“Well, we’ve just run out. We only had the three bits and we didn’t expect such a rush”
“So my choices are ‘or Death?”
You know, I’ve heard quite a few crafters talk about their negative experiences at yarn stores. I knitted long before I ever worked at my LYS so I was sensitive to the issue. Even now, with roughly 7 months under my belt, I try to remember to be thoughtful. I leave the browsers alone because they just want some peace and quiet. I chat with the people that need their hands held. I treat everyone as a potential crafter, even though male customers are rare and any men in the store usually are, indeed, the spouse of a female customer.
When threads about bad yarn stores surface, people with tattoos talk about being followed, men are ignored, and young people are treated as a nuisance. Although I first visited my LYS-now my place of work-when I was 16, I never felt that way. Maybe my first purchase established me as slightly different. It was two skeins of Shepherd Sock and a set of size 1 DPNs. Not exactly “Super Fun Crafty Bulky Knitz for Hawt Teens” material. Anyway, I was lucky to never felt put down because of my age.
But now, on the other side of the counter?
Most customers I deal with are amazing. And most of them seem pretty satisfied with the help that I give them. Unfortunately, I have a huge, huge disability that prevents me from helping a select few customers.
I’m young. Too young, apparently. Some customers, usually older, distinguished and conservative, just don’t feel comfortable being waited on by someone my age. I didn’t realize at first that it was my age. I offered my help. They politely declined and I assumed they wanted to browse in peace. However, the moment that my boss appeared or spoke to them, they lit up like a Christmas tree and they had a nice chat while I stood there and felt like a schmuck. I’m using generic terms because it’s happened multiple times by now. And it wasn’t because they knew my boss. Often they are out of town visitors that have never been in the shop before.
What’s frustrating about all of this is that all of their questions were basic ones that I could easily answer. They ranged from gauge to if we had more of a certain color of yarn but none of them were that baffling. When I described them as conservative, I didn’t just mean dress. Usually they’ve knitted a very small range of patterns with a limited range of yarn. They found a niche and they don’t stray from it. Waiting on this kind of customer takes patience because they usually have very specific and exacting demands but it’s simply because they know what they want. This can be frustrating for me if I can’t find the exact shade of fingering weight unicorn yarn that they want but the pay-off comes at the register. They usually spend well.
So what continues to baffle me is why on earth being young is such a bad thing. I’m young so I can run (well, not literally) all over the shop and fetch and carry and find what they need. Still, they remain visibly uncomfortable with my youthful appearance.
I certainly don’t understand this. Maybe some of you do?
I’ve mentioned before that I moderate the largest teen group on Ravelry, which has recently passed 600 members. This means that along with the ordinary drudgery that comes with moderating, I can plan the fun stuff, too! For this February, I put together a very simple Valentines Swap. The minimum was $5. You send candy and a card, that’s it.
It wasn’t a secret swap, and when there ended up being an uneven amount of people, I took two partners. That picture is the package I just got from my partner and very good friend Bonnie! (She’s actually coming to visit in March, which will make it my first Ravelry friend to meet IRL)
That awesome pink hat is Misti Alpaca chunky and it is so cuddly and soft. I want to hug it to myself and never let it go. It’s seriously awesome. And almond M&Ms? I’ve never SEEN them before and they’re awesome!
So treasure your knitting friends. They can give you not only chocolate, but gifts from their own hands. Including hot pink hats.
I’ve flirted with crochet. I’ve got a nice set of about 5 or 6 hooks, and I’ve learned, to date: foundation crochet and single crochet.
However, the 2008 fall issue of Interweave Crochet may change all of that for me. There’s a special reason that I knew that I had to buy this issue, even if I hated all the patterns, and that is because there’s an article written by one of my teen crafting buddies, Chelsea! She’s an avid crocheter with a great blog at crochetcollection.blogspot.com. And at the preview of the issue, there’s a little blurb about it!
Give a Girl a Hook:
By Chelsea Norquay
The making of a teenage crochet entrepreneur.
I cannot wait to read the article. The magazine is slated to come out on the 30th of September and OMIGOSH. OK, I know that most of my readers are knitters. My crochet skills are lacking. BUT OMIGOSH! This issue is crammed with amazing patterns that are totally kicking the idea of traditional crochet (ie: thick, frumpy) out the window! Here are some of my personal favorites.
The Northen Dreams Pullover
Seriously, this is a very sexy sweater. Slender, clinging lines and very cute colorwork on the toke. No insult meant to crocheters, but I would never have pegged this as crochet at 20 feet. I just haven’t seen this kind of crochet sweater before, although I have looked.
The Woodland Shawl
This may be the pattern that I end up crocheting. The colors remind me strongly of Michele Orne Rose’s ‘Spice Market Wrap’ which also uses Manos del Uruguay, but without the intarsia headache. It’s a cute, flirty little shawl that manages to avoid the gigantic, old fashioned look that frightenes me a little when it comes to shawls, knitted or crocheted. I’m quite short (about 5, 5/12) so a big shawl could really dwarf me.
The Driftwood Cap
Yes, I know, I know! I already have too many hats! Stop looking at me that way!
Finest Hops Bag
This design is by Annie Modsitt and it is just made of cute.
This is another sweater that uses Lorna’s Laces new green line, in the DK weight. It may be just the color that’s drawing me, but it’s still a very graceful looking sweater.
