Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Yarn Tales Tuesday

It Came From a Man
From ignorant to ingenious...

  Guys (seriously, I mean any guys that might be reading), I hope you won't be offended by the "guys know nothing about yarn" attitude here. We know you exist. You're awesome. But please admit that crochet and yarn crafts are dominated by the female species. And when He-Who-Knows-Nothing-About-Yarn comes up with a great yarn idea, it's a major OMG moment.

  My other half is pretty clueless about yarn, crochet, and crafts in general. He can't see the patterns in filet crochet, he barely knows the difference between a crochet hook and a knitting needle, and the most excited he gets about yarn is when he's finally done helping me untangle a skein. So, I admit that I often have a "what do you know?" attitude about his opinions of my projects. That's why it was a major surprise when he came up with an idea... About yarn!

  First, let me say that this idea came about because of a major yarn accident. A big, stain-causing mess barely missed my yarn stash, but still got the carpet. My stash is (partially) stored in a fabric cube-style organizer. And while I was spraying carpet cleaner to take care of said mess, I didn't realize that over-spray was hitting the bottom of the fabric cube. So... some of my brand-new-never-even-had-the-tail-pulled-out yarn got a good soaking. Oops.

  I probably wouldn't have worried too much about it and just let it dry, if the colors didn't start to bleed because of the cleaner. Fearing destruction of perfectly good yarn, I ripped off the labels, rushed the full skeins to the sink, and dumped the whole mess in some water to stop the bleeding. It worked. And thankfully, the colorway that did start to run is variegated, so you can't really tell that it's any different. (Although it won't match it's dye lot anymore!) I was lucky enough that even though the one stray ball of white Bernat Pipsqueak was hit by the cleaner, it didn't come into contact with the color-running yarn.

  Problem solved, right? Nothing to worry about... Well, almost. Most of those skeins are the novelty eyelash yarn you see in the very first photo. Furry, fluffy stuff that soaks up a ton of water and weighs a million pounds when wet. And although those synthetic fibers dry quite quickly when worked up in a project, the still-rolled up balls of yarn that I have are just... Soaked. Even after rolling them in thick towels and squeezing out as much water as possible (I even sat on them), it's not going to dry this way. I don't want to have to unravel a bunch of skeins of wet yarn, just to roll them back into balls again. I wish I could put them in the dryer (delicate/low heat, of course)! How many of you are thinking that a lingerie bag would be a great idea? Yeah, me too. But after putting them into one and tossing it around a few times, the skeins started to unroll. Something tells me that's going to end up as a tangled mass in my dryer.

  That might make a good Halloween decoration... It's mostly brown, hairy-looking... Think "OMG, somebody left Cousin It in the dryer!"...

  Here comes the other half to the rescue! "Why not put them in some pantyhose?" he says. Hmm... The legs are stretchy enough to squeeze the skeins in them, and the material will stay tight around them to prevent them from unraveling. Imagine that - I even have a pair of ripped fishnet stockings that might work perfectly! Now, instead of throwing them out, they'll be my emergency yarn-drying tool... If this works.

  I started with just two skeins, in case of major yarn destruction. When nothing unrolled, melted, or disintegrated, I added the rest of them.

  The first time I put in a couple of skeins, the stockings held them with no problem. But when I added the rest of the skeins, I had to tie the tops of the stockings to keep the yarn inside.

  And the verdict is: Okay, I'll be honest... I had to run them through two and a half cycles on low heat, but they're dry! I threw them in for half a cycle by themselves, but they were thumping around in the dryer quite a bit. I added one of the towels that were used to help dry the skeins, and ran it through two more times on low.

