The blanket may have been done, but that was far too much yarn to throw away
"Mazel tov! It’s a boy!” My mother was breathless on the phone, no doubt racing between calls from one family member to another. Baruch Hashem, my sister had welcomed another baby.
And I, the proud tante, had a night activity planned.
I Googled Michael’s to see how late they were open, then grabbed my sketch book from the desk. About 30 inches wide, 36 inches tall… If I started with a chain of 95 and made a shell pattern, it should come along nicely.
With the dimensions in hand, I headed to the craft shop and straight to the yarn aisle. Sandra, the floor manager, greeted me by name.
“What are you working on now?” she asked.
“A blanket. My sister had a baby boy, thank G-d.” I showed her the pattern in mind.
“How about this yarn?” She pulled a velvet green skein off the shelf. “It’s a five gauge, so it will build up quickly but not be too thick. And just feel how soft it is!”
“It’s perfect,” I agreed, and grabbed a few bundles from the shelf. Eight skeins should do it. And they did. A few days later, I tied off the last stitch on the blanket and reached for the small pair of sewing scissors.
With a quiet snip, the length of soft green yarn split into two. I held up the blanket by the corners to admire the hours of careful crocheting. Then I folded it in a neat pile and made a mental note to ship it off.
My sister would be thrilled when she saw the blanket. I, however, wasn’t thrilled when I looked down on the floor and saw the remaining bundle of yarn, now half-a-skein skinnier, but still present in a lump on the floor.
The blanket may have been done, but that was far too much yarn to throw away. And it was so pretty! So soft! I couldn’t let it go to waste.
So after I shipped the blanket to my sister, I commenced a new project: Operation Finish the Skein. I sketched a new pattern, for a small throw pillow this time, and returned to my spot on the couch with a cup of tea steaming on the coffee table and a mess of yarn pooling at my feet.
In and out, I stitched the floral pattern. Until, at last, Operation Finish the Skein was complete. The green yarn was all finished.
But the pillow wasn’t.
With a sigh, I headed back to Michael’s.
“Hi, Sandra!” I said when I arrived.
“You’re back!” she said with little surprise. I told her about the pillow, and she pulled some more yarn off the shelf.
“This should do it.” It did. I took the yarn back home and, a few days later, I finished the pillow. I tied off the last stitch and snipped the thread. I was glad the pillow was done, but then I looked down at the floor and realized — the new yarn wasn’t.
And Operation Finish the Yarn 2.0 began. I sketched a second, matching throw pillow and began to crochet it, row by row. When I was an inch away from ending, the yarn ran out. An inch more to go? Really?
With a sigh, I returned to Michael’s.
“You back for more yarn?” I nodded and took the skein she offered. And hours later, I tied off the last stitch of the pillow and looked down at the floor. A nearly-full skein of yarn rolled against my slippers.
Is this what déjà vu feels like? I wondered. I was in the same situation I was in when I finished the blanket — except that now I also had two green throw pillows that didn’t even match the couch.
It’s been about seven years now. The baby blanket is well-loved and well-used by my nephew, who is no longer a baby, and the two pillows hang out at the top of the linen closet. Or did I throw them out last Pesach? I can’t even remember. And that frustratingly-full skein of velvet green yarn sits in my wicker basket, growing old.
I should throw it out, especially because I wouldn’t dare attempt to start another project with it, but I can’t. Because every once in a while, when I’m sorting through the basket for a crochet hook or some yarn, I stumble upon the skein and remember.
Not always do the pattern and yarn align. Not always do they finish at the same time. And sometimes, the only way to end it is to put down the hook, tie off your stitch, and leave the yarn.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 771)
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