Tuesday, January 04, 2005

My name is Melody and I'm a Yarnaholic

OK I am admitting I have a problem and need to check into yarn rehab.
I have been in this situation before with fabric.
And art supplies.
And Circulon pots and pans from TJMaxx.
And cheap rose bushes from K-Mart.
And quilting books.
Whatever is on sale.
Actually I can remember when it all began. I was just a kid age 15, when my mother taught me to knit to get my mind off the fact that I would never again see Joel Tuczynski of Erie, Pennsylvania. I was moping around the house, too young to work and too morose to draw. Knitting got me to concentrate on something other than my heartbreak and soon it was Joel Who?
In those days, ancient days of yore, yarn was sold at Sears of all places, as was fabric. And Sears had Orlon Sayelle! A new miracle yarn that wouldn't felt.
My first sweater was made with huge needles and was some sort of cardigan, which looked like an old lady sweater to me, but only took two days of non-stop knitting to finish. After that initial success I grandly decided to try making an Aran Isle pullover for my second project.
Not wanting to relinquish her precious Orlon Sayelle to the novice, my mother gave me some peach wool, even though I said it was itchy. I would be wearing the Irish knit over a shirt, she reminded me, so I took it and cast on the first stitches. At 15, I had no problem juggling many patterns at once and I found myself happily making cables, diamonds, popcorn stitches, and bobbles, using a toothpick as my dp needles for the twists and cables.
In those days the idea was to immediately wash and block the completed project and then call it finished. No one mentioned that wool might felt up if washed vigorously in hot soapy water. It did, but still I was proud of my smaller sweater and wore as soon as the calendar said September, whether it was still 80 degrees or not.

Learning that wool is fickle, I was more determined than ever to make my next sweater from
Sayelle, and soon the wicked fiends of addiction put it on sale at Sears. Mom and I went nuts, and funny enough we were the only ones who did. There weren't hoards of yarnsluts gathered around the shelves then and maybe that was a sign. We didn't notice.
The sale was fantastic. Two 16 oz. skeins for $3, half price. Buy four get one free. Four skeins makes a sweater and there were at least ten colors. WE loaded our shopping bags with yarn in all the real colors, yellow, turquoise, mint, orange, pink, baby blue, royal, red, white and black. A few heathery tones were thrown in, a beige or two amongst them. In the end we spent nearly
$50, which in today's money is $50.
When we got home my father was arriving at the same time. We gulped and I learned how to lie.
"We saved you so much money" was the first false utterance.
It wasn't the quality, it was the quantity! And all of it was machine washable. Ha! I began to plan my own designs, being an artist even then.
That summer I knit 13 sweaters, no kidding, and all of them except the Aran began to pill immediately upon wearing them. Pill pill pill. And if pressed with an iron the yarn turned crunchy and hard, being plastic for heaven's sake. I quit knitting then, and felt my first pangs of guilt. All that yarn, all that money for something that wasn't good. O the humanity!
I was relatively poor, without my own money and no way short of babysitting to earn any more. Next summer I got my first job, at Dog 'n Suds, and learned what work and having one's own money was all about.
Buying stuff on sale.


  1. Mel you are so funny! Many people buy yarn on sale, a lot of yarn. Many people feel remorse. How many people knit wonderful colorful socks for their friends from that remorse? Socks that they wear while having babies? Socks that make them so happy?!?!

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