Tuesday, August 07, 2007

It Could Happen to You

Hey! Newbie!

Yeah, you, with the half-finished hat and the goofy grin on your face, and the itty-bitty stash that still fits in a wicker basket by the couch. I'm talking to you.

Stop sniffing that fresh hank of merino for a minute and listen. It may be your last chance.

Feeling pretty good lately, are ya? Enjoying your first forays into the local yarn shop? Contemplating the esoteric pleasures of socks, cables, fair isle, lace? Dancing feverishly to the siren song of 100,000 souls given over to the orgiastic joys of the yarn and the needles?

Well, snap out of it. It's not too late for you to get away, before you become what I've become.

All I wanted was a long scarf. That's all. Maybe with stripes. But you couldn't buy a really long scarf back then, in 1992. The best you'd find in the shops was a flimsy strip of woven plaid about four feet long. Pathetic.

So I bought some wool and I learned to knit. I made my six-foot scarf. And I thought, that was pretty fun. Maybe I should buy some more yarn.

Flash forward fifteen years.

I am still knitting. In fact, I am a knitter. Perhaps I am even a Knitter. There are even indications that I may be a KNITTER.

I write a knitting blog. Some people who read the blog will decide, on occasion, to send me a knitterly token of affection through the post.

One such reader lives in Japan. She and I have never met. She wrote to let me know that a package would be arriving on my doorstep. In the package there would be "some roving" to spin. Please note: "some roving."

I came home from work and the package had arrived. A package of considerable dimensions. As promised, it did contain "some roving." Here is a picture.

Whoa.

Each of those two balls of roving measures nearly 15 inches in diameter. Each of those two balls is larger than my whole head.

This, newbie, is the kind of thing that may happen to you if do not drop the needles right this minute.

You may come home one day and find that someone you have never met, who lives across the ocean in a country you've never visited, has taken considerable time, trouble, and expense to ship you a box filled almost entirely by two gigantic balls of animal hair.

And you will find this thrilling.

Is that the kind of life you want for yourself? Is it? Is it?

Yeah, I thought so.

Welcome to the club. Have some hair.

93 comments:

Sarah said...

Wow, how much do those weigh?? That looks like it's going to be really lovely.

By the way thanks for the late warning :P

Anonymous said...

Funny, you don't look like you belong to the Hair Club for Men.

Then again, I do believe they use acrylic...

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cherice said...

Wow. That's a lot of hair, can't wait to see what it looks like as yarn. Lots and lots of yarn.

I learned to knit in 1970ish, I don't really remember not knowing how to knit. I survived the "it's not cool to knit years" somehow and now that it's cool, I find strangers gifting me with yarn. Mostly it's acrylic to knit baby hats for the nearby hospital, but I'm drowning in it. I can guarantee that it's never been as cool as your ginormous rovings.

Laritza said...

Way too late for me! I am sure I would not have listened if you had said that to me on time....

yarnkat said...

It's so nice to have something to look forward to ;) I'm glad I'm a (K)nitter - that's transitional, I'm not quite at Knitter yet.. but I'm getting there. Thanks for a glimpse of the future, it looks great!

Judy G. said...

Like Cherice said, I learned to knit when some people thought it wasn't cool. I, on the other hand, thought it was cool that no-one else was knitting. (I guess I'm not a bandwagon-jumper-onner.) I don't know if anyone else is tired of the "Not your grandmother's hobby" crap, but it really grates...I gave away my stash to a hat knitter just after Christmas, and am now restocking with more interesting stuff. I've never been gifted with any, but I guess that's something to aspire to. Good luck with the rovings; that should keep you busy for a while!

Sarah said...

WoW! Enjoy your roving!

woolywoman said...

Oh, yeah. For me, it was a baby sweater. Just one, nice wolly red sweater for the new baby. The world was awash in pink and baby blue, and you know, just one bright red sweater. Yeah. I remember the stash fits in one basket days. Now, uhm what kind of roving is that? Are ther some kind of special Japanese sheep that I need to obsess over? Gasp- are they the sheep that are made into KUREYON? must google.must google, now.

mote said...

I know it's too late for me to turn back because my only reaction to this was mild jealousy... I wish people would randomly send _me_ roving from Japan...

~~Knitting Addict~~ said...

Oh, you lucky man! That looks like lovely stuff!!

Have fun spinning :)

Mel said...

Yeah, what the addict said. Lucky, lucky man.

Kristen said...

Oooo! What generosity! By the time you have all that spun up I'd say you'll have enough for another christening shawl. {ducking and running}

Rabbitch said...

That seems perfectly normal to me.

I do believe it may be too late. Even though I apparently can't knit.

la takahashi said...

Franklin, what kind of hair is it? The spinners want to know.

spinning my wheel in Seattle
:o)Lori

M-H said...

