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How you spell happiness

“Hello, my name is Annie, and I am a yarn junkie.”

Sigh. Yeah. I love it. ^_^ Especially really really soft yarn.  Let me explain.

The other day, my sisters and I went to the thrift store. Claire was looking for books with Meg, while I wandered around with Hannah.  Claire couldn’t find any books worth buying, so we started to leave. I took Hannah to the bathroom to wipe her nose before we left. When I came back I found Meg and Claire looking at the shoes. Right next to the shoes they had a small bin of hats and scarves and other items.

At first I only glanced at them, but then I noticed something. They were all hand crocheted and knitted. Well now, I had to take a look at that. There were a bunch of huge hand crocheted hats, all from the same pattern.  It turned out, it was actually all hats. I mean, there were DOZENS of them! I suppose someone made them just to donate.

Anyway, hanging on a hat rack (that Hannah kept trying to hang her coat on, even though we were trying to leave) was a giant, hand knit, white scarf. I picked it up and looked at it. DIANE was stitched (not very neatly either) in bright red letters.  Other than the red (which had tinsel-like strands in it, making it rather rough) , it was extremely soft.  I decided the knit was big enough I could easily pull it out for the yarn, so I bought  the scarf.  The actual reason we were at the store was because we had gotten to the bus stop before Dad was even on the bus(and it takes about 40 minutes to get from the Downtown to the stop), and we decided to go to the store while we waited.

Anyhoo, we went back to the stop and waited for his bus to get there. While we waited, I worked on pulling out and balling up my new (old) yarn. First I tried to pull out the letters (sort of crocheted on top of, not in, the scarf). I tried for a few minutes with a pen trying to break  the yarn. Yes I know. But I didn’t have any scissors.  I had a pen. So I used it. Needless to say, it didn’t work very well. I figured it would be easier to rip out after pulling and balling the rest of the yarn, and, now that I’m done, let me tell ya. It was not easy. It was not uniformly stitched in. Sometimes it went through the knit without piercing any yarn, others, it was all up in there, almost like it had been spun in with it.

But back to my story. As I pulled and worked with it, I noticed my hands getting waxy, and began wondering if this was actually wool, and the wax was the lanolin.  This was all speculation of course, as I have never worked with wool, and have no clue if the lanolin is even still in it by the time we get to it. I asked on Facebook if any of our friends knew how to tell if a yarn is wool, and everyone suggested the burn test. “The Burn Test” is a trial by fire for your yarn. Literally. You light it on fire. Not all of it of course, then you wouldn’t have any left to use. You cut off a few inches and light it. Very simple. You look at how it burns, how it smells, and what kind of ashes it leaves (if any). Some of the things are pretty easy to tell, like, if it melts, it’s plastic/acrylic. But others are harder. 

A friend gave me a link about How to do the Burn Test,  and on that page (which has a ton of other really cool stuff) I found a link to a Flowchart (I really like flowcharts by the way (-: ) that went more in-depth.  After following the test, noting the smell (by “burning hair” they mean what your hair smells like if you leave it in the curler too long, UGH. It lingers. For a long time.), and the texture of the ash (crunchy, like charcoal).  My piece of yarn was really long, and it was laying in the (dry) sink , so it didn’t die until the flame had eaten it all and then left a little lump of crunchy ash/char.

Following the chart, I have decided it is wool. I’m very excited. 🙂 I got a huge (seriously, it’s about 5 inches across) ball of really nice wool(!) yarn for 99¢. Yeah. That’s how you spell happiness.

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