Saturday, March 25, 2006

Demonstrably reamed

In the evening, I have been working on the second scarf, knitting while watching/listening to television, and I am getting a little tired of doing the same thing, the same stitch, same yarn. Also, this scarf is taking much longer because of my employment taking up all my time. (I could get so much more done without that pesky job!) Anyway, I had a break Thursday in the afternoon and decided to go check out a yarn shop, maybe pick up some thicker yarn to do a "perfect" scarf, maybe for me, maybe as a gift, whatever. When I entered the shop which was crammed full of natural fibers and elderly women, the owner's husband started yacking it up with me trying to pin me down on what I wanted. (I felt like I had failed a test. I was supposed to prepare before setting foot in the shop.) I modeled my scarf as my first attempt and said I'd like to do something similar but with yarn three times as thick. (That means it'll go three times more quickly too.) And two colors. So he showed me some things and I chose three balls of yarn, went to the counter and then the owner went through all the information already hashed out with husband, and she said, "Well you need 3 more balls, that's not going to be enough," and waltzed over to the yarn to get me three more. Then we picked out the proper needles. Then she started writing everything in one of those little receipt books.

Now, for my first project, I picked up two skeins of yarn and some needles and will have 2 scarves out of it. It was $19. I thought this was reasonable.

So imagine my horror when she presented the bill to me. Remember, I had purchased enough yarn for ONE scarf. It was $70! As I tucked my $20 that I had pulled out into my pocket, I whipped out my visa and my heart sunk deep into my belly. I hate being had.

But wait. Then I call up Em to relate this whole incident and she seems to be completely nonplussed, and even evasive about it. I wailed, "What? You mean you were fully aware of the SCAM that is the local yarn shop? Are you kidding me? I could buy ten scarves at Walmart for the price of this little project!" (Not that I would ever, ever buy anything there, just sayin') And instead of answering the question, she said something like, "So what kind of yarn is it, what colors did you get?" all excited about my knitting purchase. This is called skirting, an evasive response that she excels at. Still, I had to laugh.

Maybe it's just my karma for being such a cheap bastard sometimes.


CLL Canuck said...

Ah, the secret now is to make sure that the receiver of said gift is made aware of how dear it is worth: "Um, yes, it is not an ordinary scarf. No, it's made of the wool of virgin alpacas, raised by silent albino monks in an isolated monastary of St Alfonsus on the north face of a sacred mountain in the Peruvian Andes. The dyes come from rare plants found only in the jungles of Sumatra, coveted by natives for centuries for their special healing powers and abilities to withstand repeated washings.." Oh, and if the gift is for a relative, be sure to mention the future arthritic pains you will likely have from said knitting.

nongirlfriend said...


I could buy a lot of lip gloss for that much $.

Chunks said...

OMG I had no idea you were a cheap bastard!!! heehee! Crafting is expensive! If my husband had any idea how much the contents of my craft room has set us back, he would lock me up in that room and not let me out until all my projects were completed!

It's all relative though, imagine the money you saved on cigarettes being turned into a lovely scarf or two!

Colleen said...

I'd definitely be keeping this $70 scarf... :)

Chunks is right, though - that same amount of money would have gone up in smoke in a week.

Congrats on your continued success!! I hope it's getting easier.

Em said...

I was *not* evasive! I was listening to you whine without busting you on your cheapness. Geez. You leave the part out about using nice yarn that doesn't pill up, or using wool instead of acrylic.

Look, I think that fearing that we are being ripped off at every turn is silly. Yes, you paid a bunch of money for some yarn. Some people think it is worth it to have natural fibers to work with. Yes, that sort of yarn is a boutique industry and they are going to charge more. But remember how much we were charging for a bar of soap? That was supporting us. No one is being given a living wage from that $9.50 skein of yarn.

And... skirting is a fabulous skill that gives me the opportunity to calmly address my children more than 75% of the time. Just as valid as the skill of selling desserts and wine to dinner guests.


nosouthernbelle said...

That's going to be one hell of a scarf! Can't wait to see the pictures!

GayProf said...

I feel your pain. Still, I must confess that the current knitting craze leaves me a bit baffled.

t said...

The worst part is that some poor little Filipino girl will go to bed hungry tonight because you made a couple of scarves yourself instead of buying the ones she made earning 6 cents/hour for WalMart.

I think you ought to go to WalMart and buy some anyway.
Well...never mind.
Maybe she spun the yarn you bought.

tornwordo said...

t, you make me smile ; )

Em said...

Good Point T.

toobusyliving said...

Although I had quite a day today myself, I actually have 2 knitting stories to relate:

1) About two years ago the Globe and Mail ran a little "fun" weekend story on the (new!!) popularity of male knitting. The article was accompanied by a picture of a REALLY hot guy knitting in New York. Well, we "googled" him, asking like "are you the hot knitter???"

"It was him, and he wanted to be left....alone."

2) At my last restaurant the (hot) baker mentioned that he knitted. I told him that I never wear hats cause they look dumb on me, and have scars from -45 in Banff on my ears to prove it.

Anyway he measured me and told me that it would be "cool" and "a pleasure" to knit a toque for me. I was really touched; this guy knows charming I thought.

The touque arrived, with a $60 (surprise!!) price tag.

I guess thats me...............Or, the yarn.........

Steven said...

It almost sounds like you're replacing one addiction with another.

At least you'll be able to see the fruits of your labour with this one.

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

Just out of curiosity is Walmart your cheapest shop to buy things? Does it sell almost everything?

Is it like our Matalan, I wonder??

Jason said...

Now I feel badly about not appreciating all those things my grandmother knit for me. I had NO idea it was that expensive.

Patricia said...

yes it was a splurge but it'll mean more now, don'tcha think? i think we have to do that once in a while so that we don't buy into the other constant noises, telling us we don't need X or Y. everyone needs to splurge once in a while. and like most things, the real stuff makes all the difference in the world.