When Good Yarn Goes Bad

Just so you know, not all of my project beginnings end with a useable end product! Sometimes that delightful looking, and feeling, yarn just does not want to be what I want it to be. I’m convinced yarn, and fabric, can have a mind of their own. Take this lovely red yarn, Cascade Ultra Pima 100% cotton, in the Wine colourway, which is more of a blood red in real life. It’s a pleasure to work with, forming a firm yet delicate crochet stitch, and building to a lovely drape.

I have no problems with cotton yarns, although others seem to find their lack of elasticity too hard for arthritic hands to work with. Sensitivities of multiple kinds keeps most wool yarns out of my stash. I find them scratchy, and very unpleasant to work with and to wear, and since I make for myself, my stash is pretty much devoid of it.

I can admit to being bitterly disappointed with the yarn when it arrived as I had my heart set on the wine/ burgundy shade for a particular coat I wanted to crochet. Perhaps it is this that has coloured every garment I’ve tried to make from it since. I’ve stopped trying now, the poor yarn has been shaped into so many potential garments, then, before completion, been ripped out and rewound into balls for the next try.

The beginning always works fairly well, then it goes bad. I began making a variation of a bohemian mandala jacket a bit like this one here. After five or so attempts at different variations, each one going well until until it didn’t, I gave up. That yarn does not know what it wants to be, but it surely knows what it does NOT want to be! It became known as ‘The Red Thing.”

Eventually, after being in the time out box for awhile, I’d try something else with it with the same results, good start, bad ending. After learning Jenny King’s Get Squared method I thought I’d hit on the perfect use for it. It was slow going because, to make the stitches look neater, I used a smaller hook than Jenny does. It looked good but there was no way there was going to be enough yarn to finish the jacket to any length suited to my shape, so I started a different stitch pattern in the same basic methodology, using the J hook as Jenny suggests.

Again, that went well, until it didn’t. Of course I kept trying it on for size and shape. Then, suddenly, with enough fabric to fall into a drape, the shape was all wrong, and the stitches were ugly and misshapen. To the frog pond the yarn and I did go for some frogging and re-winding. And there the red yarn still sits, in it’s own organza bag, in a tub.

It’s in the company of a couple of other recalcitrant yarns that don’t know what they want to be when they’re finished sulking about what they didn’t want to be. They look so pretty in their soft and squishy gently wound balls, yet the imagination fails when it comes to finding their true purpose in life. A bit like me probably. Does anything have a true purpose, or just a purpose that it can be put to? I’ve already decided that, unless something else more worthwhile comes along, I shall use The Red Yarn to crochet flower shapes to fit into a free-ish form crochet jacket I’ve been working on for a couple of years. It’s still forming itself in my imagination as my skills grow. I keep making the ‘bits’ that will be included to build the story it will hopefully tell when it’s finally done.

In the mean time, there’s another box of yarn that is going to be soft filling for a cushion, it’s the only way to contain it’s exhuberance with being freed from the confines of it’s covering. I did make a somewhat unusual scarf from it to experiment, and the result was quite spectacular, but not in a good way. Fluff, fluff everywhere! So much fluff it cannot be worked with safely. After much thought, I’ve decided it is destined to become filling for cushions. One day. The cushions need to be sewn first, so that is a task for another day.

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