tale of two throws

by | Jan 10, 2019 | a slice of life | 59 comments

I’ve bought two throws in my adult life that have taught me lessons.

The first one was a blue knit throw I bought shortly after Jeff and I were married.  I had spotted it at Bed, Bath, & Beyond and was determined we needed it for our apartment.  He was not convinced.  I vividly remember us driving to the store, my heels dug in, trying to assert my independence and him fuming, not knowing how to handle this head-strong 20-year-old he just married.  I walked through the aisles, grabbed the throw, and clutched it tightly as I took it up to the checkout to pay for it.  Jeff protested and I only clutched the throw tighter, insistent that I was going to “win”.

It was our first real fight and a strong dose of reality, forcing us to confront the fact that life lived with someone else was going to be different.

Years later, we laughed about that throw and our immaturity (especially mine) when it came to understanding and exercising compromise and showing preference to one another.

I was able to dig up a picture of the throw!  It’s the blue one of the ottoman…

You can see that blue and white has been my jam going way back!

Anyway, we used that throw for many years, even after it was pilled and some of the knit loops were pulled and snagged.  There were many times I wanted to get rid of it and Jeff would interject dramatically, “Oh no…that was the throw you wanted you got it and we are going to keep it forever.”

Forever turned out to be about 15 years, but we did have it a long time and that throw taught us both a lot about ourselves, each other, and marriage.

Fast forward to last year and a different throw taught me a different lesson.  I had been admiring these chunky knit wool blankets around Instagram and I loved how they looked!  The texture was tantalizing and I got it in my head that I wanted one.  I shopped around online and found one on a post-Christmas sale and bought it.

As soon as the blanket arrived, I knew buying it had been a mistake.  It wasn’t my style, it didn’t fit in with the rest of the decor my home and, aside from those unavoidable aesthetic issues, it was completely impractical.  It had to be handled carefully, so the thick yarn didn’t snag.  It was a magnet for crumbs, hair, fuzz, fluff, and just about anything else.  There was no way it could be washed.   This throw was to be looked at and nothing more.

And if that wasn’t enough of a waste, this throw was stuffed in a closet for almost a year without anyone even looking at it.

Well, I would look at it when I opened the linen closet to fetch a fresh towel or a box of tissues.  I would pause for a moment and take it in for what it was… a bulky reminder of what happens when I succumb to a trend.  It was a fuzzy cream caution cone, warning me to stay in my own style lane…  to remain true to what I love and not be so easily swayed by what other people love.

And honestly, a year is long enough to have to stare down something like that every time I’m changing the bed sheets or have need of the heating pad.

So, today I pulled it out of the closet, drove it to the thrift store, and gently passed it along to the attendant accepting donations.

Both of those purchases were foolish, but I can honestly say that I don’t regret them.  Woven and knit through the fibers that made up each throw are the valuable lessons they taught me.  They are so thoroughly intertwined that you can’t have one without the other.

But that doesn’t mean I need to save space for them in my closet…


  1. Sheila

    Marian, I am an knitter and follow a couple knitting FB groups. J can’t tell you how many times people post about these blankets: “Does anyone know where to get be cheap,””I want to make one using only natural fibers-$$$$$”, “Where can I get that yarn to make that blanket I saw”. Experienced knitters and fiber enthusiasts do everything to encourage interest in knitting EXCEPT for making one of these blankets. They are made from unspun or very loosely spun fiber, not yarn, and start to fray and pill when we merely look at it.

    • beverlee lyons

      oh, I am not a knitter, but I was determined to make one of these. I needed one of these. Until I priced the yarn, and realized it is just wool roving. Which is NOT practical at all! So, I got some of that loopy yarn, satisfied my urge, and not nearly as costly!
      You are so right…not one bit useful

  2. stacey

    Re: the blue throw, my husband taught me this saying and I repeat it to myself often. “To be old and wise you must first be young and foolish.” It’s encouraging to know that a person of excellent taste such as yourself can still get bamboozled by the siren song of trends!

    • Daniela

      Well said :)) I’m 52 and sometimes still think : I’m young and foolish – falling again and again for “stupid” things but on the other hand : they keep us going / alive :)))))

  3. Marian

    I think we all need to take a few steps into who we are not to recognize who we are. I have bought so many things, pieces of clothing on sale that I never wore regularly, home decor items that didn’t really work, trying to be someone I am not. But it did make me feel better that day. And I did eventually figure things out. Thank goodness for thrift shops and understanding, patient husbands.
    All the best,
    The Other Marian

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, very well put!

