Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Stitches Midwest Diary, Part Four

(Continued from here.)

Thursday Night: The Market Preview

I make a quick call to C to let him know I have survived my first class and that I'm having a ball. He is audibly amused by my enthusiasm, which seems to grow by the minute.

Jon and I have an early dinner in the sports bar of the Hyatt. It is my first encounter with convention center food, and I wish I could know it will be my last. We watch two men from the auto parts show (also taking place at Rosemont) try to chat up a pair of knitters at the next table. The men’s excitement is palpable. Everyone knows that girls who like yarn are loose.

It’s market time. Nobody will be allowed in tonight except students. As we make our way to the entrance, we become part of a surging throng puts one in mind sharks following the scent of blood.

Last night, thinking ahead to the New York City trip and further photography/portfolio expenses, I made a deal with myself. No buying in the market unless 1) the price is incredibly good and 2) the item is something I would not be able to get in Chicago or online for a similar price. As I go through the doors and am confronted by the sight of more knitting paraphernalia than I’ve seen in my enitre life, I have to grit my teeth to keep my resolve from melting.

Thank God I’m with Jon. He’s a very good guide, leading me gently from booth to booth pointing out the best (and the worst), answering a constant trickle of questions with patience and occasional amusement. We frequently meet people he knows from past shows and it's obvious he's a very well-liked and well-respected person in this field.

Much of what we see is beautiful. We also see an awful lot of novelty yarn. Awful in every sense. Chacun à son goût, darlings, but I will never understand the urge to knit with yarn that resembles:
  • Christmas tinsel,
  • intestines,
  • shag carpet,
  • foam insulation,
  • vomit.
We come to the gigantic WEBS booth and I make my first purchase. Jo Sharp DK Wool. Ten (ten!) balls for $25. I buy bags in two colors, a bright jewel blue (it will become an Elizabeth Zimmerman seamless raglan for me) and a gorgeous autumnal red for Susan’s wrap. Even Jon, who can buy wholesale through the shop he works for, gives in to a bargain this good.

I am tempted by so much else, but even though there’s much to slobber over, I refuse to give in to impulse buying. This isn’t so hard, really, as long as I keep before me a mental image of myself sleeping in a Chicago alley on a large pile of cashmere yarn, rats chewing the ends off my rosewood needles.

We visit The Yarn Barn of Kansas City and I see a rack of Elizabeth Zimmerman videos. $95 for the set of three “Knitting Workshop” or “Knitting Around.” I pick them up. I put them down. I pick them up. I put them down. I pick them up. I put them down. I suggest to Jon that we please move far, far away from The Yarn Barn of Kansas City right this very minute.

We meet up again with Robert, an extremely nice fellow from Minnesota who Jon knows from a previous Stitches. Robert is witty, friendly, and modest in spite of prodigious knitting accomplishments. He will be in my six-hour lace knitting class tomorrow and I find this cheering in the extreme.

As we meander I’m able to finally see and touch yarns that bloggers mention daily, but I’ve not encountered before.

Thursday night I sleep fitfully, and dream of yarn.

To be continued.

(Yes, as I matter of fact I am going to draaaaaag this out as long as possible.)


Anonymous said...

Franklin, can I marry you?
By rats do you mean the small vermin or the politicians?
I could roll around nekked in Jo Sharp's yarns. (Don't tell those auto parts guys)
Please, please get to the Dragon part of the story...
What opera recording would you recommend for a beginning listener? I'm trying to expand my musical mind.

Unknown said...

I'm still a loose yarn girl. But I don't do auto parts salesmen. Ever. As I know you wouldn't, either.

If you think WEBS is wonderful at Stitches, you should see the actual warehouse. A religious experience.

So the Tiny Diva's yarn was long on yardage and perhaps short on quality? Who would have thought it possible?

Unknown said...

I recommend La Traviata for the beginning opera fancier. It's still one of my favorites. A good, sobby Italian opera and I like it better than La Boheme, Madame Butterfly, etc.

Oh yeah, and try Die Zauberflote. The Magic Flute. Wonderful opera. Mozart. Can't go wrong with him.

Cheryl:) said...

I wouldn't do an auto salesman, auto parts salesman --any of that ilk... and I also could roll around nekkid in the Jo Sharp yarns --what a great find!
I love you stretching this out like this...

Franklin said...

Michelene, C would be mad at me, but I am touched by the offer. I can't tell the difference between the two categories of "rat" you mention, though.

Also, I keep forgetting to ask which part of Illinois you're in. Do tell. You can be vague if you don't want me stalking you.

I'm with Marilyn on La Traviata. Good story, great tunes. An excellent starter. If you can, find the flim version, directed by Franco Zeffirelli with Teresa Stratas as Violetta. It is a rare example of opera filmed well. You will cry your eyes out. For a recording of it, I'm enormously fond of Sutherland/Pavarotti.

I love Mozart, but Flute's not my favorite. Le nozze di Figaro is. It also happens to be screamingly funny. I would recommend a video version but I don't know of any I really like that are in print.

You might try a sampler disc of selections, too. When you hear an aria you like, go from there to listening to the full opera.

I can only tell you the auto parts salesmen didn't get anywhere with ME. As for the shady ladies in intarsia teddy sweaters, I can't speak for them. I'm sure for some of them it was their one weekend to howl...

Cheryl said...

I also fell under the Jo Sharp spell at Webs. I've never knitted with it, but I am heartened by everyone's lusty admiration.

Figaro is fun, but put me down for Tosca.

Anonymous said...

Well Franklin, Marilyn is right (I didn't say it) about the yarns of the Diminutive Diva.

The quality of her yarn is a bit low–but she is trying to reposition herself as "the people's knitter/crocheter."

My swatch library is for "the people's use", so her yarns will be included; but, since I am spending my own money–I will only put up the best of her line.

moiraeknittoo said...

"As we make our way to the entrance, we become part of a surging throng puts one in mind sharks following the scent of blood."

And all of them carrying pointy things that can and may skewer your hands like Roman spikes should you reach for the 50% off cashmere/silk blend first.

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