Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Epic Tale of an LYS

I'm in the library, where I am supposed to be studying (my Contracts book is actually open in front of me) but I've been so neglectful of this blog! I don't expect to have much time, or sanity, to post until finals end (just before Christmas), but I will try not to abandon you totally.

I have a wonderful LYS story to share. Every year for Thanksgiving, I get together with a dozen or so of my family of friends from a fantastic summer job. This year, we camped in Redwoods National Park in northern CA. Five of us drove down from Portland, in a fantastic camper van (Jimmy) and food to feed 18 people for five days.

We stopped for gas in Grant's Pass, at a station that just happened to be next door to a knitting shop! While we were filling up, I thought I'd just pop over and see what the shop had to offer. My friend Becca came too.

Walking in the door, we were greeted by a large table covered (covered) in knitted objects, finished, and in various stages of progress. In the next room was all the yarn and in the third room, the patterns and needles, etc. The four women in the shop immediately started talking about how wonderful it was to see teenagers (teenagers!) knitting.

I was wearing my recently finished So-Called Scarf (FO post to come), and the women picked up on that. The owner of the shop asked me what stitch it was, and I told her the name of the pattern. this is where the story gets crazy. This woman (Susan) started to berate me about how knitting is an ancient art, handing down through the generations and we do a disservice to our ancestors if we abandon the stitches for patterns. And, if we use patterns, we don't actually learn the principles of knitting and don't actually know how to knit. Plus, we're evolutionarily at the top of the chain because we know how to use tools, and what are you doing, using double-pointed needles for socks?! Didn't anyone ever teach you the magic loop?! Or using two circs?! Or just two double-pointed needles?! This is blasphemy. You aren't using your tools correctly, you have no place on the evolutionary scale!!

At this point, Becca and I are just looking sideways at each other and trying to gauge how quickly we can escape.

The UPS man comes, and Susan starts to jump up and down (jump up and down) out of excitement, splitting her pants in the process. We have no idea what was in the box.

She comes back to us and asks what we're making and buying. I'm not buying anything, but I've inspired Becca to take up knitting again. She selects some sport weight alpaca, and asks the owner what needles she should get. We get another lecture about tools, and gauge, and then she asks me if I'm a "flicker" or if I "manage my line in my right hand." I have no idea what she's talking about. She makes me knit a round on a sock she has lying out on the table, and determines that since I hold my working yarn in my right hand, I am not a flicker (continental style, I suppose) and am therefore not a knitting snob.

Since Becca wants to make wristwarmers, the selection of needles was a long process, complete with Susan pulling out pattern books. We finally convinced her that since Becca hasn't knit in a long time, she will be knitting them flat and then seaming them, so regular old circular needles will be just fine, and no pattern, cables, or short rows are necessary.

Susan then begins to try to explain to Becca how to cast on, and we tell her that I will be helping her in the van, and we don't need a knitting lesson right now, thank you. However, when she learns I do a long-tail cast on (which apparently isn't even a true long-tail cast on, but it's what my mother taught me, so I'm totally carrying on the tradition of my ancestors, lady), she freaks out. She makes me learn some crazy "Dorothy's cast-on" for socks, which she says will blow my mind. (I'm mildly impressed, but I'm not unhappy with my regular cast-on, so I'll keep using it. Plus, I can't remember this mind-blowing cast-on.)

Mike has since finished filling up the van and come into the store, trying to get us to leave, but he can't handle Susan's craziness and immediately rushes back to the van. Susan is in the process of telling us that it is too bad Becca and I aren't named Susan that that we don't have another friend named Susan with us, because when there are five Susans in the store, there is an automatic "Five Susans" Sale of 10% off.

Finally, Becca gets to pay for her yarn (without a 5-Susan-discount) and needles, and then we begin the process of winding the skein into a ball. Susan again rails against big-city snobby yarn stores that make you pay to have your skein wound (I've never encountered one of those), which again, leads to a discussion of yarn-snobbery.

With the skein safely wound and the yarn paid for, we try to make our escape. The last straw comes when Susan runs off to start the water boiling so Becca can boil the cable of her needles so it's pliable. Finally, we tell Susan we actually have four more hours of driving to do have three people waiting in the car for us, and really, we don't have time for her to boil water for us!!!

We make our escape and make plans for an extensive blog post. And that, my friends, is the story of the Knitting Beehive in Grant's Pass, OR. If you ever go, make sure to bring your four friends named Susan.


Joanne said...

I don't know how you DO manage to keep up the blog & Knit & lots of other stuff & fit Law school in there too.

You do find some "interesting" folks! This yarn store lady sounds like more of a yarn snob than the ones she lambasts - and then there was the guy outside the cafe who really needed a belt and lectured you. Pretty funny when the tales are being told (even if it isn't funny when you live it!)

going to the jacuzzi before bedtime.

jenne & george said...

That is truly outrageous/hilarious. How big is Grants Pass? Did you try slipping in any little comments about how she's crazy? Or lying and tell her both your middle names were Susan?

Claudia said...

That's the best story I've read in a really long time. Amazing.

Maia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maia said...

I'm really glad you shared this. Incredibly funny.

Whitney said...

That story was incredible! I've never experienced such craziness in a yarn shop...Part of me wishes I could have been there, just to see it myself. I agree with Joanne too...I don't understand how people can get so SERIOUS about knitting.