Several weeks ago I took my first field trip to a real yarn shop. For now I have been using Michael's, Joann’s and A.C. Moore to fuel my knitting habit, mostly because I have so many hobbies and they are like the Walmart of craft shops. I can get everything I need from yarn and needles to candy melts and beads, under one roof and I can use coupons to save a little dough too. I also tend to hobby hop. I got completely immersed in jewelry making until I just ran out of attention span. I tried my hand at card making until last Christmas when I let time slip away from me and had to make a rushed trip to Target for whatever cards they have left that I can just sign our names to and drop in the mail. I even have a blank canvas, unopened paints, and pristine brushes waiting for a hobby that I have never even started. So when I learned to knit it just didn’t make sense to start at the top of the yarn food chain with a rich wool-silk hand spun skein that costs as much for one as it would for the four I need to finish a baby blanket. Plus I knew I'd probably ruin the beautiful yarn in the learning process anyway.
Well, it’s been almost three years so I’ve deemed myself graduated to the next level of seeking out better yarn and a more sophisticated knitting atmosphere.
I have to admit I was disappointed (therefore said yarn shop will remain nameless). I’m not sure what I was expecting exactly. There were no angels singing, no shaft of light from heaven softly settling on “the chosen yarn”, no celestial pull towards one yarn or another. Of course I’m not disappointed none of those things happened, and it was a small shop, so there was not a whole lot to look at. Even though I lingered over almost every shelf, fingering the soft yarn, comparing weights, reading tags, mentally knitting projects with this color or that, it did not take me long to see the entire inventory. What bothered me was there were no tables tucked in cozy corners where knitters could gather and work on projects, learn, get help, or socialize about whatever while their needles clack away. I felt a strange need to start a dialogue with the woman, I assume the owner, who was quietly winding yarn around a magazine and leaving me unexpectedly alone as my head went crazy with questions I felt too foolish to say out loud. It was as if I had just finished a fantastic book and wanted to talk to someone else who also read it and found no one who would talk, even though they had read it too. I didn’t realize it till that moment that I was craving the kind of community I already had for books, and church, but for knitting, and I left the “special” yarn shop no more connected then when I had first swung the door open to reveal the small, un-angelic sounding shop.
I have decided that I will not be deterred, it just wasn’t the shop I was hoping for. I have a list as long as my arm of other shops to map out and visit that are close to my house. I will find my knitting mentor/club/buddy/chum to make me feel less alone in this world. I will!