Sunday, December 31, 2006

Swimming in yarn

Sometimes your family really amazes you.

I've been the lone "crafty" member of my family my whole life. My sister is passionate about cooking and my mother used to draw, but no one got into the sewing/embroidery/quilting/decoupage/whatever quite as much as I did. They have a mild interest but not a defining passion. Meanwhile, I had a subscription to a quilting magazine at age 12, did cross-stitch from age 14, and made a yo-yo quilt in high school by hand.

So when I asked for yarn for Christmas, the family responded. Mom bought me the new Tracey Ullman knitting book and took me yarn shopping at a LYS in Spokane--more about that adventure in a minute. Megs ordered me six skeins of Noro Kureyon in an amazing red/pink colorway, plus a "What Would Jane Knit?" bag from (because my other passion is, of course, reading, Jane Austen being my favorite. I love this design so much that I want to order all the rest of the merchandise and wear nothing else for months and months). And Dad simply made a stash enhancing contribution and I'm dreaming of the possibilities. Since we haven't had our Christmas exchange with the in-laws yet, I don't know whether the (knitting) joy will multiply.

My knitted gifts were well received, too. I hadn't realized just how many little gifties I had made until they were all opened on Christmas morning. M was floored by his Thuja socks and wore them all day. I completely surprised him with those. The armwarmers, scarves, and warshcloths all found good homes.

We had ended up changing our holiday plans at the last minute, packing up the kids and heading for Spokane rather than welcoming my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and niece here in Bellingham. My folks had both planned to purchase me gift certificates to a LYS here, so were left partially giftless. Dad went the "convertible" route while Mom proposed an after-Christmas expedition. Megs had noticed a yarn store near her home on the north side, so on the 27th us girls (Mom, Megs, me, and babies E and G) packed up and headed off for Allinda's Knitting Boutique.

I have never seen such a place.

The carpet was burnt orange and smelled like it had been there since the store opened in 1978. The pattern bins were a treasure trove of early '80's style as interpreted in acrylic yarn. (Stitchy McYarnpants should hop on a plane for Spokane RIGHT NOW.) The stock leaned heavily toward Plymouth acrylic blends, much of it hearkening back to the '80's as well. But tucked in between the old and the musty were good quality, stout yarns. I found Cascade 220 and bought my first skeins of that to make the girl from auntie's celtic cap. I saw a scarf knitted in Kureyon but didn't see any in stock. I found real Peaches & Cream (Kay and Ann would be so proud) and bought three balls for $1.75 each. And, ready to make my first foray into sock-knitting for myself, I bought some forest green Norwegian Silja yarn and size 4 Inox metal circulars. (I'm slowly working my way down to fingering weight...)

Allinda herself was the real capper, though. She was a little Swedish lady--my sister pegged the accent right away--in her late 60's or early 70's. Friendly, helpful and just the right amount of bossy, I earned her approval when shopping for sock yarn. As she hovered over my shoulder explaining about self-striping yarn, I mentioned I'd just knitted my first pair of socks. "You made them with two circulars, of course," she said, in a manner that brooked no argument, that assumed correctness, that implied a test. When I, blushing, confirmed her guess, she clapped me on the back and said, approvingly, "Good girl."

So while the babies played in the corner with my sister, I wandered the aisles and made my final choices. After Allinda totalled my purchase--by HAND, of course--and corrected my mother's pronunciation of her own name, Sigrid, she disappeared into the stockroom and returned with a blue tote bag just the right size for my yarn.

I don't know if I'll return to Allinda's, since I'm sure a city the size of Spokane must have some more, um, contemporary yarn stores...but, then again, how can I not?

1 comment:

Ann said...

Holy cow! Peaches & Creme for a buck seventy five? I hope you bought it all!

Good luck with all your new projects--it sounds like you're primed for a most excellent year.