Saturday, June 12, 2010

Truly a Yarn

I’ve noticed that each item I crochet or knit has a story around it. And the shawl I’m making now certainly has a different one. If I ever finish it, I think I’ll just hang it up on display.

It started with a trip to a Chicago yarn store last fall. I was checking out and I noticed this lovely shawl in the window. It looked like it was crocheted and below it was a basket of skeins of the yarn it was made with. The sign said you only needed one skein. I threw it in with my other things without a second thought and took one of the half sheets with the pattern without looking at it.

It was only when I got home and looked at the bill that I saw that the one skein cost $50 and the pattern wasn’t crochet, it was knit.

It’s beautiful yarn in what I call a Monet blue because it reminds me of the colors in his water lily paintings. It made out of something called silk rumple or crumple. The rumple or crumple refers to all the little bumps on it. Pretty to look at, difficult to work with. I have discovered that the more you pay, the harder the yarn is to work with. Red Heart sells for a couple of bucks and you can see those stitches whether crochet or knit, clear as day.

I wanted to be sure what I was doing before I started working with the bumpy silk stuff, but I didn’t want to wait so long that it to get lost and forgotten in my ever growing stash of yarn. So I thought about it and occasionally took it out of the bag and looked at it. Finally last week I was ready to start.

Stories often have false starts, obstacles and black moments. This shawl has had them all and I’ve barley done a few inches - this time. I have started and restarted five times. I tried crochet, took it out, tried the knit pattern it came with and took it apart, tried crochet again and took it out. I tried knitting again, this time my own plan. Somehow after a few rows, I had ten extra stitches. I took it apart again, at least thinking this time I knew what I was doing wrong.

If it had been cheap yarn, I would have ended the story and thrown it across the room. But not with $50 bucks worth of blue silk.

I amazed even myself, by having the patience to start all over once again. I’m just doing a straight knit stitch and I’m counting stitches every few rows and taking care of any extras that show up with a decrease here and there. For all the anguish, it is lacy, light as air, and beautiful. If I do manage to finish it and hang it up, I think I’ll add a title and call it Determination.

I’m signing books at the Printers Row Fair, Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Mystery Writers of America booth and I’m going to be on a panel at 2:30 - Mysteries with a Cozy Twist with Wendy Lyn Watson, Clare O’Donohue, Heather Webber and Kate Collins. Just one problem. The yarn store is right down the street from the fair and there’s the empty time between signing and the panel. How can I resist checking out the store? But this time, I’ll be sure to check the price tag.


Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Betty, have fun! We'll be curious to see if you buy any cool yarn!

Linda O. Johnston said...

I admire your tenacity, Betty, even if it's partly because you don't want to waste the expensive yarn. Let us know how Printer's Row goes. It was a lot of fun the year I was there, despite the heavy rainstorm!

Betty Hechtman said...

I was such a good girl, Joanna. I didn't buy any yarn. They still had the shawl and yarn that started the whole thing in the window. It turns out I like what I'm doing with it better than what they did.

Linda, the weather was all over the place. It rained, got cold, the sun came out, it got warmer, then there was a thunderstorm. Chicago people don't let a little weather stop them.

Camille Minichino said...

I had a similar thing happen when I threw a miniature barometer into my shopping basket at a dollhouse store and got home and saw that it was $59.99!

I don't have a similar determination story, though -- good for you Betty!

Betty Hechtman said...

Camille, I hope for $59.95, the miniature barometer actually worked.

Camille Minichino said...

I wish!