The Hand of Destiny

I sat down, all ready and organized, to tell  you pretty much nothing. The blanket is going fine, I’m passed the first little border and I’m ready to move on to the next one. I have it charted and swatched and it all seems to be ticking along just fine. A little slowly, I admit, but I’m almost ready to start the second ball of yarn, and there’s more than 700m per ball, so clearly I’m making some sort of progress, no matter how daunting the whole thing feels. I was sitting here, trying to find something to say to you, something remotely interesting, and couldn’t come up with anything at all, so I went to organize some yarn and think about it.

Joe and I are leaving for a ski trip in the morning, and I’d gone upstairs to grab a skein of yarn for socks from upstairs. It was a special skein, part of the little yarn club I joined this year and I know that I should be working on the blanket only, but it’s fussy, and there’s a chart, and while I’m certain that I’ll get lots done on the flight tomorrow – I need something with me to amuse me when it’s dark, or when I don’t want to ignore Joe by gluing my eyes to the thing. So, socks it is. I’m upstairs, and I have the skein of yarn in my hand, and then I realize I should throw in a load of laundry – so I grab a basket, toss a load of whites in, and trot directly to the basement get it started and come back upstairs to wind the yarn.

On my way back up though, I get a text from my sister-in-law who needs a little babysitting help, and I tell her sure, and start organizing myself to leave. Now, I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that mornings aren’t really my jam, but they’re not – so I get another cup of coffee so I stand a chance of keeping up with a toddler and a five year old, and then I go to wind the yarn, except it’s not where I left it on the table by the winder. I look around, realize I’ve probably put it somewhere stupid, and then Katie’s here and I have to leave, so I do.  I’m in the car before something terrible occurs to me. I didn’t… put it in the washing machine, did I? I start reconstructing the morning in my mind – all while convincing Luis that we’re going to go to the park and it’s going to be a blast, and I decide that there’s no way I did that. None. I had it in my hand, and then I put it down on the bed – I think, while I got that laundry together. There’s nothing for it anyway, and Luis and Frankie and I go to the park (where I remember that most of taking a toddler to the park in the winter is trying to keep them from licking metal things) and then I go buy a new bra (really intense morning, thanks for asking) and then I grab the streetcar back here, and go directly upstairs to fetch my yarn – but it’s not on the bed. It’s not on the kitchen counter either, nor is it on my dresser, where I could have put it down. It’s not anywhere, and with a sinking heart, I go to the basement.

I can see it through the window of the washer. It’s there. A sprawled out tangle of handpainted ramen, exploded through the washing machine. I curse, and I open the washer, knowing two things for sure. 1. I’m an idiot and 2. A skein of yarn can’t come back from that. You can’t put a skein of yarn in the washing machine. I’ve wrecked this fantastic skein of yarn. I take the laundry out, and I carry it upstairs and it looks like a nightmare. It’s tangled, it’s a disaster, and start untangling it from tee shirts and underpants and I’m just heartbroken. (I’m also pretty grateful that the dye didn’t bleed, because that was a load of whites and it’s a brightly coloured skein.) I extract the yarn – and I stand there, with this shredded disaster in my hands, and it occurs to me that it’s not felted. It’s superwash – so I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised, but I am – and it occurs to me that maybe, just maybe, if I dry it, I can untangle it. (It does occur to me that this will take hours and hours, but I really like the yarn and I’m feeling optimistic.)

I grab the yarn by one of the ties, and give it a snap, and this happens.

skeinfine 2017-03-10

Yup. Perfect. Completely, astoundingly, amazingly and unpredictably perfect. It’s not tangled – there’s not a strand out of place and that, my friends, is a straight up supernatural event.

I thought you’d want to know. The world is a mysterious, beautiful place, and my yarn is almost dry.

(PS. It’s from Gauge Dye Works (That used to be CaterpillarGreen) and I’d like to personally thank them for tying it in three places. I bet some days that feels like overkill, but it’s not. You’re awesome.

