In Search Of…


and food

Triad Restaurant

with friends

Rebecca and Rocky

but mostly, yarn

I had the chance to spend three yarn-filled days with Rebecca. I’m glad she was able to finally take a break from dyeing her own yarn to visit me in Chicago to, ironically, paw more yarn. A stitcher knows the love of fiber, despite being surrounded by it on a daily basis.

The tour began Thursday at Loopy Yarns, where we inspected a considerable amount of yarn from Cascade to Rowan and every popular brand in between. I made a modest purchase of one skein of tweedy amber-colored yarn for The Harlot’s “Unoriginal Hat” pattern (PDF). That is, once I get around to my “me” knitting after the holidays.

If it’s Friday, we must be at Knitwerks. Owner Cherrl Harmon welcomed us warmly at her table, which was laden with the latest books and magazines. Since I frequent her establishment, I showed Rebecca a few of the highlights – like Knitwerk’s collection of Dream In Color – then left her to her own devices. I bought the last two skeins of plum, green and rust Ironstone Yarns “Bouquet of Colors” mohair loop as well as Louisa Harding’s latest “knitting little luxuries.” If you’re on the fence about this book, don’t be. It is a worthy addition to your library.

This past Saturday was, serendipitously, Nina’s 3rd anniversary, where everything in store was discounted 20%. Good times. Good times. You may be surprised to learn that I did not go wild, spending a restrained $50 after tax on five skeins of yarn (including Blue Sky Alpaca’s Suri Merino) and some Louisa Harding Kimono ribbon.

The only thing that marred this otherwise splendid few days was the casual thoughtlessness and infantalizing condescension shown friend Rebecca. You might not know this, but she is deaf. She also happens to be whip-smart with a Master’s degree. She also happens to be funny and snarky and talented. In short, my kind of pal.

I found it galling that people would routinely talk to me about her preferences instead of addressing Rebecca directly. One restaurant employee asked me, “Can she read lips?” I said, “Why don’t you ask her! “

Rebecca says it has become the norm for her to feel like a permanent foreigner. What’s a thoughtful knitter to do to counteract this perception within his or her own sphere of influence? Wikipedia offers some suggestions with their “Disability Etiquette.” Food for thought, at the very least.

Tomorrow: a new finished item to go with an old one.

12 comments to In Search Of…

  • I know how you feel…my brother is deaf. Have been feeling what you felt my entire life. My sister and I just had the conversation about being deaf. We don’t really look at it as a disability…but so many others do and don’t realize how rude they truly are. So sad.

  • I’m glad you both had a lovely time. Except for the idiotic way that people act.

  • Anonymous

    That I guess, is a sad testament to the lack of insight instilled on some. I think along w. folks w. disabilities, seniors and children are also “victims” of this phenomena of ignoring the person who is actually being addressed. Hope all is well and a Happy T-day!! Terry

    (I don’t read you as much, somehow my long list of bookmarks became alpha’d and the put you and the harlot way at the end – darn it!

  • Being hearing impaired myself, I really identified. One time I was in a bakery and the clerk was mumbling. I asked her to repeat herself. And she rolled her eyes and said, “What are you? Deaf?”

    At which point I pulled my hearing aids out of my ears and said, “Yeah. As a matter of fact, I am.”

    Her manager claimed it was the only time she was ever speechless…


  • What a lovely time – food, friend, fiber! My husband is a first generation child from a HUGE family who came from Austria and Germany in the ’50s. When they all get together, they speak a local (from back home) German dialect, I speak no German of any kind at all, and I am the odd one out. It is very humbling to have the shoe on the other foot — and truly changes your perspective on things. I believe everyone should have to experience that sort of thing once in awhile — it helps you be more sensitive to those around you who have been gifted by God differently than you.

    Have you used the Kimono Ribbon before? I’m wondering how it works up and if it is difficult to use — I’ve been admiring it at the last couple of yarn shops I visited, but was hesitant to make the purchase. Let me know how your project with them turns out! Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

  • Society loves to marginalize “different” unfortunately.

    Nice to “see” you dood, we at Blog de Fluffy miss you when you’re away 🙂

  • That’s really too bad that people treat her so differently.
    Hopefully more people will read the Disability etiquette and learn a better way of treating people.

    On a lighter note, it’s always good to spend time with friends! going on a yarn crawl is just par for the course with knitterly friends!

  • This is nowhere near comparative to Rebecca’s disability, but when I used to have to walk with a cane, people use to routinely ignore me and literally walk into me. Boy, was I pleased.

    Still, it sounds like the two of you had a fabulous weekend. Those pictures are just lovely.

  • I spent a good many years working with individuals with developmental disabilities. When we were out in the community, people would ask, “what do you call them, invalids?” I would say, “no, people”. Folks would ask me questions and I would respond the same way you did “why don’t you ask them?” Ignorance is rampant. But what a beautiful way to spend a weekend, yarn and a good, snarky friend!

  • Ahhh, these photos are relaxing to look at. Wait a minute……………….there, got my fix looking at the yarn and good food. Your friend sounds like my kind of friend too! Funny and talented. Beautiful photo of her and kitty.
    You guys really hit up the town! What fun! Na, you didn’t spend too much money:)

  • That wiki “Disability Etiquette” page is great. I work in a department store, and witness a lot of crazy human behavior. It drives me really crazy when a coworker talks to the companion and not the disabled person directly. This also happens with older people and people with accents.

    My friend Paulina is from Angola, Africa, and speaks with a thick accent. Even I, a close friend of many years, have a hard time understanding her. She also occasionally struggles to understand colloquialisms and local vernacular. For instance sarcasm often trips her up. We work in the same store, and I have witnessed our bosses speak to her in a belittling tone, because they assume because English is her second language she is stupid. On the contrary, she has a MBA and is a CPA. She speaks five languages and many African dialects. In short, she is one of the smartest people I know. And she’s treated poorly by ignorant customers and coworkers because she has an accent!

  • So glad you had a nice weekend!