When I found out I was going to Webs, I said "cool". I love yarn stores.
I had no idea. People wrote to me and said subtle things like "Holy crap you will never believe how much yarn there is at Webs." others said. "Webs is Mecca. There is nowhere like Webs." Still more said "There is so much yarn at Webs that you may want to take a beta-blocker before you go in there."
Bah. I thought. I get around. I may be a crappy traveller, fail to style my hair and have no idea how to manage a scientific calculator, but sweetpeas, I excel at yarnshops. I have been in more yarn shops that most knitters. I've developed resistance to big yarnshops by being in hundreds of smaller shops. My life up until now was like a series of vaccinations to prepare me for Webs. I'm sure it will be big. I bet it will be good, but it will not floor me. I am a Yarn Harlot. That means something.
I got to the store and I felt pretty good. "Nice Store" I think. (It is a very nice store. The front part is pretty and organized and...well. It's very nice. Top notch and all that, but it doesn't stagger me. (I knew it.)
Then Steve asks me if I would like to go into the back. The back? Oh yeah. I heard about that. Some warehouse deal that's supposed to blow my mind. Right. Let's do that Steve. And Steve takes me back there, all innocent like, and Linda and Kathy are following us and I'm playing it cool. I see this. (There are, like...5 or 6 aisles like this.)
( I swear that when I saw that I reached out to steady myself for a second and saw - I swear it - grocery store shopping carts to hold your yarn. These people are onto something).
I thought to myself that there has to be some down side. Something. This is an impossibility. There's a catch. Like, sure there's all that yarn in one place and it's all a pretty good deal and some of it's outrageously cheap...but I bet that a bunch of it is crap. Like at discount stores where you can get a pair of jeans for $3 but they practically dissolve in water? Like that. So I start sort of smugly going up and down the aisles with Steve (He's a heck of a salesman. We saw some yarn that I liked and I said "Forget that. I can get that at home." and he said "At this price?" The mind boggles. I think I took to shushing him after a bit just to protect the precious futures of my children.) and...brace yourselves. It's good yarn. It's Regia for SIX dollars. It's Rowan....never mind. Go look at the website. I can't speak of it.
So then I got to thinking about how a yarn shop this good must be run (because the universe seeks balance) by people who are scrounging greedy pigs, and then after I've seen all the yarn I drive over to the hotel where I'm giving the talk (how terrifying) and I get there and they have used the event to collect more than 150 boxes of cereal for the local foodbank. (Hint. Scrounging greedy pigs don't hardly ever collect food for the foodbank.)
While I'm still boggling that the shop is huge, has good yarn and is bettering the world...it's time to stand up and speak to the knitters, and I'm stunned as a sack of hammers and this is what I see.
(I wish I could set this up for panoramic view to scare you as much as it scared me...) It took four pictures.
I think it went pretty well. I'd know better except that I was busy bleeding out of my ears when the microphone quit it's job half-way through and started feeding back screeching awfulness. (I knew this day would come.) A hotel lady came and fixed it, but not before minutes stretched into YEARS and I took this picture to capture the moment.
The sock. Getting screwed over by a sound system. (Ironic, isn't it? Considering that I live with a sound guy who's sole purpose for living is to prevent the moment I just lived? Burning irony.) I finished the talk, raced everyone back to Webs and started meeting knitters.
Here's Zarzuela knits (we traded musical sympathies.)
Dawn, who made me these beautiful felted stars. (These have a future as a funky Christmas runner come winter. Don't you wish you knew how to make them?) Lauren, Sarah (who rocked her first sock *so* hard), Katy (The Harelot rests near me as we speak) Gabby, Di, Mistress Stash Enhancer (You all think I don't read your blogs)
Gail (Clearly having a little trouble finishing that Olympic knitting) Deidre, MamaCate (again, which sort of makes me wonder if I'm being stalked by my own friends.) and more and more and even these ladies...
who presented me with personalized "Got Harlot" chocolate bars. They are the Mount Holyoke knitters, Cleopatra, Janet and Kathleen, and they knit Fridays at lunch if you want to hang with them. (They have chocolate and are good at sharing. Could be worth it.)
There was Stephanie from Storey publishing with her first sock.
(The proof that eventually I will have assimilated them all...)
When it was all said and done, when Linda was ricocheting me across whole states to catch a flight and run home to my Joe and my girls I realized...there is no catch to Webs. Kathy and Steve are kind and good and have great yarn. They are sweet and socially responsible. They've hired Pixie to help, who's totally clever and absolutely organized and was wearing a beautiful jacket. (I notice these things) and I got some great yarn (I'll show you later.) they totally rock the event thing, and knitters....if there's a downside to Webs, I don't know what it is. I love it there.
When I am old, I shall live in the backroom at Webs and make myself a wool and mohair nest with a silk lining. It will be green and gold and soft.
As you read this I am either on a plane or in a car or have arrived in St. Louis to speak at the St Louis County Library. Thursday is Threaded Bliss, (I get to meet Ann. I am delirious with the potential this holds.)
On Saturday it's the Bluegrass book festival, and I promised details. I'll be at booth 98 (Does that sound ominous?) from 10-12am, and from 3-4pm and then giving a talk in the Thoroughbred 6 room (that does sound ominous) at 4. Bring your socks. Bring your knitting.
Bring it. I'm ready.