Saturday, October 29, 2011

Why Yarn Shopping Is Like Dating

There's a nor'easter howling outside and I can't decide which knitting project to start. Do I dig into the super bulky to make hats for that feeling of instant gratification, experiment with the new Nicky Epstein book, or do I start those boot socks that have been calling me for over two weeks? I search my stash and come up with nothing that does any of the above-name projects justice. Out of frustration, I  yell to no one in particular, "This is just like dating!" 

When I enter a yarn shop it's similar to entering a singles bar. (BTW, I don't go to bars, but stay with me.) I walk around the room to get the feel of the place, for example are the lace weights all hanging around together or are they mingling with the crowd? Are the bulkys poured into a basket or do they have their own shelf? A slow walk through gets me acquainted with the crowd. High-ends are always at eye-level sometimes looking a tad desperate IMHO.

I have to tell you I've met some real losers. Skeins losing their twist, mismatched dye lots, yarns hanging by a thread, etc.,etc. Truly the slobs of the dating scene. And there's the funky types, aka the novelty yarns, who remind me of salesmen. They do. The novelties usually hang out at the front waiting to grab me by the ankle the second I walk into the store.

I'm still looking across the store when we lock eyes.  Like a beacon in the  night I  notice THE most handsome skein in the store.  He's an Aran weight wearing his best autumn colors - rusts with green accents.  The package takes my breath away.  He's going to keep my feet warm and his colors are going to curl my toes.  He extends his soft hand, his gauge matches my sock pattern perfectly.  I begin to walk away as I don't want to jump into a relationship on looks alone and I need to know what he's made of.  I pretend to be interested in another skein.  This one with muted blues and greens.

As I look back toward Mr. Aran, he's watching me and shining.  We shake hands again and in that moment I realize we were meant for each other.  He claims he has enough yardage for a pair of boot socks.   I'm taking him home with me.  I'm eager to find out if his love is true or if underneath it all he's got issues (such as knot mid-skein, fraying, uneven color, or just a miserable, self centered sot [read "Skein of Terror].)
In my heart of hearts I do not believe I'm a yarn snob. Those acrylics make great fathers and love babies. Blends add just the right amount of strength to keep my heals together. Lightweights? They are the ones who go with you into the yarn shop with their hand around your shoulders.  Worsteds?  Classic in any sweater and can multi-task with the best of them.  Chunkies and bulkies make life easier, are heavy heaters, and don't waste time.

At the end of the day I know I'll never settle for one type of yarn. I'll keep looking until the right yarn finds me.

So, what's your yarn type?

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