Monday, June 8, 2015

Buying yarn in St. John's

Today, let's discuss the hazards of vacation time - specifically, the weakening of resolve that results from becoming free of one's normal crippling routine.

This is not yarn.

As you know, I must not buy more yarn.  As I write this, surrounded by partially unpacked boxes and debris and moth-safe bags of indeterminate items, I recognize that I could build a small dwelling with my current supply.  But while I was on vacation, we drove past one of those highway signs with symbols for food and gas and lodging, and it included the international symbol for "throw off all restraint": a simplified ball of yarn.

I still have zero clue what the yarn ball was meant to convey.  The obvious conclusion is 'yarn store!' but the only yarny retail establishment in the next town was a very, very small shop selling a variety of craft items, including very scratchy handknit mittens.  No craft supplies.  Just crafts.
After lunch, we noticed a discount department store in town and I smelled yarn, so we went in hunting and found this:

Yarn in skeins is decidedly upscale and not something you find in Ontario discount department stores, so I was excited, and even more so to discover it was...

Briggs and Little 'Tuffy'!  Seriously cheap, and in great colours too.  This yarn is nearly impossible to find in Ontario, but very common in the maritime provinces and well loved for its hardwearing nature.  My friend Marie keeps a supply for socks that won't quit.  I nearly bought some.  Then I thought: I will never knit with this.  It's just too scratchy for me.  (I am pretty sure it is the base yarn for all the scratchy handknit mitts and socks I found in every gift shop thereafter.)

At this point, thwarted and yarn-hungry, I became the rabid dog of knittingdom. I had packed no knitting, people!  I never needed any on previous spring holidays, but even so: what was I thinking?  Within hours I had broken down and visited KnitMap, which led me to Cast On! Cast Off!, a fabulous shop for any city, but in one with a busy harbour? SUCH a cute name.  Just knowing we were heading that way calmed me down.

After Katie kindly agreed to cake one for me I bought three skeins of Sweet Fiber Merino Twist Worsted in Olive (and yes, I appreciate the irony of its being purchased on the east coast but dyed on the west coast of a very wide country) plus a pair of straight wooden needles, and tried whipping up my own pattern for something flat.

But the obsession wasn't dead yet.  I am pretty sure my sudden determination to knit cables and compelling need to return to Katie's shop for cable needles was the fact that I literally dreamed about a stunning pair of sample mitts on her checkout counter.  They looked something like this:

(photo courtesy of Robin Hansen's Favorite Mittens, which wants to be in your library if it isn't already) but were knit with Madelinetosh yarn in colours sort of like this:

and, well, WOW.  I think there might have been silk in the lighter-weight yarn Katie chose so: even better than this looks.  This is just the closest colour combo I could find.

Now that I'm home though, I don't want to knit the mitts on Katie's counter - I want knit these ones...

... because they are SO CUTE and have a really, really good thumb:

But back to the green yarn problem.  What to knit?  It turned out to be too much trouble to design something for straight needles and just one caked skein while on vacation.  Then I remembered my iPhone, and my password for Ravelry, and found the perfect pattern: Monique Gascon's Woven Cowl.

It's a really cute piece and I am knitting it as is, with the addition of a stitch at either end because I like the look of a slipped stitch border.

Wondering about the animals in today's episode of Mary Is a Weak Pathetic JellySquid? Well, neither of them are my doing, but Puffy is a consolation because I never did see a real puffin on the trip.  The turtle is a finger puppet and is a hilarious dancer.  He made the photoshoot because he was resting in the yarn basket - everything in this place is resting in the wrong spot right now - and matched so nicely.  The sofa is not an animal.  But it is worth noting because when you accidentally spend a small fortune on a white leather sofa it is completely logical to destroy any stylish attributes it might possess by covering it with white cotton dollar store blankets.  Especially when it then proves to offer great lighting for blog photography.

Have a wonderful start to your week my friends and I'll see you tomorrow!

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