129 thoughts on “The Hand of Destiny

    • Yes! We’ve have a documented yarn miracle. I think we need 3 of those before awarding sainthood.

      I think we should be open to the possibility that there are yarn angels and perhaps one was involved in this “event”.

  1. Glad the yarn worked out. I had a basket of tangled yarn (acrylic) that I would make the kids untangle (no scissors allowed) when they’d pretend to be too sick for school.

    I can’t wait to see Elliott’s blanket when it’s done!

  2. During my first read through, I thought that you had accidentally put the blankie in process in the wash, and my heart fell through the floor. So glad that that was not the case and that your sock yarn is okay (and gorgeous!).

  3. Wow, that is amazing! You must have earned quite a pile of good karma to have the story end this way, because I have to say, I was not expecting a happy ending here.

  4. I use multiple ties on a skein when I dye it, but remove most of them before I sell it. Perhaps I should rethink that!
    You are so lucky that no extra dye washed onto your white load! Good news all around!

  5. That. Is. Miraculous. Especially when you consider that no extra dye bled out anywhere. If that isn’t an endorsement for a well-dyed superwash yarn that definitely can be thrown in the wash, I don’t know what is.

    Although – did you wash your whites in hot water, warm water, cold water? Curious kitty minds now want to know.

  6. We have witnessed a yarn miracle. This will be one of those stories…”Do you remember when the Yarn Harlot put a skein of yarn in the wash by accident and it came out fine? Dude, that was some magical yarn right there.”

  7. That’s a yarn miracle!

    However, there are two missing photos:

    1) the yarn, looking completely tangled in the wash.

    2) the tongues a millimeter from the frozen metal.

  8. Though I don’t think I’ll touch any of my yarn today, because I think you just used up the world’s supply of yarn karma.

  9. OMG….seeing yarn and washing machine in the same story made my heart sink. I knew where this was going, but the ending was brilliant! What a miracle! Buy a lotto ticket ⛷ while you’re away….

  10. Oh my heavens to Betsy-the yarn was safe!!

    There is a wonderful group on Ravelry called Knot a Problem. Their main goal is to untangle yarn. These people LIVE to untangle yarn ( the sender takes care of postage both ways(and a little chocolate is always appreciated)). I lurk there and have seen miracles occur.

    • My husband LOVES to untangle yarn. It makes me want to pull my hair out and say all the bad words, and he just sits there patient as a saint and does the thing, and magic happens. I don’t even get it.

        • I once untangled a dye-saster — 9 skeins of sock yarn. Worth every minute spent on it bc the yarn became the constant in a sock yarn Garter Squish.

      • I love untangling too– yarn, necklace chains, shoelaces, anything. I remember my hubs had to drag me out of a garage sale once because I was untangling this HORRIFIC MESS of 5-6 skeins of acrylic awfulness. I had no intention of buying, just couldn’t stand to see it so tangled up! 😀 (it was only about 25 cents, and I’m sure she would have just given it to someone that asked…)
        One trick of mine to turn regular yarn into “superwash” is to skein it up & wash the bejeebers out of it, and dry it on hot with regular laundry. I do tie those skeins 4 places though… I’m not a total masochist! 😉 Then you get this lovely textured felted yarn, and you needn’t worry about washing the finished product. (I only do this with thrifted yarn…)

  11. The laws of physics don’t work this way. My heart was stopping and sinking as I read; assuming we would soon know plan B. I’m very happy for you…this is delightful fairy magic stuff!! The skein is gorgeous.

    • My heart was, too – and I had to go back and re-read the post because as soon as I read “yarn” and “washing machine” I began repeating in my head (over and over) “the yarn is in the wash – this won’t end well!”, and couldn’t concentrate on what I was reading…
      I agree with the post that told you to go buy a lotto ticket. Stat! xo

  12. Just when you think the knitting goddesses are out to teach you a lesson, they shake their heads and say ‘what the heck’ and move right along…

  13. The Knitting Goddess probably was sitting on your shoulder saying to herself, SPM is not a morning person, and soon she is to be a grandmother, and still needs to knit that gorgeous blanket, and yet she is going break up her day and babysit wee ones. Well, something must make SPM stop for a moment and marvel at the Universe. That is when She waved her magic wand and got the attention of knitters everywhere. Rock on, KG!

  14. Wait wait wait. Sock yarn, right?? Surely sock yarn is part non-wool and the rest superwash and you mean you don’t normally wash your socks in the machine?! Mine all go in the machine and some (regia, lang et al) also go through the tumbler without harm, so why would washing this skein be a problem? I was far more concerned about your whites, phew!

    • Not all sock yarn is 25% nylon. Pure wool socks – even superwash – generally have a longer life expectancy if they’re hand washed, or at the very least put through a wool wash in the machine.

  15. I’m going skiing in Canada this week, too! (Much more notable for me because I’m from South of the border…) I will keep my eye out, just in case you are in Revelstoke or Lake Louise while I am. Still have to plan my travel knitting…hopefully I don’t need a miracle like yours, since I definitely haven’t built up the knitting karma yet.

  16. Well it is the month for the Luck O’ The Irish for all Guess you won the “yarn o’ gold” instead of the pot of gold and it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person. I agree buy your lotto ticket;)

  17. Glad everything worked out for you and the yarn, Steph. I have a similar story that happened to me this week. Substitute “yarn” with “cell phone” and you’ll get the idea. Only my phone didn’t snap back into shape…….

  18. After lots of white blankie knitting, something that colorful and cheerful is definitely the right project for taking a break with. So glad it gave you a break back! So gorgeous.

  19. I once left a Toronto phone book in a dishwasher. It’s a story too short and dumb to recount, but it also involved a moment of distraction. And that phone book was so not superwash.

    • Your age is showing, talking about a phone book – ours keeps shrinking as more and more people AND BUSINESSES start using only cellular phones. I’m sorry, but online directories do not compare. But being of such an age myself, I felt my heart stop for a moment at the thought of a big city phone book in a washer.

  20. Oh. My. God. There is a wise and benevolent universe after all. And my cardiovascular system thanks you for the workout.

  21. Oh my…..!

    I have recently had a large skein hit the garbage out of frustration because when putting it on the swift, it ‘slipped’. Having been tied in only one spot, it slipped badly, and even trying to untangle it for two days, letting my dear father try to tackle it for a day and both of us feeling past frustrated to just exhausted, it was the better choice for our collective well being just to say “Good riddance”.

    Bravo to Gauge Dye works. They do good work.

  22. Lucky!
    I have recently had a large skein hit the garbage out of frustration because when putting it on the swift, it ‘slipped’. Having been tied in only one spot, it slipped badly, and even trying to untangle it for two days, letting my dear father try to tackle it for a day and both of us feeling past frustrated to just exhausted, it was the better choice for our collective well being just to say “Good riddance”.

  23. After reading this, I exclaimed, “It’s a knitting miracle!” (To which my husband replied, “All knitting is a knitting miracle.” What a guy.) And then beat her a massive sigh of relief. Can’t believe your luck!

  24. As the dyer of that yarn, I nearly had a heart attack reading this. All my biggest fears (bleeding! tangling!) coming true. Good Lord. No one was happier than me to hear that it’s all ok. Deep breaths. Ha.

  25. This post made my day. Way to Go Gauge Dye Works. That colourway is spectacular. Steph, carry on knitting. The fates are with you.

  26. i gasped, and reached for where pearls would be, if i had been wearing them, because if ever there was a pearl clutching moment, that was it!

    great googly moogly, that was scary to read! (and i am curious what you use as a bleach substitute on whites, because i’m guessing this story wouldn’t have had a happy ending if you used chlorine! and i loves me a story with a happy ending!)

