Thursday, January 7, 2010

Knit Picky

Didn't I just say I wasn't going to get involved in anything that didn't really resonate with me?  I wonder what happened with that.

I just got roped into a knitting circle.  Yoko snagged me.  She hosted an informal one at her house last month and I went to check it out.  And suddenly we're, like, an official circle of knitters.  Except me.   I'm the kid who shows up for kindergarten with the pacifier still pinned on to her shirt.  I'm toting around Blue's giant knitting scaffolding: large plastic circles with a hundred knobs around the top.  It was rather embarassing. Everyone else wiggled dainting needles, two to eight of them at a time.  And they were consulting design blueprints in complicated codes, knitting binary, with the engineer's signatures on the bottom.  And they had sumptuous yarn.

Me?  Upon my inflatible life-preserver, I was knotting black polyester.

But they didn't give a shit.  They encouraged me and enjoyed my company and let me chase after their kids and hold their babies while they looped and pearled. 

I can't say I've taken to knitting.  My hat turned out okay.  Bored stiff with a black beany,  I put in some hot pink flames around the top.  And since it turned out so easily, there's just not much for me to enjoy.

I'm heading into the knitting circle again tomorrow, anway.  My loyalty to this amazing Japanese immigrant, Yoko, is already taking hold.  I'm a rediculously loyal person in general, beyond reason and wisdom.  It takes a profound, life-shattering disappointment to change that... and even then... I'm probably still you're loyal friend after all these years, and I don't even know if your reading this.

But I don't have any yarn.  The black is gone, thank god.  The hot pink is out of sinc.  The brown is committed to Blue's project and the red Santa gave her is sacred.  So, I had to get some more today.

One of the ladies in Yoko's knitting circle is a REAL KNITTING AFICIONADO.  And she recommended this one place.

I found the lamely punned knitting nook of a store hidden behind several other buildings.  And the first thing I saw was a knitting counsel of three women sitting by the door.  The next thing I saw was a wall of the daintiest and prettiest yarn I'd ever seen.  I would have swooned at the beauty and become a loyal knitter for the rest of my crazy days, except for the glaring price tag: $40 for this little twist of yarn no bigger than a baby's foot.  A whole wall of them!  They went down from there, but I was immediately put on notice that this was not my store.

I finally found something in my not-so-thrilled-beginner knitting-obligation price range and stood in line for 10 minutes while the lady at the register chatted up the woman infront of me at the counter.  I generally like chatting at the cash register.  It humanizes the whole monetary transaction.  It's sociologically and psychologically important.  And yet, 10 minutes felt to me, as the person waiting in line, like we'd gone past adding a touch of humanity to a job, to inhumane.  And when I got up there, the lady looked at me sternly and cautioned, "You know this is only 60 yards."
"Yes, I saw that.  Is that not enough?"
"Not for anything."
"Oh.  I'm just beginning, I don't know much about this stuff."
"What gauge are you using?"
"Gauge?  I'm using a large plastic ring that looks like a toilet seat.  It's my daughters and she taught me how to use it.   I accidentally joined this knitting circle and I just need some yarn on that thing to make it look like I belong.  I just need to look like I fit in.  Do you think it's enough yarn for that?"
The look of utter disgust over this woman's face was so obvious, so overwhelming that she could have won an Oscar for over-reacting.
Her nose obviously in the air now, she sputtered, "Wh....wh...wh...what are you making on this... this... THING?"
"Um... I think I want to make a neck warmer.  Like a scarfy hat thing.  Think hat without a top."
"This isn't going to do it."  So that's why that ball was so cheap!  It can't make anything!
"Didn't you find the sale rack?"  She rolled her old eyes in their saggy sockets.
"I think I almost did, but not quite."
"You'll need 100 yards at least."
I rummaged through the garish balls until I found something.  I've been to big, national chain craft stores with huge rolls of yarn for five bucks.  So...I had some sticker shock even in the sale basket.

And then I waited in line again for 10 damn minutes! While some other lady signed up for classes then signed down because she'd be out of town and did she really need to take a class for that?  While some other lady across the store was loudly bragging about the pattern she was buying for:
"I'M DOING THE BLUNDERBUSS PATTERN?  THAT? OH! YOU HAVEN'T HEARD?  PRINCESS LMAO WORE THIS SWEATER FOR 40 YEARS AND THEN HER DAUGHTERS, PRINCESSES OHYEAHRIGHT AND SHUTUPALREADY WORE IT FOR 40 YEARS AND THEN ONE OF THEM TOOK IT TO A KNITTERY, IN ENGLAND YOU KNOW, AND ASKED THEM TO REPLICATE THE PATTERN.  AND SO THAT'S IT.  ONLY THE FINEST WOOL WILL DO, YOU KNOW! BLAH BLAH BLAH!  I'M SO FABULOUS AND IMPORTANT AND RICH AND FANCY AND YADDA YADDA YADDA, GOSH MY EGO IS GETTING SO BIG, I BETTER GET GOING BEFORE I CAN'T GET OUT THE DOOR WITH THAT THING!"

Soooo.... knitting is another one of those highly competative female arts, it seems.  Just like herbs.  The egos run rampant.  The loud show offs face off.  At an herbal conference once, I almost saw two women go to blows over lavender. LAVENDER! It's supposed to be calming!  Give these women a keg and some chain saws and I think we'd really have ourselves a great time.

Meanwhile, I'm still standing in line.  Coyote is starting to loose his cool, understandably.  I promised the hungry boy one quick errand.  And here we were, still.  I began staring at the clock.  I really didn't want to drive across town to the cheap yarnery and I had to have something by tomorrow.  But if I didn't get helped in five minutes, I was going to have to leave and never come back.  Which gave me a great idea.  I would never go back anyway.  The service was snotty and snobby and snooty.  Not to mention negligent.  I mean, here I was, a new knitter, a new possible client for their store.  Sure, I'm still using the knitter's equivalent of pull-ups, but I am a potential life time customer too!  And what do I get?  A nose in the air and a cold shoulder.  After the piano teacher experience and some of our neighbors, I can certainly proclaim now that Spokane has some serious class issues.

And finally, it was me.  My turn!  And I did the strangest thing that really surprised me.  It was so out of character.  And yet it felt so right.  So good.  I could have said something about the shoddy service, but I'm sure it was intentional.  So...I had all of this cash in my wallet that I'd dug out from our booth last fall at the Barter Faire and I pulled it all out on her counter.  And I very slowly counted past the crisp fives and ones.  I pulled from my wad the dirtiest, crumpliest, torn-i-est, nastiest one dollar bills I could find.  Considering they were from Barter Fair... they were as grody as the imagination can muster. And then came the pennies.

She did not thank me for my business.  I will never give it to her again anyway.

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