Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

Scraps of yarn

For the past several weeks, Chris and I have been slowly culling our items to things we really need and things we can’t part with. We’ve set aside multiple stacks of books, kitchenware, tools and clothes for upcoming yard sales or to be dumped into a donation bin. We’re both really bad about hoarding papers. From interesting articles to papers we wrote in college to tear sheets from years of newspaper work, there’s boxes and drawers full of paper we haven’t looked through in years. Paring down has been really hard to do.

I can’t speak for Chris, but for me, a lot of my hoarding comes from a belief that items may find a useful purpose in the future. I come from a generation of folks who will wash out barely used Ziplock bags and aluminum foil to reuse. Every hole-ridden sock or threadbare T-shirt might find new life in a quilt or as a cleaning rag.

Here is an example:

Scraps of yarn

I tossed out five sandwich bags of yarn scraps I was saving to stuff into sewn or crocheted toys for my niece and nephews. “Instead of spending money on Polyfil, why not use leftover yarn?,” I always thought. Those toys were never made, but I continued to fill bags with yarn.

While I was going through my yarn stash, I remembered something Margaret, a former sewing instructor, said. Margaret, a proper British lady, taught a beginner’s sewing class I attended with my mom at a Triad (N.C.) community college. She would say something along the lines of, “You Americans are so afraid of wasting thread. It costs less than $2 a spool. Cut it off and leave a long tail!” The point was that a long tail of thread would prevent the stitches from pulling out. I thought of that with a smile as I threw away the baggies full of colorful yarn.

After years of living in the same house, we’ve got lots of metaphorical yarn scraps lying around. It’s taking quite a bit of time to go through it all. What do you do with all that’s set aside? Pass it along to other people, who, in turn, will add it to their own scraps? There’s something to be said about living more simply. You have less stuff to tote around.

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