Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I spend a lot of time thinking about Alanis Morisette's song, "Ironic". Probably a lot more time than it deserves. But it all stems out of a big debate I had with a friend as to whether or not any of the song actually is ironic. He held to the opinion (apparently related to him by a rather strident professor) that there isn't a single example of true irony in the song and that really only things like O. Henry's "Gift of the Magi" express real irony.

I hold to the opinion that irony isn't quite so very narrow. Happily, the dictionary and Wikipedia both agree with me (neener neener!).

But when I was the random-winner of the Spindler's Challenge for February, I was placed in the position of choosing the next theme. It's rather a fun little "prize" for participating and being the "winner" in a completely arbitrary contest. My yarn was also displayed on the main page for the group for the month so people got to see my pretty (and you can, too, because it's right here).

The group moderator has a general request that the themes NOT be seasonally inspired. I had a small problem with this as I stared out my kitchen window at the perpetually-gray skies and falling rain that marks our winter months. "Heavy Cloud, No Rain" (by Sting) ran through my head, and then of course Alanis' song in competition. Sting's song is easily the more ironic of the two, and seasonally appropriate, but I didn't know that I wanted to bring everyone down with "rainy" yarn. And really, isn't that seasonal? I didn't want to get into April Showers or May Flowers or all that. Bleh.

So, "irony" became stuck in my head. What is an ironic yarn? Something that isn't what it says it is? Something that looks soft, but feels rough (or vice versa)? Amusingly enough when I discussed it with other spinning friends, they questioned if it ought to have metal in it or be grey or red, which confused me greatly until they explained they were thinking it was "iron-y". Maybe it should be ribbon yarn.. flat and "ironed" out.

After much personal debate my imagination settled on that story, the only example my friend could ever manage to explain what irony "ought" to be, "The Gift of the Magi". Della's hair is perfect here, dark long locks shorn off and sold for a watch-chain. One of my LYS's had washed Romney locks, ready to be spun along with a thread of gold that could represent the watch-chain.

Spindler's Challenge - May
I was thinking I'd spin the locks thick and fluffy and have them spiral around the gold cord, but nothing worked out quite that way. I didn't comb out nearly as much fiber from the locks I purchased as I thought (there were quite a few short-cuts and just tangled masses). It didn't want to spin fluffy and thick, it wanted to be thin and worsted... probably because I've been spinning three-ply sock yarn for almost two months straight now. My gold-lame cord was almost more trouble than it was worth. I found 2-ply cord which I decided to un-ply to double the length available. That alone took more time than everything else I did to make the finished yarn: processing the Romney locks, spinning and plying everything back together again, and washing, whacking and drying. I will never, ever again un-ply synthetic cord like that.

But in the end I still have really lovely yarn. I think in the spirit of the story, I will knit this yarn into a small pouch and felt it for a coin-purse... to save up my pennies for gifts.


Anonymous said...

Bravo - great yarn, great story. I love the Gift of the Magi.

Geek Knitter said...

neener neener...