Friday, September 25, 2009

Seduced by the Soft Side

I wrote the following yarn commentary a little over two years ago. Surprisingly, my opinions and obsessions haven’t changed much since then.

I have probably walked right past Red Heart brand Simply Soft yarn about a million times during countless quests for the perfect, inexpensive yarn in the color I need. For some reason I’ve mostly gravitated toward Lion Brand yarn and yarn accessories- they just seemed to always have what I was looking for. It isn’t always the most affordable yarn but in my loyalty to the brand, I am usually able to justify the price. Red Heart on the other hand, always seemed like the “cheap” brand to me and in my yarn snobbery, I usually didn’t even give it a chance but I recently had a knitting life-altering moment that changed my entire outlook.

I was conducting my usual search for something that I was starting to think didn’t actually exist and was about to bypass the Red Heart brand section, as usual, when a particular shade of red sitting next to a particular shade of goldish yellow caught my eye. Finally, the perfect colors for the “new and improved” Harry Potter scarf I wanted to start! I reached for a ball of the Red Heart Simply Soft yarn to examine the label for gauge and suggested needle size when suddenly my finger tips casually brushed the surface of the amazing luxurious texture. The whole world slowed down around me while I had “a moment” with the softest yarn ever. I pulled my hand away, startled by the intense softness but wanting more. Feeling a little guilty, I looked behind me at the neatly arranged rows of Lion brand yarn on the shelf just across the aisle. “It’s not what it looks like!” I wanted to explain. “It’s just that it’s so soft and inexpensive and…” I once again turned my gaze toward the Simply Soft, hypnotized by its magical powers of softness.

I glanced in either direction to make sure I was alone and then stuck my hand into the pile of smooth ecstasy. Wow! It was like it was made out of some perfect mixture of bunnies and kittens without any claws or teeth. I probably would have stood there all day but I was jerked off of the yarn cloud I was on and back to reality as an older woman turned the corner and made her way down the aisle. Afraid she had seen me fondling the yarn inappropriately; I quickly fumbled to regain my composure and picked up one of the balls of yarn, pretending to stoically examine the label as she got closer. “Don’t you just love this yarn?!” she said as she began filling her cart with a mountain of softness. The look in her eyes told me she had done her fair share of inappropriate yarn fondling and I just smiled awkwardly as she carted her new stash toward the register. I realized that I was not the first to be seduced by the soft side and that this could easily get out of hand.

I resisted the desire to buy at least fifteen balls of Simply Soft in every color available and limited my purchase to only the amounts and colors necessary for the Harry Potter scarf. As the girl behind the cash register was ringing up my purchase, I swear I caught her giving each ball of yarn an extra squeeze as she ran them past the scanner and placed them in the bag. I could feel myself breaking into a cold sweat as my eyes followed each ball across the counter. I felt a strange compulsion to dive into the bag after the yarn just to touch it again. The girl behind the counter looked up as she squeezed the last ball, dropped it in the bag and said, “I love knitting with this yarn, it’s the best.” I nodded and trying to remain calm and aloof, said, “Yeah, I’m really excited about it.” Before she hit the total button on the register, she asked the crucial question, “Will that be all for you today?” I started to shake and hesitated for a moment before finally blurting out in one hysterical breath, “No I think I’m going to need a few more balls of the Simply Soft because I’m just not sure if I’m going to have enough to last through the weekend what if I run out and I don’t have enough to finish my project what then? WHAT THEN?!” Calmly, she looked me in the eye and said, “I think you have enough. Now, I’ll just total up your purchase and you can go home and start knitting.” I nodded my head, trying to calm down, “You’re right. I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me. It’s just that yarn it’s so….” I looked at her hands, they were inside the bag, “Hey, stop touching my yarn!” I yelled as I snatched the bag and my receipt from her and stormed out of the store. I’m glad I rescued my yarn from that freak!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Lovely Way to Spend a Sunday Afternoon

I know I've been silent for a while- it's been an incredibly busy summer- but I had to stop and put down a few cents worth about a recent movie going experience. Yesterday I ventured into "the city" along with two of my crafter friends, Susanne and Megan, for a screening of "Handmade Nation." This simple documentary by Faythe Levine about the current crafting community in America was both delightful and inspiring. It was great to get a glimpse into other peoples' crafting lives and be able to relate on some level to what they were doing. The common ground on which all of the interviewees seemed to stand was simply the need to make something and their desire to share it with the world.

There was also a bit said about speaking out against the mass market and not supporting poor labor practices, as well as recycling and re purposing through crafting in order to minimize waste. These ideas used to only come from a stereotype of extremists who wore a lot of hemp jewelry that happened to go perfectly with their Birkenstock sandals. There was a time when I felt like I would have to stop shaving my legs and live in a tree in order to fit in with the arts and crafts folks. I also thought I could never pass as deviant enough to have art cred and gain the respect of the people who could pull off the look of sunglasses with heart-shaped frames and pink lenses. But the community I saw represented by the filmmaker was so much more balanced and non-threatening than I expected. Yes, there were a few people that most would label "weirdos" but there were also "normal" people who, at the end of the day just desire respect for their craft.
Overall, it was an enjoyable experience. Special thanks to Susanne for having her finger on the pulse of all things fun and "indie" and sharing this event with me and Megan.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Scarf Colors!

Thanks to everyone who already stopped by my etsy shop. Now here’s a reason to go back! I have added lots of fun new scarf colors so go take a look at them and tell your friends to take a look at them and tell them to tell their friends and eventually maybe I’ll sell something. Here's my nifty new color swatches (thanks to my wonderful husband and his Photoshop smarts).

Also, watch for other fun non-scarf related items coming soon. Here’s a sneak peek…

And, last but not least, my inner mad scientist recently created this…

…any guesses as to what it is? Once I’ve perfected it, I’ll give a free one to the first person to answer correctly.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Will Knit For Cash

Welcome! I have been trying to start this blog for quite some time now but my psychotic perfectionism kept getting in the way and making silly excuses for why I wasn’t ready to maintain a blog of my own. Well, I have finally decided to get over some of my commitment issues and just do it. So here it is, a place for all things “good,” “plaid,” and “snuggly.”

As my first order of business, I would like to direct your attention to my brand new attempt to make a few extra bucks. Check it out at or search for my user name “duckinghampalace” at Here is a preview of the exciting things you'll find there…