweater. Ok, I would try that. I ripped it out and put it in balls. The yarn seem to flow on the needles. Three-fourths of the way through the shawl I discovered that even though all the skeins had the same dye lot they did not match. I had three different shades of black. You're kidding, right? No, they were not matching. Oh, heck, fine I am finishing it anyway. It is just going to lay around or be in a tub to be ripped out again. Once it was finished I discovered that not only were there three shades but the darker two were in the middle and the lighter black was on each end. Good thing I never planned to use this thing. Now remember Huckleberry was living at my house. Every night I took him out for his evening constitutional. As it got more cold that fall I grabbed up the shawl to walk out front and stood waiting for him to do his business. It got to a point I did not even have to tell him to come on, when he saw me pick up the shawl he headed to the door. Later on Huckleberry moved back with his mom and I did not have to go out in the evening cold. Sadly a few years later Huckleberry left us. My daugher told my grand-daughter that he was in Bowie, Texas which he is at a pet cemetary there. That shawl is my favorite shawl. It is soft, warm and comforting just like Hucklebery was. I put it in the closet during the summer but every fall and winter it is on the back of my chair ready for use. Since we are anticipating a cold front today it is back on my chair. Here are pictures of Huckleberry with my son and my granddaughter. If you look closely at the one of my shawl you can see it the color does not match but everytime I use this shawl I think of that wonderful dog and his love for our family. So what is yarn supposed to be? Maybe not what you think it is. It may be something completely different and yet more precious and dear to you than you ever might expect.