Wearing something handknitted is so much more than just wearing a garment, for me it’s wearing stories and memories and all the inspiration that went into creating the piece.
There are many reasons why I love knitting. The obvious things are probably the sense of accomplishment and making something with my own hands, and that it produces something concrete, wearable, and usable. I know many of you can also relate to the fact that knitting is meditative and relaxing, but there’s always something new to learn and get caught into if you want to get more intensely into it. But one of my favorite part about knitting is all the memories it invokes. Wearing something handknitted is so much more than just wearing a garment, for me it’s wearing stories and memories and all the inspiration that went into creating the piece.
I like buying yarn from places we travel to because I love how the sweater I knitted with that yarn becomes a reminder of that trip. Also I get reminded of our travels from the item I knitted on those trips, for example my Selune scarf reminds me of the warm summer days in Berlin where I knitted parts of it while I’m wearing it in the sub-zero winterdays here in Finland. The socks I knitted in Italy on our honeymoon are so precious to my that I rarely even use them.
Seasons, places, weather, knitting at home or outside at the park while Theo was playing at the sand box. It all comes back to me.
There are memories of the places the yarn was bought from, there are memories of the places and things that inspired me, memories of where I knitted the garment and memories of the times I wore them. Many of those things weren’t even big or grandeur, but those small mundane things that make up our day to day life. Seasons, places, weather, knitting at home or outside at the park while Theo was playing at the sand box. It all comes back to me.
This is also why yarn gifts are so welcome to me. They add another aspect to the stories of the garments – how someone dear to me has handpicked the yarn for me and what it tells about them and how they see me. I like imagining why they chose that yarn and what they thought it would turn into in my hands. That also terrifies me a bit, to be able to fulfill their dreams as well as my own. So it often happens that the yarn gifts sit in my stash longer than the yarn I bought myself as I’m looking for the perfect use for them. The gift yarns and the souvenier yarns are not “disposable” in the same way as the regular skeins bought from my LYS: I just can’t go to the yarn store and buy new ones if I somehow ruin them by knitting something that doesn’t turn out the way I wanted.
I once saw a quote that went something like this: “If you say I’m hard to shop for, you must not know where to buy yarn.” Apparently my friends and family have slowly realized that buying yarn or something else knitting related is the easiest way to make me happy, because the gifts I get are increasingly craft related. Not that I mind.
I just finished two a couple of projects that were knitted with gifted and souvenir yarns. One of them is the ochre colored More Honey hat that I showed in the previous post. I knitted it with yarn I got from my parents’ as souvenir from their trip to New Zealand two years ago. I knew I wanted to knit something special with it and I think this hat is something I will cherish for a long time.
Two other recent FOs include my Kiuru hat and a simple garter stitch cowl. I bought the yarn for both of them a year ago in Berlin, and since I’m going back there this May, I thought I should use the yarns I bought last year before buying more 🙂 The purple Kiuru hat is knitted with Rosy Green Wool Heb Merino light (a delight to work with) in shade 221 foxglove. I used the stitch pattern from my Kiuru pullover for the hat. And the garter stitch cowl is knitted with Lang yarns Donegal (shade #3).
Lastly I have a cowl on my needles that I’m knitting with yarn that my husband bought me. That one is extra special for me, because it’s the first time he has ever chosen yarn for me himself, on all the other times he has bought me yarn he has had very specific instructions on what to buy me. I’m using the yarn for the Furrow cowl by Jared Flood (pattern from the Woolens book).
Do you have special yarns that are too dear to be used? Or do you cast on immediately when you get a new skein? I’d love to hear your thoughts!