I recently went out to lunch with three of my co-workers; one of whom is a dedicated quilter and knitter, one who knows how to knit but isn’t really a knitter and one, who for a variety of reasons, is a non-knitter. It could be that she has simply never known the joys of creating something as glorious as socks out of a divine merino/silk blend. Then again, it could be that she is violently allergic to all things woolly. Either way, she does not knit. So when the two of us who do actively knit decided that we should stop at the Local Yarn Shop on the way back to work (it helps that my partner in crime is also my boss), the others had no choice but to come along for the ride.
I had never been in this shop before. Think of every stereotype that non-knitters have about yarn stashes, combine it with the most claustrophobic used bookstore you can think of and that was what this shop was. It was a long, narrow, low ceilinged bowling alley of a shop with so little air circulation (or possibly – do I really say this – too much stock) that my ears popped when I went into the store. Sound did not travel normally as it was absorbed by all the wool. If a customer was in any way claustrophobic, they would run screaming. Heaven.
The allergic-to-wool non-knitter left within minutes of entering. The fact that she is over six feet tall and had to stoop might have been a factor. The overwhelming riot of mixed fibres may have had an impact as well. Knows-how-to-knit-but-doesn’t stayed most of the time and touched things. We may make a knitter of her yet. My boss and I had a great time in the 15 minutes we had allotted ourselves.
In those 15 minutes I found three skeins of sock wool. I got a khaki green imported from Germany, a brown and white twist from Norway and a hand spun, hand dyed skein of alpaca/merino blend from Peru. I also got a new set of double pointed needles as every set I own has at least one bent needle – a result of being left on the couch where my 90lb dog likes to sleep and the rest of my family sits from time to time. So, to recap – three balls of wool and a set of double pointed needles, plus tax, totalled $65.00. Yes, it was steep, but it was hand dyed, hand spun alpaca/merino wool in the most glorious blues, pinks and purples. I really didn’t stand a chance.
Back in the car returning to work there was great interest in what I had purchased. My boss and Knows-how-to-knit were in the back seat and asked to see what I bought. There was much ooooing and ahhhhing with the general consensus that the brown and white twist was the most interesting, but the divine alpaca/merino felt the best. I freely admit the green was a purely functional 75% wool, 25% polyamide purchase and in no way frivolous. It’s September. Winter is coming. A girl needs socks.
Then I very nearly got us all killed. I said what I had spent. I don’t remember my exact words, but Does-not-knit - who happened to be the driver - snapped her head around so quickly I’m sure I heard something break. I could just about see the aneurysm happening as her eyes got bigger than I ever imagined eyes could get. The shock on her fact quickly turned to disbelief. She very nearly drove into the ditch. It was a very quiet ride back to work.
Curiously, she didn’t come to work the next day. I however, had cast on a new pair of khaki green socks.
It’s September. Winter is coming.