Before I begin, no, I’m not done with Book Two. I’m almost done, but I’ve been almost done for a little while now, and it’s starting to make me stir crazy.
I’m going home to Louisiana this weekend, and I have next week off, so here’s hoping.
Anyway. Today is not about writing. Today is about knitting. And I have a thing to say that is going to be weird for a lot of people: as a knitter, I try to avoid yarn shops.
I will wait for your gasps of confusion to die down.
So first thing is, I’m fairly sure most of the world has forgotten I knit in the first place. I forget sometimes, too. It’s not something I do all the time anymore, it’s now mostly something I do to control my tendency towards hyperactivity, times when I am supposed to remain quiet and listen to people, or when I have to wait for something – times when I have to keep my hands occupied or else I’ll braid my hair or bite my nails or spend time nose to my phone screen, wrecking my posture and neck alignment. Those sorts of occasions have been in short supply the last couple of years. But every so often I’ll stick my hand into a pile of clothing or paperwork or whatever and get myself impaled on a DPN and remember that, oh yes, I knit, I should finish that, am I up to date on my tetanus shots?
(I am, thanks for asking)
All that, though, that’s not why I avoid yarn shops. No, actually I like yarn shops a lot. A very great lot. And that’s why I don’t go.
I want to buy everything.
It takes effort for me to get to a yarn shop. There hasn’t been one really convenient to me for a few years. So it becomes a special occasion when I do go to one. There’s also the fact that I have some guilt over my stash of beautiful, unknit yarn. And of course, the big thing: budget.
In recent years, I haven’t had much of one. Two things are very important to me: living alone with my cats and ready access to a supply of delicious good cheeses. So much of my budget goes to housing, pets, and cheese.
(this sounds terrible. but I really do love good cheese, I cannot lie)
I also have a wicked nail polish habit, and generally what’s been left after housing, pets, and cheese has gone to that for a while. But I’ve finally tapered off some.
Any way the point is, yarn budget has been fairly thin in recent years, and usually when I go yarn shopping it’s kind of an event, and I can only really get one skein of a very nice yarn because cheese budget, so over the years I’ve ended up with a lot of beautiful sock yarn. I haven’t really had the chance to build up more of a stash than that. I avoided yarn stores because it just seemed mean to taunt myself with beautiful stuff.
Now we have a new danger, though. Now I have somehow become fiscally responsible enough to have a credit card. This, I have discovered, is a problem.
Usually when I go into a yarn store, I will longingly touch beautiful soft yarns. Yarns that deserve to be turned into beautiful soft things. Yarns that are out of my immediate budget, and so after a gentle pat, I move on.
That is not what happened this weekend.
This weekend, a friend came to visit. A knitting friend. Good friend that I am, I thought a visit to a yarn shop was in order. Fortunately, a yarn shop I have been to a few times was near another destination on our itinerary – a very nice yarn shop, one I like quite well because it usually has a nice stash of Colinette Jitterbug. So we decided to go there.
Holly found beautiful things for herself right away. I however found myself frowning at the Jitterbug display, because it didn’t have anything I wanted this time. I moved on to another brand I like, MadelineTosh – but there wasn’t any Tosh Sock. Bummed, I absently reached out and put my hand through a batch of yarns hanging from a nearby wall.
Hello, whispered the yarn upon which my hand landed. I would like to become a shawl.
Now, here’s another thing about my knitting: I stick to small, portable projects because I have the attention span of a ferret. I don’t knit shawls. I knit a sort of scarflet shawl-ish thing for my mother once, years ago. It took one skein of Malabrigo Sock and was a less than thrilling knitting experience so I never felt the urge to do it again.
And yet here I was with my hand in the softest, most wonderful yarn I had ever touched, and it wanted to come home with me and it wanted me to make it into a shawl. A lace shawl, at that, because I don’t love myself and I do not value my sanity.
Manos. It was Manos Del Uruguay. A line called Clara, the colorway a beautiful array of greens and yellows like a forest floor in summertime. Superwash merino, like most of my collection, but softer than anything I already owned, light and silky soft and lovely.
I should point out here that I also don’t usually go in for greens and yellows. I am a blues and purples sort of gal. But this was just so, so beautiful and it wanted so, so badly to be a shawl and the next thing I knew I had two skeins of it in my hands, plus needles and stitch markers, and I found a pattern on Ravelry right away and then I tripped and fell over and swiped my brand new credit card on the way down.
What? That’s totally how it happened.
I even cast on then and there. Right in the store, still going, “What the hell just happened?” while Holly laughed and laughed.
It’s really, really pretty though. It’s going to make such a lovely shawl.
But I don’t know how it happened. Complete yarn-nesia, officer, I swear. Total accident.
And that is why I do not go to yarn shops.
(except for when I do)
It’s going to be so nice.