Who stole the Grumperina?

I saw it, and I had to have it. I walked away, looked at the other yarns, REAL yarns, wool yarns, cotton yarns, even my archenemy, mohair, but I came back. One swipe of the credit card later, it was MINE.

What is that? Sit down, and pop a Valium. I will go slowly.

Berroco Plush Colors

100% acrylic

knit on size 10 needles

furry, so only garter stitch is reasonable

Say what?!? Since when do I buy yarn like this? Apparently since this weekend when Paula and I visited And the Beadz Go On… in Wickford, RI. Lovely shop, filled with the most wonderful of yarns, and THIS is what I had to get. THIS and nothing else. Furthermore, I was so giddy with excitement over this yarn that when Paula and I stopped by her house, I borrowed a pair of US 10 needles, so that I could start knitting on the train ride home.

“Come on,” you say, “So what! We know you’re up to something! Yes, it’s novelty yarn, garter stitch, and big needles, but surely you’re making something exotic! A dunce’s cap?”

Take that other Valium now: I am making a scarf. For myself. Out of novelty yarn, US 10 needles, and garter stitch. It will look like a skinny and long rectangle. I am not knitting it on a bias or anything like that.

“Okay,” you say, “it was in the clearance bin, you couldn’t pass it up!”

It wasn’t in the clearance bin. It wasn’t even pretending to be on sale. It’s not cheap, either ($10.50/skein). I paid full price for the furry acrylic stuff.


A woman approached me while I was waiting for the Red Line. She was observing me and my novelty scarf with great interest, and finally started a conversation:

Woman: Wow, that is cool!

Me: Thanks!

Woman: I bet it’s warm.

Me: No, it’s more for the fall or spring, because it’s not wool.

Woman: I bet it’s soft (gestures with fingers rubbing against each other).

Me: (extend the scarf to her).

Woman: (after touching the scarf) SHIT, that’s so soft!

Me: Thanks, it is pretty soft. (Go back to knitting, but the woman is still observing. I can tell that she’s a knitter. Also, she speaks very little English.) Do you know how to do this?

Woman: Oh yeah, I used to make sweaters and socks. But you know, what you’re making is more simple, you just have to make each one the same.

Grumperina, more simple? I had to show her my Secret Sock Pal socks. You know I had to. Out came the socks, and I passed them to her so she could take a look and confirm that I’m not just a Novelty Yarn Scarf Ho.

Woman: SHIT, this is nice! (proceeds to stick her entire hand inside one of the socks and examine the heel) SHIT, this part is nice, this is the complicated part. (examines the heel of the other sock) SHIT, this one is nice, too. That’s the part that was always bad. SHIT, it is so warm!

Me: Thanks, they came out quite nice.

Woman: Who taught you?

Me: I learned from a book.

I have this really bad habit – when I’m talking to someone who doesn’t have a great grasp of the English language, I start signing (as in, American Sign Language) as I’m speaking. As though my hand gestures will make it any easier for the other person to understand what I’m saying! Anyway, so now you have to imagine that I’m not just saying, “I learned from a book,” I’m also making the appropriate signs.

Woman: SHIT, that’s nice! Did it take you a long time? It is so small, so many…

Me: About 3 weeks. The scarf will be quicker; I knit this much in about 1 hour (show her my progress).

Woman: SHIT, it will be so warm, you’ll be able to put it twice around your neck.

Me: Well, maybe not twice, but I’ll see once I make more of it.

Woman: SHIT. It is so soft. And warm.

The project worth at least a dozen SHITs:

The other project worth at least a dozen SHITs: stay tuned.


38 thoughts on “Who stole the Grumperina?

  1. CatBookMom

    The Plush is the same yarn I used for the blue bear with the colorful sweater, about which I have not yet heard. (ungrateful mommy who received the bear has not sent thanks or pix…grrr)

    I’ll be curious how it wears for your scarf, although it looks really great!! Nice to know you can be spontaneous and admit, like the rest of us, that some yarns just leap out and cling to you all the way through checkout and go home with you!!

  2. Kim

    Hehehe! I don’t really know of anyone who can’t speak english very well who also uses the word “SHIT!” so much.. That had to be interesting and funny. (I know I laughed.)

    It’s nice to make stuff for yourself once in a while.. Especially stuff you wouldn’t normally make.. I believe you should call this your Guilty Pleasure Scarf.

    I’ve always wanted to learn sign language..

  3. Carolyn B.

    Oh, what I wouldn’t have given to have seen and heard that little conversation. Definitely a priceless blog entry!

    I’m not much of a novelty yarn fancier, but that one does look fun.

    — Carolyn B.

