A good yarn . . .



One must discover the yarn amidst the thorns.

Waiting for My Wife in the Yarn Shop

      The cartoon was posted by my sister who does not knit.  Made me laugh out loud.  Picture this.  A skeleton.  It's sitting on a bench. The bench is outside a building.  A sign behind the skeleton reads, "Waiting for My Wife in the Yarn Shop".  Funny.  AS it happens there is just such a bench outside The Tangled Skein.  It would be such a hoot to place a skeleton and that sign on the bench.   Perfect for Halloween.  I'm going to keep my eyes open for life sized skeletons.  Maybe a stuffed Halloween costume would work?

     It's not uncommon for women to leave their men out in the cold so they can enter the cuddly shop - alone - free to fondle, squeeze and sniff yarn at will.  Some couples split up, them men hang out at Boondocks Sporting Goods down the street, dreaming of filling the freezer with moose and caribou, while the women hang out at the yarn shop dreaming of cables sweaters and children's hats that sprout moose antlers.  Occasionally, men will come in and sip coffee and chat or read, while on the other side of the sale shelves, their women receive a quick refresher on the Kitchener stitch.  It's a familiar pattern, knitters and their non-knitting partners.  Last week we witnessed a new twist in this pattern.

     Adrienne is one of my favorite knitters.  She's a lovely young woman who just last summer knitted a100 % wool cabled sweater for a potted plant.  She has a three year old and was pregnant with twins at the time - apparently Adrienne had become sick and tired of knitting baby hats, booties, hoodies, buntings and blah, blah, blah. It happens.  Sometimes the most interesting knitting project is cables for the potted plant. We have not been seeing much of Adrienne since the twins were born.  Understandably.  On Friday she delighted everyone by join us for the last half-hour of The Tangled Skein's Sit'N'Knit.  About ten minutes before she came in we had noticed a vehicle pull up to the shop, turn out its lights, and wait out there in the dark,  When, at last, the passenger door opened, it was Adrienne who stepped out and came into the shop.  

     Usually there are about a dozen of us.  We sit in a circle, and on the floor beside each of us we set out distinctive project bags. Some are made of canvas, or leather, or plastic or paper or knit'n'felt, or fabric - all are huge and stuffed to overflowing with projects and needles and patterns.  We greet each other with the universal knitters greeting. No matter our age, maybe twenty, maybe seventy.  No matter our level of experience, maybe beginner, maybe advanced.  No matter where we are from, maybe Cordova, maybe Alabama. No matter what kind of family we have created, maybe singe, maybe eight children.  No matter what we do for a living, maybe social worker, maybe tutor.  Each of us greets the other with, "What are you working on?"  And this is not an empty, polite greeting.  We really, really want to know.  All eyes are on the bag from which the treasure is being drawn. We show only enthusiasm and even when we wish we were working on that project, or had that yarn, we were able to knit with such a steady tension, we hide our knitting-envy as carefully as we weave in our ends.

     As soon as we saw it was Adrienne who stepped into the shop our group smiled and began to greet her.  She came to the edge of the group and stood behind an empty chair.  "Can I sit with you for a half hour and eat my sandwich?" "I don't have my knitting."  And sure enough, there she stood, naked of her project bag.  "Of course."  We all agreed.  She pulled out her cell phone and called her husband.  "It'll be a half hour."  Then Adrienne stepped through the invisible group-membrane and took her place in the empty chair.  She opened her sandwich explaining that her husband had bought it for her while they were shopping at Costco.  Their vehicle did not pull out of the lot.  Husband, a pair of four month old twins and a toddler would be waiting outside while Adrienne joined our group.

     We all instinctively knew what the young mother needed. Even more than food, she needed a break from childcare.  She needed to be in community with other women.  We began teasing her.  "You can stay if you promise not to burp anyone."  "Just don't ask anyone if she has to go potty."  Within minutes we were teary eyed with laughter. As we laughed together, I thought of the husband that waited in the vehicle with two babies and a toddler.  I wondered if both babies were sleeping.  What are the odds with twins?  Undoubtedly, Adrienne had prepared bottles. Maybe he was feeding one of them now?

     We told stories and shared memories of sometimes feeling used up by mothering and the needing a break.  We shared our various methods of replenishing ourselves. Many of us, from time to time, had stayed up after the family was asleep to lay down a few rows.  It's a common way that knitters find some recuperation time for themselves.  AS we shared stories my imagination again traveled to the family waiting in the car.  How's the toddler doing"  Adrienne probably had packed a back pack full of toys and books to amuse the little girl.  I imagined the father reading a book to her.  Maybe "Cat in the Hat"?

     Next we brought out our IPhone photos.  We passed the new-fangled photo albums around and enjoyed seeing each other's children and grandchildren. We even got to watch a short video of one of Adrienne's twins laughing.  Often, the babies and children in the photos were wearing hand knitted items. We admired baby hats that looked like flowers, matching hooded sweaters and stuffed toys.

     When the half hour had passed and it was time to leave, the knitters gathered and organized their project bags, while exchanging good buys.  We were about to step through the group-membrane and re-enter our separate lives.  And we were ready.  Adrienne appeared rested.  I have a feeling that we will be seeing her back in our Friday Night Sit'N'Knit group more regularly.

     After everyone had left and I was closing up the shop, I recalled my skeleton on the bench idea.  After this evening's experience I understood my idea had been paltry.  The husband who was willing to take care of himself and his children so that his wife could have time in her knitting group has changed my mind.  What we really need is a gold statue outside the shop to celebrate all the husbands, partners, children, family and friends who are generous enough to let go of their knitters for a time.  The plaque will read:  "For all those who have waited for a loved one in the yarn shop."



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