Monday, October 26, 2009


Knitwerks yarn wall"doo-Doo-DEE! The number you have reached has been disconnected."

I had to try. I didn't trust my eyes as I passed by the corner where the store had recently been. It was dark. There was brown paper over the windows and it caused a lump of fear and sadness in my throat - like a friend had quietly passed away. Just like a death, I felt guilty because the last time I passed by the shop, I had a trunk full of groceries and figured I'd stop by another time. Turns out there was no "another time."

I knew the owner of that shop - the only one located in my neck of the South Loop. Believe me when I tell you I did my best to be a one-woman wrecking crew back when I was actively knitting and acquiring yarn. I suppose it hurts to see her dream not last. She's an intelligent, positive person so I have no doubt she'll dust herself off and find some way to reinvent things to her liking.

Meanwhile, I get the feeling that many (predominantly) women who travel half the year from show to show or work feverishly in the basement, shop or studio to produce and sell competitively priced, high quality goods are suffering. Not because the goods are not worth it or that they're not in touch with market demands. Unless you're in the monied class or you have a rock solid job, the people I know are carefully assessing how each dollar is spent.

I'm curious if you've seen signs of struggle in this corner of the universe. What do you propose be done? Comment, talk among yourselves. I'm interested in your take on this.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

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.

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