Yarn Nostalgia

People wax nostalgic over all sorts of things. For some, it’s the scent of Dreft. For me, it’s Plymouth Encore Worsted.

Plymouth Encore collection

I realize that sounds odd. Particularly odd coming from me. These days, I haunt fiber festivals, and my yarn purchases often bear a photo of the animal from whence came the yarn, and I’ve often learned way more biographical information about the people who produced the fiber than I know about some of my own relatives.

Once upon a time, though, I was a new mom with a new career and a new hobby. My time budget was scant and my yarn budget even more so. Back then, Plymouth Encore was my go-to yarn. I knit up countless sweaters and baby blankets for my own small boys and friends’ and relatives’ kids, too.

When I was a new knitter, I didn’t want to fret over the expense of yarn.   Nor did I have time to handwash and block my work. I didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to deal with gauge surprises, splitty or slippery yarn, or any other issues that can plague more persnickety fibers. Plymouth Encore was, if nothing else, predictable and inexpensive.

Not long ago, when I was re-organizing my stash, I came across my collection of Plymouth Encore, slammed to the back layers of my stash cabinets. I’d dutifully carted the yarn with me from move to move over the years, although it’s been at least a decade since I’ve touched it.   I set the yarn out with the rest of my stash and considered what to do. My philosophy is that toys should be played with, books should be read, food should be eaten, and yarn should be knit. If I’m not going to any of those things with my belongings, then they should go off to someone who will. I put the yarn in my donate pile.

Then, I reconsidered. I had lots of fond memories of knitting up that yarn. There were the bright blues, reds, and greens from a sweater I’d knitted for my younger son.


That was back when he’d wear the bright colors that look so good on him. These days, the teenager prefers to wear urban camouflage colors of grey and black.

And there? There was a denim blue from a sweater I’d knitted my older son — my first attempt at a V-neck. Over there? The pink from an afghan for my goddaughter who’s now a teenager.

I really didn’t want to get rid of the yarn, but if I was going to keep it, I was going to knit it. My stash isn’t a yarn museum, after all.

Hmm. A skein of this, a skein of that — the Plymouth Encore stash could be repurposed as easy-care accessories for nieces, nephews — heck, anyone who wanted wash-and-wear knitted things. I decided that I’d throw Plymouth Encore projects into my rotation and knit up these skeins to get them out of the dark recesses of my cabinets and onto the heads, necks, and hands of people who would enjoy them.

The first project out of the chute: This fun Norwegian Star Cap , which will go to my toddler nephew.

Norwegian Blue finished

I cast this on, remembering how the last time I held this yarn, I was knitting my son’s blue V-neck sweater, and how both cables and stripes were new and somewhat scary to me. And here I was, years later, knitting from a chart with yarn in each hand like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Before I knew it, I had a colorful cap all ready for another little boy to enjoy.

Then, about as soon as I’d woven in the last stray yarn on the blue hat, I cast on for a red one.

Norwegian Red started

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