A Mini-Skein: A Day in the Life

{The mid-afternoon sun glinted through the windows. There was a soft ringing of the copper bell above the door as the door swung open. People walked through. People! I wished my colors were more vibrant in that instant. If I could catch their eye, maybe they’d take me home today.

Last time, I got picked up, and put down twice. But I still didn’t get to go. My friends all left the shop ages ago. I think I’m the last of my clan around. I’m only thankful that I’m not in the clearance bin by the door, already-dull colors fading in the direct sunlight.

“Is there anything I can help you with today?” my Skein-Keeper said.

“We’re just looking, thank you,” That was the customer. She sounded nice. Her voice was quiet.

There were feet shuffling around. “Ooh, this one is pretty!” That was another voice. The second customer “I love these blues.”

They looked in silence for a few minutes, and the Quiet One picked up a few skeins. They looked to happy to have been chosen. Some were sad that they were being separated from their pack. How will she knit with just one? That would be much better in a sweater. Then they can be with their family forever.

Obviously this thought occurred to her, also. She put the single skeins back and walked around some more.

“You’re always drawn to those tonal colors… More subtle.”

The Quiet One smiled. She stopped in front of my cubby and for a split second I thought she was going to pass me by. But she wasn’t. She stood, staring at me for a minute.

She was looking at me!

She saw me!

“Like this one?” she asked, holding me up to look at me closer.

“That one is very… You.

Was she really going to keep me?

She walked around the store with me safely tucked under her arm. I could see that she didn’t want to put me back like the others.

Today’s the day. I’m finally getting a home!


I went to a new (to me) yarn store this week. This little nugget of a story popped into my head when I was walking around and looking at different skeins of yarn. I thought of a skein of yarn almost as an abandoned puppy at a shelter and the dye lot it came from as its little family. All of its family had been sold off and it was waiting for its turn to go home with a friendly knitter. Can you imagine how hard it would be for us to say no to new skeins if they also had those sad puppy dog eyes?

I’d … probably have no roof over my own head. I’d be in trouble.

The best part of the store was that I got to hold Quince & Co. yarn for the first time – on many different bases. A quick, fun fact about Quince & Co. is that they started in Maine! I didn’t know this before doing a little bit more reading about them on their website when I was doing a few quick searches for this post.

I really liked the yarn, but it wasn’t in the budget to get any skeins yesterday. It made me more confident that I would like a garment knit with their yarn, though. I have many plans for future knits that came out of my trip. This yarn store carries most, if not all, of the bases by Quince & Co.

My favorite one to touch was definitely the Piper base. It’s a laceweight 50% kid mohair and 50% superfine merino. I could just picture an old-style Shetland Lace Shawl with this yarn. I think that if I were to knit a garment that was written for any of their yarns, I would choose to knit the Ausma pullover by Michele Wang. I find all of her garments really beautiful, and I have yet to knit one… Like I said, I made so many plans for future knits.

One thing that I found eye opening about my visit was that I was happy to experience a new shop, but it made me appreciate my local one a little bit more. I didn’t like this new one as much as I like the one right near my grandmother’s house. I think it just had to do with the atmosphere and the yarn selection. Other than being able to touch some Quince & Co., I didn’t find too many others that I was drawn to.

I did walk away with a skein of Malabrigo sock (which I managed to snap a quick picture before I headed home and the good light faded, below). I also had a few ideas for some designs that I want to get out on paper before I forget them. So I will call it a successful day out!

Happy Skein-Keeping!


Metaphorical Brainspace

20171130_103849.jpgHi. Hello. Let’s start with the basics. My name is Monica. I’m a knitter, a podcaster, and a pattern designer. I’m an artist. I take really weird selfies. For the last year I have been producing a fortnightly podcast called Quarrelsome Rhinoceros Stitches. I use that podcast to show off my works in progress, finished objects, and future designs.  

And, now I’m a blogger.

I felt I had more to share with the knitting community than a podcast every two weeks. I have also felt that I have more thoughts to share with anyone who cares to read, for catharsis, for community, for understanding. I want to give a voice to those things that I generally leave unsaid. Maybe some of you will connect with what I’m feeling and saying and find company in that common ground.

I am now technically in my late twenties. Unlike most of my friends, I am not a college graduate. I am not married. I do not have children. I do not know what I want to be when I “grow up.” I have friends who have found their passion and turned it into a career. I have found mine, too, but it hasn’t translated into a viable job.

Knitting is one of my passions. I find the process incredibly calming. I have some of the best ideas while I’m knitting away on something monotonous. At the same time, if I want something to challenge me, I turn to knitting first.

Writing is also one of my passions. Language is difficult to master, and trying to communicate effectively with it can be a challenge. Part of what I would like to do is explore my ability to craft a story. I want to paint you a picture with words that accurately portray the tangled skein of thoughts I have swimming around in my head.

My first skein of thought that I’d like to share is about metaphors and self images.

I have heard about a mind-warehouse metaphor. Say you’re telling a story and you forget the name of the city you were in.  If your mind was a warehouse, there would be a person trying to find the information you requested in a massive filing system. (“Why do we have an entire cabinet full of Disney song lyrics, but nothing on basic geography?!”). This is how I used to picture my mind. On days where I felt good, everyone working there punched in on time at the warehouse that day. Sometimes the filing system even felt computerized where they could just enter what I was looking for into a search engine and not even have to deal with any paper. Some days, where I didn’t feel as great, there was one guy who gave everyone else the flu. He’s fine, but he’s also an idiot and can’t find his own elbow.

I have this new picture of what my mind metaphor is. Over the last few months, I have formed an image of myself sitting cross-legged in the middle of a relatively bare room, hand winding a never-ending tangled skein of yarn, untangling each wrap as I come to it. Each thought I have is wrapped up into the skein. When I get stressed or anxious, I’m covered in the yarn, tangled up in it. When I’ve hit what feels like a creative roadblock, I have found a knot. I work to straighten these out or extract myself from the skein before I can continue wrapping this yarn into a neat ball to cast on a project.

As I navigate life and find where I want to go, perhaps I’ll finish untangling that skein, cast on, and see what turns out.