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Do I even know what I’m talking about?

Last week I was in Houston for a conference, where I taught a workshop/tutorial on how to create a WordPress blog, and presented at another workshop on how to attract an audience to your blog.

The first one was a piece of cake–I could create a dozen WordPress blogs in an hour, and be watching TV while I’m doing it. Part of me felt like a big fake for the second one, though–I have few if any followers on any of my blogs. I’m ok with that, since it’s not my job to get readers (I just like to ‘talk’), but if I needed to, I know how it’s done. I’ve been swimming in the social media pool since before it was ever called social media. I know what attracts readers, and what keeps them, because I’ve been sucked into blogs, websites and posting boards….and I’ve left them. I’ve been anonymous, and I’ve had followers–I’ve even given an autograph or two in my lifetime.

I didn’t say any of that at the workshop, I just let them all assume I knew what I was talking about, because in actuality, I do. I’ve just never put it to the test.

Also in Houston, I saw bats. A quarter million of them. It was pretty awesome.

Knitting and Crochet Shopping

Craft Night

My friend Tricia in Massachusetts regularly hosts what she calls “Craft Night,” so named by (I think) her sister, who originally started it.  One or two Fridays a month, all our friends (usually minus me, being 3000 miles away) head to Tricia and Tony’s place, where the men excuse themselves to the rec room for poker, and the women hang in the kitchen or dining room.  Tricia’s crafting is of the scrapbooking persuasion (she’s also a kick-ass video editor, but that’s a different type of hobby), and my sister dabbles in beading and sewing, but our other friends don’t really craft all that much, so it’s usually more of a chance to hang out, catch up, and maybe indulge in some wine.  Except when I’m in town, then I up the craft quotient with my knitting.

Last Friday, I indoctrinated another to the ways of knitting–squee! Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.  Earlier on Friday, I went to Walmart in search of shoes for the wedding. (I’m not a shoe snob in the least, and the less I spend on shoes, the happier I am.) I was also desperately in need of a yarn needle, and hey! Walmart has a craft department! Sweet! (And, um, dangerous.) I headed on down the aisle, determined to ONLY buy a yarn needle (which involved silently chanting “only a yarn needle, only a yarn needle” to myself). When I got there, imagine my surprise when I found an enormous aisle of……empty yarn bins–?!  Ok, not entirely empty, but nearly empty.  But of course–YARN SALE!

Seriously, who out there can resist a yarn sale when it’s three feet from them??

Now, while not a shoe snob, I’ve always been a terrible yarn snob, and most of the yarns they sell at Walmart would normally be beneath my notice, regardless of sale status. But last Christmas Tricia (see above) gave me a bag of yarn that included, among other brands, some Red Heart, and yes, I made a shawl with it, and no, it did not feel icky or turn my hands funny colors or any of the other things I always expected from Red Heart.  Now I’m far more willing to try out the less expensive yarns than I used to be (and let’s face it, with my yarn-spending habit, less expensive is a good thing!), which, unfortunately, left me in a situation on this fine October day in Walmart that I was just not strong enough to walk away from.

I’m making it sound worse than it was, though, ’cause really, there wasn’t much yarn left.  Still, the neon, day-glo colors of the Caron Simply Soft Quick called to me like sirens, and come on, they were only $2 a skein!  Ten of those went into the basket, in five brilliant colors that would cure a blind man. Then I spotted the Red Heart Super Saver in variegated reds, yellows, oranges and pinks–my favorite color combination! They only had two so I snatched those up at $1.50 a piece. (And by the way, unlike the RH that Tricia gave me that made a lovely shawl, this yarn has proven itself to be scratchy and unpleasant on the hands–I have to wash a swatch to see if that improves the feel of it, ’cause otherwise I’m donating it somewhere.)

Having satisfied my thirst for color, I turned to the wall of notions–and found they were completely sold out of yarn needles. ?!  Well, this opened another dilemma.  I needed that needle. I could always go to nearby JoAnn’s, but that was way more dangerous than Walmart, by the nth degree! My only other option was to spend $12 on a “Learn to Knit” kit that included a book, two sets of metal needles, gauge card, stitch markers, row counter, a few other accessories, and….two yarn needles! But $12 seemed excessive to spend on two yarn needles, so I called my sister for advice. It went something like this:

Her: “You cannot go to JoAnn’s.  No way.”

Me: “But it’s $12. For yarn needles.”

Her: “You’ll spend way more at JoAnn’s and you know it.”

Given that she was, of course, right, I bought the kit.  And came up with the brilliant plan to bring it to Craft Night and try to tempt someone into learning to knit.  Which meant I needed more yarn, of course.

Rebecca learns to knit!So, long story still long, Rebecca was the one I caught up in my web of yarn. Stephanie, being a newlywed, felt she didn’t have time; Tricia had her scrapbooking; Colleen wasn’t there long enough that particular night; and my sister has resisted my attempts to teach her for four years. But Rebecca answered my siren call, took up the needles, and managed to cast on and knit four entire rows of twenty stitches before she left that night. (She also made apple sauce from scratch while my sister made two apple pies, and Tricia helped Stephanie start a wedding scrapbook, so it was a craftier Craft Night than usual.) I sent her home with both sets of needles, two skeins of Red Heart, and the book from the kit (yes, I kept all the notions, for I am greedy like that), and she promised to keep at it.  (I also insisted she feel the Debbie Bliss alpaca silk, so she’d know what other tactile pleasures were out there for the yarn-crafter.) It’s been a week now, I should probably check to see if she’s been practicing, or if it has languished in a corner, a four row strip of Barbie-sized scarf.