Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The LYS Inferiority Complex, or, Notes From a Cheap-Ass Knitting Kn00b

Okay, so I lied about the Winter Ensemble being in the next post. The hat is still in my car and I still can't be bothered to go get it. But I stopped by Ocean State Job Lot on my way home from work and bought some more discontinued Lion Brand Moonlight Mohair for $2/skein. I am consumed by guilt that I am not shopping at my LYS, but the fact is that I am newbie enough to be scared of the LYS ladies. Not to mention the fact that I am convinced that there's no point in spending $15/skein on something that
a) I'm going to ruin
b) I'm going give up on, or
c) will make me stop knitting forever.
So instead, I keep buying yarn that will make me feel less guilty about ruining/giving up on/stopping knitting. I don't think the last will happen; this is undoubtedly a very real obsession. I just don't know if it will last. But I LOVE shopping for yarn. It's always been the most enticing section of the craft megastores (quel horreur) that have dotted my suburban landscape, even back when I took a (quel beaucoup d'horreur) toll painting class.

My Boston-area LYS experiences so far include:
Woolcott & Co in Harvard Square: Intimidatingly full of people knitting gorgeous sweaters in 100% cashmere at $50 skein, but pleasant enough when I spent $8 on a pair of Clover 10-1/2 bamboo needles.
Windsor Button in Downtown Crossing: Overwhelming. Couldn't spend a dime. I was too scared that I'd spend $22 on a skein of Noro and not know what to do with it. Ran for my life and ended up spending $14 on used knitting books at the Brattle Bookshop (and $3 on a lovely little Maxwell Parrish exhibit book that had a bunch of period photos of his model). Then I went to the Boston Public Library and spent and hour and a half gazing at Debbie Bliss teddy bear patterns and hoping I could learn to shape and decrease well enough to make an Edwardian Bear With Swimsuit.
Stitch House in Dorchester: This is the LYS that most wracks my guilt complex. Not only is it directly across the street from an apartment that I once lived happily in for 5 years, it is the closest to my current living situation. It offers many classes, including random hours of help, and monthly "Sock Club," "Sweater Club," "Felting Club," etc. meetings. (First rule of Sock Club: Don't talk about Sock Club.) I am a greenhorn! I know nothing! I don't deserve to gaze upon its yards of fibery deliciousness with my ignorant and cheap-ass eyes. It's back to liquidation outlets and craft megastores stores for me. (Shame! Shame!) I did however spend $40 on 4 hanks of Blue Sky Alpaca in #512 (the lovely dark wine color) and #517 (the ecru-ish color) and a pair of Clover #3's.
Obviously, I invested in natural fibers because I wanted to use them to knit a toy sheep from a pattern I found in a knitting book I got at Christmas Tree Shoppes for $4.99. Of course, at the time I wasn't thinking about the fact that alpacas are not sheep. Clearly this knitting thing requires more thought than I've been giving it. (Greenhorn! Kn00bs!) The LYS lady very kindly took my money, put me on the mailing list, and left me to help the 20-something Ugg-wearing hipster at the cool kids' table cast on. (Dude, I figured out casting on SIX MONTHS ago!) The problem now is that I'm on the mailing list. So I can see all the events I don't feel knowledgeable enough to attend (art felting? I just looked up felting on Google 3 weeks ago!), and all the sales I don't know enough to feel really excited about (except for the Red Heart acrylic that's going for 62¢/skein).

Here's the thing: the Blue Sky Alpaca is now Sacred. It nestles in its high-end brown paper gift bag with handles next to my re-used Stop&Shop grocery bags full of Red Heart Soft Yarn ("Wine"--no dye lot, 2 for $5 at A.C. Moore, of which the yet-to-be-revealed Winter Ensemble is knitted); Red Heart Designer Sport ("Brick"--also no dye lot, $1.25/skein at Michael's--no idea what I'm going to do with this, I have 12 skeins and it's not my color); Lion Brand Moonlight Mohair in 2 colors ($2/skein, OSJL); Lion Brand Romance in Lavender ($5/pound at OSJL); 1 skein of Paton's sock yarn (I don't even know if I WANT to knit socks--Michael's clearance sale, $2.49); etc. etc. etc., ad infinitum, ad astra, ad humiliatium. The Blue Sky Alpaca is Untouchable by my mere mortal hands. I went so far as to buy some more Red Heart Soft Yarn to knit the sheep in so I could make sure I was actually capable of making it before attempting it with the alpaca. And now I've got the whole Using-Alpaca-to-Knit-a Sheep complex, so who knows if it will ever actually happen? The alpaca could stay at the back of the stash for years till I gain the courage to actually use it.

All I know is that the last time I thought this much about something, I ended up living with him for 2 years before he dumped me. Really, the Alpaca Complex should be easy.

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