  4. Gina

    I am so happy to see someone that bought one of those gorgeous woven blanket tell the reality of it. I think they are so beautiful but so impractical unless they are to only look at. I yearn for one from time to time but my reality sense knows it would last five minutes with two dogs and a cat! They would be thrilled with the new “bed” momma brought home!!

  5. jenw

    A lovely post about those moments of growth we all hopefully experience! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Carswell

    I have – like just about everyone else – admired the look of them for the last several years since they started popping up on decor and home blogs. There is just something about that oversized chunky knit texture that is sooo appealing.

    I have resisted the urge to purchase or make one because I have a cat with claws and just know that it would look like a picked and pulled mess within about five minutes of me draping it across my lap to settle in and watch Netflix. I am glad to have my suspicions about them confirmed – it will be easier to ignore them now.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yeah, I don’t see how these are really functional. They look so cozy and have such an amazing visual texture, but they are not practical.

  7. Kim

    Oh, thank you SO MUCH for writing the truth about these things! My daughter has been wanting to make one for ages and I took one look at the yarns and knew they would be a nightmare, especially since they can’t be washed. Now I can show her this post about what real life is with one of these blankets. People need to realize that a lot of stuff in home décor is for décor only, not actual usage. So yeah, it sounds like it would make a great untouchable display item, until you need to dust it. 🙂

    • Marian Parsons

      Yeah, I can’t imagine how people actually live with one of these blankets, but I am guessing that there are some that are higher end and perhaps more durable? Mine was wool, but I bought it from a pretty random website! 🙂

  8. Teresa

    We all have a “mistake” closet in our house and sometimes you just have to laugh and chalk it up as part of life and a learning experience. I hate wasting money on something that I thought I would love and was trending everywhere just to find out it wasn’t my style! For that reason, I don’t buy many home décor items on-line or without a no return policy.

    BTW…when I saw a pic of your old living room and that big armoire I had to laugh. My Mom had a big, heavy one just like it that she housed a TV in. My stepfather moved it several times and about broke his back. Finally, he told her the next time it got moved by him it would be over the balcony of their second floor bedroom. I think she finally sold it on Craigslist and the buyer had to move it.

  9. Melissa

    So true. What a great lesson for all. Tks for sharing.

  10. Dee Lansing

    I am so happy I read your post today. John is not n the workshop till spring so I was looking for something I could do and post in our shop. I’m stuck indoors for the winter and do not want to paint or stain furniture. fumes….ugh. I loved the look of those chunky knit blankets and thought I’d make a throw or three. I surely will not do that now. Good info to know.

    Back to the drawing board pebble art, mixed media? I’ll find something. I probably should clean out a closet or two ;-))

  11. Joy in Alabama

    Thanks for posting about the chunky throw. I have. Even planning for months to use my Christmas money to get the yarn and make one. Whew. You saved me some money and disappointment!

  12. Tracy

    What thrift store?!?! 🙂
    Just kidding, I’m in another state. Lol.

    • Michele M

      Exactly what I was thinking, haha. : – )

  13. Wanda

    Ahhh! This makes me sad everyone is having horrible experiences. My Sister-in-Law made one for me last Christmas and I absolutely love it. It is not made of the loosely spun fiber, but a thick chunky yarn. I really don’t know how to explain, but it’s completely washer/dryer safe. In fact, I wash it on hot every week, because it attracts my 2 cats. No snagging, pulling, pilling, etc. Guess it depends what type of yarn is used.

  14. P boszko

    All I can say is if it was wool you could have felted it or with it!

  15. Lisa Lancaster

    Bought the expensive yarn. Bought the huge knitting needles to make it with. Made it. It’s so heavy it weighs me down when I sit under it and then when I get up, I’m covered in fuzz! Chalk it up to experience!

  16. Deb

    Why didn’t you just return it?

  17. Marlene Stephenson

    This is a post everyone can smile and really know what you mean!! So i need to wait a year?! lol!

