Friday, August 16, 2013

A Winning Yarn

I like to wear something I’ve made when I go to a yarn event or book signing. I notice that I seem to gravitate toward a certain scarf. I always thought it was because I liked the shades of blue so much, but when I wore it to sign Yarn to Go at Stitches Midwest another reason occurred to me.

Everything I make has some kind of story. Where I bought the yarn, where I got the pattern and what it was like to make. I think it is the story connected with the scarf that makes it my first choice.

I bought the yarn on impulse. I was checking out at a Chicago yarn store and saw it in a bin by the door. I tossed it in with my other purchases because I loved the variations on blue and because there was a pattern for what looked like a simple scarf that appeared crocheted.

It wasn’t until I got home and looked at the receipt that I realized that the one skein of yarn cost $50! I had never spent anything close to that on yarn before. And then I noticed the pattern was for a knitted scarf. An uh oh went off in my head.

Even though I barely knew how to knit, the yarn was so pretty and so expensive, I decided to try. By the way, returning it wasn’t an option because the yarn had been in a hank at the store and they’d spun it into a ball for me and it became non returnable.

Along with being pretty, the silk yarn had all kinds of bumps in it which made it very hard to see the knitted stitches and pretty soon I discovered I was somehow adding stitches and the emerging scarf was all crooked. So I ripped it out and started again, and again, and again once more.

And then sitting with a pile of ripped out yarn, I decided to see if I could turn the pattern into crochet. Crochet takes more yarn than knitting and I worried there might not be enough to make a scarf. I gave knitting one more disastrous attempt and went for broke and started to crochet with it.

Crocheting was easier with the yarn, but the stitches were still hard to see, but I persevered and kept going with my fingers crossed that when I ran out of yarn the scarf wouldn’t end up a weird length. Even crochet was a struggle and I was relieved to be finally done. The length could have been longer and I was so tired of fighting with that yarn I thought I would throw the scarf in the closet with some of the other things I’d made that weren’t exactly stellar achievements. But a funny thing happened. I started to wear it and taking it with me on book related trips without ever thinking why.

Only recently did the reason occur to me. It isn’t the lovely color and the ease of wearing it that makes me choose it. That little scarf represents persistence to me. I tried and tried again, never admitting defeat, just taking a change in direction until I found a way that worked.

Isn’t that the way it works in life?


Planner said...

The Persistence Scarf--great story! It looks wonderful on your lovely model.

What an interesting point that everything we make has a story behind it--all the way from your desire to make the item and all the hope you have for it, to the very last stitch and, after completed, where you wear it (if it's something to wear), whoever you show it to, and any compliments received. That's quite a story behind everything we make!

Linda O. Johnston said...

I love hearing the background of the picture and that very special scarf, Betty--as well as the story of your persistence!

Betty Hechtman said...

Planner, I love my model, too. I don't know if it comes through in the photo, but those are real kids' shoes and clothes that she's wearing. And under the hat, there is a wig. I don't know who made her. My mother bought her.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, I am sure you practice persistence. It is hard to be a published writer without it.