December 2, 2004
Well, it would seem that I was right about the universe seeking balance again. Why would I be surprised about that? I had such a honking good time reading all your comments yesterday (though, seriously...Who would have thought that there were so many of you that want a lowly little thrummed mitten kit? Stunning) that late last night the universe decided to exact a little "balance". See the mitten?
Looks good eh? LIES. This photo is, as Hank would say, a "Lying, liar, bad guy". I could pretend that it was fine. The picture would let me get away with it, but the guilt of misleading a bunch of fine knitters who think me an honest and honourable knitter would eat me alive. I have started the decreases for the pointy mitten top, placing them with great enthusiasm, commitment and finesse. It would appear that there are two decreases, separated by a stripe of elegant green running up each side of the mitten. That would be the lie.
I have somehow placed all of the decreases in the wrong spot.(s) All four of the slinky little devils are on the BACK of the mitten. The worst part is how long I continued to knit them up the wrong spots, knowing deep in my heart that they were in the wrong spots. I just kept going. I couldn't help myself. My desire to avoid frogging this mitten top was so strong that I couldn't let myself see the truth. Today? Buh-bye.
Almost making up for the crushing mitten defeat balance?
I have a roof and a door. I also have my brother Ian and his buddy Rich who are here with tools, attitude and promises of something mystic they call "walls". The current effort appears to consist of standing around looking macho and using phrases like "hammer drill" "2X4 framing" and some sort of incredible thing called a "vapour barrier". This "vapour barrier" is being afforded the highest possible regard, since I hear tell of it stopping the back room from having it's own weather forecast. My attractive, clean, handy brother Ian is posing here with the alleged location of the "walls" and
His wedding ring. Sorry ladies.
Gifts for Knitters: Day 2
Yarn. I know, my friendly little non-knitter. I hear you. You are telling me that your esteemed knitter already has yarn. You are thinking about getting them an appliance instead. There are a few myths you need to let go of.
1. My Knitter already has a lot of yarn. Untrue. I don't know how much yarn your knitter has. I don't need to know. They can use more.
2. My Knitter wouldn't want more yarn because they have "too much". I don't know who told you this...perhaps your knitter has said that they had "too much" yarn. They were lying. Sometimes we knitters say things like that to make you think that we are aware and sympathetic to your perception that there is "too much" yarn. Your knitters does not really believe that they have "too much" yarn. They may not have enough time to knit....but they do not have "too much" yarn. There is no such thing as too much yarn.
3. I'm afraid that I will get my knitter bad yarn.
I can't even respond to that.
Posted by Stephanie at December 2, 2004 3:20 PM
I can answer that last one -- YES, they can give bad yarn, colors, textures and even novelty yarn you cannot stand. I know. My son and his dad gave me yarn for my birthday -- Dad did beautifully with a really cool mohair, but Andrew picked out one of those stringy novelty yarns that look like heck to knit and doesn't interest me. Got a nice color, however. But gift-givers should not worry about BAD yarn -- yarn stores will almost always allow you to exchange. I now love the totally different yarn my son did not know he gave me!
Congrats on walls. Now this room is for fiber stuff, right?
Bad yarn...hmmm. Is it possible? Yes, I think it might be. It is probably the really bad acrylic yarn my poor grandma used during the '70s to knit some terribly atrocious stripey afghans. I'm not sure why the seventies were filled with so much brown and green and orange ALL STRUNG TOGETHER, but that would probably be the very definition of bad yarn. Oh...that and the stuff that is supposed to look like fake fur. It feels very funny and comes in shades like lime green. I don't know about you all, but I don't think lime green faux-fur would make an attractive trim for ANY knitted object.
While I was off commenting on your post yesterday you went and posted today - and spilled the beans on Ian... Here I thought I dug up some good Harlot Info no one else had found.
Bad yarn. Yes. Mother-in-law gave me some of her old yarn which was already in the form of a half-knit kid's sweater and looked like it was formerly something else, all matted and encrusted with dirt. Not sure how it got that way, maybe it was the door mat before she frogged it for one of her kids...
I can think of another, tormenting scenario: not enough yarn.
That is, the well-meaning gift-giver bestows a gorgeous, wonderful single ball of yarn, a ball too small to even complete a single sock. And then forgets where this lovely, lovely gift came from.
(But I guess that's why there's the internet.)
(And a disclaimer: I do this to D. all the time. I figure I am giving him "demo" yarns. If he likes them, I'll get him more. Maybe. If he makes me something with it. :) )
(And no, D., that's not a hint. I'm just being snarky. Although...)
(Okay. Rana clearly needs to go eat something and get. off. the. computer!)
You, Harlot love, may not be able to respond to the "bad yarn," but apparently we, your loving commenters, can and will... BAD YARN EXISTS.
