It’s one thing to pursue a hobby that is popular and for which there are innumerable resources and mentors.
It’s another to struggle through the sometimes sad and lonely existence of a boyknitter, humbly plying his yarn in an attic somewhere, alone, using medieval tools that nobody within a 500 mile radius recognizes let alone knows how to use.
I was reminded of this today when I went to return the ignominious yarn-o-meter.
I purchased it at The Woolery which is conveniently located just down the road from where I live in Lexington, Kentucky.
(Insert gratuitous reminder of the 2012 UK WILDCAT NCAA Championship win here. GO CATS!)
This place is a boyknitter’s dream come true. The drop spindle assortment alone is staggering and requires help to navigate. They sell possum fiber. We’re talking hard-core here.
They understand your need for this stuff. Customer service like you’ve never seen or heard of before. No matter what you want they seem to have three of them in assorted colors, finishes and price points and will gladly spend however long it takes searching in the back room for, I am not exaggerating, a 2 yard locally made skein winder in cherry reclaimed wood–which is what I finally settled on instead of another wonky yarn meter.
Such an experience stands in stark contrast to other local “Knitting/Stitching” stores. You know, that little niche of a shop that really wants to be a quilting shop but also has a fair amount of yarn and some needles in the back. I walk in there in my camouflage pants and hiking boots looking for sensibly priced bamboo dpn’s in sets of five please, and they look at me like I just farted in church.
The worst is when you have a question. Because nobody in those kinds of stores even remotely knows how to knit or if they do they are self-appointed Generals in the Army of My-Way-or-the-Highway Knitting who believe the world is flat. Enter the poor boyknitter drunk on the heady wine of the newest Cat Bordhi invention inquiring about Addi circulars for sock knitting.
They’ve never heard of this Cat person and wouldn’t you rather knit Argyle socks anyway? You’re a man aren’t you? Don’t men usually like Argyles? They used to knit Argyles back in the fifties and they would also knit sweaters for their boyfriends who were in fraternities and the sweaters had a stein of beer on the front; they used a really neat-o knitting method called inTARsha, and they would use Angora yarn to make the foam on top of the beer look like real foam. Look at these “sock needles”. They are three inches long each and made of a durable plastic. They only come in size 5′s. You’re gonna need these if you knit Argyles.
To which I am wont to respond, “Ma’am, the only reason I’m gonna need those needles is to poke out my eyeballs and squish them on the floor of this ‘shoppe’ like grapes.”
Only one cure for that this kind of thing. You must seek out other knitters, preferably in your area. If there are none to be found, start a group. Meet anywhere. Meet regularly. Even if you’re the only one showing up for 17 weeks in a row, eventually someone else will sit down near you. The result is a kinship that is beyond price.
If you’re lucky enough to find an already established
coven Stitch-N-Bitch, join and bring them cupcakes! These people are your kind. They know where all the speak-easy fiber dens are located, and often you can car pool! Sometimes, gasp, they own a fiber den.
As I left the Woolery, a customer was sitting in the weaving department test driving kumihimo disks.
I teared up just a little bit.