Nooo! That would never happen to me. It hasn't happened to me in the 45 years I've been knitting. I'd never become a knitter. Or a Knitter. Let alone a KNITTER. Never ever ever.

KarenJoSeattle said...

So, what, some kind of two-color patterned rustic fishing-villager sweater to get you through the Chicago winter -- first in the spinning and knitting, then in the wearing. Very handsome stuff.

I think my stash-in-one basket phase lasted about two weeks, unless you count the years I spent as a penniless, knitting high school student.

I just spent two days ordering 9 cardigans worth of discontinued and no longer available when it's gone Jaeger wools. The advantage of taking up or returning to an avocation as an adult is more control over the money you have to spend on it. Sort of.

Anna said...

I am that newbie. In fact I'm sitting om my sofa right now looking at the wicker basket containing my tiny stash. How did you know? *looks around for hidden cameras*

Anyway, thank you for the glimpse of my future ;) I hope to someday end up as good a knitter as you are (If I get to be half that, I'll be lucky).

MonicaPDX said...

::snicker:: I'm just imagining all your other newbie knitter readers reacting like Anna...

Lovely hair, and whooyowza, what a lot of it! Hurray for fiber gifties!

Ann said...

:snicker: And live forever awaiting the joy of squishy packages in the mail.

Yvonne said...

OMG that is toooo funny! I can't wait to see it spun up. :)

sillydoggies said...

I wish someone had said that to me a year ago.

Carol said...

Geez, I hope Dolores doesn't know them.

Jennu said...

Resistance is futile! I've only just started to succumb to the sock knitting. I wonder how long I have before I'm knitting lace and spinning and dyeing. I suppose we all just have to bow to the inevitable.

lauragayle said...

Harry's gonna be jealous. Or scared. Or maybe he'll train them to be his bodyguards against Dolores.

Elemmaciltur said...

Wow! If only someone would be kind enough to send me a hand spindle and some roving plus some instruction....then I would be able to join the club.

Lucky you!

Rosane said...

Hi Franklin,

What a delightful surprise for you! The generosity of fiber people is like this, profound and unexpected. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Take care,

Rosane.

LesleyD said...

Wow!! What kind of roving? It looks nice!!!
That's alot too!! I wonder what it could potentially be

Lisa said...

What, pray tell, do we plan to fashion out of the wonderful gifts?

Eldronius said...

Wow, I knew you said it was a lot, but goodness. I did not realize it was going to be that much hair!!! Exciting.

If it would not mess it up, I would request that you roll around in it and giggle in delight. I would ask if I could, but there is probably some unspoken rule about wallowing in another man's hairy balls of roving.

Em said...

Yes please, and thank you.

"Some roving" just makes me think of Charlotte's Web, and "some pig" -- that's certainly some roving! Lucky you.

Helen said...

how cool is that!
What a lovely thing to happen to a lovely knitter... er, handsome Knitter ... er um, taking my foot back out of my mouth now, since we know you're a KNITTER.
But does this mean that you are also a spinner? or perhaps, a Spinner?

Anonymous said...

Never mind the steps you just skipped over entirely....

"hey you, drop those needles right now. Knitting is a soft drug, a gateway that could lead to all kinds of harder stuff, like ....crotchet, lace, or.....spinning. Just wait until you're shopping in a farmer's field and picking the sheep out personally, and then shearing them.... you'll be sorry."

Friends don't let friends knit.

Kirstin said...

Calling that "some" roving is like saying that Elizabeth Taylor's had a few husbands!

Victoria said...

OMG! LMAO!

What a great gift!

FiberQat said...

Another warning to newbies: when someone says he's going to give you his stash, be sure you know that person well enough. You don't want to get stuck with 5 tubs of ick-rylic from 1986.

Ria said...

This, newbie, is the kind of thing that may happen to you if do not drop the needles right this minute.

Promise? *grins* I can't wait to attain that level of knitterly coolness!

lorna's laces said...

Does buying a yarn company count as excessive stash enhancement?? I seemed like a perfectly reasonable solution at the time...

When are you coming to visit us at the studio??

chandra said...

how freakin' cool!

Cindy said...

Life is good. Keep knitting Cindy

Sway Knits said...

Hi Franklin,

I came to your blog via Ravelry, I think. Just wanted to tell you that I love your sense of humor. It makes me smile. Some roving, indeed.

Lorraine said...

Yeah, way too late for me. But isn't it a charmed life?
I don't spin, and I'm excited by your roving heads. Marvellous.

I'm sorry to miss you at SMW, as I'll be going home on Sunday, but I do hope our paths will cross someday.

Perhaps in Knitter's Heaven?

Sarah said...

What a sweet gesture! Have you decided what to do with them yet? In the photo it looks like they might even look good plied together.

Anonymous said...

is delores jealous?

stitch-dom said...

