A Tangled Yarn

I started as a tidy skein in rural Vermont. I lived my early days there, in a shop, with others of my clan.

If I’m honest, though, I thought I was special. I was silk and wool and soft. I felt pretty.

Then, one day, a lady came and chose me. It was very exciting but I was nervous—what did she want me for? What would become of me?

I left my sisters and brothers and went home with her. She stuffed me in a big plastic bin with others I did not recognize and she left me there, in the dark, for a long time. I was sad and lonely.

Then, one day, she came and got me! I was so excited to be out of the box and chosen!

I did not know what was coming. I did not know there were things worse than being sad and lonely.

She left me out on the counter. She told me she wanted to ponder my future. She forgot about me.

Her kitten found me. It was obsessed with me and would not leave me alone. Its claws tore at my neatly-wound perfection. Its tiny teeth nipped me into bits. I was a mess, physically and emotionally.

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I thought that was the end for me. Who would ever want me now?

But then one day the lady came back. She felt bad about what had happened and she said she still thought I was beautiful.

She spent hours with me. I tried to make it easy on her but, the truth is, I was all tied up in knots. I couldn’t help it.

She was gentle, she was kind. She did use shocking language occasionally but I just closed my ears. I could tell she was going to make me whole again so I could forgive her foul mouth.

And then that kitten came back!! Oh, no! Oh NO!

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But the nice lady made the kitten go away—she shut it on the porch!

Haha, kitten! I win!

Eventually we worked it out. I relaxed and she untangled me. I was wound into a big, neat, and tidy ball and was myself again.

Except for those little pieces of me that had been broken.

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The lady wound me into long threads on a board and then put me in a loom. She used my broken pieces, too!

My colors looked prettier than they ever had before!

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She added some other colors, just a little to make me sparkle, she said, and she wove other threads into me. They’re a part of me now.

I used to be a ball of yarn—pretty, but of no real use in that form. Then I was a tangled mess, not even pretty anymore.

But now I’m a piece of fabric! I’m an actual scarf! My life has meaning!

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The lady says she loves me and I wrap myself around her throat and promise to keep her warm and make her pretty, too.

Because I feel pretty. Oh, so pretty . . .

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66 thoughts on “A Tangled Yarn

  1. Great way to tell the story of a special skein. Now, please go let the cat back in. You can wear your beautiful scarf on the trip, but the cat is cold, lonely and hungry. 🙂

      • Never naughty – just expressive. 🙂 This makes me wish I took a picture of our living room this morning. I brought home two boxes and packing paper from work last night. This morning A made cat heaven – she cut holes in boxes, draped them in sheets of paper, and then in a fit of “who cares if the house is a complete disaster” spread SHREDDED PAPER AND CATNIP throughout the thing. Then we went to work. I am scared to see what it looks like when we get home. She swore she would clean it all up this weekend. I’ll sit and knit to avoid looking around at it all. 🙂

  2. What a wonderful tale the yarn has told…I love happy endings. Kitty played the perfect protagonist. And the scarf turned out beautifully as well!

    • I love a happy ending, too! I had honestly forgotten how naughty a kitten can be–well, playful, really–I am having to be very, very careful about all fiber-related stuff around here!

    • Too true! This kitten has all the toys in the world and she kept finding that one skein, repeatedly, and tearing into it. Maybe it gave off eau de catnip?

    • I love the yellow color I added. A member of my sewing group gave me that thread and it’s exactly the color of the long branches on a weeping willow in the spring, before they leaf out. It just jazzed the whole scarf up!

  3. How luscious! You’re a very patient woman…… I can be very impatient with knots and tangles and if a warp doesn’t go the way I want it to “the warp fairy” appears and cuts the offending warp off! ;-D Just cut some runner/mats off my loom and am about to wash them. Yippee!

    • You’re a weaver again! How exciting to have finished projects, right? Regarding tangles–I am very patient. Too frugal to cut warps off and discard them. My husband and I just finished beaming on a hellish warp for him. I did consider cutting it off . . . but we prevailed!

  4. An excellent allegory for how God can change us—and use us. 🙂

    He takes us out of the box, leaves us out on the counter where He ponders our future—and even allows life to beat us up a bit while doing so. And we may feel then that we have no value, that we’re ugly and torn up from life’s difficulties. And we may even think that He’s forgotten about us.

    But then, one day, in His Perfect Timing, He comes back—and although the kitten may (will) come back, He temporarily locks it away out on the porch. If we relax, he’ll untangle us. He can even use ‘those little pieces of [us] that had been broken’, and form us into something beautiful.

    Maybe someone reading this feels like a ball of yarn—pretty, but of no real use in that form—a tangled mess, maybe not even pretty anymore.

    But God can weave us into a piece of fabric! And our life can have meaning! 🙂

  5. Naughty kitty + poor yarn + determined lady = happiness. Now excuse me I must go and let all that imprisoned in dark containers yarn out and ensure they know I haven’t completely forgotten about them………….. Gorgeous scarf!

      • When he was a young thing Orlando loved nothing more than a good ball of yarn to tangle up. He would sit beside me and watch the yarn, the needle or hook at work and my hands – any or all were targets! Nowadays as a mature and wise fellow he mostly ignores the temptations. Except just now and then a large paw comes out and curls about the thing that has taken his attention: yarn, needle or hook, hand……… the claws are sheathed but the hold is firm and the captured bit is pulled firmly toward his mouth, then he looks at me and I’d swear there is a twinkle in his eye 🙂 So the answer to your question is that nowadays I think he messes with me 🙂

  6. I love this story and the beautiful scarf. I also thought of the lyrics: “I feel pretty, Oh so pretty,
    I feel pretty and witty and bright. And I pity, Any’ yarn’ who isn’t me today.” Thank you for the lovely read and the smiles it brought forth. 🙂

    • I had that song stuck in my head all day, too! I’m glad you liked the story–I had fun writing it and now i think I’ll enjoy wearing the scarf even more!

    • Do you know, I hated this scarf at the outset. It didn’t look anything like what I envisioned and I had to mess around and keep changing things. It still doesn’t look like I meant it to, but I am really pleased with it anyway! Thanks, Sheryl!

  7. This is such a pretty, witty and clever post! What a tale this yarn had to tell. I have a feeling that there are several hundred buttons, beads and pieces of fabric in my house who could all tell the same story. But what a transformation your yarn went through. You have made something magical!

  8. It took me a couple of seconds to realise you weren’t writing from your own perspective, haha. I love a story with a happy ending! I love seeing pictures of your cute kitten too. The idea that craft materials are sad when they’re not used up really gets me. The scarf is beautiful and very smart, the blue and yellow colours remind me of school scarves. It would look great with a pleated skirt 😉

  9. You ARE pretty. But the truth is, you always were, broken parts and all.

    I am so behind on things. Still planning to ask you about etsy but I’m not sure when I’ll frame my thoughts to do so. Thanks!

  10. Your story reminded me of The Ugly Duckling. It was a good yarn, but it looked a little plain, was pecked at, and then turned out to be majestic in the end through your patience, and loving care. Now I’m feeling a little guilty about the yarn I put out in the garage. Voices (from fabric, too) are calling “Make me into something!”

  11. You are an amazing story teller. What a delight. I smiled at the beginning and I’m grinning now, too. Having lived with cats my whole life, I’m well versed in the potential for entanglements and destruction. Lately it’s just…the couch. Sigh. I haven’t knit anything for awhile, but the last time I did, I bought one of those large, clear, plastic canisters with a hole in the top so I could protect the ball of yard while working. The cats were still interested, but they couldn’t do too much harm.

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