[knitting] Family Yarn

I recently acquired all of my grandmother's yarn stash. She just had a heart attack and is (thankfully) on the mend. In the meantime, she's pushing all of her belongings onto family members. Which had my sister and I running around her farmhouse, saying, "I'll take the yarn!" "I'll take these old books!" "I'll take the German beer steins!" Now Grammy knows how it feels to be robbed.

No, it wasn't like a robbery. I was given a lovely little blue kerosene lantern that my great-grandmother would light at night when Grammy was sick. And a big jewelry box. Barbara got a whole mess of knives. I got cookbooks, Barbara got a large old frame, etc etc. My favorite was all her yarn and vintage knitting patterns.

Here's what most of the yarn looked like when I dumped it out:

I'd say about 50% of the yarn was hand spun by my grandmother. My grandparents used to have sheep on their farm and this yarn is from those sheep. And you want to hear something totally weird? It turns out that my grandmother bought some of her sheep from my boyfriend's aunt. Like, years and years ago, when we were just kids. So in my mind, I see Dollar petting (or more likely chasing) one of his aunt's sheep. The sheep is bought by my grandmother and brought to the farm. Then I come up one summer to visit and chase the sheep around the pasture. Later, the sheep are sheared, Grammy spins that yarn and here I have it. It's like... I don't know. The yarn has come full circle or something.

But I digress. My whole weekend was spent winding the balls into large hanks, soaking the yarn in a gentle soapy bath and hanging them out to dry.

My umbrella swift worked hard all weekend long

Hanks resting before their gentle soapy bath

Trying to expedite the drying process outside, in the cold and rapidly dimming autumn afternoon

You can see how dirty the yarn is- lots of bits of hay and stuff

Some of the yarn is plied- very pretty!

All done- washed enough yarn for two sweaters and a shawl

I even dyed some smaller lengths of all the yarn in red/purple Kool-Aid to see how the color would take.

The dark grey yarn at the bottom is my favorite

The color ranged from dusty purple to a very deep burgundy

I'd like to use all the dyed yarn samples to make a crazy hat. All of Grammy's yarn isn't the softest in the world (not by a long shot), so I may have to line the hat with a soft alpaca. I'd like to give the hat to my cousin's son (who is the only great-grandchild in the family right now) so that he can have a hat from wool his great-grandmother spun.

There’s more yarn to wash, but for now I’ve taken care of all of the hand-made stuff Grammy made. There’s more wool that she bought (enough for a Fair Isle yoked sweater) that needs to be washed to get out the strong sheepy smell.


Shelby said...

Oh man...all the yarn my gram gives me is that Red Heart acrylic crap...*laughs* You made out!!

amy said...

There was a negligible amount of acrylic- 5 skeins of BRIGHT CHRISTMAS GREEN I have no idea what to do with (and which I’ve hidden away), and 4 off-white balls that are rather soft (and which I wouldn’t mind using for something).

Shelby said...

dude, it's ALWAYS the bright christmas green or bright christmas red that I end up inheriting...ALWAYS...*laughs*

I'm going to use all the red that I have to knit a christmas stocking this year...that oughta kill it off...and then I shall accept NO MORE!!

keri said...

Oh my goodness, all that yarn is beautiful, you are so lucky!

Kelly said...

What gorgeous yarn. How wonderful to have yarn handspun by your grandmother.