While handknitting is a rather low-tech way of creating fabric, the world of knitting is anything but. Technology is so woven (heh) into what we do that it’s hard for some of us (okay, it’s hard for me) to deal with those few times when we can’t use it to our advantage and get what we want the minute we want it. I know I find it incredibly annoying when I see a pattern I like and it’s not available digitally. I’m spoiled by the instant gratification of blogs and Ravelry downloads to the point where, even if a pattern is available digitally but not instantly (as is the case with Slip Jig, which I had to wait for for a day before I could download it), I get irritated. When it’s a leaflet, a paper magazine, or a book, I just think “seriously? It’s 2014.” It’s an entitlement mentality, and I know I have no right to instantly available patterns, but there it is. I’m so used to click-buy-download technology that the old way is exasperating.
I’m having a similar technological issue getting ahold of a certain kind of yarn that’s not available in the US. I keep talking about Moda Vera Noir, even though I’m not entirely sure that’s what my mystery brown stripey Big Lots Yarn actually is. But I don’t see how you could look at any of these projects, all made of Moda Vera Noir in the coffee mix/cafe mix colorway, and say my socks aren’t made from the same yarn. (I can’t help but wonder how they made the journey from Australia’s equivalent of Michaels, to a Big Lots in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA.) Anyway, there’s no online retailer that sells it, at least not to us North Americans, and the few people who have some up on Ebay Australia, don’t ship up here. I’m down to messaging individual Australians on Ravelry who are destashing it, but I’m not optimistic. In fact, given that the last time I had a fixation on a certain yarn that wasn’t available in the US, I just ordered it from a UK website.
Anyway, I said all that to say this: as spoiled as I am (and really, as most of us are) by technology when it comes to our knitting, it’s important to keep some of it low-tech, too. I realized this yesterday, when our power went out.
We in the American South have been fairly well pummeled by winter this year. I know that to anyone in the perpetually-frozen landscape of North Dakota or Canada would scoff at the weather that’s crippling us down here; I kinda do the same thing when I hear someone in Southern California talk about 50 degrees being cold. (Even living in the South, 50 is pretty warm for January or February, because usually we’re dealing with 30s and 40s. This year, it’s been teens and 20s.) We had two major storms prior to this week, the last one being about a month ago and leaving us with something like 5 inches of snow with a nice, crusty layer of ice on top.
This week, it was an icy, sleety, rainy snow that left it slippery and wet, but passable. I worked 60 hours, and by the end of it, there were 5 or 6 inches of slushy snow on the roads, with more coming down. The roads were passable, barely. I decided to go to the grocery store, because I hadn’t had a chance to go all week, and if it got worse (or froze) I didn’t want to be stuck in the house all weekend with the dregs in the pantry.
By the time I got back from Harris Teeter, with a gallon of milk, a pound of hamburger, some beef hot dogs, frozen pizzas, and other things that needed refrigeration… the power was out. I put the cold stuff in some piles of snow, and dragged my exhausted self to bed, mumbling something to my husband about checking the backyard whenever he got up.
Next thing I know, he’s shaking me awake at 4 in the afternoon, well before my usual first-day-off internal alarm. The power was still off, the house was cold, and he was thinking of spending the weekend at his parents’ house down near Raleigh, so we could have heat and light and food. (We have a fireplace, but the property management says we can’t use it. Not as if we would be able to find any dry wood anyway.)
I started packing for a possible weekend away, including the week’s worth of dirty clothes. There’s something about going to your parents’ with a load of clothes to be washed that makes me feel very small and immature (even though I fully planned on washing them myself, not foisting them off on my mother-in-law or something), but I was down to my last few pairs of socks and underwear. I also was trying to decide what knitting projects to take, which is never an easy task, but the indecision was less the fault of too-many-WIPs syndrome, and more because I had nothing portable, and no ability to access my Ravelry queue/stash to help me decide on a project.
It’s odd how much I use that site without even really realizing it. I don’t think I’ve ever started a project without virtually rifling through my yarn or flipping through my pattern collection. I do have a binder full of printed patterns, and several knitting books, but that just does not compare to the ease of Ravelry’s database, which gives you so much information so quickly. One of these days, I’ll get really stoned and write a completely incomprehensible essay about whether having that much information so readily available encourages creativity or hampers is. An argument could be made for both sides, I feel like, but having just spent a couple days around both my husband and his father, debate is something I’m just not feeling up to, even it is with myself.
In the end, I just took a book. Like a nerd.