Friday, November 30, 2007

Post-Thanksgiving Shopping? ME?

You know what they say about "Black Friday", the day when everyone in the whole world (or anyway this country, apparently) rushes out to work off all that turkey and stuffing by dashing madly to the stores to buy ChristmaChanuKwanzakah presents. There were stories on television about stores opening at 4:00 am and 5:00 am, for early shoppers. There was a film on the news showing hundreds of bleary-eyed smiling people pouring into Target at 6:00 am.

We don't hold with all that. Ridiculous. But we learned that the illustrator of a favorite book of ours, "The Voyageur's Paddle" (David Greist) was going to be at Barnes & Noble on the east side, reading from and signing his book. We love the book; the story is excellent and the pictures stunning, so we decided to brave the mobs and go visit with him.

NOTE: shameless plug, we really love this book. It's about a voyageur, his Ojibway-French Canadian wife and his son. This is the whole cover, showing le voyageur and his son, you can see how beautifully it's illustrated. Oh - and see that red cap on the paddler? THAT, my friends, is a TOQUE, that very item which I spend a great deal of my life knitting. And mine really do look like that, and it's very authentic. (Mr Greist has visited Grand Portage and Pine City, and we share many friends in common.) He didn't ask me to say any of this, in fact - he probably doesn't even read any knitting blogs. It was a lot of fun meeting him and his wife and he drew a little pine forest along with his signature in our book! Well worth stomping into the fray.

Well! As long as we were OUT, we figured we'd take care of a couple of errands.

First, we stopped at JoAnn Fabrics, on account of, I had a flyer from the newspaper that said "50% off any item". I really like some of the yarns they carry, so Mr Dearling humored me and we went in. By then (after noon) it was crowdy but not mobbed.

First, I found me some yummy yarns! On the left, some Debby Mumm: the gold-y stuff is called "Beeswax" and the brown is called "Adirondack". They're variegated, soft and delish. It's 75% acrylic, 23% wool....and 2% "other fiber". Hmmm......aardvark? On the right, four skeins of Bellezza Collection Dolcetto. This is 54% wool, 24% nylon and 22% cotton. It's very soft and snuzzy, and I have some in pink, blue and yellow in my stash. I understand this is discontinued so I grab some when I see it. I made a three-panel Irish Hiking Scarf baby wrap out of it. I hate.... dissatisfied with it, so I'm going to finish seaming it up and give it to the Shelter for a puppysnug. I've begun a replacement, a double-width Irish Hiking pattern in the Debby Mumm. The baby the original was for will soon be two, and in February will have a sibling; I'm making a duplicate wrap in the Beeswax color, and they'll get them at the same time.

But THEN! Mr Dearling saw it: a rolling knitting tote!

It has a large main compartment, a smaller front compartment, long zipper pockets on each side for needles and an outside pocket on each of the side pockets for papers &c. Fan-TAS-tick! It has nice wheels and the telescoping handle, and clearly has space enough for bunches o' yarn, all kinds of room for needles and patterns and books and assorted chazerai (there's also a clear zipper pocket inside the top flap). It was marked $49.95. WHOOOAAAAH, says I - "but wait", says Mr Dearling, "you have that coupon!"

Now, when I "go 18th century" I have to use one of my thousands many wicker baskets, but for Regular Ordinary Daily Knitting? What could be better? For forays to The Sow's Ear, for going to Barnes & Noble -- how convenient is that? And you know? At "50% off", this here is a genuine bargain, what we Minnesotans and general Midwesterners call "a pretty good deal", as in "hey, that's not a bad deal, it's good deal". In FACT -- it was SUCH a good deal, Mr Dearling went up and got another copy of the flyer and we got one for the Lovely Daughter! I took it to her last Sunday when we met at the Ear, and she promptly moved out of her huge, bulging tote bag and into the rolling tote -- everything fit, INCLUDING the empty tote bag!

Here's the main compartment, containing A Lot of Stuff....

and here's the very neat little portable knit-kit which came in the front zipper pocket. It's thick clear plastic, with the yarn holes in the top of each of the three sections in it. As you can see, I have my Perpetual Toque in it. I think it would be nice for some sort of stranding, because you could put one color in each section with the yarn coming out of the holes and they wouldn't get all gnarly and tangle-y and messy. (Of course, I don't know how to do stranding, but if I ever learn, I'm in like Flynn!) is this not a very cool bargain-y after-Thanksgiving-y purchase?

And finally...Mr Dearling's been raving and cooing over the cat who spends his time in the shop of Cecil-the-shoe-repairing guy. "Cecil's Sandals" has been a Madison fixture since I first came here; his original shop was downtown but now he's conveniently near JoAnn Fabrics so we stopped in to Cecil's to drop off Mr Dearling's running shoes. And I got to meet Felix.

Felix is a large, black Maine-Coon-shaped cat. He was sitting on a cushion on a stool, and accepted my petting and stroking and cooing with grace while Cecil waited on Mr Dearling. Then he came over and sat on a chair, and Felix got up langorously and stepped over to Cecil's leg, where he settled himself against his chest, paws around his neck. Cecil stroked him affectionately, and told us friends of his at a local vet clinic had called him "a couple years ago" to say that they had a cat they thought needed Cecil...and Cecil needed Felix. His predecessor, Homer, had crossed the Rainbow Bridge three years earlier. Then Cecil said "Gotta get back to work, old man" and Felix climbed back onto his stool and curled up.

(When I told my fellow knitters about this, they each said "Gee, I didn't know Cecil was still around!" He is, friends, and it'd be worth it to go get new heels on those Birkies; the craftsmanship is superb and it's worth it just to visit Felix!) I'll try to get a picture of Cecil and Felix some time soon.

So....I guess the answer to that question is - yerp, I did go shopping on Black Friday. But not at 5:00 am, for petessakes.

Editor's Note: FIE on me! The illustrator of "The Voyageur's Paddle is David GEISTER; I apologize (with remorse) to him and also to anyone who looked up the book by my erroneous declaration of his name! (Thanks to Mr Dearling for catching my error--it's especially bad because I have a real burr under my saddle regarding name errors &c.) Mea culpa...


Anonymous said...

Good job on the shopping -- nothing says SOLD! like 50% off. That Beeswas colorway is pretty -- looks like it has Noro-like long color changes.


janna said...

50% off - what a bargain! And my sister's cat Simon hugs like that. Sometimes he even licks your cheek while he's hugging. It sure makes up for the 'bad kitty' things he does! ;-)