  4. Laura

    If I didn’t have a good command of a language, I wouldn’t start each sentence with a curse word. But that’s just me. Maybe I’m a prude.

    The fluffy green scarf does look soft…

  5. mamacate

    SHIT! Actually, I made baby sweaters for my kids in that stuff. It’s very cute, VERY soft. I don’t hesitate to use acrylic for baby stuff, though. Let’s see, it stretched out a lot, and bled a fair amount in the wash, but other than that, it’s held up nicely. And the stretch shouldn’t bother you. I think it will make a nice scarf. Shit it will!

  6. Eva

    Are you making the bear? I’m halfway through the Plush bear… I’ve been halfway through the plush bear for about, oh, 4 months. 😉

  7. laurie

    lol thanks for including the ‘support explanation by signing’ part…it’s nice to know i’m not the only one who does it! (one of my last remaining “bad habits” from 10 years as an interpreter…i also doublecheck how things are spelled by fingerspelling them to be certain *rolling eyes*)

  8. jacey

    shit, i’ll be eagerly awaiting your acrylic, novelty scarf and nobody’s gonna take away your knitting cred – lol.

  9. Wendy

    Shit. Lovely color. Just don’t stand close to any flames or fires or lit matches or candles or anything like that.

    Glad you are inspired. I made a pig iPod holder out of the stuff. Love it!

  10. Jaime

    The yarn looks so soft and reminds me of pistachio pudding.

    Your story made me laugh out loud and I needed that! Thanks

  11. Kate

    …and the plush is SOOO much better in person! Everyone needs something that they can do simply, toss in the washing machine (oh wait, novelty is not washable… you know what i mean!) and that comes in the perfect green. 🙂 I appreciate both the sock and the scarf..(I looked at W&W for the plush this week)….

  12. Diana

    Hey, if you’re going to go novelty yarn, that looks like a good way to do it! I’m digging the texture and the little green bits in the scarf.

  13. Stephanie

    Shit! Maybe you should have tried talking to her in something other than English (don’t you speak like 20 languages?) and then you could have explained the conversation to us after you translated it! Nothing wrong with a little novelty yarn every once in awhile. Weren’t you saying not long ago that you wanted stupid knitting? Well, sister, you got it! It will be fun and cute – and isn’t it all about the fun?

  14. paula


    Were I not actually a witness to it, I might’ve needed a bit more prrof!


    But, hey, not all novelty yarn is bad. It’s just depends.

  15. Bliss

    It’s so important when people learn English as a second language that they learn choice word placement – hee!

    It reminded me when I was in college; I worked for a German man who would often punctuate sentences by saying “Scheißekopf!” I found myself beginning to pick up this habit. It was some time before I found out I was going around saying “Shit head!”

  16. Anna

    Senirously, it takes a good eye, I’ve seen this stuff a few times and didn’t even look twice at it. Maybe I should have touched it? Looks great, love the colour–kind of reminds me of KFC coleslaw. I’ve always admired the colour, strangely.

  17. Sarah

    It’s that little secret novelty scarf that everyone has lying around but no one wants to admit they did when that stuff was popular. Hey, it’s cheaper than paying $40 for the same thing in a store!

  18. Jenn

    Shit girl! You bought novelty yarn?

    SHIT! You paid full price???

    SHIT! You are making a SCARF!?

    SHIT! What is this world coming to????

    Seriously, I love the scarf and that yarn is Fa-Boo!

  19. Rebekah

    Oh that’s hilarious, and I so needed a hilarious story this afternoonn. My mom is an interpreter for the deaf, so I know what you mean half the time she’s talking to me, she’s signing away. I used to know when I was younger, but have let it slip.

  20. kelly

    found your blog via some knitting links. I can’t knit worth a toot but am enjoying your writing anyway. Very funny stories and well told, and (like other good knitters who are good writers, e.g. Martha of Naive Knitting) it makes me feel like I need to learn how to knit, so I can participate more fully in what you’re writing!

    Thank you for the laughs & melodramas. I’ll surely be checking back.

  21. Lynne S of Oz

    The scarf is pretty and I like it. But I am a novelty yarn ho. My fave scarf is a hot pink eyelash with short mauve eyelashes under it. I call it Miss Piggy.

    Even my handspun yarn has to have some kick to it….

  22. LaCabeza

    Too funny!

    I’m not a yarn snob, particularly. I figure you buy whatever catches your eye or fits your project.

    Anyway, the story of that on-the-street encounter made me LOL – especially the recognition that I do the sign language thing, too.

  23. Laura Neal

    You made my evening. This story is hilarious. I can see this woman harrassing you about your work. I love how she constantly said shit. Okay is this the only English word she knew? Too funny. I am so glad you handled yourself so calmly.

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