The Perfect Yarn: Narrowing It Down
September 7, 2005
Dear Kay, and the Perfect Handknit Design Committee,
Such input! Such passion! Such utter lack of snarky backbiting and ridicule! Delighted to see our Future Search off to such a congenial start. Let’s all take a 15-minute break and congratulate ourselves.
OK, could you Koigu people in the back quit sniffing the yarn with those rapturous expressions on yer faces? Kymm, please quit dismantling that old sweater–at least until the lunch break, OK?
It’s not quite time to vote on particular yarns, though we’ll get to that very soon. At the moment, we’re going look at the overall themes that have emerged from the 118 co-designers. Right now, all these issues are equal in importance. But after some voting today, we’ll see which issues are most important in determining what constitutes the Perfect Yarn. This will make voting on the exact brand of yarn a bit easier.
A Giant Sheet of Paper!
One of the big activities during a Future Search involves a giant sheet of paper taped to the wall on which the group distills the ideas that have been mentioned. The facilitator gets out six or seven markers and holds them in a distinctive Future Search manner. On the giant sheet of paper, the major themes are written in a graphic manner: a mind map.
To save you guys the agony of watching me write out the mind map, I just did it while listening to Patty Loveless on my iPod. (Nothing like a little hard-bit bluegrass to focus the attention.)
Here’s what our mind map for the Perfect Yarn looks like:
[click on it for a slightly larger version]
Freaky, eh? Looks like my brain. Here are the major issues that have emerged regarding the perfect yarn. For each issue, there are different options–see the branches on the mind map?
Fiber: mohair, linen, angora, alpaca, wool, cashmere, wool/cashmere, wool/silk, wool/cotton, cotton
Cost: economical, luxurious
Environmental Impact: Be nice to silkworms, can be used by vegan/veggie knitters, recycle old yarn from thrift shop sweaters
“Feel”: soft/not itchy, stretchy
Wide Range of Colors Available: subtle variation, solids, heathers, handpaints, space dyed, bright, shiny/sheeny, somber
Washability/Practicality: special and precious/handwash, easy to wash
Versatility: can be doubled, feltable
Gauge: chunky, aran/worsted, sport/DK, fingering/2 ply/4 ply, laceweight
Climate Suitability: heavy for cold climate, medium weight=versatile, works in cold OR hot climate, light for warm climate
Appropriateness for Use on Actual Desert Island: thin yarns mean projects take longer, can make fishing net or hammock from it, warm yarns too hot
So. At this point the Future Searchers are supposed to choose the issues that jump out as most important. This is hard for us to do in the yell-out-from-the-seats way it’s usually done. But that’s why God made Blogpoll. Here are a set of polls about these issues. You can’t vote for more than one answer per poll, so if an issue is not important to you, simply don’t vote. If, say, “Fiber” is not something you care about, just skip it. The most important issues will get the most votes.
Yay! You did it! Stay tuned for the results. Now, we’re off to the Perfect Handknits icebreaker party. Don’t forget your name tags . . .