Thursday, November 17, 2016

Yarn and elections

I went on a yarn diet at the beginning of 2016. If you're not a knitter, you might be puzzling over just what that might be. For me it was knit the the yarn you've got, don't buy new. I stuck to it for six and half months without lacking yarn to knit with. Made myself a new red cardigan. Made socks. Worked on another sweater for me out of baby alpaca purchased eight or more years ago.

A yarn diet is not like denying yourself chocolate chip cookies. Knitting with midnight blue baby alpaca is not exactly ascetic.

However, like many diets, this one had a bounce back effect: you go off the diet and regain all you've lost, and more.

I learned a couple decades ago that the most dangerous time of any sewing or knitting project was right before you finish it, when it's looking good and it's just hours away from being folded up and set on the table and pronounced done. You have these feelings of power--look what I've done--that rapidly expand into omnipotence--think of everything I can do next! So you start things and shop for things and pretty soon you have three new projects in the works, despite the fact that you've only finished one. You can see where this is going.

I broke my yarn fast mid-summer when I opened an email from that was in my junk folder. It offered a discontinued color of Cascade 220, my favorite reasonably priced good-quality worsted, at 40 percent off. While I have quite the yarn stash for socks and hats and smallish projects, the sweater-quantity backlog is quite modest. If I needed to start a new sweater right now, there'd be exactly three yarns to choose from: one white, one in a mix of green and blue color repeats that's tricky to put into a garment, and a bag of bright pink. Cedar green worsted caught my attention. I ordered it and my 24-year-old son got a new fall sweater.

Holy moly, release the kraken:

Though actually, it was more like this:

People trying to lose weight should avoid bakeries. Knitters on yarn diets should avoid sheep and wool shows and yarn shops and Ravelry and even Facebook, where I see almost as many yarn ads as I do for online bra purchases.

(Don't let Third Love or Brayola catch you shopping for bras online. Their marketing research must have told them that once they've got a woman thinking she needs a new bra, constant nagging will get her to purchase one.)

So I've been making myself happy with yarn lately. Each purchase is an idea, usually a gift for someone specific, someone I want to wrap in the love that literally warms toes, shoulders, ears. Each purchase is also about time spent with a beautiful color, with fiber moving through my fingers, with the quiet click of the needles, with the rhythm of throwing the yarn.

The yarn cares for me.

I spent election night at a friend's election night party, which quickly devolved into a wake. As Ohio and Michigan and Wisconsin began to turn to Trump, I got up, said thank-you, and went home to my knitting. Fussy, patterned sock knitting on skinny metal needles bent into a permanent curve by my grip, the leveraging needed for a knit-two-together, and pedal-to-the-metal to the end of round.

I'm gonna need all this yarn in the four years ahead.

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