Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yarn, Perception, Choice.

I'm working on a log cabin blanket, using some Plymouth Encore yarn that I got from Destash. I like the yarn okay, it knits up nicely, and I love having a log cabin blanket to work on while I'm watching tv or movies and relaxing on the couch. It takes very little thought and planning to knit a log cabin blanket that looks like it was way hard. So that's my default standby project. And I'm nearly done with it, but this blanket was just meant to kill this batch of yarn. And the yarn. will. not. dieeeeeee.

It's tough to estimate when you'll run out of yarn on a blanket. The sides get longer, the ball of yarn gets smaller, and I get more and more, nervous. So I limit the width of the strip, only to find that I then have enough yarn to do another one later! So now I have a bunch of skinny stripes, which is fine, but it's taken me twice as long to knit those stripes as it would have to knit a thick stripe of the same width (since casting on and casting off takes twice as long as knitting a new row).

So now let's talk about scarcity. Growing up, I learned to make do. I learned to accept what was in the room and not ask for more. True for food, clothing, books, cars, friends, etc. In my twenties, I had to learn to figure out, and then actually ask for, what I truly wanted. That was tough. "Why aren't these decisions being made for me?" I thought. "I thought Mom and Dad were going to show up and tell me what kind of car I get!" Was it nice having a car supplied to me? Yes. Is it still funny that I never knew what I liked because I didn't think I had any options? Also yes.

Yarn! I really love yarn. One of the things I love about yarn is that I've learned to make choices about yarn. I went through the many stages of yarn education/acquisition, which I'll list more specifically in a future post (note to self). One of those stages involves random and abundant acquisition, and before I learned what I really liked, I had already acquired a ton (metaphorically) of acrylic yarn, some good, some crunchy. (Note: when it feels like someone melted a plastic garbage bag to make the yarn, that's bad yarn.)

About three months ago, I went through my stash, which consisted of about six plastic bins - you know the ones, they're under your bed right now. Pop-top or snap-down lids, either way, there's a hyphen involved and they hold all that stuff that you don't want to keep in easy reach, but you don't want to get rid of. Could be clothing, sports equipment, climbing gear, or school papers - whatever. Just stuff. So picture six of these spread out on the floor, all jammed with different breeds of yarn. Oh, wait, did I mention the ten or so smaller versions that held specific projects or types of yarn, also spread around the perimeter? Oh yes. Allll mine.

Time to organize, right? (Mmmm. Organizing.) No problem. But as I sorted through the stash, I noticed that some of the yarns I loved to touch and feel, and some of them were just bad yarn. The acrylics were especially prone to this, as I'd purchased much of it over eBay prior to learning what comprised a quality yarn. I would chuck these bad yarns in the nearest bin, shaking my head.

Then the light went on. Duh! I, a grown-up, could choose to ... leave this yarn behind. I could ... divest myself of this baggage. I was allowed to ... get rid of what I didn't want.

I am not required to knit something with a yarn just because I made an error in judgment. (The first person to name the reference gets a knitted dishcloth.)

Yes, yes, you've reached the I will only choose to do what I love portion of the broadcast. I know it's all new agey and hippies have a bad name these days and now my hardcore rep has been sacrified to the gods of eureka. Okay. That doesn't change the fact that I had a revelation. I donated about two bins of yarn that day, and since then have not felt guilty at all. I've been knitting what I like to knit, and I love how the yarn I've chosen feels against my hands as I knit. It's a pleasurable, happy experience, and while I no longer feel dutiful and superior because I'm doing something for the Good Of Doing It, I'm choosing my projects based on what I want, and for no other reasons.

No comments: