I’m going through one of my intense knitting phases. This means I’m thinking, reading, and doing knitting more than usual. The current obsession involves polygons, poetry, and grafting, but that’s neither here nor there. What’s uppermost in my mind is my loyal assistant Clump.

Clump is a sloppy ball of worsted acrylic yarn that is the remnant of a finished project. The name comes from his or her (depends on the color) blobby form when rolled into a fist sized ball. S/he serves me for two or three years, roughly the time it takes my mother to point out that I have lots of yarn around the house, none of it as scraggly. Other unpleasantness may occur between the remark and clump’s forced removal, but such memories are too yarn-tragic for this venue.

Anyway, Clump is always acrylic because acrylic is more forgiving than vegetable fibers and less dainty than animal yarn, so I get a fairly realistic sense of what I can expect. S/he is always accompanied by a longish needle so I can work my swatch flat or in the round, and the reason for choosing worsted is that the yarn is big enough to examine the work carefully.

Clump and the needle sit on my desk. I reach for them and work up a sample when I happen to come across a new technique while researching the translation of “drive-by shooting” or reading up on the Braunte brother. They sit on my nightstand or next to my favorite chair. I reach for them to exorcise the various possibilities for whatever I’m trying. They sit in the knitting basket with my project yarn. I reach for them when I want to make sure the experimental venture that just popped into my head won’t screw up my lace project.

And no, there’s no doubt in my mind that, when the nuclear bombs go off and life forms are down to a few mutant humans and the roaches, we’ll be wearing Red Heart Super Saver ponchos, leggings, and thongs, not any of the higher yarns, and we won’t have to worry about ruining our clothes. So why not make friends with Clump’s kindred?

I can’t imagine a knitting life without Clump and highly recommend that all yarnies adopt their own Clumps too.

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