  27. Thanks for the story! I now do not feel even half as disorganized about losing my wallet (in my house) and looking for it for several days, replacing all my bank cards, and then (ten days later) suddenly finding my missing wallet in my hand while folding laundry. It isn’t over yet, because having replaced all my bank cards, I no longer remember my pins, or which pin is for which card, leading to the perpetual annoyance of whoever is behind me in line at the grocery store.

  28. This is my first comment ever on this blog (it feels important).

    My hormones are all out of whack this week, and that makes me admittedly …… hormone-y. In a truly obnoxious way. I was all set to have a good cry on your behalf, and that of your pretty yarn, but here I am, devouring Cadbury mini-eggs like there has been a famine, and I am cry-laughing or laugh-crying at the wonderfully serendipitous event that took place in your washing machine. I have half a mind to trek downstairs to see if mine contains a pot of gold as well.

    Thanks for brightening my challenging day.

  29. I’ve never done that to yarn, but did get my Fitbit into the washer with the laundry I had picked up. I noticed later that morning that it wasn’t on my arm and looked everywhere. With dread I pushed the activate spot and darned if it wasn’t just fine!!! Glad the yarn was too. And the white load. 🙂

    • Did it give you extra mileage lol. I put it on my “throwing” arm sometimes when I knit.

      Haha! I have to touch the foot

  30. Whoa! That is truly a miracle! (Also, I was in a hurry and didn’t comment the other day, but your cookies for the shower were adorable!)

    • I read your comment and was puzzled as to why anyone would take cookies into the shower- surely they would get all soggy?! I then had a think about it!

  31. My luck says it comes out of the wash perfectly, then I untie it, trip and end up with a tangled mess anyway, haha. So hopefully your amazing luck holds until you get it balled.

  32. That was such a happy ending that I swooped right over to the Gauge Dye Works site and bought 2 beautiful skein of their sport weight, in a color called Concrete and Tulips. 🙂

  33. Wow. That is an amazing story — and a magical skein of yarn! I hope you went out and bought a lottery ticket or something after that happened!

  34. My washer story involves an errant tube of lipstick in a load of scrubs. Learned a valuable lesson about searching all pockets for gremlins. So glad the yarn goddess was with you!

  35. My washer story involves a hand knit hat going through the wash in the pocket of my jacket. Yes my white ski jacket gets washed. The hat hadn’t been blocked and when washed actually fit better. Now I know all those not quite fitting right hast probably just need a block.

  36. Ohhhhh, as soon as you said yarn, then laundry, I knew…so glad it didn’t bleed on the whites, that it wasn’t felted and wow what beautiful yarn!

  37. That’s pretty amazing. A miracle in 3 parts. It didn’t felt, it didn’t bleed and it didn’t tangle.

  38. Wow! I’ve got that hank of yarn in my bag, too! It’s still in hank form in its ziplock bag, but I can’t bear to be parted from it, so I carry it around. I think I would have just curled into a ball & cried had that happened to me. I’d buy a lotto ticket if I were you.

  39. The moment I read that you had yarn and laundry in the same sentence…I knew what the result would be. The ending was a surprise though!

  40. And lo, here marks the first miracle of St. Yarnharlot, saving of the white laundry and untangling of the skein of yarn with a single snap. This day will be the day of observance by offering a tangled skein to her help you remove any knots or snarls.

  41. First – That is just amazing.

    Second – How do these things (anything and everything) always happen to you?

    Third – Thank you for always, always, always telling us about them.

  42. Wow! That is serious good karma. You’re going to have a wonderful trip; the blanket will flow off the needles; and we HAVE to see those socks when they’re finished. I hope you keep them for yourself–a pair of Good Luck Socks. Everyone needs a pair or two.

