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Home : Community : Customer Gallery : Yarn in the cereal boxes?

Customer Projects - Get Inspired

Would you like to share a project that you have made from our yarns or our patterns?   Hundreds of thousands of people who care about your favorite craft will see your work.  Any submissions, particularly original ones are welcome, as long as the project was made from Lion Brand Yarn. 

Click here to post it!

Yarn in the cereal boxes?
Created By: Jan McIntyre-Ba

My mother and my grandmother taught me how to knit when I was about 8 years old, but I never caught on to casting on or casting off - they always had to start or finish for me. The best thing I ever made was a peach-colored vest for my Japanese pen pal. I sent it air mail, but it never got to him. I've always wondered what happened to it, and if it was ever worn and loved as I had intended it to be. I guess that's always going to be the mystery in my life.

Flash forward to the year 2000 - I am now 45 years old, with a son in college, a husband going to grad school and working two jobs, and an elderly mother with a messy house and not enough physical stamina to clean it. Mom couldn't hold needles or hooks anymore, but there was yarn everywhere - along with several dozen other craft items in various stages throughout the house.

My sister, Nancy, came over one night, and asked Mom for some yarn to show her older granddaughter how to knit. So, Nancy and I dragged out a cardboard box from a closet in the kitchen and went through it. She picked out two pastel shades of pink for her girls, while I admired the bright Mexican yarn. SHe had what she wanted so we put the box away, talked for a while then she left.

Several days passed, before the yarn started to get to me. Both my mother and grandmother had always instilled in us that nothing should ever go to waste. The yarn seemed to be calling me at the oddest times - I just HAD to find a use for it.

The next day I went to a fabric store near my job, and enquired about knitting classes. There were no openings, but the lady suggested I try a crochet class offered by a new instructor. It was starting that night, so I signed up after I had called my husband. He said he would sit with Mom that night, and wished me well.

I bought a very pretty pink varigated acrylic yarn and a set of five hooks. I went upstairs and settled in with three other ladies near my own age with similar stories - we each had grandmothers who were always doing something with yarn or thread, and could make the most beautiful things. Soon I was making a chain, and doing a few rows of single crochet. After several weeks of classes I could make scarves in single or double crochet.

By Thanksgiving, I had about three dozen scarves made and tried to sell them at work. I sold very few, and after a week, I brought them all home, admittedly, very discouraged. I signed up for an intermediate class, and began learning how to make granny squares. Those were pure joy, with their perfection, and the added benefit of countless color variations. (Even now, seven years later, they still amaze and delight me with their versatility and beauty.)

Shortly before Christmas, my husband confided that he wanted to give gifts to the girls in the youth home where he worked, but hadn't thought to put aside money for it. He said that he hadn't anticipated caring enough about them to want to do anything for them at Christmas. I thought for a minute or two, then asked him if he thought the girls might like homemade scarves. He was stunned - he said that he thought I wanted to make money on them. I said that, although I thought they were lovely and wonderful, that others where I worked were not so impressed. (To be fair, it is an upscale office, and many ladies there do not where anything you could not find in Vogue. My creations just weren't up to their standards.)

So we pulled out the boxes of scarves and began wrapping them for his 'girls'. They were thrilled that anyone had remembered them at Christmas - these were all girls from abusive homes, or drug-effected homes, or wayward girls. All of them were a little on the 'hard' side, but not so hard that they weren't happy to get a little piece of joy from a caring adult.

My husband abd I were both thrilled that the girls were happy, and I was content that my creations had been warmly received. I still make scarves now and then, but usually only when I don't have something else in mind.

In 2003, Nancy and I had to put Mom in a nursing home. We found a good one, and then on weekends we would meet at her apartment for breakfast and pull all Mom's stuff apart. Nancy was looking for documents to keep Mom from having to spend all her money on a nursing home, and I just wanted to do my share. We found cancelled checks in rice pudding boxes, and an unbelievable amount of projects in cookie tins - one held about two dozen pink flamingo magnets without eyes! As bizarre as cleaning out Mom's house was, it was made even more so when Nancy and I would come upon another double-sized frosted flakes cereal box. Each time, she would stop and ceremoniously say, "Well, will it be insurance policies or yarn?". I would give my guess, then we would open it, and we woudl find loose balls of yarn, or a few dozen granny squares, or, my favorite, 12-15 balls of cotton yarn. It really was the thing that kept us going, as we were both trying to find some joy knowing that our mother would be gone soon, and every thing we found in that house was a special memory of her.

Mom has been gone a little over a year now, and I am still crocheting. I did take a knitting class shortly after she died, and even made myself a sweater, but I don't think I will ever have the talent she or my grandmother did. They seemed to be able to do anything with yarn. I do still have some hope though, as I managed to make two of the hand-wiping towels we keep on the drawer handles near the kitchen sink. I did it without a pattern! So, as Mom used to say to the parents of her students, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree".

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