  I know... The proper way to take care of this would be to unroll the skeins, spread the yarn out on a drying rack, then roll them all back up once they're dry. But I'm taking a "good enough" attitude on this one, because I have to deal with juggling the kid between family members over the summer, while making sure she gets her school done. I'm still behind on work after my mishaps with my World's Biggest Stocking projects, plus the Scallop Seashell Washcloth tutorial took longer than I expected. The weather has been wreaking havoc all summer, and that just throws the whole day off; especially when there's no electricity. On top of all that, there's still every-day-life to deal with: Getting the other half to work, taking care of the crazy cats and the dumb dog, keeping the house in somewhat-running order, and finding time to take care of myself once in awhile. You know - LIFE. I just don't have the time to deal with all these wet fuzzy balls of fur "the right way". I'm sure many of you can understand my "laziness" in using this trick to get my yarn dry.

  Would this work for wool? Probably not, but I don't deal with wool often... It makes me soooo itchy. Cotton? Absolutely. Other fibers like bamboo, silk, linen? Honestly, I don't know. I think bamboo would be fine. Are you ever supposed to dry silk? I think not. And linen yarn is a mystery to me, but I throw my linen kitchen towels in hot water and dry them all the time, so I think it would be okay. What I do know is that these synthetic fibers came out fine. It was a risk I was willing to take with some acrylic/polyester, especially the stuff I purchased on clearance for less than a dollar. Would I try it with my $25 skein of bamboo/silk blend? You can bet not! Take care of that stuff the right way. But this could be a way to save some yarns in case of emergency.

Just remember, it wasn't my idea. 

It came from a man.



  1. I've never had a problem with using a lingerie bag. I've spilled things on my yarn and had to wash, then dry it in said lingerie bag, and I've never had it come apart and unravel. That said, I also don't believe it was furry yarn like the boa it looks like your wet stash was. Was your lingerie bag a mesh one, or a solid one? Mine was solid. Maybe that makes a difference? Either way, super grats on finding this solution!

    1. It was a mesh bag, so maybe it does make a difference - Hmm... I wonder if I could have used a pillowcase...

      Also, most of them were "sloppy skeins" snagged from the clearance bin, and looked like somebody had done a horrible job of rewinding them. Maybe that had something to do with them coming apart? Either way, it's all experience for the future, if needed. This is the first major yarn mess that's happened to me. Although I'm hoping it will be the last, it probably won't be :)

    2. I've also used pillowcases. Just tie the top shut. And I think half of my yarn skeins are "sloppy skeins." I either got them from the clearance bin, or from the thrift store. (I just got a bag of about 20 skeins of yarn for $5 at a thrift store. WIN!) Since I have cats, I end up with more yarn messes than I'd like. They're always dumping my drinks on my WIP or my stash.

    3. OMG, major win! I have never, ever seen yarn at a thrift store around here.

      I'm setting an old pillowcase aside to try in case this ever happens again. I do my best to keep my kitties out of my yarn. And they try their best to get back into it, lol! Plus the kids, dog, man... Yeah, I'm sure something will happen again :)

  2. Your hubby is brilliant! I am going to use this idea. I mostly do the wrap stuff up in a towel and leave it to dry, but with cheap yarn I would totally put it through the drier. But I'm going to use this idea for the washing machine.

    1. He thanks you for the compliment!

      And I'm absolutely using this trick for the washer, too!

  3. Uh-oh, that could be step 1 in getting your man to take up the hook or needles! I think the secret of your success was that the yarn really couldn't move (much) in the legs of the hose. If I used a mesh bag, I'd put in a ball of yarn, then baste around it, add another, baste again, etc. - so each ball was in its own tight pocket. That way they couldn't move within the bag and against each other. I'm also a thrift shopper, about 95% of my yarn comes from the shops.

    1. Ha! I just don't see it... He's a truck-drivin', boot-wearin', too-much-of-a-man-for-that kinda guy - not that it would make him less of a man in my eyes. (What about Rosey Grier?) His truck-drivin', boot-wearin' buddies would never let him live it down. But he does come up with some great ideas! I'm confident that said buddies won't be reading my blog to learn his secret, lol.

      Your idea for basting the yarn to the bag would definitely work, but that's just too much sewing for me - I avoid it every chance I get! It would be very helpful when washing/drying larger amounts of yarn. It just wouldn't be as fun as the looks you get from the neighbors when you hang a bunch of "legs" out on the clothesline :)


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