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December 30, 2006

Knitting Up A Storm

Lately I have become quite obsessed with knitting. My grandmother taught me to knit when I was about eight and I have done it on and off since then, but lately I have been constantly on. To be perfectly honest, I have pretty much been knitting nonstop for the past year, but my output has seriously increased over the past month or so, in which I have made several boas, a poncho, a shawl, two scarves, two drawstring pouches, and a mitten. As far as habits go, knitting is not a bad one at all -- I can knit while watching television, talking on the phone, hanging out with friends and family, or sitting in a bar or cafe. And the great joy is that, at the end of the day, I have something to wear or give away. The tip-off that I may be doing too much of it, however, came the other night, when I woke up in the middle of the night with sore elbows!

The other drawback to knitting is that it is a rather expensive hobby. Without exception, it is always cheaper to buy a knit item than to buy the yarn to make the same item. I have, however, found a few ways to get around the prohibitive expense of this hobby:
1. Knit items to give to KnitWits -- they supply the yarn.
2. Make friends with ex-knitters who want to get rid of their stashes. My friend Laura recently had to give up knitting because it was giving her headaches, and I inherited all her yarn. I made a poncho for her to thank her for the yarn, but still have several skeins left.
3. Use cotton yarn (good for washclothes and dishtowels).
4. Use acrylic yarn (not recommended).
5. Buy yarn on sale.
6. Go yarn shopping with my mom. She is also a knitter, so she understands the yarn obsession.

With my mom in town this week, number six has been the happiest solution. I used to buy most of my yarn at Busy Hands on Main Street. It was the only yarn store in walking distance, and I was partial to Busy Hands because I used to live in a super-cool loft right above it. But they have a very small selection. A couple of weeks ago I went to Knit A Round for the first time because they are the only Ann Arbor purveyor of Knit Klips (I hate that kind of fake alliteration). I haven't actually used the clips yet, but I thought they would come in handy at some point, and I wanted to check out another yarn store. Knit A Round has a much better selection than Busy Hands, but the people who work there aren't terribly nice. I brought my mom there last week to look for yarn for a sweater she wanted to make, and the woman she asked for help told her to ask someone else!

My mom didn't find quite what she was looking for at Knit A Round, so David and I took her to the ultimate yarn store: Thread Bear in Lansing. I had only been there once before, as it is an hour's drive from here, but the drive is well worth it. As soon as she walked in, my mom remarked that the store is heaven for knitters. In addition to having every yarn ever made, the store is well-staffed with knowledgeable and friendly employees. They offer free coffee and plenty of couches and tables for people to just sit around and work on their projects. I could easily spend an entire day in there, and we almost did. My mom found the yarn for her sweater, and I got some knitten and sock yarn. David entertained himself by playing with the store's two resident dogs.

We were going to go to the Henry Ford Museum yesterday, but after going to Thread Bear on Thursday, all my mom and I wanted to do was sit around and knit!

Posted by eklanche at December 30, 2006 08:48 AM

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