Yarn shopping spree!
Discounting time lost to waiting for minor repairs, I knitted my first scarf in about a week. At the rate I'm progressing on my second scarf, it'll be done faster than that.
If you pay attention to or take part in sports, you know or have heard of being in the zone. I've run in some 5K and 5-mile road races--strictly back of the pack here--and played enough basketball to recognize that moment when everything else melts away and what you need to do comes automatically. As a runner, it's the point where I don't have to keep up the internal monologue to push myself to take the next step. Depending how I feel on the day in question, I may reach that stage a mile in, two miles in, or not at all.
The zone exists for knitting too. I got in it on Thursday and Friday. I knitted a fair amount on Thursday night, but it was nothing compared to Friday morning. My second scarf was already two feet long!
As a beginning knitter, I've yet to develop a stash, so the timing couldn't have been better for Kristin to take me to a couple local yarn stores. Since she lives in a Bermuda Triangle of yarn stores, local and national, we met at her home to set out on my introduction to the LYS of Columbus.
After a quick drop-in at Hobby Lobby to peruse a sale, the first real destination was Temptations, a charming if cramped shop with a name befitting a business of a completely different kind. It was housed in a two-story building with many tiny rooms overflowing with yarn and all things knitting. What it had in ambiance and selection it lacked in unobstructed passageways. It felt like someone or something was on top of me no matter where I stood, which isn't a criticism of the store, just an observation of the tight quarters.
Kristin and I had no trouble having workers ask if we needed help, which may or may not have been due to the fact that I was the only male in the shop. Did I need help? Absolutely, although that's what Kristin was for. I wasn't left wanting for choices, but I wasn't seeing what I wanted.
We left Temptations empty-handed and headed to the aptly named The Yarn Shop. While it didn't have the quaint atmosphere, it did have room to crouch. (There must be something to Paco Underhill's "butt-brush theory". I couldn't find a great link describing it--you'll have to look under section 2 of the previous link--but the idea is that the more likely you are to have your rear end touched or brushed while shopping, the more likely you are to leave without buying.)
Kristin has encouraged me to feel the yarn in the store. It makes perfect sense to do this. If you're going to make something to wear, you want to know how it feels against the skin. Still, touching the merchandise seems like one of those things you shouldn't do, like feeding the animals at the zoo. I've been more concerned with color than texture, but I abandoned my yarn touching inhibitions and felt the skeins and hanks. Kristin pointed out some wool often used for sweaters, the popularity of which she finds puzzling. A quick feel of it told me why she didn't like it for that use. The yarn was scratchy, and a sweater made of it would feel like a burlap bag.
Both of these LYS contained an abundance of choices in colors and types of yarns. Kristin has told me about her experiences at the big tent sale in Canada. She swears that I'll get the itch to trek there next summer. As has been the case with anything knitting-related, I'm doubtful at first and then my eyes are opened. If this small scale introduction to the array of available yarns is any indication, don't be surprised if next year I write about having a garbage bag in hand for yarn hoarding and toting the bounty through customs.
With enough searching it was inevitable that I'd find some yarn that matched the colors I had in mind. The Yarn Shop's selection produced two colors I could check off my list. Kristin spotted a very nice Katia Duende yarn in purple with colored flecks that was perfect for my mom's scarf. It was a little more expensive than what I'd previously bought, but if you're going to splurge, you can't go wrong spending extra on your mother. This yarn is finer and furrier than what I've worked with to date, so it should give me a solid challenge.
I also bought two skeins of worsted weight Fantasy Dark Horse Yarns in dark green. The dye lots are different, but Kristin suggested it might make a nice variation when I knit with them simultaneously. So there's another knitting test I'll have in the near future.
Taking knitting needles on airplanes must be the hot topic in the knitting world. We overheard conversations in both stores about what Homeland Security will permit to be brought on-board. Considering the stories Kristin tells about some of the knitters she met when working in a yarn store, maybe planes would be safer if they put some of these fierce women on the planes in place of air marshals.
The veteran knitters may think I'm a lightweight having visited two shops and emerging with just four skeins of yarn, a quantity sufficient for two projects. All in due time. I have awhile before I'm shoving aside all comers to get some hanks of Peruvian alpaca at a Canadian manufacturer's deeply discounted event prices.
After the rainy afternoon of shopping was done, Kristin surprised me with some small gifts that all knitters need: point protectors and wool needles. The point protectors will be of immediate use. Every time I put my projects in a backpack for a covert repair, I take the chance that a row won't get pushed off the needle. The wool needles are for weaving in the ends, something which will happen down the line. As always, my thanks to her. Then again, with my fast embrace of knitting, should I look at her as my pusher?
Next...a mid-skein crisis.