Saturday, February 17, 2007

Color swap shopping

Light snow fell again this morning and afternoon, but I braved the streets to do my shopping for the favorite color swap. Luckily there wasn't any ice on my car. I've tried to buy a new ice scraper but can't find one. A gas station manager told me they'd get July. It's the same problem shopping for warmer clothing. Retailers consider thermal underwear out of season now, but I can buy all the shorts I want.

The weather wasn't creating dangerous conditions, but you'd never know it by the way people were driving. Today's precipitation is no different from rain, yet you'd think we're in the midst of a record blizzard. I'm all for being careful behind the wheel, but the overly cautious drivers here are actually making things worse by poking along.

I didn't want to get my secret pal the same old stuff she could get at JoAnn's or Hobby Lobby, so I went to a local yarn shop to make my purchases. I also figured I'd have better luck finding her favorite colors, which are more specific than I would have liked. Way back when I grumbled about one of my brothers not being descriptive enough in naming a favorite color. In this case I'm searching for colors that are described with too precisely.

Raspberry pink is one of her colors. I roamed the store with it and the two other colors in mind. There's a lot of room for interpretation in her colors, so I compared several yarns that approximated what I perceived them to be. Labels were no help since most listed numbers for the colors. After settling on two yarns, I asked a clerk for a second opinion. She got the store's resident color person.

She didn't think one of my picks matched the requested color. This color expert found two examples that she thought were closer to it. One was too scratchy, in my opinion, so I went with the other after failing to find anything similar in the store. I asked for confirmation on my raspberry pink pick. Again, she disagreed. She showed me something that I would describe as brick red. That seemed completely wrong to me, so I stuck to my guns despite the clerk describing my choice as hot pink. Hardly. Wikipedia's pink entry wouldn't have been much help in my shopping, but it would have supported my assertion in this matter.

These ladies didn't understand what the favorite color swap was all about. What is the yarn for? What do I get, and what will I do with it? I don't know the person I'm sending to or who's sending to me? What is this "internet" I speak of? (OK, I made up the last one. They didn't ask that.)

I found the third color and felt satisfied, if not 100% certain, with my selections. Two of the yarns have good yardage, so they should be useful. I'm afraid that the other one doesn't have as much, but $20 only goes so far. I'd post a picture or name the other colors except for the off chance that my pal drops in here and has the surprise ruined.

Even if I had to rack my brain trying to nail these colors, it's been an enjoyable experience so far. I'd like to include a couple other things--a mix CD, a coffee cup cozy, and some chocolate--before shipping the package. I've read my pal's blogs and exchanged a few e-mails with her, so I think I have a good enough sense of what she'll like.

Hopefully my secret pal can say the same despite my answers.


At 8:26 AM, Blogger Karen said...

Kudos to you, Mark, for putting such effort into getting it right for your secret pal... and for going it alone. We females we normally drag a friend along to help, preferably someone with an eye for color!

I'm guessing you did just fine. Part of the fun of these swaps is the element of surprise.

At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your secret pal will appreciate how much you care about giving her something meaningful! By the way: if the color you chose isn't perfect for her, it's a given that she knits for others, so you are, in a sense, paying the gift forward!

Of course $20 doesn't go that far - but wouldn't a skein of a really nice yarn let you make, say, another pair of slippers, or a really good hat? Add in a couple of little treats or gizmos, and it's a nice package.

I've hosted swaps myself, and one of the things that participants have done to irk me has been to complain that they didn't get *enough* . That's one of the reasons I love this one: you can choose your level of participation, and that choice can be (partly) a measure of whether your focus is on the giving or the receiving.

Personally, I'm delighted with you as my partner, because you're the kind of new knitter who will be encouraged and interested in new tidbits of yarn, or whatever.

Incidentally, if you feel deprived because you didn't have to scrape ice off your car, come over to my place. For two days, the only ice I could displace was the ice over the windshield and back window. It was like driving a front-wheel drive igloo.

cheers -

At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incidentally, part 1 of your package is on the way - it's coming to you direct from the vendor. I'll mail part 2 myself....

At 4:06 PM, Blogger the secret knitter said...

It occurred to me that we may be dealing with a difference in definition and perception. I've always associated raspberries with black raspberries, or more or a purple. (I remember having them as a kid, but I've not had much luck finding them at the grocery store. Do they have a short season?) Could my pal mean more of a red raspberry color? I guess we'll find out.

To the person sending me stuff, I can't wait to see what comes. Plus, it's good to know a package is on the way just in case. My neighbors haven't taken to stealing my mail, but I suppose that could change. (I'm not worried. They left alone the awards screeners sitting in front of my door.)

At 5:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my world, raspberries are red. I would have assumed a red color. For periwinkle, I'd have examined a shell or two. But that's just me.

I don't think your neighbors will want to steal your package unless they like boxes that smell like an elephant.

At 8:07 AM, Anonymous ruth said...

Try explaining 'secret internet swap' to the folks in Africa :) These people are among the most distrustful I've ever met! "How do you know you're going to get something in return?" and I also actually do get asked "What is this internet thing?" Note to self don't tell people over 60 what you are doing. I'm sure that what you have chosen will be fine. I'm going shopping for my pal on Friday, hopefully it will be a little easier than your experience.

At 5:44 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

haha - Your "What is this internet you speak of" comment cracked me up!!!!!!!!! Seriously, the extra large hot cocoa mounded up w/ marshmallows I just inhaled is making me giddy and I was really laughing out loud ;)

At 10:26 PM, Blogger Starfish said...

Ha! You done good Mark! I loved everything you picked. And I'm sorry that raspberry pink caused you so much grief. Any shade of pink would have been just fine (but I'm glad you steered away from the brick red). The CD was AWESOME!! You ROCK!


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