Sunday, September 30, 2018

Retail Therapy is a Thing

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I had a bad day yesterday. It was bad on a number of fronts: my BELOVED sewing machine's stitch length lever broke (I thought we were supposed to buy the vintage mechanical machines cuz this doesn't happen!?).

Then Scott, who wasn't in the mood to fix it, expressed his ambivalence by breaking off one of the knobs that doesn't come off (this is very unusual for him - he's excellent at fixing everything).

Then, the utter shock and horror brought on my period, which has suddenly decided to happen whenever it feels like it (though sometimes not for 2 months). It came with hideous cramps, something I don't have routinely, which still have me close to throwing up at any moment, 24 hours later.

Then the kid came home for 1 night, on a furlough between Calgary and QC (don't ask how on earth it makes any sense to stop in Toronto on the way) and proceeded to lose her wallet, on the train, which contained her health card and 300 dollars, among other things - just as she goes out of province for another 3 months (and one's health card is necessary to obtain medical treatment). You know, I'm on a 6-month vacation from parenting which is every bit as pleasant as you might imagine (actually, way more pleasant) and the anger and anxiety I feel towards her right now (and on her behalf) is intense enough to make me want to throw up independent of cramps. It finally dawned on me that the only difference between an 18-year old and a 6-year old is that the 18-year old can cause infinitely more chaos with the same degree of selfish nonchalance.

All of this is to say that I was extremely grateful for a) Cava b) cookies and c) knitting and continue to be so - but not the cookies since I'm pretty sure they've amped up the cramps big-time.

One of the things I love about my current crafting space is that I get to keep my knitting swift and winder up all the time, attached to my makeshift shelving unit (from IKEA, 20 years ago). Man, that furniture is practical. Sure, I could have kept them up in my last craft space but things would have been so visually cramped. There's so much to be said for ceilings that extend indefinitely. Also, note, I sense a really gorgeous wooden ball-winder may be in my near future (though not if I have to spend hundreds of dollars replacing my sewing machine. UGH. Seriously, it's the destruction that overwhelms me - that it was broken again on top of being broken...)

Anyway, I started by winding a bunch of yarn...

Let me take a moment to praise the virtues of a lovely little workhorse yarn: Cascade Heritage Sock. I've been making socks with this superwash/nylon combo for years and I have to say, it's pretty well the only yarn of its sort: thinner than most other sock yarn (it's a fine fingering), in no way superwashy in feel or wear. I HATE superwash yarn. I will not use it other than on socks which I will NOT hand wash under any circumstances. You want to be a pair of socks I wear? You're going in the freakin' dryer.

This stuff fits the bill and it lasts and it's freakin' budget priced and it comes in hanks of 425 yards (that's great yardage) in every colour in the land. I have nothing bad to say about it except that I wish it could do all of this and not be superwash (given that I'm really opposed to the chemical process involved).

I've not used it on shawls or sweaters but it's just a matter of time. This yarn retracts, unlike most superwash yarn (maybe it's the nylon?) so I feel it would work just fine on either of those project types.

But this post is not to praise the merits of the yarn I've already bought. This is to tell you about how my love of that Classic Elite Adelaide is so fast and furious that I am basically traumatized by the closure of the brand. Look, I've used CE yarns on occasion and I loved them, but this is in its own category of perfect.

It's squishy in a worsted-spun way, beautifully plied (two strands), the colours are stunning. It's springy. It glides through the hand in a gorgeous way. Knitters, you know what I'm talking about. This craft is kinesthetic first. For those who struggle with tension (admittedly, not one of my challenges), this yarn will be your spirit guide. It's also totally affordable if you buy it on close out at WEBS.

I haven't been able to stop thinking about it and about how its departure leaves the world just a little bit bereft. (Yes, I'm dramatic.) And this yarn ain't even my gauge jam. It's light worsted and I tend to look away once I get to the robustness of DK.

