Today I’m posting late pets, because I just did one of the wildest things that I’ve ever done, from a knitting perspective. Do you all remember my sister-in-law Kelly? She’s been a regular on this blog since the beginning, and Kelly has a wild life. She lives all over the world, most recently in Madagascar, and now she’s been home for a few months to see Frankie safely born, visit with us all, and… frankly, to restock on yarn. Kelly and her husband Ben are done their work in Mada, and now are taking off for a few years in Vietnam, and since there will be no access, or limited access to yarn while she’s gone, and since Kelly has a pretty significant knitting habit, and pretty limited luggage space, before she leaves for a whole year without a re-stocking opportunity, today she and I went shopping for (get this) an entire year’s worth of yarn.
That’s right – she’s going to have no stash except for what we were going to set her up with, and the idea was so overwhelming that we decided we needed a good plan. Kelly’s been collecting patterns that she likes, coming up with enough projects to amuse her for a year, and today we took that stack of patterns to the yarn shop, and started.
We only wanted to make one stop, and we wanted to be done pretty quickly – that kind of pressure gets to you after a while, and Kell was saying that she thought that if she had to do it alone, she’d end up freaking out, buying weird stuff and regretting it all when she got there. It’s a more complicated thing than you might realize.
Not only do you need the right amounts of everything, but to maximize her limited amount of space, we needed to make sure that the leftovers from things can sort of hang together, so that a half ball of this and a part skein of that can be a striped something else – you don’t want to be giving real estate to something that could become an orphan.
Now, Toronto has some pretty awesome yarn shops, but if you have to buy a years worth of yarn in a single afternoon, you go to Romni. It’s the biggest, and has the largest inventory, and we thought it was out best bet for big lots of matching yarn, and since part of our strategy was the same yarn, but in lots of different colours… Romni it was.
Dudes, it was nuts. We had a sheaf of patterns, and it was about 15 minutes before the calculator came out, and then the Romni staff was up and down ladders, finding a bag of this, another skein of that…
The perfect blue, the softest bit of that, finding the perfect colour, but in the wrong weight, the right amounts, the matching dye-lots…
I think by the end of it the staff there had figured out we were on some sort of black-ops mission and not just total lunatics, but I’ll never know for sure. (It’s possible I should shop somewhere else for a while until the memory of how bizarre we were fades a little for them.)
The whole thing was really intense. Really intense. When you’re talking about a whole years worth of knitting, everything has to be just perfect I suppose that if we made a mistake, and had the wrong amount or the wrong colour I could technically mail it to Kelly, but mailing stuff to rural Vietnam seems like a terribly slow and expensive way to solve a yarn problem – and since this was a years worth of knitting, it’s possible Kell wouldn’t even know she had a problem for 9 months, and what happens if it’s your last yarn, and it’s the wrong yarn? What’s she going to do… not knit until the yarn gets there? What if the yarn was wrong for the pattern? What if we miscalculated, what if Luis is way bigger in a year?
We feel really proud that it only took about 90 minutes.
(Note to you: That is not all of it. Note to Ben: Sure it is.) in the end, we felt pretty stunned by the whole thing. Kelly’s got about 15 knitting projects there, big, and small, and creative ways for all the leftovers to go together that will give her a few more…
When we were done, we went to lunch, and I got out some paper and we compared the patterns and the yarn, and made a list and put them together so that seven months from now she’ll stand a chance of remembering what we were thinking that crazy summer day in Romni, when we bought everything she’ll knit for a year.
I feel good about it, but I’m not the one who just got locked in. Good Luck Kell.