I often hear people fantasize about working in their local yarn store (LYS). On the outside it does seem idyllic, full of warm squishy fiber, and color rich days of endless knitting. However many may not realize the awful truth: the last person who gets to knit is a person who works in the LYS.
First of all people need help with pattern instructions, or where exactly they went wrong on that lace scarf. There are sales filled chocker-bock full of customers who not unlike a evangelized band of conquistadors, plunder through bins of yarn on the quest for the everlasting fountain of fiber. There are also trade shows and fiber festivals. Recognizably, it's difficult to fully understand the world of LYS employee. So, walk through the rayon chenille curtains, and jump into the land of yarn...(cue music and special effects ala Disney)
Picture it: you are your LYS's blogger on your way to a fantasy land. Fearless leader made the last minute technical decision to send you to help set up the booth and sell yarn at the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival. Because of the annual sale at the shop you were crushed to think you would miss one of the best fiber arts festivals of the year. However, even though it's only for a day, and regrettably, you will head home before you can fully explore and embrace all the fiber love, you are hurriedly banging away on your computer in order to send out the monthly newsletter.
You hate, hate, hate doing the monthly newsletter. Hate it with the fevered passion of a power-hungry monarch desperate for an annulment from the Pope. Unknown to you at this time, the computer decided to send out the January newsletter again with the February newsletter, very slowly. So slowly it finally reaches all of its recipients four days later. Later you will foresee several dozen emails in your inbox lambasting everything from your technical ability (you suspect they have a point there) to your mother's choice in contraception (you take offense at that). However at at this point, you worry and fret and type and cuss and finally at half past five the next morning you send out the creature and go home to sleep for two hours before you hop in the van to the festival.
Now you are in the van, excited and unable to sleep due to overcaffeination for the newsletter deadline, so you work on your Secret Gay Husband's never ending socks (they were for his birthday last year and you feel a bit guilty for having his knits so long in time out). All the while, you curse yourself for paying bills on time because now you have no spare money for stash enhancement. You secretly wish your landlord would get over this being paid rent every month phase, or learn to accept lovely woolens in lieu of cash.
The gang arrives in the late afternoon at the hotel and after unloading a store's worth of yarn, you unpack boxes and begin to hang yarn for the show. You hang yarn till you are tired and hungry. The scaffolding starts to buckle under the weight of the yarn. You hang yarn till you are grumpy, so then you hang yarn till you go to the crazy place. The scaffolding needs rearranging and more zip-ties so you can hang more yarn. You hang yarn until the staff kicks your group out that night and then, shaking from low blood sugar and heavy lifting you wandered off to your hotels. Because your departure was last minute, your motel is about 20 minutes deep into the nether regions of the 'burbs and it takes some time to check in because somehow Fearless Leader's Husband and co-owner "The Man" lost the company credit card and now you and he have to scramble to pay for the room. The card turns up next day with a hangover. You don't ask it any questions.
Eventually, that night you get into your room where you jump into 'jammas and crawl into bed...
You lay there for a bit because you are still twitchy from the adrenaline rush produced to keep you upright. Then you remembered you wanted to check the status of the newsletter because although you received the test copy, the real version hadn't arrived yet. So, you bang away on the laptop for a bit trying to discover the problem much like a chicken using a calculator: too much energy with very little accomplished. You are so tired the headache you've nursed all day spreads beyond the boundaries of your skull and your hair starts aching. You give up trying to get anything accomplished on the newsletter because the sound of the space bar being pressed sends shooting pains from your head to all points of your body. Sadly however, you still can't sleep, so you decide to eat some dinner thinking maybe a full stomach might help you doze off.
You get dressed again and give a teary farewell to your precious 'jammas, promising them you will soon be reunited. Dressed, you half walk, half stagger to the diner by the hotel while developing a strategy for surviving in prison just in case you are arrested for public intoxication.
The diner food is excellent but you realize it tasted too good. It was of the level of tasty that worries you at the end of the meal about salmonella, chemically enhanced tasty-goodness, genetically modified mystery food, and the years of life lost from hidden calories. It is a worry so profound you place a "just in case" wastebasket by the bed and lie awake thinking about how your chemically polluted, genetically altered remains won't fit into any of your clothing at your premature funeral. Next, you find the digital clock's sinister red glow taunts you because you were unable to get the alarm to work properly. At two in the morning you think again about your meager technical ability to work simple tools. At three-thirty you beg the motel desk clerk to call you before her shift ends because the alarm clock doesn't work. After explaining vehemently how they do not have a wake up call service, she grudgingly agrees to call you back at six-thirty. You finally sleep...
Phone call. Much sleepiness. No comprehension. Did you ask for someone to call you? Where are you? Ah, yes: Tacoma, yarn, motel. Need cab to get from motel to yarn. Need clothing to get inside cab. Need shower to get clothing. Need caffeine to get shower.