Oh sure...now you warn me. Too freaking late man!!!

(ooh nice roving - what exactly is it?)

meg said...

I'm having the kind of day where I would like a big balls of hair just to sit in my lap and pet while I try not to scream at coworkers. You're a lucky man, Franklin, you have two.

Eunice said...

so when are you going to start dyeing and carding, and finally own your own sheep farm?

don't worry, we'll all still be here "helping out." ;-)

Pamela said...

Whoa! You scored!

Angie said...

You are fantastic and you deserve it. Hair all around!

Anna-Liza said...

That sure is some pretty hair. Watcha gonna do with it? (I'm picturing a two-color Fair Isle something or other, myself).

It's too late for me, but maybe I should send the link to this to my newbie friend Lyda ... nah.

Paula said...

So you're saying that if I knit long enough, someday I'll get big hairy balls too?

Cool.

Brown Berry said...

This is obviously a symbolic (and useful) representation of what it takes to beat lace patterns into submission the way you do.

Nice haul.

freecia said...

I find it completely charming that knitters express affection by sending other knitters tokens of affection. It is the knitter equivalent to a love letter, gifted ipod, or huge box of Godiva. So charming, so sweet.

Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

Okay ... now I want to see what becomes of it. What's it going to turn into? Will the color stay the same or will you dye it? Oh yes, there will be more to the story I'm sure.

BTW, I'm a Knitter & needle felter but haven't trusted myself to touch a spinning wheel yet. No room in my house!

Jeanne said...

I am insanely jealous. But what a great present!

Martha said...

Oooh! Karenjoseattle is so right, and the fair isle chart I'm sending you (I haven't forgotten, I've been sick) will be perfect for it. Yum!

Sid Leavitt said...

Franklin, nice Clint Eastwood tone. Even better finish. Thanks.

Dogged Knitter said...

Franklin, you are a fine, decent gentleman. Your post is a wonderful way to acknowlege her gift. Plus, it is funny.

I am so glad you write this blog and that I was lucky enough to find it. In it, you display what I still believe we humans really are. The popular media may not go for it - no real cruelty, for example - but that's all for the best. Such a grand place to go to; to rest and laugh.

Thank you,

Dogged Knitter

Paula said...

Oh my GOSH!! Who's luckier than you? By the way I think it's really funny that the only other "Paula" here left the "hairy balls" comment that I was JUST about to post.

john said...

*jealous rage ensues*

anneonymousone said...

Sometimes, every now and then, karma does come back around in some delightful ways. The generous, loving, talented, underappreciated folks sometimes get a big Cosmic Pat on the Back.

Congratulations.

Mindy said...

I have been lurking for awhile now. I love your writing and the christening shawl had me in tears.
I have been a Knitter for two years and it has brought me an amazing circle of friends (including blog friends). I've considered learning to spin, but am afraid of falling down that hole. I'm thinking it may be deeper than the knitting one.

maniacalmultitasker said...

*Clunk*
(the sound of my jaw dropping on the floor)
Franklin, you are one lucky dude!

the fiddlin' fool said...

Nice balls!

By the way, you coming to Britches next Tuesday? Sounds like it will be a lot of fun.

Ted said...

So what kind of fibre is it? (Yes: wool. Which breed?)

Anonymous said...

franklin, i love you even more now. i just saw that you also have the peanuts collections on your shelf!!! what a fabulous thing to see from someone who i can't wait to meet one day.
looking forward to knitting with you and perhaps trading favorite strips.
cyn from nashville

A Little Quacky said...

Wow! Makes me want to send you some of the roving I just listed. Hey, if it doesn't sell I just might! Have fun!

Janet said...

Maybe some of Dolores' pals will have some ideas about this.

flexahedron said...

This post is aimed at me. Yeah me, with my hat and t-shirt and the grin on my face because I cast off the t-shirt last night. I'm not worried though... I have plans for one pair of socks and one sweater, um, maybe two, but then I'll definitely be done. Yep. No problem.

Izzie said...

Oh my God. They are beautiful - the colours are incredible... I'm so jealous and I don't even spin...

I feel it's only a matter of time, however...

David said...

Those are by far the largest balls I have seen all week. Impressive.

Carol said...

Heh heh, nice try! You know your warning came much too late. Nice hair balls Mr. KNITTER!

David said...

I could use some hair, just not from a sheep.

Patti said...

Thanks for the warning. Too late. I started with a crochet hook as soon as I was big enough to get off my grandmothers lap. Now my dear. There is no hope. Only love and joy and where can I hide the next box before my husband comes home.

carla said...

I've already fallen into the KNITTER rabbit hole, but I am not yet a spinner.

How much yarn would one of those fiber balls make? 3 sweaters' worth?

Sandi said...

Hey, stay off of e-bay. I can spend $100 on yarn in 15 minutes there.

