Thursday, December 29, 2005

Too Much of a Good Thing Is Wonderful

I'm the one on the left.

When I taught Susan to knit, during the last 30 minutes of her visit to Chicago in July, I wrote the following in a blog entry:
I won't be heartsick if she doesn't keep up with it, but I sure hope she does. Between her first row and her final row there was a decided increase in speed and agility, and I swear she got that look in her eye. You know the one I mean.
For once, I was right.

Yarn Crawl, Part Two

We turned my Christmas visit, which was wonderful in many ways, into an extended yarn crawl. In addition to these three, the day after Christmas our mother joined us for a trip to:
  • Korner Knitters (2 Fort Hill Road, Standish). Extremely friendly service. A really good selection of mid-price and luxury yarns at (mostly) 10% below suggested retail. And they have what they call the Kloseout Kitchen. What sort of stuff do you find in the Kloseout Kitchen? How about enough Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran to make a sweater, for under 50 bucks. How does that sound to you? Sound good? Yeah, I thought so.
The day after that, we signed Susan up for the Maine Stitch 'n' Bitch Yahoo group. And we saw a notice of a new yarn store opening. Susan said we needed to go. So we visited:
  • Knit One Fiber Artistry (91 Tandberg Trail, Unit 6, Windham). If you like the yarns of Knit One, Crochet Too, you probably know they moved from California to Maine in the mid-90s. They just (in November) opened up a retail shop in front of their headquarters. Driving by, you might miss it. It doesn't look like much - a small storefront on an industrial building. Inside, the picture brightens considerably.

    The main room has a knitting area with sofas, and shelves with (it seems) the whole line of Knit One, Crochet Too yarns. I knew about Parfait, thanks to Jon, but Susan and I also liked the looks (and feel) of Paint Box and Douceur et Soie. They've got a large selection of reduced yarns–samples, odd-sized skeins, and discontinued stuff.

    They sell patterns, too, many of them designed by the firm's current owner, Hélène Rush. I don't know much about Ms. Rush, but I like her designs. This is the first yarn shop I've seen in which almost all the knitted samples on display looked like something I would knit. No little praise, since I'm finding I seldom seem to be able to stick to somebody else's pattern.

    The service here was, once again, splendid. The saleswoman (whose name I regret I forgot to ask) was enthusiastic and helpful without being pushy.
That's five (great) yarn stores in five (great) days. I'm still winded.

Purl of Mother

Mom has been reading both our blogs for ages, and indicated that she, too, might like to knit. She learned a long time ago, she said. I couldn't remember her ever using knitting needles, so I figured it must have been a very long time ago.

As one of her Christmas presents, we got her set up with a pair of bamboo needles and a ball of Lorna's Laces Shepherd's Worsted. We had a short introduction to casting on, and then suddenly she was knitting. English style.

I learned to knit Continental, and that's how I taught Susan. And now it turns out our own mother is English. It's rather like the owl that hatched the cuckoo, only in reverse.

Before we knew what was happening she'd done about five inches of a ribbed scarf.

This means the knitters in my immediate family now outnumber the non-knitters three to two. I wonder if we could interest my father in sheep herding?


Anonmous said...

your Italian Mama from Cleveland knits English...oh my!

Anonymous said...

"Great is the power of Habit" here on so many levels...

goblinbox said...

Perhaps your father would like to raise alpacas!

Sorka said...

ooooh a shop in Windham to add to the list!Yeehaaa!

Dad could raise pygora's they are small!! And soft and good.. but then one of you will have to learn how to spin!

Anonymous said...

I think it's very cool that your Mum reads your blogs, and even better that she took up knitting again because of them. It's also pretty amazing how strong muscle memory is. Glad you had such a wonderful time with your family! Your Dad's a handy kind of guy, right? Maybe if he doesn't want to raise sheep, he could make custom wooden knitting needles for you all? (and then teach me how to make 'em too!)

Calvin said...

I love if someone else in my immediate family wanted me to teach them to knit. It would be great to have them to knit with. The only problem, however, is that they don't live nearby. That was family in what you said about your dad and sheep herding.

Calvin said...

Sorry, meant to write funny.

Melissa said...

I just wanted to say how much your cartoons make me smile as I am incapable of doodling or drawing wee cartoons at all.

Hand me paper and a still life or something equally boring and I'll obsess over details until it reaches a degree of realism with which I am happy. I'm an artist who has never really doodled. I envy the doodlers.

Unknown said...

I love knitting with my mom. Oddly, she taught me to knit English because for some warped reason of her own, she thought it would be easier for an 8-year-old to grasp. I had to teach myself Continental when I was...34.

Tell Dad alpacas are the way to go. We'll all buy his fiber if he wants to sell it. At least, I will.

Susan said...

Dad doesn't seem to be taking to the alpaca thing (too bad! That's what gets my vote), but he did perk up at the thought of hand-crafting knitting needles. He started muttering about lathes and such. When dad starts muttering about tools, it's a good sign.

Anonymous said...

Franklin, your holiday sounds absolutely divine. I taught my mother to knit last year at Christmas and she is an avid and devoted fiber addict now. Here's wishing you many more happy family gatherings with your charming, witty and intelligent knitting family (surrounded, of course, by custom crafted needles from your father)!

Anonymous said...

My parents in Yarmouth thank you: yet more reasons to visit them (we won't tell them how little time I will actually be spending at their house).

(Sadly, I didn't get to go yarn crawling last weekend, due to my first stomach virus in at least 25 years. This was not exactly the holiday weight loss plan I had in mind.)

Patrick said...

Send Father some Walnut, Cherry and Maple to play with. Hand turned needles with decorative ends or glued on porcelain doodads will sell like hotcakes on your website. And if Lantern Moon can fetch $30-$40 a set, so can your Papa. Imagine - Panopticon Points!

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