I’m not making a lot for Christmas this year. Actually, I largely don’t know what I’m doing. Eek, that’s not going to turn out well for me, is it? I have a crocheted blanket to complete and I’m making my husband (who I seriously doubt will read this post) a Dodger beanie, semi-on-request, in Tunisian crochet in the round.

The pink logo test. What else am I going to do with that terrible yarn? And yes, I’m going to have to modify the pattern. Tunisian stitches are taller than they are wide, giving the bottom of the A too heavy a foot.

I thought the Caron Simply Soft yarns would be nice. Simple, washable, I already had white and just needed to buy blue. Well it turns out gray is a nice addition, but the blue (now in my possession) isn’t quite the right shade. I started the project, but the color was disappointing, so a-hunting I went.

At dreaded MalWart, the only place that is close to me and open after 5, I could only find the right color in the ever cheap SuperSaver skein. It’s useful yarn for big projects, but cheap and scratchy. Some of the colors have an odd, almost foamy, texture, while others are stiff. I bought the right blue and a good gray (which is surprisingly soft). I already had white. I started the project again. And again, I was disappointed. The yarn is thicker (yes, it’s #4, but technically so is the Caron) and scratchier than I’d like. So a-hunting I went.

I looked at several major yarn retailers and loaded my cart with the blue (and coordinating white and gray) yarns for further review. Between DK and sport weights, a recommended website and the very evil-in-a-good-way yarn.com, I had 7 different sets in my carts. The problem is that almost no one comes out and says “this is Dodger blue,” and I can’t find accurate hex code or pantone equivalencies, so I’m guessing. There are a lot of great choices with different compositions on yarn.com. Acrylic, superwash wool, cotton, bamboo, nylon, polyamide, cashmere, angora, etc., and pretty much every conceivable combination. There is a superwash wool/ bamboo viscose that particularly caught my eye.

I got rid of everything in one cart and reduced the other from 5 sets to 3. My thought was to pick two and return one set after viewing them in person and making the best choice.

Then I thought, ‘what the heck am I doing!?’ It’s nice to get the right materials, but I’m being wasteful. I already have two sets of not quite right. Now I was going to add two more? Shame on me.

Today I read about a company that a friend introduced me to last year, Love Your Mellon. They make beanies and donate 50% to cancer charities (they used to donate a beanie for each sold, but stopped after they hit something like 45k). With those kinds of numbers they clearly make (made in the USA) and buy in bulk, so they have a lot of options. I’m sure, like the garment industry, they are able to have yarns made to their specifications, unlike us mere mortals. In fact, Love Your Mellon’s latest hats are made partially of reclaimed ocean plastic. Good for them. Good for the environment too, as long as the reclaiming process is also environmentally friendly.

Unfortunately, there is a continued divide between available supplies for commercial makers and what we small time folks can get. My local options are MalWart (barely an option), Joann’s, Beverly’s and Michael’s and a couple independent stores that closed by the time I get off work. And the internet, of course. I’m limited to inferior mass production or expensive and hard to get to semi-mass production. Yes, there are other options, but not great ones for my current needs and situation.

Where does that leave my hat? I’m still waffling about which of my two versions to work up. Each isn’t quite right. When I do decide, I’ll finish it and let my husband decide if he’ll wear it as is. If not, I’ll offer him the option of one of those other yarns and make non-rushed, smarter decisions. Maybe someone offers swatches. Maybe some small retailers and independent retailers just need better websites. Maybe I hate shopping.

Or maybe I need to relearn patience and practice less instant gratification. Back when I had to save and plan for every single purchase, I would find something I liked and carry it around the store. If I was still interested when I was ready to leave, I’d get it. Other times, usually for bigger purchases, I’d put it back. If it was still there a couple days later and I still wanted it, I’d get it.

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