Saturday, March 01, 2008


I'm still shaking.  There was a yarn sale today.  You scoff.  A yarn sale.  How bad could it possibly be?  Little old ladies and acrylic.  Pshaw.  Well, to give a non-participant an idea of what Christian and I faced, I want you to remember a time, long ago, when a dimpled doll made mothers manic and children crazed.  Do you recall those news reels showing desperate, ashen moms lined up for hours outside Sears and K-Mart to buy Cabbage Patch Kids, and, once inside, attacking other mothers with handbags, umbrellas and their own limbs in order to get one?  Well, subtract the bodily harm and you have today, but packed into a 600 square foot yarn shop filled with antique tables against which to bash hips and open bins against which to mash toes.  Stir in 300 women and a handful of men desperate to get sock yarn and Handmaiden and Kidsilk and Koigu for 50% off.  Fifty.  Percent.  Off.  Read that again with me.  Do you understand that, if yarn goes on sale, it's maybe 20% and then online, so you have to pay for shipping.  There is no such thing as a 50% off yarn sale.  And it wasn't for one or two things.  No.  It was for the entire shop, books, needles and notions included.  The whole shop.  

Most of us shoppers were feeling slightly guilty about this event, as it was a literal fire sale.  Hilltop Yarn is in a spectacular old American foursquare house, and, like homes of this vintage, the wiring has never been replaced by the building's owner, who is not the shop owner.  Because of the advanced, elderly age of the wiring, the fire that started in the breaker box was sadly inevitable.  While the fire was contained in the basement, the smoke was not, and all of the yarn had to be sent out to be treated with ozone.  Unless you have been inside a yarn shop, you can't understand how much fiber one can squeeze in, and every single ball and hank had to be packed up, sent out, sent back, unpacked, marked down, and reshelved.  Apparently, the shop allowed all of those who helped them with the labor to come in the day before to buy whatever yarn they wanted at half off.  According to the staff, those damn bastard few purchased 10% of the stock.  However, that did leave 90% of the stock for the rest of us.  

As Hilltop advertised this sale on every knitting website and with every knitting group, we all knew that today would be, well, a knitmare.  Har.  I bribed Christian into joining me, as I hate to face the masses alone.  We were the first to arrive at around 9 am, two hours before the sale was to begin.  Within ten minutes, ten or twelve more people had arrived.  By ten, the line was down the sidewalk.  By 10:45, the line was down the block to the stoplight.  They let us in a few minutes early, and it was a desperate push to the sock yarn.  I got one ball before I was nudged out of the way.  I did my best to get around the corner to the alpaca, and I think I got enough to make a sweater, which is shocking considering how many people were trying to do the same thing.  I then wedged myself into the room with the specialty stuff, like the above-mentioned Handmaiden and the Lorna's Laces and all of the other fancy pants yarns.   We all kept trying to direct traffic to move clockwise, but order was impossible.  One woman ended up serving as an auctioneer, shouting the names of what yarn was left from the corner, while the rest of us hurled ourselves against the back wall of worsted.  We had been advised to bring our own shopping bags, so I had an enormous tote that Karen gave me for making her sweater, and, by this point, I had filled it to literal bursting.  Those of use who were ready to check out formed a clump of determination and started the progress towards the two registers.  

There were many, many people who had only just entered the store when I finished, and they were fully expecting to have equal access to the remaining yarn.  Ha.  Hahahahaha.  That's when people started to get snippy.  The small, vocal group of latecomers and slow movers then tried to tell us to move so they could get access to the registers as they hadn't moved in 20 minutes.  Those of us at the front turned and tried to stare them down, but there were tall, tall people in the way.  It's probably for the best.  I would have had to drop my yarn to scrap with them.  

My arms and legs were shaking by the time I reached the register.  And there, behind the counter, were the two skeins of Tilli Thomas I had been desperately hoping were still in the shop and on sale.  Did you notice that there is no price listed on the website I linked?  Yeah, there's a reason.  At 50% off, one hank was still $60.  Yes, that's right.  It's one of the most expensive yarns on the market, but I will never find it for that price again.  I bought one hank in champagne with chocolate colored crystals, and will stroke it and kiss it until I finally figure out what the hell I can knit with it.  

When the cashier was unloading my bag, the women behind me actually started gasping and commenting on how I had gotten the best stuff, and how did I do that?  How??  I was the first person in the doors, that's how.  My obsessive compulsion paid off.  Witness the glory:

I need a nap.


OperAlt said...

I must admit; I am envious of your passion. Congrats on your haul! Cheers,

Blonde_Lawyer said...

Wow, I am sharing your story with my husband. He had a fit when I spent $140 during the "presale" sale.