Monday, May 21, 2007

I should have kept my mouth shut....

I should have kept my nouth shut about Feltdemort and my secret plans to provide the boy and me with unfeltable yarn, although really, the deed might already have been done when I wrote that. No, maybe not. Whatever. When I came downstairs this morning laundry was in train, and what did I see?

The last pair of hand knit socks, felted.

I leave you to imagine the carnage.

After which it was time for the trip to Smileys I had already planned, for the acrylic sock yarn I had already decided to buy.

Most people only know Smiley's from the internet yarn sales. I know Smiley's from about 1994 or 95. I know it from back before there were so many places selling discount yarn. I know it from when you could occasionally get a bag of 100% wool knitting yarn for five dollars.

There is a lot to love about Smileys, and none of it has anything to do with the candyshop boutique yarnstores you find all over today. It is a real NY experience. It is on a street under an elevated rail line, with the sun filtered through the tracks. It is a door or two down from a laundromat. The walls are white and the shelves are a mixed bag of wooden cubbies and those wire grid boxes. Oaktag signs hand down on sale days announcing prices. There are no mysterious bins of yarns you are not sure you can afford - everything is marked. The cubbies go up to the ceiling, and the ceiling is high. On sale days there are cardboard boxes in the aisles with additional merchandise. It reminds me of shopping in the garment district 20 years ago.

You can buy afghan yarn in Smileys. You can buy acrylic baby yarn. You get amazing deals on things of which they may only have a few colors - a Paton's yarn was available only in Grey today - at 59 cents a skein. You can also buy yarn that was very expensive to begin with. They have all the novelties that have been popular these past few years, but they also have 100 percent wool worsted weight in a lot of colors. They have a bunch of Reynolds yarns. And they have an amazing clientele.

Of all the places I go, the one where I am most likely to run into someone is Smileys. It happens all the time. A guy from a guild I used to belong to who has been published in Knitters, the wife of the amateur lawyer who helped keep us from getting evicted in from our first apartment, a woman today from my spinning guild which meets a good 60 miles and numerous LYS's away... I forget who all I have run into in there over the years.

Today I met the woman who taught me how to cast on for socks ten or twelve years ago. Raymond, the manager had made the connection for us then - she was in the store and could answer my question. Not only did she remember me, and Socker, and teaching me, but she also recalled exactly how old my son was that one time I saw her, a decade ago. And she had a great tip about gussets I am still trying to absorb.

At Smileys you do not carry your purchases around in your arms, and you do not get a whimpy little produce basket. No, they have LAUNDRY baskets piled up by the door, and it is entirely Kosher, especially on sale days, to need more than one. I have been going there so long the supply of Laundry baskets has been augmented and replaced several times already. While you shop you have random conversations with all sorts of knitters and crocheters, the sort of people who subscribe to Vogue Knitting but also the sort who don't subscribe to anything, who can't figure out how much RHSS they need for an afghan, who are trying their first sweater project, who are....fill in the blank. Very real people, most of them - people who really love knitting, who are not living boutique lives... people of numerous ethnicities and backgrounds, people from all sorts of neighborhoods, and in there, you talk to whoever is buying yarn next to you.

This is the only store where my son has ever been helped by a sales clerk. One helped him buy me skein of yarn as a surprise once. I love the people there.

What was my haul?

Skein after skein of Bernat's Hot Sox in multicolors, one in red, and one in blue. A Wendy 100 percent Acrylic sportweight in a variegated blue and a multi. Patons Canadiana, two or three skeins of mulitcolor (Are we sensing a theme yet?) Wool sock yarn in black and in three balls of Ravenclaw colors, why I cannot tell you when I have 20 balls of blue Kroy in the basement and belong to Gryffindor, ( I was thinking vaguely of swaps) I got six balls of a ribbon yarn to make a sweater I am almost done making in cotton, and a bag, for ten dollars, of rayon and synthetic to make myself a Berrocco top I have been eyeing. (IT is EXACTLY enough, and I am wondering if that means I might run out and whether or not I should run back for another bag.) I also got three balls of EncoreDK, two of which are cream colored, for dying. I have seen on Grace's blog that you can dye Encore, and I am very hopeful that despite its 25 % wool content, the Master of the House will not be able to felt it. I got two sets of dpn's for my spoilee.

For two summer sweaters, two pair of wool socks, four or five pair of thick acrylic socks, at least six but probably many more thin acrylic socks, a dye project and the black I need to make a second pair of Hufflepuff socks just because I designed them and now have to make them, (I already had the yellow in that weight)AND two sets of Doublepoints I paid 80 dollars. To a store I love. Where people I adore work. And they threw in a bunch of free patterns to all their mailing list customers.

I am too tired to take a picture.

Sigh. Very satisfying day.


Grace Yaskovic said...

grace hangs head in shame, it was not Encore it was Paton's classic Merino --- I will purchase your Encore to correct my mistake!!!! I hate leading you astray!

junior_goddess said... can tell Feldermort that it is not necessary to occupy all of the top 10 slots on your shitlist. ;-)

I REALLY want to go to Smiley's with you. It sounds like a knitter's farmer's market.

Gryffinitter said...

On a sale day, Smiley's is awesome. The rest of the time it is just GOOD. Good like a nice, satisfying roast beef sandwhich.

I should go eat soemthing...

Rani said...

re: Moomin' mug

I bought mine through Finn Style:

They're so expensive . . . but so cute!!


jayne said...

What a nice antidote post and store to my arrogant "Three Bags Full of Shit" yarn store/post.