And there are more, more and MORE designs that are just lickable. Click here for the full preview. There’s this great brown and pink lace muffler called the Austen Lave Muffler and—I need to shut up, just go look!
In breaking news about teen crafters, Kaya is planning to release a teen knitting magazine at Teen Knitting Magazine. The official release date is June 15. The website is still being ironed out, so if you can’t access the website immeaditely, there’s a reason. She’s asking for teen-created patterns and articles.
I’m personally interested to see if a teen-run magazine will be able to make a good go of it. She’s set up a Ravelry group here and so far many people have volunteered. Proposed columns include a book review column and a what not to knit or crochet feature, which should be fun. I will be writing a column that will feature a teen knitter or crocheter of the month.
Anyone with advice for Kaya, please drop a line here or on her blog—I’m sure that she would appreciate it!
I seriously need to take up coffee-drinking. Or something.
Remember the crisis? You know, my cardigan front was too short, now it’s too long?
It’s over. All I had to do was compare the back and the front once more and…crisis gone. I had simply mismeasured them. Maybe the fabric wrinkled or something.
This was Thursday, and so I immeaditely cast on the ribbing for the right front, because Something Important was happening. I was attending the knit night at my local yarn store, and I wanted to have something to knit with that looked vaguely important—a sweater!
Overcome, I stuffed everything into my bag—the sweater back, the completed left front, my set of 3 four needles, the inch of ribbing I had done, an extra skein of silky wool in case I ran out, (and so I could wind it there, instead of by hand) my set of size 7 needles in case I finished the ribbing and wanted to keep knitting, and my special handmade notebook, even though I specifically took along some plain lined paper because my special handmade notebook is nearly full and I didn’t want to waste one precious page on some knitting notes.
As you can see, I might be slightly more prepared than neccesary.
I have to admit, I love my yarn store [Market Street Yarn & Crafts, if you’re ever visiting West Virginia] but I did feel slightly nervous when I bounced through the front door. The refuge of a good seat left on the stoughy black leather couch beckoned to this nervous teen. By the way, stoughy is a word that I just made up, it is pronounced “stow-fee”, and it is the only sound-word that I could imagine that describes the delicious feeling of sinking into a fat, slick leather couch. It is also the profile name of some Myspace user, but I swear that I made it up on the spot.
I lucked out that night—two other teenagers were there, one working on a ribbon yarn stole/shawl for her prom; the other crocheting a scarf of Doctor Who length.
That last phrase might get me some weird hits, I just realized.
Anyway, LeAnne, who works there, was also there, which was nice. LeAnne is my first resort when I am flustered and once more unable to settle on the perfect yarn for a project. She also happens to be very obliging about winding my yarn for me, even though I wished that I could save her the trouble. Probably she doesn’t want me to break it, ha. Wise woman.
That’s my attempt at yarn porn. It came out rather nicely, I think, but somehow I think that this picture fits that more, even though it’s much more badly taken.
If you see what I see in this picture, I swear to heaven it was unintentional. If you don’t, my lips are sealed, I refuse to explain.
Anyway, so I knitted my ribbing, LeAnne told us stories (gather ’round children, and you shall hear) and I managed to find a use for the sweater back (to show off) and I generally enjoyed myself. I also ogled some new cotton yarns that came in. I managed to avoid screwing up my ribbing—at least I’m that smart.
However, I have managed to miscalculate when I should start binding off for the right armhole. I knit a few more rows than I should, so I will have to rip back some. Still, I have a good deal of my right front done, and I am very excited.
See how it’s longer? I don’t care though—I’m making a sweater!
But after writing about Doctor Who length, yarn porn and more, I’m beginning to wonder if poor ‘Stoughy’ is going to start getting some very odd hits…
Oh, God, I’m about to go insane. This sweater is insane. I’m going to burn it in a trash barrel. Will explain later.
But a link is all that I can manage. I am worn out from this party!
Teen crafters—knitters, crocheters, quilters—we’re not that special.
This may sound strange from someone who moderates a rapidly growing Teen group on Ravelry and actively campaigned for sponsorships and prizes for their party—a party celebrating our 300 member.
But we’re not really that special. However, there are some distinguishing marks of a teen crafter
1. We’re almost always broke. I envy others who have crafty parents. At least they understand the basic crafting (and stashing!) urge.
2. Many of us have pink blogs. Shrug. We also have this in common with Christian moms who have built-in music players that blare out, “How Great Thou Art” and scare the shat out of unsuspecting people (me) who just wanted to read their blog.
3. We deal with older people who think that we can’t craft beyond the basics, parents that don’t care about it, and peers that call us Grandma or Grandpa. Guy teenage knitters have to deal with a complicated mixture of this and insinuations about their sexual identity. No wonder we don’t see many of them.
4. Rants about knitting in class are often common.
5. We like shiny stuffs, odd color combinations, and colored needles.
6. We breath air.
7. We hate sterotypes spread about us.
On the last point—this is getting tiring. I appreciate efforts from people who try to write patterns or stories for teen crafters. I love the Chicks with Sticks series, and so do a lot of other teenage crafters. But simplistic patterns using eyelash yarn or stupid intarsia figures aren’t cool teen patterns—they’re just in bad taste. And we know that you’re cheaping out.
So, as a favor to everyone, please, spread the word.
Steeks and cashmere for my young knitting friend.