Days Gone By
I'd never touched real wool yarn. It was a luxury that not only could I not afford in my "Ramen, again?" days, but one I didn't realize was attainable. Wool yarn to me was something that only people with money used... and I was afraid of using it. I might ruin it... or shrink it in the washer...or the cat would puke on it and it would be ruined forever
So last weekend (err.. the weekend before), when I was digging in the attic for my skis and boots, I stumbled across a yarn stash. Now, I knew there was yarn up there. I have tons of crochet cotton from when a local chain was purchased by Joann's a long time ago. I think that stuff has moved with me at least twice.  I think I had this idea that I was going to make a bedspread with it ..or something.  Anyway, I stumbled across this

Wait.. what? is that WOOL!?

I remember this yarn very clearly.   I bought it at my First Ever Trip to The New York Sheep and Wool Festival aka "OMG RHINEBECK!"  by lots of people on Ravelry who make the pilgrimage every year. Sometimes from as far away as California. 

My first trip had to be at least 15 years ago.  I was a hard core crocheter then.  Knitting eluded me.  You can see that is my first attempt at teaching myself right there. Still on the needles. Looking at it now, I wonder why I didn't go on with it, since that really is pretty good. I probably found it slow and tedious and gave up.

The Sheep and Wool Festival from years gone by was much smaller.  It only took up half of the fairgrounds and shared a weekend with the Rock and Mineral show. (These days it's HUGE and incredibly popular.) There were only a handful of food vendors and although, compared to today, the yarn selection was small,  to me it was astounding.

I'd never touched real wool yarn.  It was a luxury that not only could I not afford in my "Ramen, again?" days, but one I didn't realize was attainable.  Wool yarn to me was something that only people with money used... and I was afraid of using it.  I might ruin it... or shrink it in the washer...or the cat would puke on it and it would be ruined forever.

My great-grandmother taught me to crochet when I was, uh.. 6ish?   The only yarn she used was found in my local K-Mart (you do remember K-mart right?) and it was Wintuk Acrylic.  And the selection there was small.  Maybe you could find some  kitchen cotton for dishcloths and you could definately get some crochet cotton for doilies..  but I bought acrylic because that is what Gamba Effie used.. and because I made afghans. 

Yes, I made this.

Lots and lots of afghans. Afghans need to be washed because .. as I said before , the cat might puke on them.  Also, acrylic was inexpensive and crochet afghans used up a LOT of yarn.  I needed that money for my ramen and box macaroni and cheese budget.

I wish I took pictures of all the afghans I made.    Before the internet, believe it or not, I didn't take pictures of every aspect of my life. Probably because digital cameras didn't exist. (or if they did I couldn't afford one)

Ravelry didn't exist either,  so I didn't bother with pics or project notes.  Patterns came from pattern books.  Yarn came from craft stores.  The world didn't know about the New York Sheep and Wool Festival because the world was smaller. 

I know it's hard to fathom, but I'm pretty sure that the internet was not as hugangous as it now.  Amazon was in its infancy and only sold BOOKS and they were printed on this thing called PAPER.  

I was connecting to the web via dial up. .. with AOL.  Don't judge.. you probably were, too. The only browser out there was Internet Explorer and you liked it, dammit.   A blog? what's a blog?  Social networking? Whut?  Starbucks? whut?  "Fancy" coffee came from Dunkin Donuts and it was Hazelnut... and you liked it, dammit.

Basically what I'm saying here is that I didn't know that there were so many yarn options because my world was smaller.

My first trip to Rhinebeck and my eyes were opened to a world I didn't know existed. I  fondled and squished and dreamed about all that yarn.  I couldn't afford it to buy most of it.

But I had this idea that I wanted to make a pair of slippers for my father. (I've probably not mentioned my parental unit issues much here... basically, I'm an adult child of an alcoholic and I have a lot of the fun things that go along with that.  But at the time, I genuinely wanted to do something nice for him.)  His feet are always cold when I stumbled upon those leather soles that you can make uppers for, I went off in search of wool.

If Ravelry and smartphones existed then, I would have searched to see how much yarn I needed for a pair of slippers.  I had no clue that I could make them with less than one hank of yarn. So I bought four.   I found the nicest yarn I could afford, made those slippers and wondered what to do with the rest.  It ended up shoved in a box for 15 years. 

I was afraid to use it.

I find it interesting that this very yarn, with so much emotional baggage shows up now.. just when I'm starting therapy to figure out how to deal with my perception of my father.    I feel like by claiming what is left of this as my own, I'm embracing that person I used to be.   I'm  reaching out to that young woman who thought she didn't deserve nice things, who was willing to spend some cash on someone else but not on herself, who didn't aspire to be anything more than "someone's girlfriend" and telling her that she matters. 

I'm going to make myself a "hug" out of this yarn.  I'm making this Top Down Shoulder Warmer .  I should have just enough left.

Will I think about those slippers everytime I put it on? Probably  Will it bring up some of the ugly stuff that my mind equates with my father?  Possibly.

Does it matter? Nope. Because I'm not that girl anymore.  I'm so much more now.

One thought on “Days Gone By

Leave a Reply