What do you do when you have an unknown quantity of a mystery composition of yarn from hazy origin?
Make basic shapes and stitch them together when you're done.
During our May trip to Winona, Minnesota, my boyfriend and I ducked into a flea market at the base of the bluff we were climbing. The rock itself, Sugar Loaf, offered lovely views of the Mississippi River and surrounding fields, but did not leave any protective shade or natural barrier against mosquitoes. By midday, we split off from our climbing partners and climbed down the hill to town. The first oasis of air conditioning was the chaotic collection of stalls that called itself an indoor flea market.
We wandered around for a while among the tables of vintage toys, tarnished cutlery, and tin advertisements, though we're not really antiquers. Just before we left, Scott spotted a couple bags of unlabeled, mismatched blue and green yarn, priced at $2 per bag. Now, we had just visited a yarn store in town the day before. I also have a closet full of yarn at home. But, like most knitters, I couldn't resist a bargain.
Well, you might have predicted that this yarn would be the roughest '70s acrylic in existence. I like the variety of hues, but my pointer finger couldn't stand the feel of the working strand sliding over. I made these simple circles, but I could only stand to do a few at a time. It's been a few months of off and on crocheting, and I now have just under a 100 circles stacked up. I only recently ran across a tip to use a finger cuff or cut up an old glove to protect your hands, and I'll use this advice if I ever get suckered into working with this type of yarn again.
I asked on r/crochet (reddit) and searched online for tips to soften the yarn after it's shaped. Most crafters say to either soak the yarn in hair conditioner or machine wash with fabric softener. I've tried the former, and it was not as effective as I'd hoped. I would recommend not purchasing this type of old yarn, it's a deceptive bargain. I don't just want to give up on it now, though, so I'm going to finish the project.
The blues and greens remind me of lilies on a pond, so I've asked Scott to arrange the circles in a way that will recall a scene in a garden. He likes helping with the design work, and then I'll stitch together the result to make a rugged throw or rug. The upside to this plasticy yarn is that I don't think it's likely to fade or fray for the next 1,000 years.