So here's the thing. In lieu of killing Scott - which would have been short-sighted - I decided to buy some closeout yarn. But not till I bought pretty well all of the rest of this yarn at EweKnit (my LYS, where I purchased the original batch on Thursday - the batch that started this all...). Alas, while EweKnit told me online that it had 7 balls in the oatmeal colourway, the SA could only find 5 of those. What can I accomplish with 5 balls / 625ish yards?! (Don't answer that.) The other colourways, still in stock, are in limited numbers or shades I'm not into.

So natch, I decided to check out WEBS, an awesome resource for getting large volumes of yarn at very good prices (unless customs gets ahold of your yarn, in which case all bets are off). I managed to score 5 skeins in the camel colourway for 50 bucks CDN all in (inc shipping). That's a FUCKING steal. Note: I spent 65 bucks on this yarn at EweKnit and it was on sale and I had to walk up the block to get it. Effectively, the shipping cost was the exact same as the tax and the balls of yarn at WEBS are $5.70 (no tax) vs $11.15 (then add 13% tax) at EweKnit. (In full disclosure, I could have had this shipped for free because EweKnit ships orders over 75 bucks without charge. But that would be so wasteful of human energy that I couldn't allow it even if I don't want to leave the house. And I don't.)

Look - I get it. I buy at my LYS because I want it to be there (literally up the block). I mean, my yarn store moved to me. Take a moment to consider this ridiculous luck. Also, it's a beautifully curated space that anyone would love (really, go visit!). But even with the exchange rate (and prob even with customs), buying from the US costs less buying locally. I feel that's wrong.

But, let's not devolve into a convo about domestic manufacturing and international trade...

You know I have the yarn box. That's my stash box into which every last bit of my yarn must fit so that I don't become a crazy yarn hoarder*. Recently, I upgraded to a larger box. (It's really adorable and fabric and it fits the IKEA furniture in the sewga room perfectly.) It also allows for some lee-way but, really, there's only so much lee-way before it too is full to the rafters.

I actually have to cast on 3 projects now so that I will have enough space to house my new yarn when I pick it up / it gets delivered. I'm okay with that. Because the Adelaide is going to be nowhere to be found in about 10 minutes and I will savour every minute knitting with it and/or wearing. Sometimes one has to take the long view.

Now off to wind some yarn. After all, it's not like I'm going to be sewing anytime soon.

* Please note that I take this seriously. In all of my years of knitting, I have adhered to this rule and it's made me a more focused knitter who has learned the necessary skills to utilize every last yard, theoretically. Sure, the fact that I keep needing to buy more yarn to use up stash yarn is both questionable and entirely the way it goes. Trust me. It's a kind of "spend to save" paradox. It makes no sense but it's true!


  1. Thank you for this post! The other colorway of this yarn at Webs is exactly the warm yellowish green I have been searching for. (Though as someone else who tries to limit her stash to one box...I'm about to have a problem. :D )

    1. I'm so happy to hear that! What kismet. Let's call it "opportunity cost" :-)

  2. I got nuthin' on the yarn front, non knitter, but it sounds like you may be experiencing peri menopause. The erratic periods, the incapacitating cramps all appeared for me during that time. Add in massive blood "flooding" that made my bed look like a violent crime scene every night for days on end. Could it be?
    I weep with you about your sewing machine; went to look at some newer ones, flimsy as fisher price toddler toys.

  3. Anon: Oh, it is most definitely perimenopause. I've been enjoying the ride for, oh, 7 years now? It sucks but it started with terrible migraines, which seem to have had their run and mercifully have left me, more or less. I'm coming to terms with the machine, esp. as it turns out Scott did not put the Brother (original machine) on the lawn! So it's there for me to practice with till the other one gets fixed (may it be fixable!). Also, my Insta friends gave great advice on where to go locally to get it serviced. Last time I had to organize a pretty challenging pick up and drop off to the middle of nowhere. Thanks for your comment!

  4. I laughed so hard. Not at your pain, of course, but at the very pragmatic deliberation of yarn-buying as an alternative to spouse-icide.