  18. mary m

    On the other side of the coin I have a handwoven Churchill Weaver throw from
    Kentucky. I know they are expensive but I got mine at our swap shop at the
    recycle center. Pristine when I got it but it has been down hill with many fixes
    and washes. It is lightweight and cozy but looks like a child’s lovey. Can’t bare
    to part with it………….The solution is to hide it during the day in the ottoman.
    I have bought other Churchill Weaver throws on eBay but nothing as wonderful and cozy as this tired old rag.

    Also in your before picture I noticed that you had a spinet desk to the left of your
    cabinet. A spinet desk was the rage during the 1920’s. I had one and gave it away. What was cool about that one is that the top could fold over the desk part
    and it would then convert into a table. Regrets!

  19. Alice Crawford

    Good article, just what I need. After many years of buying all those “bargains” that are now taking up valuable space, I think after reading your article, I may be able to purge myself of what I don’t need. At my age, I shouldn’t have to worry about this stuff. My son says that when I die he’s going to get one of those big dumpsters that the roofer use and everything will go into it, including, china, sterling silver, and Waterford because he just doesn’t want to be bothered or plain and simple, he doesn’t care or recognize how much things are worth. BTW, I’ll be 84 in May, time to just sit and watch mindless television and molt.
    I love your letters, they’re always relateable. (is that a word?)

    • Caroline O'Hara

      Oh, Alice! Don’t let him just throw away your beautiful things! There are still many people who would love them. I know that going through lots of “stuff” is difficult and time-consuming, but I’m just cringing at the thought of Waterford and sterling being dumped! Maybe a female relative would appreciate it all?

    • June M

      Hi Alice
      Pull out the sterling silver and the good china for your breakfast, lunch and or dinner Pour your orange juice or wine into the Waterford. Enjoy them, treat yourself well.
      Or you could donate them to a charity where someone who appreciates such things can purchase and enjoy them. Your son would probably be pleased either way.
      Have a great day.

    • Nancy in WA

      Alice, a few months ago I read a little book called “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning,” written by a lady who is “somewhere between 80 and 100.” It might give you the motivation to clean out your unwanted things so your son doesn’t have to. If you still love your things, USE them!

  20. Shelly

    Yes, I too have admired those throws, but could tell it would be pain when it needed washed. I almost got one to ‘display’, but decided it was just not needed. I have several throws, my favorites are cashmere. I really just use those for display in the living room, but have used them some. I bought them both at TJMaxx so I got a great deal!

  21. Sandy

    I hhad
    too have looked longingly at the big chunky throws. When I opened your email, but before reading it, I saw your beautiful throw and immediately starting thinking about what I needed to do to make one myself. Thank you for your voice of reason before I made a big mistake. I should have known that was a bad idea. My sister-in-law made me a beautiful crocheted afghan for Christmas, intending that it be used as a prayer shawl filled with love and encouragement, but it’s much too beautiful to use! We have 2 dogs and a cat, so you can imagine what they would do to it.
    I always enjoy seeing what you’ve done to your house. I’m not a blue person, although your house is beautiful, but I can always imagine the blue changed to shades of green.😏

  22. Candice Hope

    Love this post. I also have one of these only to be looked at blankets. It was a gift from my mom last Christmas. I had it on my wish list and… it was a wasted wish. It sits in a basket looking pretty with a throw pillow and that is it. I am afraid to use it or let my boys anywhere near it. I agree they are pretty and that is where it ends. Isn’t this the allure of Instagram though? perfectly staged unrealistic homes all white and magical?? ugh

  23. Lisa

    Hi Marian,
    I can relate but with fabric. Which is nonreturnable. I find it hard to stop the impulse / need to have shopping after Christmas. You would think empty pockets would factor in but Noooo!😳
    Have bought three duvet covers all Bluebellgray. Love ( loved ) her stuff but I think I have outgrown it. I will find out when the third cover is delivered if that is so. Got to love returns.

    Question, I love your blue apron with the crossover back. Would love one like it and am sure you wrote about it. Have not been able to find it on your blog. Can not decide to purchase one or make one. The patterns online do not look quite the same as your.

    Kind Regards

  24. Chris Moore of Seattle

    A hilarious post and a whole new side of you unseen!

  25. Emily Armstrong

    Those blankets look so cool in pictures, but I know if we had one my 6 year old boy would find a way to put his head through the stitches and make it into a costume. A costume covered in crumbs and dirt.

