Episode 3: Dumber Than a Bag of Yarn

My wedding dress (alterations needed)

Previously on Carpal Tunnel Bride: I picked a pattern online that I hoped to customize to fit my needs, lost a thousand nerd points by admitting that I watch Say Yes to the Dress, and regained them by admitting that I watch Battlestar. Maybe if I do both at once, I’ll finally be cool.

I keep trying to write about my path to that giant bag of yarn up there, and it keeps coming out incredibly boring even if you happen to be interested in the fabric arts. The sad truth is buying yarn has little to do with fighting a ninja, and the most interesting thing to happen to me during my search for yarn had little to do with yarn itself. Here’s the short story about the yarn, which anyone who doesn’t subscribe to Knit Picks’ newsletter should probably skip:

The pattern from Vogue Knitting called for Filatura di Crosa Millefili fine cotton yarn, which retails for $8 per 50 gram skein. The pattern suggests 14 skeins for a size medium dress, but since I still haven’t decided whether I want sleeves or not I figured I’d want a little wiggle room with dye lots and whatnot. So, I was looking at about $150 for yarn, which is not a lot for a wedding dress but an awful lot for yarn. Being the goddamn cheapskate that I am, I started looking for substitutions. “Any lace weight yarn should work,” I larked to myself, and set off on the Google. I found a few pretty things — merino and silk blends, and some fine cotton too — and was all ready to buy before I freaked out about buying in bulk before making a swatch and checking the gauge of the substitution. I’m not usually the type of girl who makes swatches; swatches are for sheep. I’m a shark. Sharks don’t need swatches. But sharks also don’t make wedding dresses, and this is kind of important, so I decided to head over to my local yarn supplier to see if I could get one skein of the Millefili and see how it felt up close and personal-like. They were out, and told me that they couldn’t order more either, but pointed me at a substitute: Queensland bamboo cotton. So soft! So pretty! Promises not to pill! $3 cheaper! Now, do you have 19 more of these?

No such luck, and they couldn’t order more for me either. I bought one and went on my way, saddened that I couldn’t support a local business but determined to re-Google. Skip to the end…only one site carried the white color, and I bought their entire stock. That’s all of the Internet’s Queensland bamboo cotton in white, up there in the banner picture, for $113.

And now for the ever so slightly more interesting part: After I bought the one skein at Needleworks, I decided that it would be faster to take a bus home than walk (since I started working on campus again, I’ve been walking everywhere — it’s as healthy as it is inconvenient!). Anyone who’s ever tried to take directions from me knows that I’m miserable at spatial relations, so they wouldn’t be surprised to learn that when I thought that the main bus terminal was really close to the yarn store, I was not correct. They would also react calmly when I recounted the journey across parking lots and down poorly drained alleyways as I attempted to take shortcuts rather than going a little out of my way to take the main road, and would hardly roll their eyes when I noted that I walked what seemed like half a mile out of my way only to find a dead end with a locked fence to a parking lot and a barrier with a steep drop off onto a road. To everyone’s relief, I’m sure, I sheepishly backtracked instead of attempting to jump the fence or fall to my death.

When I finally got on a bus, I thought I was finally safe. Halfway home, though, the bus driver pulled over and ran into a gas station to take a leak and buy some candy. After a few minutes of waiting patiently, we were all rewarded with a transmission over his radio: “This is a warning to all drivers…we’re stuck on Springfield, there’s quite a traffic jam…it appears a gentleman has walked onto the road and laid down…he seems to be drunk, or possibly on drugs…I think he’s trying to breakdance.”

So there you have it, folks. Yarn buying is significantly more boring than in the olden days, when someone had to wrestle a pissed-off sheep while wielding a sharp object and then attempt to wash all of the blood and sheep poop out of it before pawning it off on you, the witless consumer. Although they’d probably throw in one of those fancy handmade candles for free if you bought in bulk.

Yes, I know cotton doesn't come from sheep.

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