May 29, 2007

Crawl to the end

Several deep breaths will be needed to get through this day, I can feel it already. I have just under 19 hours before my flight to Massachusetts for the large and terrifying WEBS event. (at least if I arse this one up I can make arrangements to never return.) I know Kathy and Steve are all over this one, and aside from the odd little feeling I have that Kathy may be trying to compete with the entire city of New York to create a more fabulous knitting event (which is a very large task, the fabulousness of New York all considered) I'm just fine. From WEBS I'm off to BEA, always a test of a writers mettle. I'm signing in the autographing area from 9:30 to 10:30 on Saturday (Free signed books. That's why people go to BEA.) and speaking in a panel on Saturday afternoon. (Ann and Kay and Deb Stoller are too. I'm very excited, and worried. I prefer to be on panels with idiots so that I don't have to work at looking intelligent and witty.) In any case, before I have to get on a plane, I need to buy a new bra (don't ask) get some shoes that are not Birkenstocks (don't ask) and buy a shirt that my mother thinks is good enough for dinner in New York. I need to grocery shop so that I don't leave Joe in a mess, and I need to do something about the mess. I need to figure out what knitting to take with me and I seriously need to get the summer clothes out of storage before the School phones and asks why I'm trying to poach three teens in their own wardrobes. (Maybe I should do that first. Do you think maybe an acceptable bra and shirt are in there? I should really check my order of operations.)
In any case. Lightning blogging.

Sunday morning I gathered myself up and set off in pursuit of adventure. It was not hard to find, since I had asked it to meet me at the Naked Sheep at 11:00.

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Behold. Intrepid yarn crawlers, ready for action. We shopped (with some restraint, because there were four yarn shops left on the agenda and pacing is everything.) and got on the streetcar to go across Queen to our next stop.

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Now, I have to tell you. This ride was definitely weird. When we got on, the streetcar was empty in the back and so we assembled there. 22 knitters, all knitting away in the back of the car. It's a long ride from Queen East to Queen West, and the streetcar filled up as we went. Even as the car became more and more crowded, not one regular person would cross the line into knitter territory. Not even when the driver instructed them to move back to make more room. It was like a force field divided us. They would look (in fact, they couldn't stop staring) but they wouldn't stand near us. One woman mumbled "I've never seen anything like it" and one kid stumbled over the line when the streetcar stopped suddenly and his mother yanked him back out of the knit zone like he was at risk of falling into lava.

We got off at Americo

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It's a shop I hadn't been at, but it was recommended by Amy, so we went. (Sorry Sarah. I only got half of you in that picture. It's because I had to take the picture so quickly, what with standing in the road to get it.) Americo is a beautiful but strange shop. No Patons or Rowan yarns here...every thing there seemed to be a handspun. Handspun silk, handspun camel, handspun weird bobble yarn...

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One yarn crawler commented, as we investigated all the beautiful and unique things, especially the knit and crocheted insertions and trims...

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that Americo was like the Banana Republic of yarn shops.

From Americo we walked to Romni wools.

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(We also stopped briefly at the windows of Miss Behaving, since every tourist to Toronto needs to. I'm sure the locals will agree that no walk down Queen is complete without it.)

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Romni did not fail to shock those who were new. Here, a knitter has a particularly emotional reaction to the Romni wall of sock yarn.

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Completely understandable, since only maybe 1/2 of the sock yarn is visible in this photo. It was at Romni that Rachel H and I decided that we needed to "sweep" each store at the end of the visit, making sure we hadn't lost anyone. We would come out the door of the shop and yell "CLEAR", just like in CSI. Good times.

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From Romni we walked to the Bathurst car and headed north to Kensington Market for lunch and Lettuce Knit for our next stop. I'm afraid that there are no pictures from this one, since we were all mixed in with the regular people on this very full streetcar. When we hit Nassau St. and our stop, Rachel and I just shouted "Knitters HO!" and hoped for the best. We did try to do a headcount and stuff.
No knitter left behind.

Lettuce knit was...

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Lettuce Knit. You know it's always a good time and an especially good place to stop for lunch, what with how much good food there is to be had in the Market. (I had a yam burrito.) After lunch we hauled our rapidly developing haul down to the streetcar again, and this time...we had to wait.

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Three streetcars. (That makes it sound tragic, but in Toronto, three streetcars on a Saturday is only about 20 min.) One out of service and two that were too full as a result of the out of service one. At that point, we may have gotten bored...and Joey posed the question,
How many knitters can you fit in a bus shelter?
Game on.

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The answer is 21 (more if they don't take their knitting and purchases in with them) but I will not even endeavour to tell you what sort of reaction this got from the general public.
We finally got a streetcar and made it to our final stop, Alterknit.

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Alterknit is a yarn store/cafe combination, and it was the perfect, perfect place to stop. I have to say that Alterknit wins both my undying thanks and the "most accommodating yarn store in the world" award. We showed up (thanks to the streetcar debacle) just as they were closing, and every body there went out of their way to make us feel welcome anyway- even though I'm certain they were ready to go home at the end of their workday. I kept saying "thanks so much for doing this", as they whipped out lattes and juice and cookies and cake and all they said was "We're glad you guys came." Customer service above and beyond the call of duty. By a lot. Gradually everyone rested up and set out for planes, trains and automobiles home...and Ken, Rachel H. and I did what Canadians do when their work is done and a long day is over.

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Cheers yo. Hope everyone enjoyed our city!

Posted by Stephanie at May 29, 2007 1:57 PM