Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I don't buy yarn, I buy sweaters.

I realized during this move that I can't remember the last time I went to a yarn store. I ordered some yarn from knitpicks.com, but it was for a Christmas present. As a general rule, the only way I "buy" yarn is from recycling sweaters.

Clearly I am not at a loss for yarn: I have skeins of wool, silk, linen and cotton stacked in boxes and stuffed into corners. Yarn turns up in unexpected places. I seriously don't need more yarn, and yet I keep finding myself unraveling another cardigan and carefully skeining  the reclaimed wool.

It's the process. I like making. I like creating something beautiful from something decidedly unattractive. I like admiring cables, or lace, only to see it melt into a pool of kinky, soft wool, then knit back into an afghan or a stole. I like thinking outside the box, and taking the simple act of reusing and reducing to a new and creative level.

For me, it's the ultimate act of simple living to give something a new purpose; to make something beautiful out of an every day object. But it also guides me to attempt this on my own life. I quit my job because I wasn't happy and now I must examine the parts of my personality and put them back together. What do you want? What are your goals, your desires, your abilities? How we knit these pieces together is as simple and essential an act as putting needle to wool, and creating.

The idea of breaking something apart, admiring it, and then rebuilding it seems like an important life lesson. Too often we reach for what is simply on the shelf, or what is popular, or perhaps what is familiar. This has gotten me into trouble throughout my life. We follow roads that are expected, and stock our lives with finished products. Now that I find myself soul-searching, unraveling each sweater is an act of meditation and rebirth. I examine the whole, question the parts, and put it back together as something new, something exciting, and something I have created.

I don't buy yarn, I buy sweaters. And from those sweaters, anything is possible.

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