>Scouting Yarns

>My second book, Everyday Crochet, was written over a five month period in 2006. It was begun almost immediately after correcting the proofs for the first book. That was a mistake. I notice that other crochet and knit authors are able to crank out books at an alarming rate of one or two per year forever. For me the cycles of designing, crocheting, writing, editing and re-editing two books in a row took a huge toll. I learned that I need time off between birthings; time to recharge the design centers of the brain and rest the hands.

So it has been nearly two years since I kissed that last book goodbye and sent it off to my publisher. At the time I asked everyone I knew to smack me upside the head if I mentioned wanting to do book three. My head is still attached to my neck, so that should give you a clue as to how well my alleged friends listened to me. Mercifully, enough time has passed that the agony and angst, sleep deprivation and stiff hands endured during the book process are a murky memory. All I can think about now is how much fun it was to plan a book.

The planning truly is the best part. The best of the best is casting the design yarns. I wish I could be more like other authors who already know exactly what their book designs will be, which fibers, weights and approximate amounts are needed before they choose specific yarns. That would make the casting call less of a cattle call. But I design on the fly. I need the materials in my hands first. It’s up to the yarn to tell me what it wants to be. That means the choices I make today are really critical and risky. But I find that nothing excites the senses and fires up the design neurons like being up to your eyeballs in yarn.

With two books and several recent magazine placements as validation I now have the cred and confidence to request yarns from just about any source. Imagine the entire fiber multiverse as your candy store. What wouldn’t you do for an all-access pass to the latest yarns and newest shades? Could you control yourself if all you have to do to make truckloads of yarn appear on your doorstep is simply waggle your little crochet hook? How overpoweringly empowering is that?

Well, sure, this does not necessarily mean I will be granted my entire wish list. I’d quickly become a fracking insufferable brat if I got everything I wanted. More of an insufferable brat, anyway. So I learned to ask for the moon and be flexible enough to be satisfied with a half moon. Let the wild rumpus start!

Where do I begin the begging? I look first to the companies that have been supportive and generous to me in the past. I react positively when yarn company reps throw product at me, either at TNNA industry shows or in the form of surprise designers’ packages throughout the year. I lean heavily on yarns with which I have lots of experience and exceptional design results. You might think the virtual yarn cart of someone so spoiled for choice would be filled with high-end fibers and brands. Not so. I work with a range of products, from craft-store big box yarns to scandalously pricey luxury stuff. In the back of my mind I hold the thought that anyone can make something nice out of great yarn, but it takes a canny designer to make something great out of ANY yarn.

So far I’m looking at a few favorites, old and newly acquired. Definitely the tried and true Tahki Cotton Classic . Most definitely the lovable NaturallyCaron.com Country and Spa . Some fabulously drapey hemp from Lanaknits HempforKnitting, and new hemp blends like Cashmere Canapa. The latest from Vermont Organic Fibers, a fingering weight of O-Wool and the cotton/wool blend Balance. Some gorgeous Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend from the distributor, Fairmount Fibers. The Royal Llama Linen from Plymouth Yarns so favored by my co-conspirator Vashti. Interesting stuff I’ve designed with recently, including two Coats&Clark products, BambooWool and the surprisingly pleasant new yarn made from recycled soda bottles, Eco-Ways. And thanks to my girlfriend, newly crowned yarn rep Chava, I have a staggering number of new-to-me beauties from Feza yarns.

Very soon I’ll be so flush with yarn that they’ll have to send out the St. Bernards to find me in that avalanche. Oh, and lets not overlook the scouting possibilities in a couple of weeks when I visit the NY Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

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6 thoughts on “>Scouting Yarns

  1. >I appreciate you posting about the yarns you enjoy using. It’s also wonderful to know you are entertaining ideas for a new book – not that I’ve done nearly enough with your first two!

  2. >Be careful when you waggle that hook — remember Mickey as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Fantasia! I’m glad you use the more affordable and accessible yarns like Spa et al., and your designs for them are terrific. Makes it easier to contemplate doing them.

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