Barbara Dyer: A Yarn to tell

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 12:15pm

Today I have a yarn to spin, one that beats any previously created tangled web.

It all began several weeks ago, when, as a knitter, I was making winters hats for children. I, personally have only an “old lady, pretty kitty” for a child. But there are many children who have no winter hats for the cold Maine weather. The Camden Public Library places a large Christmas tree in November for knitters to decorate with hats, scarves and mittens, so no local child will be cold.

There is one woman in my childhood whom I shall never forget, because she taught her Brownie Troop how to knit.

It was during the Great Depression, when most families had no spare money, but she did, and she furnished the yarn, needles and patience to teach those eight year old fingers how to knit a scarf.

The color I chose for my own scarf was bright orange with a bright blue fringe. It is no wonder my future profession was not that of a designer.

I loved to knit and had plenty of knitting worsted from all my years of “clicking needles.” I began in the spring, instead of November, so many hats could fill the tree.

Very soon, I ran out of the yarn I needed. A good friend said, “I am going shopping today. Anything you need?” Yes, I needed knitting worsted. Not being a knitter she wanted to know what it looked like.

With yarn in hand, I said it is larger than this, and smaller than this. It has 4 strands rolled together.

Well, that is the way it used to be. She brought back two skeins of sport yarn and it did have four strands together.

I took an end from each and rolled them together, thinking that would be just right for “knitting worsted,” but it was too thick. Another friend brought me more sport yarn, and I also sent for some which looked like what I wanted, but it turned out to be sport yarn, as well.

Another friend came for a visit, just as I was trying to separate the two skeins of sport yarn that we tried to combine back into it original size.

The more we unrolled, the more it tangled. It was a pretty variegated purple, but I soon renamed it aggravated. We spent a wonderful three hours, winding, removing all the knots, and wishing we each had three hands, instead of two. We worked at removing more knots than anywhere in macrame.

She kept saying “I can't figure out why it is doing this?”

The ball of yarn was certainly not going to tell us why, but tangled all the more, and knotted. Patience is a virtue and I do hope my friend will visit again and no yarn will be anywhere in sight. I could use it for making socks, but no one I know would wear variegated purple socks.

Life used to be so simple. The band around the yarn said sport, knitted worsted, or bulky. Is that so hard to print? Now it gives you the ounces, and yardage and color by a number or name like “full moon.” Some no longer say skein, but “ferris wheel.”

Who cares?

As I continue to look for knitting worsted, and fail, maybe I have just outlived the simple life.

Many birthday parties I have attended, people say to the guest of honor, “Isn't it wonderful to be 99 years of age?” They would smile and like to respond, ”I would swap ages with anyone in this room.” They would not get even one offer.

All throughout our varied lives, we seem to create a “tangled web,” with no intention of doing so.