Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Blast From the Past (or what is the opposite of blocking?)

Have I mentioned that I love old yarn labels?

A couple of weeks ago, my friends in Sumter County sent me a large box of yarn they found while doing some cleaning (along with a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card that I managed to turn into two knitting books.)

Tonight I decided it was time to pull out some of the acrylic for a charity project my knitting group is participating in. The box was sitting right there, and I grabbed a couple of skeins and started looking at the labels.

Some of the yarn in the box is quite new (there's a ball Bernat Eyelash in there.) But some if these are obviously part of someone's stash from long ago.

I think my favorite is the Wintuk label. Caron now owns Wintuk. So either at one point Caron was named "Wonder Art" (which used to be Gold Bell, according to the label) or Wintuk has been sold a couple of times. I also like the fact that the label proudly states "100% DuPont Orlon Acrylic." as if it were some fancy space age material. I also love the Eckerd's price tag. I think CVS bought out Eckerd's a couple of years ago, but more importantly, when was the last time you saw a drugstore selling yarn?

But the best part of the Wintuk label is the directions for "automatic blocking." Apparently, this refers to the fact that after drying, the yarn will snap back into shape. Isn't that actually the opposite of blocking?

The other Sayelle yarns are apparently branded to the stores they were sold at, including TG&Y and K-mart. They also tout the "Orlon" acrylic, and the yellow skein also talks about automatic blocking. I guess you really can't block acrylic (although I've tried.) And this was once a selling point.

The box also included someone's abandoned UFO (or possibly a couple.) There are some crocheted granny squares and the beginnings of a ripple afghan, all in white. I may try to finish it someday. I did that once when I was 12 with an old granny square afghan that belonged to my great grandmother. I gave it to my grandmother as a gift. When she passed away, I think my cousin took it (I couldn't bear to bring it home with me.) I'll have to see if I can find a picture of it.

I may keep these skeins for another project (I think the white goes with the UFOs anyway) and use the more recent looking brown yarn for the charity project. (I think it may be simply soft. The label is missing.)

In Ravelry news, there are only 262 people ahead of me in line. We're getting closer!


Jean said...

Hi! Just giggling to myself at your humor. I was searching the web for Sayelle Orlon baby yarn bc I'd apparently bought some eons ago (mid- to late-70's) -- probably when my beloved Kresgke's store (a spin-off of KMart) was going out of business. This store was a, or at least this, pre-teen girl's haven...a smallish 5 and dime like the Woolworth's we had in downtown Peoria, IL, only Kresgke's was smaller, better, and safer than that bc it was within a few blocks of the house where I grew up -- walking distance!! Here I could find yarn and more yarn for my budding love of crochet, goldfish and parakeets and, if lucky, an occasional kitten in the pet area, Ponds cold cream, costume jewelry galore, and new and nifty fashion-colored(!) nylons in the beauty section. Plus it had a wonderful smelling greasy-spoon diner counter, complete with stools that spun! Anyway, I'm guessing that's where I'd bought this Orlon baby yarn..at a real bargain price, I might add...and I just came across it in my oldest stash recently. Having become much older and more discriminating in my yarn choices by now, I studied the yarn, which seems too rough to make anything for next to a baby's soft skin, and then I studied the label, scratching my head, just as you did, at the yarn's "automatic blocking" feature, haha! I still have no clue for what to use it, so if you have any ideas (besides maybe a Barbie doll carpet or rug?), please send them along! ;)

Jean said...

It may be Wintuk Orlon. I think I donated the regular (non-baby) Orlon yarn awhile back. It was actually a nice, white and soft, light carmel "ombre", but it just feels so "manufactured" these days, after years of working with cotton and softer acrylic yarns. I remember the thought passing through my mind recently, "Whatever possessed me to BUY that stuff!" Talk about space-age. ;)