  26. Paula J Runyan

    Marion, gently undo that whole blanket and get it spun into proper yarn. You would get a huge amount of yarn from it!

  27. Dominique

    Ohhhhh …..i see so many of these (throws) plaids on american Instagram !!!! We dont have any of these in France 😕😕😕 why i didnt give you my adress before the thrift store 🙃🙃🙃

  28. Debra

    My husband and I have been talking about this throw. To make or buy?? That was the question. We just read your article together.
    He said oh good we can scratch this off our list! LOL Thank you for sharing.

  29. Kim Price

    Your donation will be someones elses dream. Gotta keep goodwill in business right,lol

  30. Pat Smedley

    Marion I have too seen these chunky throws and thought that looks great with the visual chunkiness.

    Oh how much money we could all save if we would stay out of TJ’s, Marshall’s, and all the other more inexpensive decor stores. Not to mention getting new items or using design elements we see on Instagram. Decorating my home is one of my passions and I have a degree in Home Economics back in the day, but at some point in life, you just need to finish and call it a day. Always following new styles in decorating can be as bad as following trends in clothing. Nothing wrong in having a passion for something but that can also be an obsession and a bad habit of buying just to be buying, stores love that.

    I have found myself buying decor as if I was a picker. Enough is enough, a New Years resolution is to finish those rooms I haven’t finished, to get rid of decor I no longer want and to focus on another passion – art.

  31. Carolyn

    I snatch up wool throws at every estate sale I go too…it’s ridiculous cause I live in Florida and never use them. It’s just a look/passion I love and can’t control myself

  32. Mar

    My son bought me the most beautiful handmade throw for Christmas. I must have taught him right because it is washable and so much nicer than what you would buy in a store….got to love a sweet son❤️

  33. Donna

    Thanks so much for sharing that story! I have been tempted on SO many occasions to buy one of those chunky throws, knowing it would not really fit my decor style. It’s just hard in this Pinterest and IG age when we see things that look so good in someone else’s home! I’ve learned with age comes wisdom!!

  34. MaryS

    Oh yah… HAD TO HAVE ONE. Drove about 15 miles to get the yarn. Anxiously started to make it on my work table. Didn’t go well at first. Took it apart. Started over. Twice. Finally finished it. And … I hated it! What where you thinking I said to myself??? So I put it on the sofa and looked at it. And looked at it…. and then I took it apart and gave the yarn to a friend and scolded myself for being such a dummy…. AGAIN!

  35. Jennifer

    I too had to have a chunky knit throw and I also purchased mine from an online shop at a deep discount (making it non-returnable). From the moment I opened the package I knew I had made a huge mistake. The color was completely off, the wool fibers clung to everything and my son loved to stick his hands and feet through the holes between the stitches. The throw now lives in my closet and will stay there until I can find a new home for it or my husband stops w/the “I told you so”.

  36. Cynthia Kutra

    Would have made a great Christmas tree skirt (just wrapped around the base and swirled out. No heavy use so should remain good shape if packed away until next Christmas…

  37. Janet

    If someone actually wants a chunky throw…there are great ,chunky washable wool yarns at various yarn shops (here in Canada anyway and I bet were ever you all are too) …it will not look as ,”over large stitched ” as some you have seen but it will still be CHUNKY and washable and useable and lovable …….such an easy stitch…you could knit it yourself…..I’m going to start one soon ….I bet all you knitters out there could do this too…..and what a fun winter project 😊👍

  38. Rain

    I too seen the thick woven blankets and fell in love with the visual appeal of the texture.
    I searched for the “perfect” yarn chunky but not too expensive. I spent hours “arm knitting” it using my daughters taekwondo staff.
    Once finished I draped it on the corner of my bed, the weight pulled it down, it stretched out of shape, I fought the lint it left everywhere – you would think I had a long haired cat. I tried to hide my absolute displeasure from my spouse and my shame because I had spent more money on yarn than buying it ready made.

    I came to terms swiftly and, like you Marion, I bagged it up and took it to the nearest donation bin, placed it in and never looked back.

    This year, I found a simple tone on tone thin weighted throw for $16. Not my ideal but I am far more pleased with it.