I too inherited something that I'm sure in its former life attempted to resemble a type of fiber. We're talking late 60's acrylic, Harlot. *shudder* Vileness in yarn form. It was like knitting plastic grocery sacks. You think I exaggerate? The daughter dared me to actually knit the grocery sacks, so there I was at 11 pm on a weeknight, knitting strips of plastic grocery sacks. It can be done and apparently with more ease than knitting that yarn I was given.
And not thrummed mitt kit for me, remember? Latvian Mitt of Lust kit. I'm just sayin'...
Be thankful your workers aren't using phrases like, "Oh, shit." I heard that one a lot when my kitchen was remodeled last spring.
Vapour barrier is our friend. It is a wonderful, mystical and hearth-warming substance. A home without vapour barrier is like ... well, basically a COTTAGE through which the cold northwest winds howl. Not blow -- they howl. Along with driving snow.
Congratulations on the progress. It is looking most promising.
OK, I'll be the brave one. And then I'm going to duck and hide.
Did you notice the your spokes on that one circle are not straight?
Otherwise, absolutely the coolest mittens ever! Actually, second coolest because I like your gray ones best.
Is Rich available? I've been researching moving to Canada since early November. ;)
Kat in Boston
Of course there's bad yarn. Remember that whole concept of "balence"?
The antidote to bad yarn is nice LYS. My LYS is very friendly, and will help lost husbands, sons and loved ones of knitters. They will keep bad yarn from happening to good knitters.
Yarn from an actual Yarn Shop - not just major department store...
I'll admit, my pictures may not be color accurate. However, to date none of my comment people has had to point out...um....a leetle problem.
Be kind to Kerry. She is only trying to help.
/insert evil cackling sound/
shudder.... bad yarn. My grandmother moved into a nursing home about five years ago, and when we were helping her decide what to keep and what to bring, she generously gave me three or four big boxes of knitting, crochet, and tatting supplies that she had been lugging from house to house for... what, thirty years? Think... sparkly christmas acrylic...big fat brown macrame cord, oodles and oodles of pink, blue, or yellow 'baby' yarn. Value Village never had it so good.
omg kerry you're right. top left circle. i'm going to duck and hide now too.
Hmmm... will we ever see Cap'n and Kerry after pointing out an... error...in... the...mitten. Hey - at least its a circle in the top row - bottom row would be practically the whole mitten to rip, right? right?
Hmm. I think I should start forwarding your "gifts for knitters" to my boyfriend.
And I am not convinced that there is "bad yarn," honestly. I think all yarn has its uses. Garish acrylic I may not want to use for me would make lovely easy-care hats and mittens for my mom's young patients.
Oh--I am soooo glad to not be the first one to notice the problem circle. well...at least you were already going to frog the decreases, right?
I'm sure my house can be classified as a cottage .. howling wind blowing through it.. they must have skipped the "vapour barrier" which is no surprise given the age of it.
Now if you introduced me to Rich I'm sure I'd feel warmer.
Can't wait to see your new back stash room.
Yes, bad yarn definitely exists. It exists in the form of Lion Brand Homespun that my boyfriend's mother has been nagging me (but ever-so-politely) to knit into a hat for her. My inner yarn snob is revolted by such a request. Even more so because I dislike hats the way you dislike bras.
Congrats on the construction progress. I look forward to the day you say "Have you SEEN the back of my house?!" in a good, showing-off kind of way. :)
He's married ???? Lucky girl ! Congrats on the roof - it's really coming along nicely ! Is his friend single ?
You're description of a knitter not having too much yarn cracks me up! I'm laughing out loud in my office. People are staring, gotta go. :-)
Yea for a roof!
I have a brother named Ian, too! Poor kid, always being called Ann. Snicker, neither of us really get to hear our names correctly anyways...since my parents are South American, I am used and prefer the Spanish pronounciation of Anita (who in the heck is Uh-needa anyways). I tolerate it well, though. Then I go and pick up a Lithuanian last name-fun.
I am really dreading, as this is my first year as a proclaimed knitter, bad yarn and bad needles! I am too nice not to be gracious and to regift/dispose/hide/destroy/etc. A friend did something amazingly brilliant and sweet my last birthday...knowing only that I liked to knit, she went to the LYS and got me a gift certificate. Her gift will keep giving the more I make and I think of her when I use the items I bought.
Bad yarn = nasty acrylic novelty stuff, 1 ball thereof in a discontinued colour (although I guess then you can throw it out without feeling too guilty).
