Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Trouble with Planning

I'm feeling a little nervous as I write this, because I know that the person who is in this blog post is a regular reader, and well... I'm worried about authenticity, like she might call me on any exaggerations, because she was THERE.

Not that I lie in these blog posts. Nope. Never. I just like a good story. You know?

Anyway, let's start from the very beginning... a very good place to start... (Sound of Music was on last night. Sorry. I can't help it.)

A couple of weeks ago, whilst planning our annual Christmas trip home, I was pondering a visit to one of the yarn shops there. I thought to myself, Aw man, I don't wanna put the hubby through that again. And I want to have time to enjoy myself there. How am I gonna do that?

That's when I thought of Linette.

Linette lives in my hometown, and started out as a friend of a friend, until I found out she could knit. AND crochet. Whoa.

Later on, I found out that she is a regular reader of my blog, and had just the right amount of empathy for both my adventures and misadventures in the yarn world. Double whoa.

So, I thought, Yes, she's it. She's the one.

I found her on facebook one evening, and talked her into meeting for coffee, and maybe a wander through a yarn shop or two.

Ok, so I didn't talk her into it. I nudged, she dove at the idea, and I dove in straight after. Ahh... a kindered spirit.

We arrived at my folks' house a few days ago, and the excitement of the upcoming day was almost too much. That sounds weird, I know, but besides being able to shop for yarn with another fibre artist (which was a great thing, in and of itself), I was also grateful to be actually meeting up with someone in Winnipeg. As the years have passed, I've drifted apart from my old school friends. I've been living away from my hometown for over ten years now... we've all grown up, found our own interests, started families, made new friends... and well, I knew that all my old school friends were doing their own thing, and this being the holiday season, trying to arrange time with them to hang out was going to be impossible. It's a lonely feeling, but it happens. Add to the fact that practically none of them have any interest in knitting, and well, that makes for some awkward conversations.

Anyway, I decided that, if I was going to have the somewhat rare privilege of going to a yarn shop, I might as well be prepared. So, a couple of days ago, I decided to get organized and start going through my stash and deciding what I could make with it, and therefore, prioritize my purchases according to the things I most wanted to make. That was NOT easy because a) I have a LOT of yarn at home, and b) it's all at MY house. This required a lot of poking around in my memory, trying to remember what I had sitting around at home.

After all that organization, I picked up my phone and made my wishlist. This is what I wrote:
  • 2000 metres of DK yarn for Isobel Skirt
  • 1200 - 1500 metres of DK yarn for Musetta
  • any fingering weight yarn in subtle variegated tones - at least 700 metres - for shawls
  • 1500 metres of DK yarn for Brunello
Hooray for organization. I was focused. I was ready. I was going to have a purpose in the yarn shop.

So, I met with Linette yesterday afternoon. We enjoyed a couple of hours of knitting (well, I had a crochet project, but you know what I mean), and chatting about all things handmade... sewing, quilting, the difficulty of twisted stitches, lace, cables, gift-making... all sorts of stuff. She told me about some ingenious mittens with a special thumb to help you use your phone in the cold, and vintage dishcloths (which are now queued, by the way). It was fun! Then, we got on a bus and went to Wolseley Wool.


Sooooo... about that plan...

I'd like to say we entered a vortex, and time and space swirled around us, and I lost my bearings. I'd like to say I was forced into a room and told that, under so circumstances, was a plan allowed in the shop. I could say that I didn't find one single skein of yarn interesting.

But Linette's going to keep me honest.

So, really, what happened was: I got a little giddy. I got lost. I had to touch everything. Twice. Maybe thrice.

Did I find any DK weight yarn for any of the projects? Did I buy any fingering weight yarn for any of the shawls I have queued? Did I at least purchase something from the bargain bin?

I can't take all this interrogation.

No, I didn't. Ok? I didn't follow the plan at all.

That's not to say I didn't try. I kept taking out my phone, looking at the list, trying to focus my eyes on the text.

But, but, but... there was all this beautiful worsted weight yarn. Good price. Pretty colours. No plan. Me Adriene. You yarn. Hey, shop man. Take credit card. Give me yarn. Ug.

After I paid, I texted the hubby. Asked him to pick me up. Sat and waited with Linette as she waited for her ride. Got restless. Decided to look at the needles. And, lo and behold, there was a circular needle of the mystical size between US size 10.75 and US size 11. Only available in Europe. Or so I thought.

Hey, shop man. Credit card. Needles. Mine.

So, here I sit with four skeins of Cascade in beautiful heathered blue. 880 yards. For what? Not sure yet.

And I have a set of 7.5mm bamboo circular needles. THOSE babies are going to be useful. I've needed that size more than once, and it has been impossible to find them in Canada. (I'm trying to sound convincing here.)

It wasn't a total bust. I didn't break the bank. I didn't fill the car with bags and bags of yarn with no purpose.

But, it would have been nice to have been one of those people who could follow a yarn purchase plan. Do those people even exist?

Ah well. It could have been worse. I could have made up some fantastical story about being organized, purposeful, efficient.

That's what comes of meeting up with people who read your blog. You just can't lie. It's bad karma. You don't want bad knitting karma. You never know what might happen to you: tangled yarn skeins, dropped stitches, tension problems... *shudder*...

... but we won't talk about the shoe shopping I did today...


YarnKettle said...

I like to think that I carry on witty banter with the wool shop keeper but I am sure there have been many more days when I sounded like you while buying yarn. Or maybe I sound a bit more like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, My precious, we will knit you into something beautiful my precious.

Oh and I have an ongoing love affair with Cascade 220, so don't feel bad that you did not stick to the plan. Happy knitting!

Anonymous said...

You went shoe shopping without me? ;)
Linette, partner in crime, proud owner of two beautiful skeins of green merino silk and one beautiful skein of variegated green and purple merino, lover of all things soft, still cursing at the twisted stockinette stitch.

AdrieneJ said...

@YarnKettle: Yessssssss....my precioussssss... Cassssssscade...

@Linette: The shoe shopping was not planned. It was incidental with hubby wanting to find new slippers... which happen to be in the shoe department...

Unknown said...

Hurrah for the needle find!! I think you did very well, if you aren't feeling the plan, you aren't feeling the plan it's better not to force it!

Anonymous said...

Love this and I totally feel you about the yarn and needle purchase. Many a time I have walked into my favorite LYS with a "plan" and walked out with more yarn or another knitting magazine. ;-)

Did you say shoe shopping...me wanna go too!!!!

Geri said...

Wow! That Cascade 220 Heathers colourway looks like the same colour I'm doing my October Frost cardigan with. Freaky!

AdrieneJ said...

@Geri: I'm going to have to see this cardigan! I love this yarn.