Hate to give you two bummer posts in a row, but I’ve recently found out some very sad news.
My LYS is closing.
Now, I realize that this doesn’t effect any of you dear readers in the slightest. It does, however, completely turn my world upside down.
You see, Closeknit isn’t just a place where I go to get yarn sometimes. It’s practically a second home to me.
Let me ‘splain. I “learned” to knit from a very lovely senior lady at church. She taught me the basics, but that really only involved the knit and purl stitches and casting on. She didn’t even have a chance to show me how to bind off, I went online for a video for that.
I thought I knew it all and could make anything. (funny how naive we can be, huh?)
A friend had given me a pattern book for Christmas that year and I was eager to start making these adorable fingerless gloves in the book. I grabbed the pattern, some crappy acrylic yarn and the 14″ straight needles I had, (all I had was crappy acryilic and crappy needles back then) and I sat down to knit the gloves.
I didn’t even get past the first line.
It was written in some strange knitting language I didn’t know! c/o, huh? k24, what? And what the heck is joning in the round?! I was completely lost and thought I might have to give up knitting all together. I mean, I didn’t realize I had to be bilingual to knit.
But, I didn’t give up knitting, (obviously) and instead, I went down to the only knitting store I knew of. Conveniently, it was just a few blocks from my house. I had been in there before, but had balked at the price of their yarn. Again, this was when I first started out and I didn’t realize that Red Heart Super Saver was of the devil and that God intended yarn to be made from natural fibers and not plastic. (Disclaimer: to all of you who love Red Heart and acrylic yarn, I apologize. It does work for a plethora of projects, especially charity knitting. It’s just not my cup of tea, especially since I’m a sock knitter. Red Heart just started carrying sock yarn in the past 6 months or so. And I do have some and I plan to use it, and I love the fact that it’s half the price of some of the other sock yarn. I’m not completely against acrylic yarn, but some of it feels like sandpaper)
I went to Closeknit thinking that if anyone could help me, they could. I explained my plight to Sandra and she reassured me that I’d be speaking knitese in no time. She was right! With her help, and she did help me all the way through the entire glove, I was able to finish it up and a whole new world opened up to me.
I learned that all needles are not equal. All I had was the long, cold, metal straight needles in the funky colors that I had gotten through charity. Obviously, since the glove was done in the round, I had to buy new needles. That’s when I was introduced to both DPNs and wood needles. While I’ve graduated from DPNs to magic loop, I still credit that first set of size 5 wood DPNs for part of my love affair with knitting.
I had never seen anyone knit in the round before, but it made total sense! And I felt so special being able to do it. It was like space aged knitting, or something! But, that’s not all! Up to this point, I had only done garter stitch, though I didn’t know that’s what it was called. With these gloves, I was introduced to stockinette and there was even a very simple lace bit on the wrist. I learned to do a YO, K2Tog, M1 on the thumb gusset, placing stitches on a holder and picking up stitches when I worked the thumb. I even learned to weave in my ends, because I was still just tying a knot thinking that would do it.
After I made the gloves, I was definately hooked. I set out to make a sweater for my mom for her birthday, a sweater for T, and, since I just found out I was pregnant with D, lots of baby things. Sandra and Kathy were always very helpful and they would play with T while I looked around. That meant a lot to me.
By the time D was born, I was spending half of my Sunday afternoons there. Like most LYS’s, Saturdays and Sundays are big hanging out and knitting days. I had to miss quite a lot of time those first few months after D was born, what with all the time she spent in the hospital. But, when she was about 5 months old and sitting up on her own, we were there every Sunday. I had a bag of toys for D and she’d sit on the floor and play for hours while I got to knit. The owners and other patrons would take turns holding her if she got a little restless. And the emotional support I got from everybody there when we weren’t sure what was wrong with D and if she’d survive was amazing.
Our financial situation went from bad to worse last year, and so I didn’t have much funds for buying yarn. The shop went through a Spring cleaning of sorts for several months and got rid of a lot of yarn for cutthroat prices. Since they knew I needed it, Sandra and Kathy would hold yarn in the back for me for sometimes 2 weeks until I got up the money to buy it. I was able to take advantage of the great sales they had without going overdrawn at the bank.
When things got even worse financially, they came up with cleverways for me to “earn” yarn. The sweater I finished for Kathy’s sister, for instance, or the top I’m making right now for a shop sample. They even had a yarn swap a few weeks ago and asked me to help organize it. In return, I go my pick of the yarn that was swapped. I must tell you, I made out like a bandit.
But they’ve never made me out to be some pathetic charity case. They just understand that I have the love for knitting and want to foster that. That and the interest they show in my kids and my life make them good friends.
But, the economy sucks and they’ve fallen victim to it. When I got the email on Monday, I was so depressed I couldn’t even knit. Yeah! That’s how bad it was. I went to the shop the next day and shared my condolences with them. This was their baby, the thing they’d worked their whole lives for. This was their retirement plan, so for it to end, really upsets their life.
Kathy is done, for sure, but Sandra isn’t ready to give up yet. There is enough of a customer base that she thinks if she sizes down greatly, she might be able to open up another shop in a different area. I’ve told her that anyway I can help, I will. She’s even thinking of making it less of a yarn store and more of a knitting club. She’s still sell knitting supplies, of course, but she may need to have a monthly membership fee to keep the doors open. We are all more than willing to pay the price to be able to keep our little knitting community together. I’m sure I speak for all of the gals down there when I say that it was never about the yarn, but about the people and commoradery that brings us to Closeknit.
So, sorry to bring you down,and sorry to post a big ol’ mess about a yarn store you don’t know and will neer see. But, Closekit is a big part of what made me the knitter I am today and I couldn’t let it dissappear without some sort of tribute.