Wednesday, May 8, 2013

In Honor of Marian

A few weeks ago, my friend Cindy got my attention when, at a dinner party, she described a stack of plastic bins of yarn in the basement of the house she shares with her husband, Ken.  He summed up the girth and width of the stack.  She bemoaned the amount of space it was taking up.  They both lamented the fact that Ken's daughter, Allison has forbidden them to let any of it go.
  You see, Marian, Ken's late wife, was a weaver.  She was also a professor of architecture at UT, and author of textbooks on architecture.  But most importantly to my story, she was a weaver.  She left behind a large Glimakra that Cindy remembers taking up a huge portion of the living room when she met Ken.  It's now in storage, waiting for Allison to have space to use it.
  But the yarn!  Cindy invited me last week to go through the bins and see if any of it can be used, and if some of it made its way into my car, all the better.
  They did not exaggerate the amount.  But a lot of it was damaged by age--eight years in a basement in plastic boxes--and all of it is strongly scented with moth balls.  Some bins held sweaters stopped mid-way.  Some bins had antique clothing now so fragile, they aren't salvageable.  But many were full of weaving yarns, on cones or wound into balls.  Some samples of her weaving were tucked in between, heavy upholstery samples in '70's colors of avocado, harvest gold and rust.  Much of the yarn was in those colors, as well, not my favorites.
  But the boxes above went home with me, as did two bins of polyester fleece scraps.  The fleece scraps are washed, dried and waiting to be cut into strips to make the most festive shag rugs you'll ever see!  The yarn is outside on the front porch, airing.  You see, Marian favored heavy use of moth balls, which didn't bother me at first.  I left the boxes open in the living room to look at as I sat and knitted other things and daydreamed about what to make.  But after a few days, my throat and nose began to object.   I felt as though I had a cold coming on, but realized it must be the moth ball fumes.
  Sure enough, when I set the boxes outside and the windows were left open a day, my throat felt better.  LouAnn has been consulted and she believes wrapping the yarn in newspaper will absorb the odors.  I've bought the Sunday New York Times, and as soon as I've read it, the yarn will be wrapped in it.
  There are still many bins left of Marian's yarn in the basement, oranges, reds, yellows, golds.  They will be too old for Allison to use when she moves into a bigger house in London, though the loom will wait patiently for her, along with all the lovely end-feed shuttles and bobbins I saw and caressed.  The loom will one day sing and thump its way into new projects, while the de-moth balled yarn will become projects for me to pass on.
  Thank you, Marian, for your legacy of the history of architecture, and your obvious love of weaving and knitting.  I will try to honor Ken's and Allison's gift by making something lovely for my friends and family and home.
  Going through Marian's yarn and projects reminded me to have an exit strategy for my leftovers and treasures.  My family has been instructed once again to donate all my finery to the Appalachian Arts-Craft Center in Norris--my homies!--without guilt or thought.  No need to go through any of it!  Someone else can do that for them.  Just pack it up and send it north!
  And then, there'll be some happy weaving!


LA said...

If you just ball up the newspaper and stuff it down into the tubs, the newspaper will absorb the odors. My sister had some smoke damage a few years back, and this is what the clean up people told her to do. All that yarn is truly a treasure and a testament to a wonderful fiber person.

Bonnie said...

What a wonderful story. I did not know the thing about newspaper absorbing the odor. How nice that we can share such things. Thanks LouAnn.