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Knitting up some tinsel magic. January 15, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. As a child, I hated tinsel. Seems like I was always the one who had to hang those bazillion silver plastic noodles on our tree, being the oldest (and thus at that time, tallest) child, getting stabbed by sharp evergreen needles and criticized by everyone else if the tinsel wasn’t perfectly distributed. Worse still was having to take off every strand of the wretched stuff when we undecorated the tree, and the needles were even sharper. Ow! Yow! *&%$#@!!! tinsel!!!

I only came to love tinsel when I discovered antique German tinsel as an adult. The silvered, fuzzy tinsel ropes glistened softly in the light, and you wrapped them ’round the tree like strings of popcorn. When Christmas was over, it took five minutes to take them down and fold them in their box. No fuss, no muss, and best of all, no pain!

Thoughts of Christmas glitter must have still been with me on our friend Ben’s and my recent trip to North Carolina to visit family. When our hosts suggested going to nearby Seagrove, NC, a mecca for pottery lovers with over 100 potteries, I of course jumped at the chance. But little did I know that yarn lurked behind one of those innocent-looking storefronts. 

Yarn and Silence Dogood are a dangerous combination, as OFB knows too well. (He fled the store and sulked—I mean, sat—in the car until I emerged with my package.) As I proceeded to the back of the store where the yarn was waiting, I saw the most gorgeous hand-crocheted shawl. Like tinsel, it glittered quietly in the light, its soft texture and many colors singing a siren call. But I didn’t want a shawl. I didn’t even want to make a shawl. I wanted to make a scarf.

Searching the shelves, I quickly located the yarn—Moonlight Mohair in “Rain Forest.” But aarrgghhh, there were only three skeins left, not the four I’d been counting on! What to do? I saw that each skein showed a knitted scarf on the front and promised that, if you used size 13 needles, you could knit it with a single ball (skein) of yarn. (Complete instructions were printed inside the label.) It looked attractive, but of course I had something else in mind—a wider, longer scarf knitted on size 7 needles.

After agonizing at unseemly length (OFB was actually asleep when I returned to the car), I finally decided to get the three skeins and just see. Back home, I put Mary Chapin Carpenter on the CD player, cast on 34 stitches on my size 7 wooden needles (wooden and bamboo needles are my favorites, though I do cherish some of my grandma’s vintage plastic needles), and started knitting. What a thrill to see the tinsel-like gold metallic thread wound with the many mohair colors flashing in the light! It looked like magic come to life.

So far, I only have about 8 inches of scarf knitted. But I’m so looking forward to continuing! I find knitting as relaxing as some people find meditation. And, though the colors of this particular yarn look lovely in daylight, they’re especially beautiful, thanks to that gold tinsel, by lamplight. A lovely finish to the day. And who doesn’t want to keep that Christmas magic alive?

           ‘Til next time,




1. Deb - January 15, 2011

Sounds like it will be a beautiful scarf.

Thanks, Deb! I think it will be! I just hope it’s long enough…

2. Alan - January 16, 2011

Glad you don’t live in my neighborhood. I can’t get CC and JJ out of the yarn store. Someone enabling them would be bad.

JJ is learning to make socks. I’m sure I’ll be the most fashionable guy at scout camp this year

Ha! I wish I could make socks. And fingerless gloves! (Also that I could spin my own yarn.) Unfortunately for OFB, I just read that a wonderful yarn shop in not-too-far-away Bethlehem is closing January 22nd. I have a feeling a trip there is in my immediate future!!!

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