Linda said...

I WUVU, Fwankwin...all the more now that I've thrilled to the meter and tight pace (swoon) of your photo-enhanced thank you note.

Who WAS that masked gifter, anyway? Not that I'd, um, try to elicit similar joyous surprises, oh no!

Grandma Flea said...

I think you know you're a Knitter when Ravelry sends people to your blog .... which, by the way, should be your next warning - BLOG ADDICTION - spending every spare moment at the computer, searching for the internet cafes when you're away from your usual supplier at home, sleepless at night when you haven't had your daily dose, in dreamy euphoria when you get a hit that is just out of this world, neglecting your usual duties, eating baked beans out of the tin over a keyboard - I could go on, but please - warn them all what happens once they taste blogland.

Ann (yet another) said...

My visiting knit victim was taken with the capelet in the Vogue Knitting 25th edition. She was less impressed when informed no, I do not have this yarn in the stash. (shocking, I know) So we looked it up and she nearly fell out when informed that the designated yarn for that thing was about $500. Yikes! So, we stash dove. Now, this was a major undertaking, since I had told her that to my knowledge, I had one skein of 100% cashmere around here somewhere but had taken it off my desk (where I could pat it but the yarn thieving animals were also stealing it) we were hunting that up so that she could pat it. Now, while hunting for that, we patted many a yarn (it's a multi-room stash) and many were considered and discarded (itchy, don't have enough, wrong gauge, etc) when she chanced upon my bag of odd ball Montera and Maya. Pat, pat, pat, pat. Sorry the Maya is discontinued. Can we make this cabled hat from Montera? - why yes. Particularly since I can order you up some additional natural ASAP. So, we leap right from learning knitting and purling on a swatch of, shall we say, interesting configuration, to knitting this hat. Which has 5 pieces, cables in multi directions, and tassles. She already has decided to nix the bobbles, so we have some knitter attitude in the making. And we're off into learning charts. Hit the road running, she did. We're on row 11 of the first section. At this rate it'll be done by Xmas, if she persists. If not, and it's abandoned here, I will have the hard choice of whether to finish it for her (bad example I think) or not (I hate a UFO hanging around)

I think perhaps you should forward her today's entry. 8-)

Knitting Painter Woman said...

Ain't life grand?!!

Judy in Indiana said...

I have been trying to teach my seven year old son to knit, at his insistence, not mine. He picked out some blue and green Malabridgio (C'mon it's 4:20 AM< so what if I can't spell?). He announced today he was "giving up knitting but Can I keep my yarn?"

Betsy said...

Ah, inspiration for another ten or fifteen pages in book number 3...of the knitters,yarn,animals series...good job Franklin! Spin it up and you have a few pages in the yarn book...knit it up and you have a self portrait for the knitters book...what a gift.

Seriously...way way way too late of a warning for most of us...

Gigi said...

"Have some hair"...love it! Don't mind if I do. =-D

Vicky in Vancouver said...

See, most of us get the cat(s) first, THEN the hair balls....

You ARE an original.

Terri said...

Congratulations on your recent aquisition. You may have to start the first annual "Send Franklin A Gift" event to be sponsored by all your devoted fans...

Robin said...

WooHoo!! Can't wait to see what this turns in to. Lucky you. Congrats.

karen! said...

I found your after somone referenced it on ravelry. What a perfect post to come in on... because I am just such a newbie down to the half-finished hat though I may be a bit further on since my stash is already necessitating creative storage solutions.
In any case, I'll definitely be back as I am unfortunately beyond the stage where I can really be warned off. :D

gail said...

Half finished hat? How is the doctor doing?

Valerie said...

I stumbled upon your blog after someone said your little one had been christened my Albus Dumbledor. -=giggle=- Then I read this post and I can't stop laughing. You could kill a man with those Balls. Um... -=starts laughing=- You know what I mean.

Lise said...

six foot scarf? SIX foot scarf?! You name your blog The Panopticon and your entry to knitting was the lack of six foot scarves?

(I once forced my grandmother to knit a 14 foot scarf, then do it AGAIN because she got the colors wrong - yes, I was a total brat).

Seanna Lea said...

You have the biggest balls! (Yeah, I couldn't help myself, though I should have.)

Paulah said...

wow thats awsome!!!and I consider myself a newbie, and no.. Im not listening...today I went to 2 LYS for the first time, they are far from home but it was worth it.. I came back with the basics (not that I didn't have any lol),and right now Im casting on but can't figure out if I have to knit in the round, it says to use circular needles but it doesnt say anything else... anyway.. I m glad I found your blog :)

Kathy said...

Franklin, I do love you. perhaps more than Dolores. Really. If I had two head-sized balls of roving in my house, I'd mail it to you. Just because you are sheer delight and you always get it just right.