Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Stitches Midwest 2006 Part II: I Show Admirable Restraint

Nobody in our party attended Thursday's Student Mixer or the opening lecture plugging the new XRX lace book. We had a quick dinner in the hotel restaurant and then headed to the Market Preview.

Last year I likened the atmosphere at the Market entrance to a shark feeding frenzy. This time I couldn't stop thinking of Pamplona just before they let the bulls loose. Knitters were queued up four rows deep, hemmed in by stanchions, stamping and huffing, bug-eyed, red-faced.

Then, the bell. Or maybe it was a trumpet call. I don't remember moving my feet. I believe I was simply carried forward on a tide of eager shoppers, and didn't come to rest until I was at the back of the market face-to-face with Toni from The Fold.



I'd only met Toni once before, but she's still one of my favorite people in the entire world of fiber. She was deluged with customers, but took a moment to chat and said to me, "Hey, my shop's just an excuse to have my friends over."

You'd have to hear Toni say it to understand that this isn't fulsome gush, she's quite earnest. And that, my dears, is one reason why The Fold is such a landmark.

I immediately set about not buying things, and was successful for an entire thirty minutes. Then I enountered these women,



and everything went sort of fuzzy and blue.

When I came to I was holding a new wooden swift.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Fie, varlet! You said right there in fourteen-point electronic type that you weren't buying anything in the Market!"

Well, yes, I did. But let me clarify. And please get down off my sofa.

By "not buying anything" I meant to say that I was not buying any yarn. A swift is not yarn. No. A swift is a sturdy, solid piece of equipment designed to last a lifetime. This swift is an investment. I shall hand it down to my descendants as an heirloom.

Of course, Jon and Sean were not nearly so restrained as I. They shimmied up and down the aisles schmoozing vendors, kvetching about the stock and sucking up bargains like a pair of well-matched Hoovers. Such a display of consumption as you never saw.

As closing time drew nigh, I practically had to conk Jon over the head with my Beautiful Heirloom Swift™ to get him into a taxi and home to sleep before class the next morning. Clearly, some knitters have no self-control.

To be continued.

34 comments:

Natalie said...

A swift is infrastructure.

knit chick said...

Isn't Toni the sweetest? A roadtrip to The Fold is inevitable.

A swift is not yarn. It does not count... nor does sock yarn count towards your stash.

Jon said...

Now just wait a 'mo! You did not conk me over the head. I recall dragging my feet as you flitted from admirer to admirer, leaving the midwest women sighing in your wake.

So when are you going to fess up to the yarn you did buy? Huh, huh?

xoxo

Rabbitch said...

Roving is not yarn either, btw.

Sean said...

Roving...unadulterated Roving....

Sean said...

OH, Franklin. You really set yourself up with this "no buying" pledge. Geez, they're so literal!

Dee said...

Our little band of merry knitters is trekking to The Fold in Sept and you are welcome to tag along with us.

Elizabeth said...

A swift is a tool. It is not stash. You are absolutely right about that.

My verification word is xpbug. I find that amusing.

Anonymous said...

The photo of Bex, Chrisma, and Shella at the Hillcreek booth is a hoot! They are definitely among my "favorite people"... And, for heaven's sake, TOOLS don't count. Just keep reminding others (and self) that these are TOOLS not TOYS. Tools include swifts, ball winders, niddy-noddies, spindles, needles, spinning wheels, stitch markers (no matter how pretty they are, they still function in the tool category), and much much more...

Carol said...

You could argue that the swift was something you needed to make it easier to bust your stash!

Lee Ann said...

Since when do "admirable" and "restraint" belong in the same zip code, especially when "Stitches Market" lives there too?

Sigh. I'm about to smack YOU with MY Beautiful Heirloom Swift, sweetiepie....

(Gently. I'm not the violent type.)

Fyberduck said...

now all you need is a matching antique ball-winder ;) it's not yarn either

Matthew said...

Okay, as a psychologist, let me jump in and play "Dr. Ruth" in this situation. Like sex, S.E.X. (Stash Enhancement eXperiences) are healthy, natural, and normal. Restraint is one thing; but complete abstinence is just down-right unhealthy!!!!

Also, keep in mind that when you buy yarn and IMMEDIATELY start a project with it, (even if you get no further than casting on), that yarn is not technically part of your stash because you are using it -- yarn cannnot be in use in a project AND in a stash at the same time. This is one of my favorite loopholes.

Also, I loved the great picture of Toni -- she is a truly joyous person.

Mel said...

Two posts in one day! We are SO not worthy.I trust, though, that you will tell us what other not buying you did.

denny Mcmillan said...

A lot of us come to knitting straight from a 12-step program, so you know, buying yarn is not as bad as say,hard drugs,I just say'n. Myself, I started knitting when coming out of a 12-step for getting off the IKEA.
Yes, it's true, I have fallen off the wagon,once or twice.They seand that dame cataloge to your house for free. My last vist to the IKEA I spent 76$. Not bad people tell me,........ON CUP HOOKS PEOPLE, 76$ on way to many cup hooks.It was sad. I'm much better in a yarn store. Really. well.......

Richard Bodack said...

