Friday, April 12, 2013

make do or do without ... unraveling things

Last Xmas I made the lion's share of presents.  Not complicated crocheted hats and scarves.  As I have never learned to read patterns, my granny always had someone read and translate for her, and she was my primary teacher, I never learned to make instructions work.

Besides, she's long since gone and can't correct my revisionist view of my history.

Anyway, I digress.  But when don't I?

I stumbled into an audiobook by Stephanie Pearl-McFee, the Yarn Harlot, Casts Off.

Frankly, I learned a lot.

She is the dream/ideal knitter.  Not only does she have a stash of yarn that could rival most small yarn shops, but she actually reads directions and makes more than just squares and oblongs.

In the various essays about knitting communities, various types of yarn and storage of same, pattern successes and failures, she brought a lot of things home for me.

She talked about going to thrift stores to buy sweaters for her kids when they were little and money was tight and unraveling them to make something that would be appropriate and fit them.  I had never thought about buying something to destruct it and create something new.  When I see something someone has taken hours (probably weeks or months in real time) to produce, I don't ever have the heart to take it apart and rework it into something better.

I see them as gifts.

Gifts we give that we've made are so much more than just a 'craft'.  Each stitch, is a thought of the ultimate recipient.  It is a gift of love, time, patience, and ultimately the creator.

Tonight, I found an absolutely beautiful hand knitted scarf. It eclipsed anything I've ever made or had the patience to do (there is a reason I like crochet).  For the cost of the item in the store, I couldn't have gone to a hobby, much less yarn, store to procure the materials.  I left it there for someone else to buy and use.

How could I undo someone else's labor of love?

My own?

Not a problem.


Liz D said...

Interesting post. I ll look for the book.

BTW You can unravel machine made commercial knitted items too sometimes. [depends on the construction.]..and you know, the machine had no love, no feelings. I don t think...not even in my anthropomorphic world.

"Fully fashioned" cashmere sweaters unravel into lovely yarn, just ply it up for bulk, bec it is so fine. [knit w/ 2 or 3 strands I mean.].

And knitting patterns are very easy to read, I could teach you online. Or--you tube?


Lisa Dooley Fisk said...

I'll start scrounging the thrift stores for the better sweaters ... I had not thought about the machine made. I have made whoopses on sweaters I've owned, snagged them and not looked when they were rehung ... neon green maybe not such a great color for something fancy?

I'm thinking of joining a knitting group that does knitted knockers for cancer ... let me know if you would be interested in the link.

and thanks for offering to teach via internet! I may just take you up on it!

Hunter said...

Be prepared, too, that sometimes unraveling sweaters means you end up with tons of little lengths of yarn. It all depends on how they were made.

Still fun to do and no loss if you don't spend much.

I'm knitting dishcloths because it's all if have time to do right now. I'll post pics later if you promise not to laugh. LOL.


Lisa Dooley Fisk said...

There is a thrift store near me that marks things as low as $0.25 if they have been there long enough - just so they can blow out the merchandise.

My first attempt will likely be with one of those sweaters! (I did buy yarn for hats for hubby at xmas - reasonable price and good thing he doesn't have a big head!)