I doubt anyone has tried to find 3 ply yarn in the last few years, but I can certainly say that it is near on impossible! Unless you want white, or baby colours (pastels) then you are more or less out of luck. I did find a supplier online, but a) it was 100% wool, which I’m allergic to, and b) I could have done with a mortgage in order to afford it! Not good on a student budget. I went round all the local wool shops, all the charity shops, and even curio shops that have a little bit of everything, but to no avail. You may wonder why I felt I needed so badly something almost impossible to find. Rewind about 60-70 years to the 40s and 50s. Pick up any knitting book from those decades and the majority of patterns will ask for 3 ply or 4 ply. These aren’t baby patterns, not even children’s patterns nor accessories, these are jumpers, cardigans, jackets, skirts…everything! It was just the weight of yarn that was most popular. Even into the 70s and 80s there were large quantities of patterns that require 3 ply yarn. It is one such pattern that I found amongst Mum’s knitting things and which I decided I wanted to make as my first ‘big’ project. It’s simple – two 2×2 rib rectangles, sewn together leaving a gap for armholes – what could be difficult? Finding something to knit it in. I’ve been looking on and off for ages, but I wasn’t to be beaten.
My last port of call before giving up and using 4 ply or double knit was my Grandma’s treasure trove of wool 😛 Seriously, she has more yarn and wool than most wool shops do! So, a few nice words to her and permission was granted to dig through the 12 or so big boxes in their loft. This was fine until I realised that most of it didn’t have labels on, and I didn’t really know what I was looking for! Cue Mother 😛 About half an hour later I had 7 options, ranging from plain 3 ply yarn, through Bri-Nylon (however you spell it :P) and to bobbly black and rainbow! I got slightly excited and glad that once again Grandma is better than the shops 😛 (Hence the title of this post!)
The next step was to choose one of my many options – coral plain 3ply – and rewind it single thick (it had been previously double wound). The yarn was quite brittle so kept breaking…yay knots in my knitting :/…but it only took three of us one evening! The knitting however is taking longer. 74cm seems an awfully long length when you are knitting in 3 ply! I feel like I’ve done hundreds of rows and yet it only measures about 12cm Of the first side. Oh well, I’ll keep going as I’m determined to prove both my Mum and Grandma wrong and actually finish it!
Anyway the point of this was to show how much even the little things change. Something which everyone took for granted even as recently as the 80s is now almost impossible to find and use. It makes me wonder how much of what is readily available now will disappear in 20 years time. Of course technology changes on almost a daily basis, but little things that seem timeless – the foods we eat, the clothes we wear, the paper we write on, the books we read – how long before you need a fortune and perseverance in order to find them?
“ It is a peculiarity of knitters that they chronically underestimate the amount of time it takes to knit something. Birthday on Saturday? No problem. Socks are small. Never mind that the average sock knit out of sock-weight yarn contains about 17,000 stitches. Never mind that you need two of them. (That’s 34,000 stitches, for anybody keeping track.)
Socks are only physically small. By stitch count, they are immense.”
― Stephanie Pearl-McPhee