Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Good Morrow, M'lady!

I'm worried that people think I'm weird when I go to Ren Faire. I'm not a guy, yet I spend quite a lot of time staring at the ladies. No, it's the oft-overflowing bosoms that catch my eye - it's the knitwear. Scarves, caps, shawls, snoods, fingerless gloves, you name it. I have the same issue every winter and fall in malls, stores, parking lots, etc. I'm sure people think I'm staring, when in reality I'm wondering: I wonder what stitch pattern that is? How is that sweater constructed? Do I have that same yarn at home? I bet I could make that at a fraction of the price she obviously paid at Gap. It's like a mental illness or something. As a matter of fact, it's quite common for me to completely lose my train of thought when a piece of knitwear crosses my line of vision.

For a bit of a history lesson: if you want to be technical about it, knitting and crochet were not practiced during Renaissance times - they developed much more recently. What was common then, especially among the people of Northern Europe, was the craft of sprang. And no, I can't figure out if it's supposed to be "spranging" when used in that sense. I don't think so. The spinning and dying of wool was done pre-1600, but the resultant yarn was used almost exclusively for weaving (at least as far as my google-fu is telling me). Which makes me sad because if I were to ever participate in a reenactment of some sorts (and don't think it hasn't crossed my mind recently) I wouldn't be able to knit. Although (thank you google!) I would be able to use my drop spindle, as it's one of the oldest spinning tools known to mankind*.

*That is, once I actually receive it in the mail. See earlier post about my broken Joanns.com order.

~~~ Edited to Add: Wow was I off! This page has some excellent early knitting information. Interesting stuff! I can't imagine knitting at that gauge...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Good Old Fashioned Customer Service

Warning: This post will start out as a rant.

I hate the Jo-Ann's Fabrics near me. Hate it with the fires of a thousand burning suns. Before I moved out here, they built a brand-spanking new Jo-Ann's down the street from my apartment in Orlando, Fl. It was a mega store - massive, with more merchandise than you could ever want. If it wasn't in that store, Jo-Ann's didn't carry it.

Then I moved to Glendale. *sigh* My Jo-Ann's, which I visit because I can walk there from work on my lunch break, is a pit. A disgusting, dark, tiny pit of a store, with empty shelves, disinterested employees, and the most pathetic selection I've ever seen. They have one (1) usable type of yarn there (Patons Merino), and the rest is that plastic eyelash stuff, which they're currently trying to unload on an unsuspecting public at 50% off. In fact, I don't know why I go there anymore. I always go needing just one little thing (size 7 bamboo dpns, bobbins for the intarsia I'm attempting, etc) and I almost never end up finding it. So I walk there on my lunch break, return to work empty-handed, and then drive to Michael's on my way home from work. In fact, the only time I ever find what I need is when I go there for fabric or sewing notions.

So on a happier note - I bought a drop spindle off the Joann's website (only $7, after 40% off) and I was soooo excited to try my hand at spinning. I've literally been day dreaming about it at work. So when it arrived Monday, with the wooden rod broken in half already, I was very sad and disappointed. Imagine my surprise when I called Joann's today to see how I should go about exchanging it, and dear Bridget (I wrote down her name because I was so happy!) said "Don't worry about sending it back, we'll just send you a new one. It should arrive within a week! Thank you for calling Joann.com!"

I think she singlehandedly raised the status of Jo-Ann's in my eyes. Thanks Bridget!