Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Price of Good Intentions

Life is too short to be miserable.   Rita Mae Brown, Author

Last week I mailed off an 8 lb box of yarn to Handmade Especially for You. Yup, I donated eight pounds of lovely yarn.

I've been knitting Comfort Scarves for a few years now and try my darndest to send off a box of completed scarves every few months. Here's how it works: the Amazing Leslye Borden, founder of Handmade Especially for You, sends me a box of yarn kits. The kits include: knitting instructions, a gift tag to personalize, and yarn. Leslye and her volunteers have taken the time to measure, cut, and wind the yarn. Each kit includes either several little skeins to knit together or one prewound magic ball. I love the magic balls. When my eight scarves are completed I send them back to Leslye.

In addition to my knitting time I also contribute to the charity by paying for shipping to receive and return the knitted items. It's not too costly for me since Leslye lives in Southern California. The Man's Mom and her friend Kathy, both residents of Maui, contribute heftier postage fees by receiving and sending their yarny goodness boxes across the Pacific Ocean.

Light bulb moment, I had an idea: Why not use my own yarn to make scarves? That way I could use up my own stash and pay for one-way shipping. Win, win. Brilliant idea except I didn't have any Eyelash or Fun Fur yarns in my stash. These so-called "Novelty" yarns makes a Comfort Scarf a comfort scarf.

Then in June, on Ravelry, a fellow knitter posted that she was destashing her Novelty yarns for free. Mary from Portland, Oregon, was asking that the buyer pay postage and 50¢ to cover the Paypal fees. I sent Mary an inquiry and after confirming that it was truly RAK (Random Act of Kindness) Yarn, I sent her enough postage to cover a large Flat Rate USPS box.

I sent Mary a message when I received her box: Wowzer, you certainly are quite the box stuffer! Your box-o-yarn was bulging and I could hear all the skeins give a sigh of relief when I opened the box. They just about leaped out of the box. I made the mistake of opening the box in the living room and of course I couldn’t get them all back in the box to take them upstairs to my craft room.

Since I had already been weaving a Stashbuster scarf I took a skein of yellow chenille and a ball of the pink and blue eyelash yarn and added it to the end. I had (briefly) entertained the idea of donating woven scarves but it took too much time and labor to be an option. I scrapped the Scrappy Scarf idea.

Instead I took the yellow chenille and pink and blue eyelash yarn and knitted up a Comfort Scarf. It took a long time to knit. Hours turned into days and the end product was . . .  horrible. For all that knitting time it was only about four feet long not the recommended 60 inches. The knit stitches were uneven, the scarf was pulled in and out irregularly, and not in a good way. It was the ugliest thing I've ever made. Heck, it was the ugliest knitted thing I had ever seen. I couldn't even unravel it to save the yarn. I threw it out by burying it deep within my trash can.

I decided that combining yarns for Comfort Scarves was a lot harder than it looked. I felt sure that the Amazing Leslye and her team of dedicated and creative volunteers were even more special than I already knew them to be.

My interest in my newest endeavor waned. A few weeks went by, then a month, then two. But last week I opened the closet doors that hid from The Man protected my yarn stash and selected my oldest yarns that I had obtained eight years ago as a new-again knitter. Then I boxed them all up and sent them on their merry way. (At the very last moment I hesitated and kept a few dark blue and dark purple Fun Fur balls . . . so pretty, so soft . . .  maybe I could . . . ?)

I received this email from Leslye: What fun I have had with the box of yarn you sent.  I loved your note.  My advice to you:  avoid chenille!  It “worms.”  No matter how careful you are, it is impossible to use.  I always send it to one of our crocheters, who somehow manages to use  it without difficulty.  The rest of the yarn was fabulous.  I made zillions of kits with it.  Since I already sent new magic balls to you, I’m not sure if you will actually receive kits made with the yarn you personally donated, but rest assured, the kits are made with the yarn someone donated.  You can feel warmly toward them.

Heck, I feel even more warmly towards Leslye knowing that it was the dreaded chenille yarn and not me failing as a "Wannabe Magic Ball Maker". Besides, sending off the yarn was a price well worth paying for my peace of mind. Win, win.

Life is too short to knit or weave with yarn you don't love.   Lynn, Yarn Enthusiast*

*Enthusiast sounds better than the alternative synonyms such as addict, freak, fanatic, or fiend.