Friday, October 06, 2006

A Good Cause...A Not so Good Yarn

First...the good cause

I am often inspired by the wide range of knitting-related charities that are supported by passionate and energetic knitters. It encourages me that every contribution, no matter how small, is of use to somebody in our world. Knitters are a kind lot. Even I can break out of my own selfishness every now and again to help. I recently sent a large box of yarn off to a group of women that knits donated yarn into warm clothing for people in Northern BC. I tucked a small knitted hat into the box. Today, I sent a knitted bag off to a charity that supports AIDS relief work in Africa. I have materials on hand to make a red scarf for the Red Scarf Project. I have donated some of my finished work to our church's annual silent auction. The money raised at the auction supports a team of teens to go lead a week of fun summer activities for the children of a native community called Kyoquit. Our relationship with this community has been a blessing both to them and to us.

When I was at Urban Yarns on Wednesday, the owner of the store told me about a local cause that I am very keen to support: The Sheltering Stitch 2006 Knit for the Homeless Project.

Vancouver is a beautiful place to live, but we have received lower marks lately because of our growing homeless problem. This is an issue that strikes close to my heart. When I was a young teen, my own sister hit the streets, lived a short brutal life there, and took her own life. The Sheltering Stitch collects hand-knit goods for Vancouver's most vulnerable citizens. And I want to help. Urban Yarns is sponsoring the charity by collecting the goods and passing them on to be sorted and distributed to homeless outreach programs.

I knit so much for myself, but I don't use nearly all of what I knit. Now I have somewhere to send my hand-knits that will help people in my own city. If you would like more information about The Sheltering Stitch, visit

On a lighter note...a not-so-good yarn:

My family teases me a lot about the knitting thing. They don't get it. I just knit and ignore it. They sure don't mind when they get new hats and scarves and socks though. This yarn was my family's idea of a gag-gift. I had a good laugh and gave them high marks for giving my passion for knitting a nod on my birthday.

They call this The-Ugliest-Ball-of-Yarn-at- Wal-Mart

I thought it had too much personality to be the Ugliest-Ball...surely not. But on closer inspection, it is pretty awful. It's Bernat. I could stop right there. It's thick and thin to the point of absurdity. I wonder if one could knit this stuff even if one were so inclined. I'm not. It's mostly acrylic with a small amount of wool, so felting is out. The colours are weak and watery, and the binder thread is falling apart in some places and too loose to do much good in the long run. I see the finished item disintegrating with one wash. I think I can do better than this, especially if it's going to charity. So...we all had a laugh, but the fugly ball is going back from whence it came.

This, on the other hand is a better use of yarn money. Not that I'm advertising for Webs, cuz I'm not. But it is a deal, if you like this kind of thing.

This is a skein of Valley Yarns Charisma, pure New Zealand wool. You get 200 grams / 385 yards of this stuff for 10.00 at Webs. You have to click on Grandpa's Garage Sale and scroll down. This is the only colourway they have left, but their paltry photo does it no justice. I think they have about 20 skeins left. It's a sturdy, substantial yarn. Heavy worsted/aran weight at 16 stitches to four inches. It is on the scratchier side, good for heavy socks, slippers and outerwear. Perfect for felting.

I managed to get three of the colourways before they disappeared. This remaining one has a host of autumn rusts, khaki greens and a pretty light teal to perk it up.


Anonymous said...

You're right, the Charisma yarn from Webs is much nicer than its 'very ugly Christmas' photo.
Trish bcg

jayne said...

You gotta wonder: how do they expect to sell any yarn that way?!

junior_goddess said...

I think you should make something absolutely lovely and unexpected with the FuglyMax yarn. Pair it with, say-dark green, and do a two color stitch pattern. Make your DH a toque. Make him WEAR it out in public.

As they say, no good deed goes unpunished.