Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mystery Yarn

The other day I was approached by a local acquaintance I'll call "P".  Although she herself can knit, P is very enamored of my knitting and frequently introduces me to others as the "world's greatest knitter!" which is very embarrassing.  Because of course - I'm not. I'm just one of the few sock knitters she's every met and within in her limited circle probably one of the most proficient.  But we all know there are eleventy-bajillion knitters out there far more talented than I.

Anyway - P gets enjoyment from occasionally consulting me on knitting problems, showing me her most recent finished object, and hearing about my current work in progress and it's harmless so I roll with it. But when she stopped by my work the other day it was to share something new.

She explained that she had been gifted by another local knitter with a couple large plastic trash bags of thick and thin cotton yarn, in three colors.  P accepted it thinking she would knit up a small rug, or perhaps chair seatcovers, but found it very difficult to work with. She went on to tell me that this strange yarn was so very thick in some places that she needed large needles to work with it, but so thin in other places that it would break.  I asked her if there was any sort of label or ballband included in the bags of yarn and she said no, there definitely wasn't. P said all she knew was that the other knitter said that "it took her forever to wind it all up" and that she herself was stumped and ready to pass it on - so did I want it?

I admitted to being curious about this mystery yarn but for many reasons - time, storage space, etc. - did not want to accept this stuff sight unseen.  So the next day, P stopped by again with a small sample:

(Hand included for scale)

Okay, I agree with P, this is definitely cotton.  And the colors are nice. But the variation between the thinnest bits and thickest are so extreme, I think this perhaps verges on what some folks consider "art yarn"?  I should perhaps mention that I am 99.9% sure that there are no spinners in this town. (There was one - she moved back to the mainland earlier this year.) So the origin of this strange yarn is quite puzzling. 

(Ruler included for scale)

P said that she thought maybe the three strands could be braided together, I suggested she might try holding the three strands together and using very thick needles. She liked the idea but repeated her assurances that she was no longer interested in trying to knit something with this crazy yarn and was happy to give it to me if I wanted it.

(Wine glass include for scale)

Unless someone out there on the interwebs can quickly identify this mystery yarn and and give me a good reason why not, I think I'm going to pass on the offer. As I've mentioned recently, my time is very limited for the next couple months.  And once my time frees up a bit, I plan to put a considerable amount of it towards cleaning out my overflowing closets and cupboards, drastically reducing clutter (more on this another day) so it seems to me that the very LAST thing I need to be doing is accepting a couple of large bags of particularly odd or tricksy yarn. 

So what do you think?


Wool Enough said...

Yah, definitely. Just say no.

Y'know that sorta looks to me like partially spun fiber. There's an old-timey way of using a long lap spindle that starts with just getting some twist into the fiber. Then you run it through a time or two more, each time drafting it out thinner. So the end result would look like the thin bits of your crazy "yarn."

Lisa said...

Hm. You know, I am definitely not the most proficient knitter in the world or even with my own small square block, but my opinion, stated as succinctly as possible is: unless you are given say, 10 or 20 glasses of that fine wine along with the yarn, my reaction is: RUN AWAY! as fast as you can.

Anonymous said...

If you don't love it, don't give it space in your house. Just sayin'. :)

Mia said...

I think I'd pass too... I just can't think what you'd use it for other than maybe a little rug or something, but the colors are a little rough too.

Free is free, but still, if you're tryin' to cut down and save space this doesn't look like such a good bargain -but how cool for her to offer it to you!!

Sheepish Annie said...

It does look like handspun, doesn't it? I can't say I've ever seen a commercial yarn quite like it, at least not in cotton. I don't think I'd knit with it, though. It looks more like crochet yarn to me.

That said, I'd also probably pass on it. There is only so much room for yarn in any home so you might as well love what you have.

Carolyn (Harbor Hon) said...

I agree with everyone else. I'd pass on it, but thank the woman kindly for thinking of you. Living in a tiny apartment, storage is somewhat at a premium for just what you can handle. xxoo

Pat said...

Is it possibly leftovers or recycled from a rug? It does kinda look like it should be braided together.
Perhaps you could suggest that your friend donate to someplace that does children's crafts?