Sunday, January 4, 2009

In which I learn that I am a yarn snob


I have prided myself on having nothing against acrylics- in fact, standing up for them made me feel rather noble. Patting myself on the back for my ability to look beyond yarn content. Being pretty much insufferable about it.


...until I decided to contribute to the Special Olympics Scarf drive (http://www.coatsandclark.com/Crafts/Crochet/Features/Special+Olympics.htm ). The cause is lovely: each athlete in this year's Winter Special Olympics will get a handknit scarf in their colors of blue and white. I did almost no charity knitting in '08, and this gave me a chance to focus my skills on something outside my own career and circle.


Thing is, they only want scarves knit with Red Heart Super Saver yarn, which is far from my favorite acrylic yarn, and only in the colors Delft Blue and Soft White, which is pretty low on my color combo totem pole. But it was for a good cause, and the yarn is cheap and readily available, and scarves knit up quickly, so I bought a large skein of each color.


Big mistake. Do you know how long it takes to knit up 2 skeins of Red Heart Super Saver yarn? Forever, that's how long.


Do you know how boring Red Heart Super Saver yarn is? Really boring.


Do you know how much I didn't love knitting these 4 scarves? You do now.


That said, I plowed ahead, determined to use up every bit of that yarn, and I did (with about 18" of each left over). The first one was worked with a double strand, 14 sts, on size 17 needles, in plain garter stitch. The second used 18 sts on size 11 needles, and I did a slip-stitch pattern that worked out pretty well. The third, I crocheted (something I rarely do), in a goofy looped design, that not only came out pretty well, but ate up that yarn like nobody's business. With the last bits of yarn, I made another garter stitch striped scarf with 14 sts on size 11 needles. That last scarf is smaller than the requested size (4" x 50"), but I'll send it off anyway- maybe someone can use it for a teddy bear.


So I feel good about knitting those scarves, and I hope the athletes know how much we are rooting for them. And I feel bad that I really am a yarn snob because next time, I might just donate money instead...

10 comments:

Mary in MD said...

Loved the picture of you and your sweater! It is gorgeous. I don't make any secret about the fact that I hate that Red Heart yarn. It feels like knitting with clothesline.

I saw your book prominently featured in the KnitPicks catalog I received yesterday. The sheep bag is really cute.

Ellen said...

LOL You did better than I did. I got one scarf completed and sent and the rest of the yarn is staring at me!!! I keep pushing it down to the bottom and somehow it crawls back to the top!!!
Ellen

knitbysue said...

I mailed my 3 scarves in on Saturday. I had the same thoughts as you: get rid of this yarn!

Actually the white isn't bad to keep around for knitted Christmas ornaments when paired with red or green. I've been working on a little white/red hat and scarf to adorn a wine bottle (as a gift) and thinking that I'm kind of 'wasting ' my red wool. But I'm having no regrets using the white Red Heart.

Geek Knitter said...

Well, there are acrylics and then there are acrylics, if you know what I mean...

Mary Keenan said...

I think it is brave and noble of you to have knit with awful yarn - it's more than I'd do! I'm wondering though how awful it's going to be for people to *wear*. And admiring the loopy scarf, which just looks awesome no matter what it's made with.

bobbiet said...

You did better than I did. I only managed one scarf, and gave the rest of the yarn to a crafty colleague with young children.

Karen said...

You're a better woman than I. I thought about the whole Red Heart thing, and the colours involved, and decided that I'd make a donation instead; I just couldn't face using up a whole skein of that stuff! On the other hand, considering your raw materials, you did a fantastic job! I hope they all wear them in good health.

Ellen Bloom said...

I'm on my third scarf now. Yes, Red Heart is crunchy, but after washing each scarf in FABRIC SOFTENER only...no detergent, they are soft and pliable. Now, if I could only figure out a way to pre-soften this yarn so it would be nicer to work with. Oh well. It's for a good cause!

Allison said...

Of course everyone had to use Red Heart probably because it was a sponsor...which makes me think that maybe that a higher end yarn company should step up to the plate next time?

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. Last year in January my last aunt died. My mother and her sisters were constant knitters/crocheters. My cousins do not knit/crochet. I offered to finish anything Aunt Katy had started. In June my cousin delivered a HUGE bag of Red Heart (cardboardy) yarn and an afghan that her mother had just begun. :( I promised, so I went ahead and finished it for her, but it was a pennance. I hate acrylic, have tried and tried to give it another chance, but every time I still hate it. There is one exception though - Caron Simply Soft is not bad for comfort shawls and baby items that need to be washed a lot