My little truant princess is back in the nest after her fledgling attempt at flight. I found her hiding behind the chair, safe and unharmed.
And I’m back too, though I can’t say I came away unscarred as she did. I guess I understand now what Stephanie means about those “little accidents” that can happen in yarn stores. I seem to have had one - you know, the kind that involves a credit card and an obscene quantity of luxury laceweight.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
So… I went into NYC yesterday to meet Astrid at School Products. For those of you who have been there, I suspect I need say no more than this: I never had, and I wasn’t prepared.
(It may seem a little weird that I could have lived most of my life, and indeed most of my knitting life, in NY without ever hearing about this place. But you gotta remember that that was before the internet, in the days of Solitary Knitting. Nobody told me; there WAS nobody to tell me. My LYS was on the Upper West Side and I rarely needed to range farther afield. In those benighted days I was about as close as a human being can get to being a Stashless One-Project Knitter, and I’m still not sure how and when the metamorphosis to my True Knitting Self took place. But as usual I digress.)
It’s also worth remembering that for the past year or so I have been on a steady and almost unchanging diet of custom-dyed sock yarn, with the occasional dip into laceweight and crochet cotton (the latter doesn’t count, right?). With very minor exceptions - OK, OK, so there was that close-out on organic alpaca - I haven’t really bought yarn in all that time. Therein lies the tragic irony. On the one hand I was soft and out of training, my reflexes compromised and my guard down. On the other, I was foolishly smug. Yarn shop? I don’t need no steenkin’ yarn shop, I thought - I got me a Yarn Slave, see, and I’m immune. Retail doesn’t tempt me.
(For good or ill this conviction was reinforced by the fact that last time I went yarn-crawling in town, I escaped unscathed from both Knitty City and Habu; the former because it’s too, um, “normal” for my taste - great selection, but all brand-name stuff at uptown prices - the latter because its goods, its price tags and its attitude are all a little too esoteric. So I guess I felt safe.)
Boy, was I asking for it, or WHAT?
Well, I got it, all right.
Those of you who are more experienced than I, perhaps you can tell me which is the least painful and shocking way to confess one’s yarn sins: by yardage (still calculating), by price (still rationalizing), or by sheer overall weight (still boggling)?
Mind you, I was brave about the baby camel hair. I resisted the yak. I even managed to steer clear of the pure cashmere. The tapes, the novelty yarns, the heavier-gauge stuff, these didn’t really interest me. Most of the cottons reminded me too much of bakery twine. And again, the brand-name stuff is available elsewhere at better prices and it mostly doesn’t talk to me much anyway. But oh, my dears, those cashmere blend mill-ends famed in song and story… the cashmere blends seduced me. I was weak and I fell. Hard. Silk/cashmere. Cotton/silk/cashmere. Soft. Shiny. Oh yeah, baby.
And then there was that huge glistening hank of undyed silk. Not only did I buy it - I tempted Astrid into doing the same. This was her punishment for failing to talk me out of the cone of purple Italian merino cobwebweight, because her purchases and demeanor were otherwise seemly and modest, and… what, you think I’ve been so busy talking about me-me-me that I’ve been neglecting Astrid, do you? No, no, not at all. I was just trying to get the ugly part of the story out of the way first.
But wait. I’m not going to think of it that way any more. I’ve decided to adopt The BoyTM’s view, as expressed when he not only endorsed the alpaca purchase but incited me to triple the quantity. Accident? Nuh-uh. According to The BoyTM, this was an Investment.
Besides, I am minded of the Kai Lung stories in which the mandarin professed to fear the wolf at the door because “the floor of the treasury was nearly visible.” Heaven forfend that the floor of the stash should ever become visible!
Yes. I’ve made an Investment. And one of these days I’ll feel secure enough about it to tell you just what I did get, and how much, and maybe I’ll even show pictures.
She arrived at School Products with husband Greg in tow. We knew each other at once and greeted each other in approved knitter fashion (”YO!”) and the two of us settled happily to our corruption, while Greg wisely betook himself to an appointment with his publisher. We committed the above-mentioned indiscretions (Astrid also bought a couple of skeins of very pretty merino), then met up again with Greg (a Righteous Muggle if ever I’ve seen one), who sat serenely through an awful lot of fiber talk before politely excusing himself to move on to his next appointment.
Despite the lingua franca, we may both have been a little shy. One of us may have dealt with this by talking a blue streak and maybe acting like a bit of a dork. I don’t think it was Astrid.
Me = Dork: having gone out of my way a couple of days ago to ask Astrid if Greg was willing to sign a copy of his new book (the answer to this is axiomatic, but asking the question is a code of sorts), I now had to admit that I didn’t have mine with me because The BoyTM was hogging it! My chagrin was only compounded when Astrid produced a copy of my book (the hardcover, no less, which she’d been schlepping around with her all day) and asked me to sign it. Which I did, though lord only knows what I wrote in it.
Then out came the socks and the cameras. (Stephanie, you have a lot to answer for.) I held Astrid’s sock, which she is working in her own beautiful new Damselfly Delphinium colorway. My own sock-in-progress being only one row from cast-on, I handed its finished mate to Astrid and Greg in turn.
Greg’s no fool; he totally took it in stride. Don’t they both look nice and normal? Yeah, well… then what were they doing with me? I just hope Astrid is kind to me - she got plenty of blackmail material. I might have gotten a little crazy with the Poses with WIPs. I had hoped to finish my new Laceball Cap in time to wear it yesterday; that I hadn’t done so did not deter me from trying to put it on my madcap dishevelled head.
And then there might have been some goofy flourishing about of The Red Blob.
And then I might have talked my fool head off some more.
I finally managed to put a sock in it by the clever expedient of asking a question on a subject of which I am almost totally ignorant. This was a good move, as it not only gave Astrid a brief opportunity to get a word in edgewise, but resulted in my actually learning something about weaving.
True to our Gunroom roots, we then wound up the photo shoot in traditional Jim Klein style.
Then one more hug, and at last we parted; Astrid to meet her glamorous destiny and I to lug home the spoils of my
iniquity investment. With a brief stop at Whole Foods for further ballast, about which I will have more to say hereafter.
Yeah, that’s me all over - always plenty more to say….