Franklin,
I too rarely buy anything (anymore) at knitters' events.
I've read some of your blog entries and have listened to some of your guest hosting on the pod cast (you've a lovely voice).
You admire Elizabeth Zimmermann, but have you discovered the wonders of Barbara G. Walker?
Knitting from the top, Barbara Walker's book, has been my bible for the 20 years I've been a knitter. Her stitch dictionaries are my desert island picks, if I could take nothing else (knitting wise, of course).
Next: Of knitting events, nothing beats the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, held in West Friendship, MD (not far from Baltimore) the first full weekend of May every year. I missed it this year voluntarily because quite frankly after 20 years I no longer find it interesting. I will however probably go to Stitches in Baltimore this Nov. I'll only go for a few hours to the market place (I don't like classes--sadly I only learn from myself)
Nice to have found the e-you.
Richard Bodack
Washington, DC

Jenn said...

I'm glad to see that I wasn't the only one taking innocent photos in the market before the big sign went up threatening expulsion.

Danny Ouellette said...

You really need to go to a spinning / weaving event that has a market.

The difference in the energy level of the customers is amazing.

There isn't any of this feeding frenzy. People may be determined, but they go at a leisurely pace. They are kinder and nicer, and don't try to gouge your eyes out over something THEY MUST HAVE RIGHT NOW!

Plus you get to try out fiber, and talk to people and vendors.

Much more civilised.

And fiber is not yarn, you can buy it!

Danny

Laurakeet said...

I'm so excited to hear more about your Stitches experience. It's always weird/fun/enlightening to see how other people saw what I saw. And I'm in Chicago, so I may hit up Dee and whoever else about this trip to the Fold! (Though I had no such no-yarn pledge at Stitches and should have to enter a nunnery [read: no S.E.X.] where I knit all day to justify any more yarn trips for a while...)

FiberQat said...

I didn't believe you the second time you said you weren't going to buy anything at Market. Anyone who did missed the nuance that only an incredibly gifted writer can insert into his prose.

Alwen said...

That's right: equipment doesn't count! I'm on a stash diet (yarn, thread of all weights) this year, and I've done pretty well. (Buying those 4 balls of Regia for $1 each at Goodwill doesn't count -- that wasn't stash enhancement, it was more like a miracle!)

mc78 said...

Does this stitches have a ball winder for less than $40? Does one have to engineer their own to get one for a bargain?

Jax said...

The real mystery is how you could escape from the Hillcreek booth without any books!! Bar none, they have the best selection I've ever seen!

marcia in austin said...

Where are The Fold and Hillcreek located, when they're not at Stitches?

mf said...

Toni is the sweetest! and no swifts dont' count towards yarn stash enhancement but it sure is a neccesity! How does one live without one....lol

christine said...

Dear Franklin - you are SO right. A swift is not yarn. A swift allows a knitter to store more yarn in a different format.
Congratulations, and welcome to the wonderful world of winding.

Linda said...

When we arrived at the Stitches Marketplace Saturday afternoon we were disappointed to see the sign forbidding photos. I guess it wasn't put up until after your preview, eh?

This year was only my second at Stitches Midwest. I haven't taken any classes, just gone to the Marketplace. The ladies at Hillcreek are fabulous and they always have plenty of fiber goodies, tools, and other accessories. As for Toni from The Fold, well, she is such a warm, funny person that I'm pleased at every opportunity I get to talk with her.

To answer marcia in austin...when not at Stitches, Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe is in Columbia, Missouri and The Fold is in Marengo, Illinois. Both cater not just to knitters, but to spinners and weavers, too. Here in "Chicagoland," a visit to The Fold is a great day trip. While I'd love to see the actual Hillcreek shop, a trip to Columbia, MO would take much more time.

Gail said...

See, if you are restrained at Stitches, as I was, your end up splurging in other areas. Such as by eating an entire container of Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Cups. Excessive yarn purchasing never keeps you from going into work the next day due to stomach distress.

(And, yes, listen to Dee, we're heading to the Fold!)

Christine said...

What decendants????

Bex at Hillcreek said...

Thank you! The picture you took of the three women (just before you turned woozy and you discovered the swift) showed Bex, Chrisma, and Shella. This is the only record we have that they actually attended Stitches -- except for the all the boxes that now have to be unpacked in the shop! I'm linking our blog over to yours, so our people get to see the pix. Thanks!

Denyse (Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe) as Bex at Hillcreek

jen said...

I was too bashful to accost you at Stitches, but admired you from afar. :)

Glad to hear sock yarn doesn't count...guess that means I didn't buy any yarn either! I did, however, buy needles (which also don't count), some of them from the lovely ladies at Hillcreek. And most of the needles are for socks, so they REALLY don't count.

Mary Peed said...

I miss Toni and The Fold. And she's not kidding about the excuse for having friends over... I'm thinking road trip to see the Harlot in Eau Claire, it's only another 6 hours to The Fold. I could do it...

schoolisathome said...

BTW Was looking for a "manly part" cozy pattern, (can find copious pics, ugh) and tripped across your blog. TOTALLY engrossed for an hour, witty and entertaining.
The pic of the 3 women I just wanted to let ya know I know them! Or the gal on right and left of center person at least. I grew up with them. Rebecca 'Bex' on left, Shella on right.

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This cannot really work, I feel so.