Put on clothing.
Fight with the Beast.
Give mirror a double-take.
Readjust clothing so it is right side out.
Sit and wait for cab.
Phone call. Much sleepiness. No comprehension. Did you ask for someone to call you? Where are you? Ah, yes: Tacoma, yarn, motel. Need cab to get from motel to yarn, but cab no come.
Make more tea.
Call another cab.
Suckle lovingly from the caffeinated teat of English breakfast.
Panic because the show is opening now and you are still in the motel deep in the nether regions of a foreign suburbia...
Now you are conscience and not just awake. You are in the cab on the way to Madrona. The cabbie is cranky but the tea is working its mojo and you are elated to meet everyone and see all the cool booths.
Everyone at the show is incredibly nice. The yarn is lovely and the hotel has provided coffee for all. You love the genius behind the free coffee and contemplate marrying into their family so your future imaginary children will be graced with their genes.
Ruth Sorenson walks over to the booth because she is wondering who has knit her Autumn cardigan. She is much nicer than you imagined. You chat with her and try not to act like a dork. You mention your great-grandparents were Danes as well. You wonder why you mentioned it because it makes it seem like you were asking if she knew them or like you wanted some sort of Danish stamp of approval. You realize you are acting like a dork, drink more coffee to keep from talking, and let Ruth impart her knowledge to you. Ruth graciously answers your questions and you begin to fantasize she is your next door neighbor who comes over from time to time and talks about yarn, and that stunning knitted skirt she created as you drink Pickwick tea and snack on stroopwafels. You think about the classes she is coming to teach at your LYS. You then realize you are staring off into space, glassy-eyed, and it looks like you aren't listening to the benevolent all-knowing Ruth Sorenson. It doesn't matter, because she has to leave to look around the market before heading back to class. You hope she doesn't hate you.
You meet customers that came from Seattle area for their yearly yarn crawl. People recognize you as The Blogger because of the Beast. The Beast is behaving itself and is making everyone think you are mad for complaining about it. The Beast knows how to lie well. You meet Nancy Walsh:
You regret drinking so much caffeine because you can't take a proper picture. You fantasize about living next door to Nancy Walsh so you can hang out together with knitting and computers, talking geek, and drinking tequila shots. You could knit special costumes for each other complete with knitted capes and pocket protectors, solving knitting computer related problems across the land.
A bit later as you help customers you spot The Yarn Harlot out of the corner of your eye. You devise a plan to "Kinnear" her with your cell phone camera. This is your first attempt:
And this, your second.
You bitterly regret that last cup of coffee. You sidle a bit closer and snap this photo:
The Beast is pointing and laughing at you from behind your head. You vow to take a straight iron to it as soon as you get home. You snap another shot...
...of your scarf. You snap more pictures and curse as the stench of a desperate blogger fills the air. It is overpowering the wool fumes and you are afraid the fiber lovers are going to notice. Finally you get one very small photo:
It's not much and you decide that there needs to be a school for wayward bloggers, with an emphasis on Kinnearing 101, punctuation, descriptive storytelling, and spelling.
The Harlot walks by...
Panic! What to do? Do you talk to her or should you play Canadian and pretend like it's no big deal? You remember that you are American and that your countrymen have an infamous reputation for snapping photos during auto collisions, talking louder and slower to those who speak other languages, and accosting celebrities at every turn. Somehow you convince yourself to ask her how to Kinnear. You hope you don't stutter. You take a deep breath and say:
"Excuse me Ms. Pearl-MahMah McPhee, will you show me how to Kinnear properly?"
Lady Harlot is gracious and kind. She shows you her Kinnearing techniques and ignores the stuttering. She allows you to take a photo of her. You chat about upcoming "episodes" with the mounting Kauni yarn fumes taking over good judgment. You are infinitely grateful, awed by her demeanor, and you begin to fantasize about her hanging out with you. You imagine her as one of your peeps, chillin' at a party with some Black Rabbit Porter on a hot summer day while she gives you tips on lace knitting and the Secret Gay Husband grills Portabello Burgers for your dinner that evening. Once again you realize you are staring off into space, dumb smile plastered on your mug, and now it looks like you aren't paying attention to the ever-cool Yarn Harlot. She leaves for classes and you find you haven't been breathing properly during the whole interaction and now the extra oxygen rushing to your head is making you woozy. You hope she doesn't hate you.
The only thing to do is sit down, put your head between your knees and thank your lucky stars things worked out the way they did. No matter what trials you undertake, you realize there is no grass greener than yours at this moment. You are so grateful for every lost moment of sleep and every hurdle you had to make because it makes moments like these taste even sweeter than they already are.
Thank you everyone for such a great time in Madrona!