  39. Naomi S

    I knitted a chunky throw years ago on huge wooden needles using chunky yarn–not roving–in a checkerboard pattern. I think I used two skeins of yarn worked as one strand which bulked it up some. I think the yarn was acrylic so it pilled a bit with use but it lasted for years retaining it’s shape and not snagging. It wasn’t as bulky as the roving throws but it was mighty cozy. Just came to mind as an alternative to the ones sold now in terms of a similar look. If you knit or someone you know does, I think it would be a quick and attractive alternative. Hmmn, I just might make another one myself. Wonder if I still have those huge wooden needles??

  40. Shelia P.

    Marian, I sure wish you’d have posted this sooner, lol. Because I fell for the peer pressure of the design blogs that told me it would add texture to a room, which I thought I needed. LOL! I’m 57 years old and should know when someone is trying to sell me something or trying to convince me that my house isn’t with the times and hip without one of these raggedy oversized braided rug looking throws hanging off the end of one of the arms of my couch. I was bamboozled and I feel like such a sucker for succumbing to the pressure I felt and buying one of these crazy things LOL! Sometimes lessons have to be learned the hard way. Like yours, mine is headed to the thrift store. Maybe it’ll make some nice kitty or puppy, a comfy bed? 😁

    • Marian Parsons

      So funny! Glad I’m not the only one who was swayed into buying one of these throws and the realized it wasn’t for me! 🙂

  41. Colleen

    Probably missing the point but would you mind sharing the thrift shop you brought it to? 😬🤷🏻‍♀️😝

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha! I took everything to Goodwill in Rochester. MN, over near Costco.

  42. Charlotte

    I am so glad I didn’t make one!!!!! BUT I am still going to make a chunky knit blanket with chunky YARN. That can be washed!!!!

  43. Susan Frick

    Oh I love this post for your honesty, Marian! I’m catching up on your posts, and this photo caught my eye. I’ve always loved the look of the big chunky throws (who hasn’t seen the gorgeous one under the Christmas tree of Maria of Dreamy Whites?). I was tempted to knit an extra chunky one, but then found patterns where ladies were using broom sticks for knitting needles. A bit too strange for me. Sorry to hear yours didn’t work out!
    Not long ago I ended up knitting a smaller version (lap throw) with acrylic yarn. It has withstood the test of time, looks good, and survives my kids and a dog. I just posted the pattern on my blog recently (A Box of Twine).
    Thanks for all of your inspiration and for keeping things real, here! xoxo

  44. Katie Mansfield

    I’ve wanted one of those chunky knit throws too. With a shedding dog, it would be so impractical. I’m sure that the person that scored that throw at the thrift store is thrilled with the find. Plus, it’s for a good cause. I always try to think of it that way as it helps me reconcile the waste. I’m glad both your throws had lessons to learn They’re good ones.

  45. Corinne

    I love this post! You are wonderful at articulating you thoughts and feelings. Your first throw reminded me of a similar thing that happened in my young married life.

    For my husband and I, our first big fight was over a pair of stitched leather coasters that I had bought for our bedside tables. I loved their look and with the idea of buying our first “set” of things as a his and her pair. He, on the other hand, thought that after a week of use and seeing that they only facilitated a raised puddle on the nightstand, threw them away… without saying a word to me.

    I was so upset with him that he would make a decision regarding something I had purchased without speaking with me and he didn’t see the point in an object that wasn’t functioning as optimally as possible. I fished them out of the trash can and we agreed to keep them for that first year as a reminder. With a wink or a smile to one another every night, we set down our water glass and thought about how a silly coaster caused our first big fight.

    The little things can seem to matter so much in those moments, but it is our partnership that matters the most. The coasters are long gone and we now have much better coasters that he helped me pick out. 😉 We learned so much about valuing each other’s opinion from two leather coasters. lol

  46. Kitty

    Wow, you all, saved me some time and trouble and money. I too, wanted one of those blankets.
    Gosh, I have a white throw, my mother knitted for me ~ when I was in college. It’s been washed,
    thru the dryer, two grown kids and three dogs, over the years. That blanket is still beautiful and
    my mother is now in heaven. I am learning to be happy with what I have !

  47. Roberta Witbeck

    Reading the comments, it’s clear this “mistake” is a common problem. I have been married 53 years and my husband and I still laugh at my first stubborn mistake. It was a silk (yes, silk) wastebasket. Now when the urge overcomes me I ask myself: “Is this a wastebasket?” I , too, contemplated the chunky needles and yarn.
    Turns out, it was a wastebasket.



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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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