The Naming of Yarn….

The naming of yarn is a difficult matter. It isn’t just one of your holiday games. You make think at first I am mad as a hatter, but I tell you a yarn must have NO names*…unless if you intend to give it to that person, give it away or accept the consequences of your actions.

When I dye yarn, I think about in terms of feeling. What music is playing in the background? Is there a movie or British comedy playing in the background? Am I on the first two skeins or the fortieth? Then one skein stands out from all the others and I say, “I know exactly what to call you!” out loud because I could be mad as a hatter. For instance, I new that the deep purple yarn would be George. We won’t go in to the particulars, but let’s just say that George is George. So then I took his desire to meet a girl named Penelope to a whole new level. Long story short, the shawl had to be auctioned off so that George could be celebrated by the right people. I couldn’t keep Penelope in George’s colors here at the shop.

I firmly believe that once you put a name on the project, you must knit for that person. It’s an old Irish wives tale, but I am sure there are Russian women who would also agree. If you make a hat for Svetlana, Svetlana must receive the hat. Now let’s be clear. If you are going to believe in the Irish tales, then NEVER KNIT YOUR MAN A SWEATER, HAT, GLOVES, SCARVES or anything for that matter. One, it could be bad luck. So if you go home with yarn and knit the sweater and things don’t turn out well, then your tale will be woven in to the rest of the tales that have created the blanket of mystery of the “why not to’s” of knitting.

Here’s my simple interpretation of the knit project:

sweater: total suffocation

sock: he could walk out on you

scarf: death of relationship by strangulation

hat: you could be thinking about him too much…tisk, tisk

gloves: any thoughts?

I named a sweater James once and I had to give it to him. In fact, he thought it was an amazing gift, but that was all. Once the sweater was gone, I was able to move on to my next project. The same goes for kids projects. When I knit slippers or hand warmers I always say “this is for so and so.” Then I must give the gift to them. The “luck” stuff is only attached to the gift. Once the gift is given then you are released from all further outcomes.

So then I went to my local bike shop and the guy said, “how come you haven’t knit me a hat or something?” First, I thought he was kind of irritating. Then I lectured the boys at the shop on the bad luck theory and they just looked dumb-founded.

Now if you want to get rid of a pesky date, knit him something. Now if you are a man and you knit, then you should know that you can knit all you want. The tales don’t seem to include the opposite possibility. Lucky you!

That’s it. More links on tradition directly below!

It’s bad luck to leave a project unfinished. The intended recepient will get bad luck from the unfinished item.
Stabbing your needles though your yarn balls brings bad luck to anyone who wears something made from that yarn.
Don’t knit a pair of socks for your boyfriend or he’ll walk away from you.
If you knit one of your own hairs into a garment, it will bind the recipient to you.
Knitting for children you may have in the future, but before you are pregnant, is bad luck (it may prevent one from getting pregnant, or bring ill health to the baby).

*Adapted from the T.S. Elliot poem “The Naming of Cats.”

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