Thursday, November 23, 2006

yarns from Edinburgh

Hello, lovely people! I am sorry I have not blogged: I have been Away in pretty foreign cities. To be precise, in the lovely town of Edinburgh:

Edinburgh is spectacularly pretty. It beats Dublin and Berlin by a mile.

I had a fabulously relaxing time, and spent most of my time eating, reading and meeting friends in yarn shops. Edinburgh has some great yarn shops, and although I'm on a bit of a yarn diet at the moment, I managed to buy something small and pretty in each of the ones I visited, thus helping me feel that I supported international knitting, or something. I didn't bring any knitting with me, though: I decided a wee break would make me feel even happier about returning to my WIPS, and I was right. So I have little progress to report, but have two travellers' tales:


On a misty Saturday afternoon, I was walking across the Meadows from McAree Brothers' yarn shop to Handknits yarn shop, right on the other side of Edinburgh, and this arch, made of bended trees, caught my eye. Was it intentional? Was it a natural phenomenon?

It's a Victorian knitting monument! Well, I find that exciting. You don't have to.

Little Girls' Room

This anecdote happened at a tiny, musty little yarn shop that will remain anonymous.A fit seized me to knit some socks on the last day I was there. I had no equipment with me, but had just bought some comforting self-striping yarn, and decided to splurge on a duplicate pair of sock needles.

(You must imagine the below dialogue occurring between an Irish and a Scottish accent, by the way, if you find that entertaining. I do, which is doubtless rude and wrong of me.)

ME (enters yarn shop, panting and dripping from attack of robust Edinburgh winter): Hello!

DISEMBODIED VOICE FROM THE BACK ROOM: Wait a minute! I'm just in the little girls' room.

A moment later, an OLD LADY arrives.

OLD LADY: How can I help you, dear?

ME: Hi! I'm looking for 2mm double-pointed needles. Do you have any?

OLD LADY: Two millimetres? That's very fine. I'll have a look... three millimetres? That's better, isn't it? Three and a half? What kind of yarn are you using?

ME: Sock yarn. I need sock needles.

OLD LADY (searching through drawers): Hmm... that's very fine... no, no I don't have any. You see, most of the people who have been knitting all their life have their own sock needles, if you see what I mean?

ME: Erm... yes.

Except that I don't. It's as peculiar as going into a bookshop and getting told, "Pride and Prejudice? Oh no, we don't stock that. Most people who read a lot have that already." So no Scottish needles for me that day, and the socks had to wait until I came home.

Self-striping yarn, round and round and round in the most soothing of fashions. I know I have scads of other projects to work on, but the mindnumbing sense of achievement that a simple pair of socks brings is just what I need right now.


tangelled angel said...

Yes that really mnakes sense doesn't it! Great stories and love the Victorian knitting monument!!!

Jenn said...

Now thats a bit wrong from the lady! Geesh, at least at my lys Im told they dont stock down that small due to the need not being there, I was lucky to find some though that they had hidden in their stock! :) I dont like 2mm they feel like toothpicks! But its what I am using.... I would so love to one day get up to Edinburgh as well looks lovely from everything I see... How cool on the knitting monument as well!

la glitz said...

Angel and Jenn, thanks! Edinburgh is fabulous, isn't it? I suspect that the knitters only contributed to the building of the monument, and that as a whole, possibly it commemorates something a bit more civic and noble. But sssh! for me it is evermore a knitting monument.

Unknown said...

The bent trees monument is VERY impressive. Can you imagine how happy you'd have to be about knitting to bend trees and chisel out a monument plaque to commemorate it? If you're like me, you already are. And apparently, someone else already was.

I agree with you, it sounds like the yarn shop lady was trying to make excuses for not having sock-sized needles. 2mm is quite common worldwide. And yes, we sock-knitters do already have them, but what if they broke? Hm? What then, Yarn Store Lady?

I've had just about enough of her little attitude.

Anonymous said...

Hey there. I just thought you might be interested to know that the monument you noticed at the meadows is a set of whale jawbones, left behind from the international exhibition which was held in Edinburgh at the end of the 19th century. The path they are on is called 'jawbone walk' and I walk along it regularly :) I never noticed the knitting collection though! Laura x