I Foundz yarn!

17 05 2011

–          Not quite Yarnia,  but in this dirty, hot, tropical African town, after six weeks of searching,  I FOUND YAAAAAARRRNNN!  (I see myself standing on the point of Wanale ridge, balls of baby yellow and white 100% acrylic clutched in my hands, yelling out across the plateau. Are you getting a sense of my enjoyment and feeling of success?)

I dedicate this entry to all my fellow fiber-crafters. There may be details that you will particularly appreciate.

This is how the morning went: Sarah arrived for work bearing gifts. She had seen my ONE WIP I brought with and asked if I enjoyed knitting. When Sarah replied that she does too my heart did a double skip… was it possible that such great gifts as yarn could be located, here, among the trees and malaria?  I had seen a  local lady crocheting as we drove by some days back, so there was the vaguest possibility…

It turns out that Sarah and her husband Evans are involved in establishing a programme here which enables people of the community with skills: carpentry and tailoring mostly, but they have received supplies of yarn , needles etc from theUK.  I visited the premises they are building this morning and tried to learn a little bit more of what they are doing.

Any task inUgandarequires great amounts of time and trouble with a sprinkling of harshness for good measure. Although the organization started in 2004 there is not much to show for it yet. The big struggle has been with premises, and if I read correctly, they want their own identity. People have visited them before but they have always been visited by people involved in other organizations. 

Now they have a building on the way: it was started yesterday and today is already made up of walls and the framework for a roof! The building is constructed from a wooden lattice work, with mud caked in.  This will dry and then be covered by cement, roofed and voila! A structure for training in carpentry and stitchwork exists!  (I would like to get involved in training / helping with knitting here.  It is possible to get contracts to knit school jerseys, which can provide a reasonable income for ladies in need).

Sarah brought  me some needles this morning: metal  size 8 needles, and 2 of a set of DPNs – I think size 7? Then she presented her prize: 2 balls of all-wool-chunky-grey yarn. My eyes sparkled and hands grabbed for yarn. Wow! But my heart sank – what can you do with horribly mismatched needles and yarn?  I am still staring at the combinations wondering…

But dear, wonderful Sarah took me into town a little later. We looked at the facilities of the programme and then Sarah bravely led me to the market area: in the grubbiest of places there are treasures to be found!  In this area the shops are about 3×4 m, crowded with everything imaginable: one shop sells dried beans decoratively ARRANGED, the next carrybags (a number of which still proudly declare Fifa’s running of the World Cup in SA) and the butcher’s too – but I will dedicate and entire blog to butchers some time. We wandered from little shop to little shop, sometimes glancing, sometimes asking.  At the sixth or seventh place, two ladies working in the shop nodded at Sarah’s questions. AH!  “Stop the clock! We have the treasure!” The little cubicles sell groceries, cleaning soaps, packets and boxes of sugar and salt.  I glanced to where the ladies were pointing and the mix of emotions thrilled and terrified me at the same time. There were a number of balls of glaring day-glo yellow yarn. Brighter than anything my granny ever knitted, kitscher than any find in an Indian market… it was that bad. 

Do I buy this, the only yarn I can buy in town? What on earth do I knit in single-hue day-glo yellow? Sarah turned and relieved me of the decision. She backtracked about three shoplets and there, hanging in the doorway were three packets of yarn: sedate black, glorious pure white and baby yellow. I reached in and the automatic reaction of running soft, tender yarn to my cheek could not be resisted… ah!  There is no indication on the wrapping of ply, or needle size assistance, just the proud acknowledgement of 100% acrylic, Made inKenya. I am guessing that it is about 3 / 4 ply.

Now for the greater challenge: is there a possibility of finding knitting needles in this town?  (by now my neck was sweating from exhaustion and heat and I hoped that the search would not go on endlessly.) The owner of the shop where we purchased the yarn said the next shop sells needles: This owner pulled out a box far too tiny to contain knitting needles and my heart sank beneath my crusty heels. He DID pull out a box of crochet needles next… and this is now my great challenge: learn to crochet!  At least I can run my fingers through the yarn, redeveloping the love affair started a few years ago.

So, a lesson for today: seek and you will find.  And be content with what you have – things might just be worse… day-gro-brightest-yellow-in-the-world worse!




4 responses

18 05 2011

happy crocheting!

18 05 2011

THat’s really cool that you found some yarn! Do they have knitting groups in Uganda too?

18 05 2011

Not a chance of finding the usual Western sense of a knitting group. From what Sarah has been bringing me, there is a lot to learn about knitting here. I WILL find a group of ladies to teach, perhaps and they will be my friends.

19 05 2011
lena ekelund

let us know what you need and we will provide : )
The charity stores here normally carry both needles and yarn.

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