Stash down challenge 2011: Day 8

Last year at this time, it was with some trepidation (and much conviction) that I climbed up on my soapbox and professed my love for Red Heart Super Saver yarn. (You can read that post here.)

This year I am in the middle of a challenge to use as much of a recent vintage stash acquisition as possible; this includes several skeins of vintage Red Heart that is (as can be seen from the Woolmark logo on the label) 100% wool.

Vintage Red Heart wool sherbet mix colorway

Because wool does make me itch when worn next to the skin, these skeins are earmarked for use in making a felted tote. Having said that, I will use this vintage Red Heart yarn with the same joy and affection I use the more modern Red Heart Super Saver.

Today, however, I concentrated my efforts on finishing two projects and moving forward on a third.

The first was this scarf made using a pattern designed by May Cheang and available for purchase in her etsy store. After my usual morning of getting my son ready for school (which now includes a walk to the bus stop with dog in tow), and fixing a pot of hot coffee to fuel the rest of my morning, I got out my beloved Clover bent-tipped needle, wove in the loose ends, and then blocked the scarf:

The morning glory roda scarf blocked and with the ends woven in

With that bit of crochet business attended to, I then turned my focus to Alice Merlino’s Starling Handbag.

Yesterday, I finished the sides and all that remained for the crochet portion of this project was to make the handles. After reading the directions and consulting this tutorial about how to add foundation single crochet stitches in the middle of a project, I got to work, and before it was time for lunch, I had finished all the crochet and woven in the ends:

I finish crocheting the medium Starling Handbag

Now all that’s left to do is line the purse and embellish it.

The third project I worked on today was Ketjusilmukkahuivi, a scarf that is number 99 on my crochet bucket list. While I only got as far as crocheting the initial chain before sunset:

I begin work on my bucket list scarf

I did, through some investigation at Ravelry, finally determine that the stitches that are not simple chains are double crochet, and I am looking forward to working further on this project tomorrow.

All three of today’s projects were made using a variety of vintage acrylic yarns, and I believe these projects will (when I have them all finished an can take a photo of them en masse) prove that there is an opportunity to create beautiful objects from humble origins.

There are many forums for railing against acrylic yarn. Forums where people freely deride an affordable product used by millions of happy consumers (of which I am one). There are complaints about how it pills (News flash! So does wool!), how it makes one itch (News flash again! Wool can also cause large red welts to form on one’s skin!), and a general consensus that complaining about acrylic yarn is a socially acceptable activity and that crafters who use acrylic and their projects are an appropriate object of scorn.

Not all of us want to be the crafting equivalent of Joseph Beuys, working in fat and felt to create one-of-a-kind pieces that must be disposed of before they go rancid. Some of us have simpler desires: to make a hat, or a scarf, or a tote. Something that can be used every day and carry forward the creative energy and care we put into it.

And with that, I will carefully step down from my soapbox and put it away until next year.

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10 thoughts on “Stash down challenge 2011: Day 8

  1. I totally agree with you, there’s nothing wrong with acrylic yarn! I have tons of red heart yarn that I mix in with I love this yarn from hobby lobby. There’s no need to be a yarn snob, we should all just encourage each other in our crafting! I love your blog by the by!

  2. I walked into a yarn store last week…it was actually a “knitting only” store, but when I saw that 3 ounces of their cheapest yarn was $7, my wallet was grateful that I love RHSS.

  3. I’ve just recently begun crocheting, and have been going with whatever I can find cheap when it comes to yarn–I tried RHSS for the first time on my last project, and I loved it! I was sure that I wouldn’t, as everything I’d read was ‘oh this stuff is hoooorrible’ and ‘on it feels so bad’, but I found it easy to work with. And, after a wash, I was amazed at how soft and drapy it became! Definitely a convert.

  4. Here Here, I agree, I only use acrylic yarn. I don’t like the smell of wool when you wash it!!! Lovely projects, I love red bags.

  5. RHSS is the only way I can afford to crochet as much as I want to!! (And that’s a lot!) well that and the 40% of coupons to Michael’s and JoAnn’s!!

  6. I have to admit: I don’t like Red Heart. I wish I did. It’s pretty much the only yarn in my area that’s reasonably priced, but I hate the way it feels. Still, I have some of it to practice stitches on, and I also have used it for things I’m not going to wear. Everything has its purpose.

    Although judging from others are saying here, maybe I should give it another shot. Maybe I got a bad batch or something. God knows I need cheaper yarn to get my fix!

    At any rate, I knew that there were other people also didn’t like acrylic, but I didn’t know they were *against* other people who used it. That’s bizarre. Isn’t it just a personal, individual thing–you know, what crafting is all about in the first place?

  7. I also like RHSS, for all of the reasons expressed in your previous post. I’ve stopped buying acrylic yarns for environmental reasons, but I do enjoy working from my stash! I don’t understand the mass of people who complain about how scratchy it is – I think it washes up beautifully and isn’t that scratchy when being worked up.

  8. I’m with you! At a price I can afford and a wide range of colors, RHSS is my favorite! Love the projects you’ve been hooking!

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