I didn’t tell you the entire story of my holiday gift knitting in the last post.
My parents and siblings decided this year to scrap the round robin of individual gifts in favor of the secret santa system — which wasn’t even secret, not that any of us heathens cared. So you can imagine my relief when evil-me went from trying to talk good-me into making a whole bunch of stuff — starting, oh, mid-November — to sane-me realizing I could still crank out a gift knit because I only had to make ONE.
I got my brother’s name. Noah is awesome, fashionable, self-reflective, sensitive. In other words: a great recipient of handknits.
I started off making Noah Purl Soho’s Shawl Collar Cowl in Malabrigo Chunky — Lettuce on the outside, Natural (white) on the inside. The yarn came from my stash, the project was working up quickly. At Thanksgiving, I asked Noah’s fiancée Abby what kind of handknit he would like and she said “a cowl” and told me how he tried to buy one on Etsy and it was too long and girlish. I felt like a champ! The Shawl Collar Cowl is so chic and manly and I was going to solve Noah’s problem. And he was going to look smashing in that lettuce green, if I do say so.
How does the saying go? If it’s too good to be true… Well, perfection was far from achieved: I ran out of yarn. Although I had researched what yarn would be a good substitute and looked up the needle size, I never checked how much yarn I needed. Why, I cannot say. This is not my first time at the rodeo. (This is not the first time I have made this mistake, either, arg!)
Worse yet, this college town has gone, in five years, from having three yarn stores to having half a yarn store. The remaining half store is downtown, where no one who doesn’t work downtown wants to go. But go I went — and on the Saturday before Christmas no less. I knew it was a long shot, that I might have to start over in a new color rather than just alternate between dye lots, but at least this place specializes in Malabrigo. I still had hope that this project would be saved.
(There’s that foreshadowing of doom again, eh?)
I do believe I gasped out loud when I walked in to this very small shop. Admittedly I had not been there in a year or more and I knew the owner had been scaling back the yarn portion of her business (she also sells clothing and jewelry). Eyes as wide as saucers, I gaped like a fish for a moment before finally choking out the question, “Where’s all the yarn?” to the owner. The shelves and walls set aside for yarn were nearly empty — altogether there was only an armful of yarn in that shop. The needle wall was almost empty. My stomach sank to the floor as I realized: I have more yarn in my house than this shop now carries.
You might be tempted to conclude that there was a run on her small stock as people grabbed all the yarntastic gifts, but no. The owner patiently explained that Malabrigo, the small cooperative, cannot keep up with the demand of her customers, so people are putting themselves on a waitlist and when it comes in, she calls. A month later and I am still aghast at this… solution? I am sure I don’t know all of what is going on in her store, but isn’t this the kind of thing that a dozen online businesses are doing, only faster? And charging less? And if you can’t keep yarn on the shelf, but still have empty shelves, why wouldn’t you carry another brand? This used to be the place to go for Reynolds brand yarns, as well, including Lopi. I didn’t see that at all.
At this point I could have gone to the big box store and gotten something else so I could forge ahead, but I decided to cash in my chips and cast on a pair of socks. There was now no way I could finish in time and I used a precious skein of Trekking XXL that I had been saving for myself, but it seemed that some kind of sacrifice was demanded by nature in order to make this vicious cycle of WTF end.
Noah was gracious about opening up part of a gift that wasn’t finish and I know he looks forward to these extra special socks. I’m still not done with Noah’s holiday socks because I tried to pull off some other knitting miracle for my husband’s January birthday. But first, I have one more gift knit to tell you about. And this one is truly epic (the knitting, not the story). Here’s a preview: