Something We Actually Should Worry About

By Kay Gardiner
January 10, 2019
Friends Don't Let Friends Run Out of Yarn

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110 Comments
  • Most importantly, I hope MMM continues to feel better! But also, thank you for the PSA! The flames of never (!) underpacking yarn have most assuredly been flamed!

  • So glad MMM is recovering well. I learned the lesson of carry more yarn during a health crisis in the family. Always , always throw in that extra ball!

  • Most importantly, thank goodness MMM (love the name !) was cared for well (but, so very sorry about the fall).

  • I am thrilled to hear MMM received excellent care and is on the mend. As for you Missy, what is that beautiful Knitter’s Tote for? I recently spent close to two weeks at a friend’s home recuperating from surgery. My Knitter’s Tote was packed to the brim. I never made it past my Honey Cowl, but I was prepared! I am going back in June for round two and while I might take a bit less, I will reread this letter as a reminder. You can never have too much yarn! And yes, I finished the Honey and have started another, perhaps my last.

  • Sorry to hear about your mom’s fall! Wishing her a speedy recovery. It’s able to remember a time when you were doing other bedside knitting. Wasn’t it The Argosy Wrap? I still haven’t made mine, so although you were short on extra projects, you are way ahead in the long run!

    I hope that MMM will soon be feeling better and taking that New Year’s walk on the beach.

  • I hope your mother has a complete recovery – falls are no fun!

  • Wishing MMM a speedy recovery and rapid reuniting with you and your yarn!!

  • As with spare underwear, you can never pack too much yarn. Twice as much as you think you need of both is a good rule of thumb, as far as I’m concerned

  • I hope MMM is recovering well!

  • I know Dr. Wonderful! And he is…
    Best to MMM. Also – I’m right around the corner if emergency yarn is needed!

  • Oh no. My best to you and your dear mother. How wonderful that she has such a caring doctor.
    I do hope that you get some quality time with your Kaffe…

  • I am glad MMM got such great care… and thank you indeed for warning us of the unthinkable!!

  • How about you get yourself a PO box out there in Beachville, and a few of us can send along a bit of yarn or an UFO or two? I’d love to help in your Time of Need. All the best to MMM and to you!

  • I hope your mom is all fine now. I am planning some travels in the near future and will keep these wise words in mind!

  • Oh Kay! So glad your mother has you and Dr. Wonderful. May her recovery be swift <3

  • can’t wait to see you modelling that big flower cardigan…

  • Glad to here MMM is getting great care. Thank goodness for bedside sitting projects. This story is a lesson to us all.

  • Happy to hear that MMM is getting better and Dr. Wonderful really does sound wonderful. When we were away for Thanksgiving, I packed three projects. I worked 99% on one, and worked 1% on the other (because armhole shaping while conversing with relatives isn’t the best move for me) and didn’t even open the third. But I felt so much better that I had everything with me, just in case.

  • Love this! I travel for business and now bring 2 extra projects along…I have run out of yarn and won’t let that happen again. I have never understood why there are no yarn/craft stores in airports! I also bring 2 complete sets of interchangeable circular needles with me. Worse than running out of yarn is having yarn, but the wrong needles!

    • I have thought about yarn stores in airports, too. Seems like a no-brainer to me. Ann, Kay, are you listening? This could be Your Next Big Thing. (I’m also wondering why the print in these little “Leave a Comment” boxes is so tiny?)

      • Ditto Judy!! About the tiny print AND airport yarn shops! They could rake in a fortune! Just think, not only yarn but all the notions; spare needles, cables for interchangeables, stitch markers…
        Brilliant idea:)

        • Second big business/public service idea: yarn store sections in hospital gift shops. Have you seen the ridiculous crap in those places? They could better use the shelf space, IMHO. Why not yarn that we NEED?

  • “There is no such thing as packing too much yarn.” Words to live by!!

  • I found myself spending hours and hours at a hospital over the course of 3 weeks. Thank goodness, I carry a small project bag in my purse, with 2 balls of yarn for washclothes. My bathroom is stocked! I want Dr. Wonderful to move to my neck of the woods! So glad MMM is healing well!

  • So glad your mum is healing—such a scare! I’ve learned in a couple occasions that extra yarn is always a good idea!

  • My friends laugh when I call something, usually fingering weight socks, my ’emergency knitting’ – glad this emergency is ending well. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  • Goodness! I’m glad your mom is going to be ok. What a scare! And then to run out of yarn. Unthinkable. (Says she who ALWAYS overpacks on the yarn. Pretty much needs a separate yarn suitcase.)
    I hope your mom continues to recouperate well!!

  • So glad to hear M3 is on the mend! Amen and Saleh to packing enough yarn! Snacks and meds can be had anywhere along the road and in the hospital if you are savvy. But, a palatable yarn….why are there not yarn convenience stores!?!?

  • I always throw in an extra project (or two!!) whenever we travel. You never know what you’re gonna feel like working on and it’s nice to have options!! My husband doesn’t get it. Can’t wait to share this letter with him. So glad that MMM is gonna be ok! Beach walks are great any time, but especially the first of the New Year to regroup, reset, and inhale the peacefulness and beauty that is there.

  • So sorry to hear about MMM’s fall, but glad she’s doing better. Was hoping the KF was an FO–looking so close though!!

  • MMM + Dr. Wonderful = Perfecto!!! I hope she is recovering well.

  • So nice to hear a positive story about physician care, being in the health care industry I hear many dissatisfied words, thank you for sharing your story. I hope MMM continues to heal well…and I will take your advise about extra yarn too…

    • The urologist who was on call the morning my second daughter was born and things went terribly wrong saved my life. And then saved it again three days later when he convinced me to consent to a second surgery he was sure I needed but couldn’t prove without the surgery. (Not sarcasm. He was right and I would have been in big trouble without his experience and instinct.) Actually, I spent three weeks in the hospital and only had one nurse who needed to learn ICU patients can hear everything you say at the desk, one aide having a really bad day and one hospitalist who should probably consider doing something else. Next month will be four years, and I am incredibly grateful for the compassionate and skilled healthcare providers who saw to it I’m here to raise my girls.

  • Oh Joy I am not the only one then, Thank you.

  • Your poor mom! Being far from home probably makes it even more difficult. I hope she heals quickly. I’ve been thinking about sticking a couple balls of dishcloth cotton and old needles in my glove compartment and now I’m convinced, gonna do it today. When life is overwhelming, dishcloths are an anchor.

  • So glad MMM is doing better. Check out the yarn in Hildreths in Southampton – they have a nice selection. I’m in FL and about to start my parallelogram scarf! Here’s to a healthy and no falls 2019 !

  • Thanks for the great post – just what I needed this morning.

    My suitcases are packed for the 7-day 20th Anniversary Cruise with Craft Cruises — now I’m thinking I need t pack yet another project! Will the government shutdown affect airline travel over the next 10 days? Will we miss one of our connection on the three-legs of our return flight? I sure would be unhappy if I run out of knitting before we return home.

    Hope MMM is recovering well.

  • This post made me laugh and cry at the same time!!! What a sad situation!!! So thankful that your mom wasn’t hurt any worse!!!

  • I’m so glad MMM is doing well, and her surgeon sounds like a wonderful person! As for yarn — think about all that yarn at MDK World Headquarters! Seems like an emergency shipment might be in order!

  • Wow, what a weekend! Love Spincycle, just finished a hat w/pom in the same colorway! It’s really admirable that you packed the Kaffe sweater, so much work. Once saw an exhibit of his work at the Textile Museum in DC and overheard knitters obsessed with his random yarn ends left dangling on the interior! Rarely finish a project on a vaca but when it’s complete it brings back memories of the trip. Hope all’s well with MMM and no doubt you’ll recall that weekend when you’re wearing the scarf!

  • What a winner you found in Dr. Wonderful! His wheeling MMM out to the car brings to mind the film Something’s Gotta Give. (He probably has read all of your MDK entries and knows that you girls are the best.) The scenes depicting the not-enough-yarn crisis must still be on the cutting room floor.

  • So sorry to hear about your mom; hope she has a quick and complete recovery. And as for you, young lady, I hope you’ve learned your lesson about packing more yarn! Also wanted to let you know that I started and finished my first honey cowl over the holidays. Why did I wait so long to try that pattern?! What a fun knit!

  • Southampton? Don’t they still sell yarn at Hildreth’s? Used to be a decent selection.
    Anyway, glad your mom is doing well. Are we finally going to get a reveal in the flower jacket?

  • I’m also on the team wishing MMM a good quick recovery. Yours are wise cautionary words. Or is this the universe suggesting that flower jacket is ready to be finished up?

  • There should be a Grubhub for yarn!

    • So right!

  • So glad the fall did not cause broken bones and you found such excellent care for MMM. As an experienced hospital bedside knitter, I have found that socks are a great project to have with me. Compact yarn needs, lots of stitching, creates fascination among the care givers who enter and exit the room. Dishcloths a close second. Multiple skeins can create a lot of them if you have room to pack several. They also make good gifts of goodwill to thank those angels who take care of us.

  • Glad it was nothing very serious … been there, done that … bedside knitting that is. There are times when it needs to be ‘idiot’ knitting (i.e., simple and with no charts). Since my mother died, I must admit I have knit less, as I am no longer sitting in the nursing home every night… sadly.

    Hope you were able to bring her better moisturizer than the stuff they give you with the plastic bowl in a hospital! And most important, Best Wishes for a speedy recovery (and invisible stitches!) to your MMM!

  • Oh boy…..and I thought I was the only one….

  • Actually happened to me too! Travelled to Chicago for one week to visit my sister. My mother ended up hospitalized and we stayed an extra one and a half weeks! Discovered a wonderful local yarn store- Wool and Co- in St Charles and fell in love! Purchased lots of projects!!

  • Truly a cautionary tale for all times. So glad MMM is on the mend.

  • Thinking optimistically, I hope you have been able to complete your circles in all that non-knitting time while your mom rests.

  • I’m just about to travel next week and have an almost finished afghan, which obviously can’t go. Was already thinking about how many projects to take. I will take your tale of woe to heart and pack a lot of projects, just in case. P.S. Wishing your mom a speedy recovery. They’re so fragile when they get older.

  • How timely… Spent yesterday in the ER with my husband. (He’s fine). Grabbed my 4th bohdi lead wash cloth and finished it, started a 5th. Hospitals and airplanes…. Must always be prepared.

  • It’s important to have “choices” when we pack for a trip. (even a short one) I would be lost without an assortment of yarn, needles and patterns to contemplate my next cast on in addition to a few works in progress. That’s just the way it is . I’ll make no excuses or apologies.

  • I’m so glad that M-Cubed is on the mend. My heart skipped a beat reading about her fall. Thank you for the warning, too. I will never second-guess myself & pull that extra skein back out of a packed bag again.

  • Oh, I hope your mom is comfortable and healing well! And I hope you get a yarn infusion soon for your Parallelogram. The perils of underpacking yarn and needles were brought home to me on a college tour trip to LA with my son. He came down with bronchial pneumonia (dehydration from beach sunburn + arid climate + smoke from wildfires == bad news). Doctor’s orders: three days of bed rest and antibiotics. We were marooned in a motel room; I had one skein of Mad Tosh DK. I knit three slippers then seriously considered frogging and starting over just to stay sane.

  • Omigod, I feel like at least three-quarters of my knitting is Emergency-Level; I can throw it in a bag and hit the road but quick. Right now what’s driving me nuts is that I can’t find yarn I KNOW I’ve bought in the last two weeks. I’ve looked everywhere. Does MMM have it? I do not know. Feel better, MMM! ❤️

  • It’s very upsetting when your mom genuinely requires plastic surgery. Good luck to MMM, and take it easy yourself. Maybe start a new fussy cuts blanket.

  • So gladyour mother is doing well. I too have run out of yarn during unexpected travel or family emergencies. But, since Kindle got invented I no longer need to pack the backup backup book, leaving room for the backup backup knitting.

  • “Emergency dishcloth cotton”—what a great takeaway! Hugs and best wishes to MMM.

  • I hope MMM feels better soon! I agree – I was once without a knitting project on a work trip to rural Alaska, where there was very, very little knitting supply available. It was pretty dire, but I made it through. I will never make that mistake again!

  • Oh but I love a good ball band dishcloth!!

  • I’m so glad MMM is recovering. I hope she will be well, with this episode in the rear view mirror soon.
    Last summer, when we travelled for a vacation at Tanglewood, I was in the midst of a daily year-long project where I took a photo of the sky and knitted four rows to match it. It involved taking ALL of my possible yarn combinations which turned into a fully packet (to the point of bursting) duffel bag, a knitting bag, and some suitcase room being occupied by yarn. Kudos to my wonderful husband of almost 45 years for schlepping it all with a smile everywhere we went, and not saying a single bad word about it!

    • Where can we see pix of this project?

  • The way I see it, running out of yarn is a perfect excuse for checking out a LYS.

  • There is. Nice yarn store on live lane in mattituck. In case of severe yarn deprivation. Hope mmm mends well. Sending hugs

  • When I got to the picture of the coat, my eyes opened WIDE.
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery to MMM!

  • Last time I made that mistake I also ran out of clothes because the weather changed over the extended stay. Pack a layer for each season! Pack several months more of knitting!

    I am glad your mother is on the mend but so sorry you all had to go through the experience.

  • MMM: Audible gasp on reading about the fall. I’ve crushed on you from afar for years and hope you’re feeling better. I actually (briefly—they’re too awful) considered sending some gruesome before and after pictures of self’s face after Moh’s surgery in case you’re looking bruised and ghastly and thinking you’ll never be yourself again. YOU WILL! Dr. Wonderful and time will work their magic.
    Kay: The upside: I’m hoping to see you swanning around Vogue Knitting Live in that Big Flower Jacket.

  • Hopefully your MMM is on the mend !
    My god how could I forget about THE JACKET!!!!

  • this little story made laugh quite a bit and I realized, you should never ever run out of either one !!

  • You get a dishcloth, MMM gets to tell how she got that scar in a fencing competition at the Olympics, and Southampton gets to be on CNN (“Big Floral Damask Thing Rampages Through Coastal Town”)! Best wishes to MMM and Southampton for speedy recoveries!

  • Wishing MMM a very speedy recovery.
    Also have been cared for at SH hospital after a fall and received great care.
    Also had a great plastic surgeon!
    Take care. Take yarn.

  • So sorry to hear about your tragedies: your mom’s accident and your yarn “accident.” I’ll say a prayer for your mother.

  • This is the dearest, funniest post. I bet that surgeon was appreciative of your mom’s moisturized skin. It should set off his work handily. Hope she’s okay…falls can be terrifying. And ya gotta finish that Kaffe jacket, Kay….at least so we get to see it on you in this lifetime!

    • After he stitched her up he gave her a serious talk about the importance of the wound being kept moisturized at all times so that it wouldn’t dry out and scar up. I was just laughing on the inside thinking, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THIS ONE, DOC. SHE’S GOT THIS.

  • Looks like that jacket is on the verge of being finished! How great is that. What an amazing project and it is turning so well.

  • Is he married?

  • Swift recovery to your mother, Kay! Dr. Wonderful sounds wonderful. Since most of my journeys are to my own mother’s, I have taken extra insurance by stashing 1 skein of sock yarn + needles and 1 barely-started needlepoint kit in a corner of her apartment.
    Then again, I wonder if you haven’t accidently stumbled on the one best way to knit a Kaffe Fassett project ALL THE WAY TO COMPLETION.

  • ooh healing vibes to MMM! I’m terrified of running out of yarn abroad. Or even at a bus stop in town… Its a well known fact that there are NO yarn shops or Knicker shops in London. I always have to stock up before I travel.

  • Hello! I get teased all the time,when I am out n about. I Always have 2 -4 works in progress with me in my Knitting Bag. I never leave home without it! I am told that I carry more in my Knitting Bag than in my purse. I tell ‘ them ‘ that this IS my purse… I just throw in my tiny wallet/ dayrunner …and go!
    Here’s to not running out of yarn!!!!
    Starvin’ Yarnie

  • best wishes for your mom’s speedy recovery

  • Sending best wishes to you and your mother. Also, I never have found the perfect project for hospital bedside knitting. The ballband dish rag might be the solution.

  • Hopefully the fall was at the end of the year, or if at the beginning of the year, you got the bad stuff taken care of already and it’s up from here.
    As for airport yarn supplies, among my many stuck-in-the-airport experiences was one particular trip where we were really stuck, and I had no handwork (maybe that was a period where they were not allowing needles), only a book I wasn’t interested in. It occurred to me that there should be a UFO lounge, where you could go work on OTHER knitters’ unfinished projects–a sanity preservation tactic and public service opportunity rolled into one.

  • What a wonderful surgeon. And good advice. Today I accidentally stumbled upon the only yarn shop in Bermuda so thank goodness, I now have extra extra yarn!

  • Sending best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  • You could have driven to Easthampton and visited a lovely little shop called Black Sheep Knitworks and started a whole new project!

  • Gentle hugs to MMM.

  • There must be an MDK’er in your vicinity who can bring you yarn!!! Put out an SOS! 🙂 (Glad mom is okay!!!)

  • When I saw the lead photo, I thought Big Flower might be done! More importantly, hope your mom is doing well.

  • Glag to hear all went well with your mom. Even with a good outcome, it still is a trauma. Maybe hospital gift shops should carry yarn and supplies. We are leaving for a family ski vacation and I’m not skiing so I’m planning on knitting a shawl.and a cowl. I’ve thought more about the patterns and what yarn to bring than anything else about the trip. The fear of not having a project to work on is a bit unnerving. Glad I’m not alone when it comes to travel and knitting or crocheting.

  • First, foremost, so glad your mom is recovering well.
    But it cannot go without saying it is GLORIOUS to see a view of so near completion Kaffe.
    Also, I would like to recommend packing severely tangled yarn when heading to a known bedside hangout. I had a million miles of badly tangled handdyed cashmerino with me when I went to help my MIL through the final days of her husband. She’s not much of a knitter and wouldn’t have been able to do anything mindful at the time, but she POUNCED on the tangle and was so relieved to have it to work on.

  • Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry to hear about MMM’s emergency, and glad she has great care. Hospitals should offer yarn augmentation, I think.

  • I am so glad that your mother didn’t break anything and Dr. Wonderful is a keeper. I’m in agreement that running out of yarn is a particular hell designed for knitters only.
    Sending my best ❤️

  • Oh Kay– (No reference to the great musical by Noel Coward) I made a flower jacket too… It’s such a stunning project, isn’t it? But NOT all that portable. If it’s any reassurance, I made mine during the summer (!) and dragged it along to the beach. Nuts! But once you start that amazing pattern, it’s pure joy to continue, traveling or not!

  • So glad to hear MMM is doing well. If you shout out your location, I’m pretty sure a loyal knitter would run some yarn over to you (wool and or cotton). I would, but I am in Ontario.

  • I totally agree! It’s a shame, that hand baggage on flights is so limited…I need to take food with me for dietary reasons and yarn… that pretty much fills it…
    In 2017 I flew back from Buenos Aires, 14 hours over night (I can’t sleep in planes) 7 hours wait in Rome… another 3 in Heathrow, it was that epic snow weekend, another 7 hours on the runway, then flight cancelled and next day 12 hours train journey to Scotland…imagine! I didn’t run out of food, neither of yarn…just!

  • I’m so glad that MMM is on the mend! Oh, the horrors of running out of yarn – a few years ago, I took the train from Hudson to NYC for my niece’s graduation party. (That’s a two-hour trip.) I packed three separate projects: one complicated for the mid-day trip down when I was fresh and could focus, and two mindless, one for during the dinner party itself and the other for the very late train ride home, because what if I finished Mindless #1, or was bored with it after all those hours and needed a change? I’m happy to report that it was a Knitting Triumph.

  • Two very real fears: seeing a parent be hurt in a fall, and running out of yarn. So glad things both worked out. Love to you and MMM.

  • Glad your Mom is okay. I took a trip to FL and ended up with kidney stone surgery. I had plenty of knitting but was just not interested!

  • So glad MMM is doing well. In situations like that I consider channeling Penelope and rip out the day’s knitting to begin again tomorrow. They should sell yarn/knitting supplies in hospital shops as well as airports.

  • Hope MMM is doing well! I can identify with running out if yarn. 12/20 I went to th local hospital for a routine angiogram only to be transferred to the heart institute at the main hospital, have another angiogram with complications which included 3 days in ICU. Then on New Year’s Day went to rehab for a week. I took a pair of socks that I just needed to finish the ribbing on. Yes, I ran out of something to knit. Luckily, my sister in law could bing me yarn and needles to start another pair of socks!

  • Thank you for validating my need to take more than some people (they know who they are!) think I should take with me on a trip just because I have a sprained wrist and probably shouldn’t be knitting at all, but I need to.

  • Dear Kay – YOU GOT THAT RIGHT! I just moved to Valencia, Spain, for a year or two & left behind many clothing items in place of yarn. It’s warm/hot here 8 months of the year, but 100% merino wool and some cashmere is always a necessity, & I admit I’m in denial about the heat thing. I think I have about 15 projects with me. Five of them were shipped to me recently with a bunch of other necessities like Tulsi Sweet Rose Tea and my yarn scale. I have 6 sets of needles and I’m hand winding yarn for the first time since I helped my nana wind yarn as a little girl. Love, Jo-Ann

  • I am oddly relieved to know that my compulsion to pack more than one project if I am going to be away from my stash for more than 2 days is NOT unique to me. So what if I can never travel in just a carry-on bag? It is worth it to me to have that safe feeling that I will not run out of knitting, no matter what emergency befalls me. Because what would I need more than ANYTHING else if there was a travel delaying emergency? My knitting, of course!

  • In a pinch you can always order yarn online with Amazon Prime delivery within 2 hrs. Love the Kaffe sweater colors you chose. I have his book but not the patience or ability.

  • LOL!! In Spanish…..Laughando? Spanglish? LOL!! Love that last sentence, Kay! ((@@,./’;,./’;

  • Happy to read in today’s Letter that your mom continues to mend. Always grateful for car knitting and hospital knitting to divert my thoughts during stressful times. Always grateful for your projects that inspire me to keep the knitting bag packed and ready to go.

  • Not only do I overpack yarn but I plan out, with maps and GPS and insider info, every yarn store within 30min of any place I might possibly go. That way if (godforbid) I run out, well then I just run out and buy more.