Good yarn = $150 cash in an envelope labelled "money for sweater" (one of the better birthday gifts from DBF) :)
All yarn is good yarn! I have to say I don't fully understand yarn snobbery. YES some yarn is exquisite to work up and demands love, attention, a fabulous pattern, etc. but the thick, coarse, oddly colored yarns of days gone by have uses in this world, if only as rug fodder for mudrooms. I sometimes look at a gnarly ball of office twine and wonder if I could knit it with pencils... Anyway, I don't think there are any bad yarns, just yarns that require more creativity to make lovely things of. Even those horrible eyelash yarns could be used to make cheerful and brightly colored dust rags.
Woohoo, walls and a roof! You can't beat that. Well, I guess you could get more yarn. ;0) Thanks for the myth-busting; I've passed on your sage advice to my husband. Hee, hee.
Well shoot, there go my dreams of marrying my way into Canadian citizens!
I have to vote for no "bad" yarn. Even if it's just something I use to practice or to give to people who I don't like :) Poor Harlot and your mitten misadventures. Now it sticks out at you like a "sore thumb" huh? I HATE that. If no one said anything you never would have noticed.
I don't care that he's married and probably more than a decade younger than I am, I can't stop looking at those blue eyes and that smile. Wow. .....did you say something about a mitten?
Ian is married? Now my fantasies must end. A man who builds, paints, helps his sister, is cute, and has my favorite male name is married to someone other than me? The humanity. My husband had packed my bags for me and gotten out my passport. I was on my way... until I saw the ring.
Something I know about the Yarn Harlot after lurking here for way too long before posting (I guess the fantasy of Ian sitting in my dining room, wearing the thrummed mittens I planned to make from this contest kit will also have to end, but I'm willing to give it just one more shot)is that you knit at lacrosse games. Sometimes with Ken.
I'm a day late posting, but I know that even in the face of all things reasonable, the Harlot thought that lobster flavored potato chips might be tasty.
Steph, do you WARN people who come to work on your house that they might end up with an internet fan club composed of mitten freaks and yarn junkies? I mean, poor Rich. Did he know what he was getting into when Ian asked him to help? Do you have them sign some sort of waiver acknowledging our right to drool and write suggestive comments?
I mean, I'm happily married, but I have eyes.
Please let Kerry and Cap'n live. Otherwise we'll have to put them in the Knitters' Protection Program and have all their yarn and needles arrive in plain brown wrappers for the rest of their lives. They'd have to read Harlot postings from a different internet cafe each day, and wear dark glasses and post comments under a pseudonym. (Hey. Everyone knows "Cap'n" IS a real name. Sheesh.)
Yay roof. Yay door. And most especially, yay vapour barrier!!
Those mittens are exquisite, evil misbehaving decreases or no.
Yeah-roofdom!! Sorry about the mitten-that's a bummer (to put it very mildly). Today in the press there was a front page article that one of the high schools here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is teaching students knitting on their lunch break. However, the students who want to learn are boys. Football players. AND wrestlers. They are mostly making Christmas gifts for their mothers. Wow. Being boys, of course, they also said they would use their new-found skill to impress girls as well. I wonder, if they are keeping their hands busy knitting something, will that leave them less time to "choke the chicken"? Feel free to discuss among yourselves (and daughters).
Bad Yarn=Yarn on Sale! Go on, any one of you... Just try and say that you never bought "bad yarn" simply because it was discounted 50% or more???! Even though we all know better, who can resist? Huh.
I just wanted to mention that you have an astonishing amount of desperately seeking women reading your blog. And an incredible amount of comments after yesterday's entry! Wow. On both counts.
Bad yarn? Hmmmm, yes and no. My friends, with good intention, bring me yarn from yard sales. And yes, some of it is bad, yet some is also okay/good. Hell, I know acrylic will end up lasting longer in a landfill than styrofoam, yet I do use it from time to time. For instance, my loving partner likes to smoke while wraped up in his afghan. Well...he also is a spiller, so needless to say he burns holes in it. Acrylic for him, I would beat him over the head if he burnt a hole in one of our good ones.
It's okay everybody - I came out of this unscathed!
frogging- i feel your sighing pain
construction progress- here at my house too and hooray for muscled men
bad muddy colored acrylic twenty year old tons o'yarn- out of my house tomorrow so i can make room for all the filatura di grignasco i asked santa for
Stephanie - since you're striving for perfection...wow, this is nit-picking, even for me.
Seems to me that there are four misplaced white stitches in the motif one the upper left.
Sorry if this is news to you. Sounds like you were frogging this anyway?
As for the decreases, I believe that Elizabeth Zimmermann once DESIGNED a mitten with this style decreases, so that the mitten would cup gently towards the palm of the hand. If you were double jointed in the fingers, you could hold your fingers back and claim it was a style.
Of course, you'd look stooooopid, as we say here frequently.
Holy cow, woman! You have over 200 comments in yesterday's entry! YOWZA! You da man! Or, you know...
