Harrowing Tales of Wayward Yarn

Gather round children, I have a tale to tell. It was a gorgeous late summer night. Louise and I were sitting in her car (a convertible Mini Cooper named Peaches) in front of my shop. It had been a very long and very fun day with the girls. We had left early in the morning for a bead convention, switching vehicles several times as we added people to our group. The trip was about two hours, one way, and we stayed at the show until the bitter end (of course), followed by a fabulous dinner at a local restaurant (of course) and then the trip home.

We sat in the car exclaiming over the treasures acquired that day, when suddenly Louise began to panic. "Did you see my knitting bag?" We dug through a back seat and trunk full of bead purchases, snacks, golf clubs, miscellaneous clothes, and a blanket belonging to Louise's youngest (an Elmcrest Terrier named Harrigan MacDuff Barkadiddy Jones - Harry for short). No sign of any yarn. "When did you last have it?" I asked, trying to retrace the day in my head. Louise could remember seeing it on the the first leg home from the show, in Wanda's van, but she did not remember bringing it with her into Fiora's car.

I looked at my watch. 10:30. I knew Wanda and her husband Mike were night owls, so that wasn't an problem. But neither of us had been to Wanda's before and that could be an issue. Her house was pretty far out into the country, and...and...and why not? It would be an adventure!

As I dialed Wanda's phone number, I reached into the glove compartment and grabbed the GPS. Louise’s GPS had been a good friend this summer, not yet steering us wrong. Wanda wasn't back yet, Mike said. I quickly explained the situation and handed the phone to Louise so she could get some additional directions from him. I began fiddling with the GPS. We had been trying out different voices all summer. There was the handsome and sophisticated British man…the young and rugged Australian hunk… This trip called for something different. I scrolled through the list of options as I heard Louise repeating Mike's very detailed instructions. Then I saw it. I had found the voice to guide us on this trip. Feeling adventurous, I set the GPS to Dutch. Now to find an appropriate soundtrack. I started scrolling through my iTunes library. Iron & Wine? Too mellow for tonight's adventure. They Might Be Giants? Not quite right. Scrolling…scrolling…there it was. I put on a little Phish, and we were on our way!

Fast forward half an hour to Louise and I giggling uncontrollably at the Dutch commands and driving a lonely road out in the country. Not a soul to be seen. Strangely, not even the animals weren't out. As we drove on and on past wooded patches and farms, Phish slipped into the familiar lyrics of “Maze” and we became hypnotized by the music and the solitude. The road wound back and forth (“You’ll never get out of this maze.”), we wandered up and down hills (“You’ll never get out of this maze.”), and with every turn the roads got narrower and narrower (“You’ll never get out of this maze.”). We were passing an endless cornfield when I looked at Mike’s directions. “There should be a turn coming up on the right” I said. We peered ahead, but it was nothing but corn as far as the eye could see. We drove a bit further, and suddenly, a very narrow lane was peeking out of the cornfield. Louise turned, and we were surrounded by tall, late summer corn stalks, nearly pushing themselves up against the car. Being a fan of Stephen King, I immediately started telling Louise about Children of the Corn. We slowly and carefully made our way, nervously glancing out the windows for He-Who-Walks-Behind-The-Rows. Finally, there was a wider place up ahead, and we could see our way out. Wanda’s road! We counted houses with relief, and saw our destination up ahead. As we pulled into her driveway, Wanda came out of the house with Louise’s wayward bag of yarn, and the uncontrollable laughter took over again. We had survived unscathed, and were in the safety of civilization again. Or were we?

What Rhymes With Orange?

This brings us to my first project. Not the hat I started in class (which really did get finished) or the scarf from class (that didn't), but the first things I made on my own, no patterns, no nets. I should give you a bit of background. While I am new to the Land of the Fiber, I am no stranger to arts & crafts. I have been living in the Land of the Beads for fifteen years. For much of that time I have been designing intricate beadwoven jewelry, eventually opening up a shop selling my beadwork and jewelry making supplies. So I am not shy when it comes to design, in fact, I would much rather make things my way. I also generally like to "wing it", half the fun of the doing is figuring it out for myself. In that first week I had accumulated an overwhelming amount of books, yarn, needles, and even an iPhone app. I had all the ammunition I needed and was ready to go!

I was particularly inspired by this very thick and very orange yarn I had found at a local craft store. And I knew from my first class that I could do garter and stockinette stitches till the cows came home. I wanted to learn something new. So I decided on a hat with a ribbed brim and a scarf with a basic cable. I flew through these first pieces like a woman possessed! And in the end I took a look at what I had done and felt pride, then like any good addict, quickly discovered I already needed more.

The Tornado and the DomKNITrix

Apparently, the Goddess of Fiber had me in her sight from the start. A few days before our first knitting class, Louise and I kidnapped our friend Wanda (who am I kidding, she was a very willing victim) and visited a nearby arts festival. It was a perfectly lovely Sunday with the girls, except it wasn't, because it was dark and dreary, and as we traveled up and up the mountain to the scenic town where the festival was held we entered an ominous pea soup fog. We wandered around the tents, having the place to ourselves, since the weather forecast had brought the sane people out the day before. I purchased a fabulous felted wool bag (of course) and we wandered into a nearby used bookstore, musing at how lucky we were that the worst of the storms had held off. That was the cue Mother Nature was waiting for, because not ten minutes later the sky and the shop went black, with a loud BOOM. This was quickly followed by tornado sirens, warning everyone to take cover. Being in the lower level already, we were as safe as we could be. And maybe it was just the musty smell of the used books having a sedative effect, but since there was really nothing to be done, we began browsing the books again in the dim emergency lighting. Eventually we all ended up in the craft section, a cozy nook with some chairs near a large window (in retrospect, the window was probably not a wise idea). I was casually scanning the titles, when I came across Jennifer Stafford's domiKNITrix, in all it's glory. As if the title alone wasn't enough for me to have to have it (it was) when I started flipping through the pages I was hooked by the treasure trove of information and her unique voice. "I discipline my yarn. I force it into the form I want it to take. I am persistent, firm and commanding. I am the DominKNITrix." I wanted more than anything to earn the title of dominKNITrix. The book was mine. As it knew it would be before I even walked into the shop.

Welcome To My Fiber Addiction!

Hello, my name is Thelma, and I am a fiber junkie. My problem got out of hand in August of 2009, when my friend, Louise suggested we take a knitting class a local community center and become famous knitters. Always up for anything, I told Louise I thought that would be a grand idea. The day after our inaugural class, we headed off on our first of many yarn runs. I came home with a $50.00 skein of yarn embellished with sequins and beads (obviously what every brand new knitter needs) and a bag of yarn to make my first sweater. Fast forward to half a year later, and all of that yarn still sits, waiting patiently (did I really think I would be knitting a sweater in my first week???). But fear not, gentle reader, because there has been much yarn in those 6 months that has been both well loved AND used.

This blog will tell you the story of that yarn, and all the yarn that is yet to be. Louise and I were the first, but our other girlfriends have started to fall. All it takes is a little taste.

So come along for the ride, if you dare.