  43. I was so amazed by that story that I looked around the house, wanting to tell someone. I realized however that it is a story only another knitter or crocheter could love and I would just have to love it enough for the whole house. And I do.

  44. My youngest son, who is 28, read your post and said “I have never read so many funny posts from yarn people in my life”
    Nuf Said. I laughed till the tears caused me to clean my glasses.

  45. OMG That was terrible!! Bra shopping, the yarn in the washer and a toddler early in the am? Why not just add a root canal to the day! I am so sorry and am really glad the yarn was ok, the toddler lived and you have a sexy new bra! Immmm Maybe go easy on the skiing though ok? ; )

  46. Truly astonishing! And that yarn is beyond gorgeous. I want!

    My recent miracle is that while packing to move house I found a bag with 8 or so bras from my pre-babies and pre-breasting feeding days. I was just about to go (much overdue) bra shopping, and tried then on with deep desperation. Astonishingly, 7 years, 2 babies and 5 1/2 years of breast feeding later, most of them STILL FIT! Saved from bra shopping! Hurrah!

  47. Wow wow wow. The only thing as entertaining as reading the Yarn Harlot, is reading the comments of her readers. Thanks for making my day.

  48. I don’t know if you should buy a lottery ticket because you’re obviously very lucky right now or if you shouldn’t because clearly you’ve used your luck up for the day.

  49. Oh man, was I glad to see that ending. I did the same exact thing with my cell phone last week, and it did not end as well (by a long shot).

  50. The miracle yarn must be knit into Bike Rally socks as it is sure to keep you dry, upright and speedy.
    What a yarn testimonial! And lovely yarn!

  51. Phew …. my alarm bells started ringing when you were getting the laundry ready….. I held my breath and speedread to the happy ending. Phew again.
    I favour the theory that this is Karmic Reward for all your virtuous activities — there’s a Yiddish saying, ‘Vos geht aroynt, kumt aroynt’ – ‘What goes around, comes around’. But I’m pretty sure that those of us who don’t look after other people’s toddlers, ride and organize charity bike rides, bake superb baby shower cookies, or knit priceless heirloom shawls for babies, etc would probably not have accumulated enough karmic brownie points to merit such a miracle. It’s a tribute to you!!!

  52. Wow. Just wow. I was not expecting this to end well. I was expecting a photo of a giant tangled mess.
    I thought you did not wear bras? Why did I think that (it is an odd thought to have about someone who you have never actually met in person unless you are a boob obsessed thirteen year old boy, which I am not!)?

    • One more thought. I have to unpick 150 kitchener stitches (long, boring, sad story). Could you please send a little of your good yarn karma my way so it goes as well as removing 150 kitchener stitches can be expected to go?

  53. Wow. Not only does that yarn have a super power, but it’s very clean.

    You must remember to tell us how the knitting of it goes; I hope it doesn’t try to get even.

    I understand needing a break from the blanket!

  54. My mother once told me that back in eastern Europe where she was raised, pre-war, ( she was a Holocaust survivor), there was a custom to give a young potential bride some tangled thread to untangle, as a test of her patience. I always thought it was a lousy test because, while I was good at it, I did not really otherwise qualify as a patient person at all!

  55. I am not surprised in the least. You are the Yarn Harlot. You are to fiber, what Jackson Galaxy is to bad cats.

  56. Early in my knitting days (and it’s still, my young dog got into a skein of sock yarn and jumbled it all up. I remember how my mother’s mother marveled at my patience as a child fitting the tea bags from the box into the container in just the right order. I could do this too (and I did!)….xxoo

  57. SOLD! Went right over to Gauge Dye Works and purchased 3 skeins of their yummy, miraculous stuff! No plans to put them through the laundry however, it’s nice to know I could if the need ever arises. :-).

  58. yes from one grammy to another.. he is absolutely adorable and can definitely be the only thing in your world at the moment!!! enjoy, they grow up way tooo fast

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