I am proud that you have mentioned BOOK. :)
And the mitten? I"m speechless with love.
Your brother? The roof? WALLS? Too much happiness! And all for you! It's a good thing!
I have to agree with Rana, not enough yarn of something good is almost as bad as too much of something bad.
And direct to the Harlot, Herself: been reading forever, first time posting (just listen to me on the radio "hi, I'm a long time listener, first time caller" sheesh). Had to come join the fun 'cus honestly, you're hysterical. I wish you lived in Montreal 'cus I'd probably be the cute little stalker you'd find knitting on your lawn every day. You inspire me. (ok, NOW I'm gushing). :]
Wow, cuties, cuties! Nothing wrong with a little xtra decoration on your blog between the mittens. But I just have to say it again, those colours are absolutely beautiful, that green-and-white I mean.
Bad yarn? Oh yes. I still have half a sweater from my poor student days, in an intricate pattern and a nice charcoal, that's probably never going to be a cushion cover either. See, it has this mystic sheen about it in artificial lighting. 70% acrylic, ew!
Wow. Stephanie you have groupies!
I mean, yes, we all knew you had fans, but when your fans can basically list everything but your actual bra size (the single one), you call them groupies. Some probably saved bits of yarn you've touched or have been tempted to steal a needle except they respect the craft and your sacred instruments of magic. So, you see, the thrummed mitten kit will be photographed, examined, and prized by all your fans. Surely the recipient will blog it and share ;)
Kinda like Roadies except we won't be doing your laundry or taking our your trash. Bummer.
As for vapour barriers, I have heard that they sometimes use tyvek instead of tar paper. Is that a vapour barrier? Personally, I love tyvek. It is spun-bonded olefin (key word spun). http://www.tyvek.com/na/covers/english/
A house without a vapour barrier... is probably in a red state.
Bad yarn, IMHO, is in the eye of the beholder. What I'd have loved when I was 12 is different from what I like at cough/ahem... fifty something. And it amazes me what gets sold on eBay. I wonder if chopped acrylic makes good birds nest lining.
Congrats on the door and roof! Does it make up for frogging the mitten? Probably not *g*
I'm writing down your gifts for knitters for my clueless husband (though not as clueless as he'd like me to think). Unfortunately I spent too much money at a Home and Garden party last night, so now I can probably say goodbye to any knit related gifts until my birthday. But the list will be handy.
I love your posting about putting the dishes in the dishwasher instead of on top of it. Apparently this is a form of respect for their elder women folk as it happens in my house too. However, I think my family is even more concerned about me being left out of the process because they do not stop at the dishes. They include leaving trash (not food stuff though) on the counter over the garbage can and recyclables on the counter over the collecting bin. This way not only can I put their dishes in the dishwasher but I can also take care of their trash and recyclables. How special I must be!
Sometimes we "give" ourselves yarn, which is not to our taste. I have two bags of Claire Murray wool in apple green, which stares at me from my stash. Why did I choose it? I can't even give it away - I have tried!!
What will be the actual use for your new room? We are all assuming a stash room. Yes?
um, questionable yarn that comes with a receipt is even better...just in case you are confronted with something so unholy you can't whip up a scarf for your Mother in Law or Snarky co-worker.
Stephanie, you might be pleased to know that one of my co-workers (and co-knitters) thanked me this morning for ruining her life by recommending your blog to her this week. She's only up to March in the archives as she has decided to read you right-way-up first.
But I can't decide whether either of us should be flattered by her saying that when she reads you she hears it in my voice! I guess I'm just the Yarn Harlot's Yarn Bitch!
There is such a thing as bad yarn, however, it's a very personal thing. There's never such a thing as a bad yarn GIFT, though. Cheap acrylic = hats, scarves, blanket squares for charity or gifts, even if you can't stand it. PITA novelty yarns = trim on something else, gifty scarves, trade for something else, save in the stash til you need it for something.... You can never have too much yarn! A suggestion for the gift-giver afraid of giving bad yarn: a gift certificate to a yarn store is foolproof!
Oh, there is such thing as bad yarn. Somehow, i got a scratchy wool/mohair/acrylic boucle that I could barely knit. It was just too itchy. Looked lovely, though, if one likes bulky boucle yarns, I suppose.
What did I do? I knit up a scarf for my MIL. She will now feel guilty every time she isn't wearing it when I see her, yet she will hate how itchy it is. Revenge is sweet.
Quick question, if you get a chance. If you were going to buy either Folk Socks or Folk Knitting in Estonia, which would you get? Are they different enough that it's worth getting both?
Thanks so much!
I seriously don't know how you read all these comments! I try, but then give up about 20 into the darned thing.
So was Ian flattered by all the interest from random strangers or creeped out?! ha ha!