This past week my mother and I took our annual trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. This time, however, was my first time there as a knitter. I carried in my pocket a list of all the yarn stores in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Chimayo.
My first fiber stop was Fiber Chicks in Old Town Albuquerque. I had arranged with one of the owners to have a private lesson on how to knit cables. Each time I would mention that I wanted to learn how to knit cables everyone would always say, “Oh, they’re so easy!” Well, that may be, but like everything else, until someone teaches you – they’re hard.
Lesley Miller, the woman I’d spoken with over the phone a couple weeks ago, was very sweet and welcoming. We got to work. She watched me cast on, politely asked me why on earth I was using a long-tail cast-on (“Cause it’s the only one I know?”), and then taught me two more cast-on techniques.
When we inevitably got around to the question of “what made you take up knitting?” I told her about my 10,000 Hours project. Now, I keep expecting people, especially knitters, to go “What? You think you’re going to be a ‘master’ knitter?!” and then laugh me out of the room. But so far, everyone has been really excited by the idea. Other knitters visibly light up and non-knitters start talking about what skill they’d take on. Lesley was no exception. She started pulling out books & patterns she thought would be good for me and donated the entire 3 hour lesson to the cause. I made sure I purchased a hefty hank of handmade yarn and the needles she’d broken out for the lesson as a show of good faith.
Of course, I enjoyed the shops I found in Santa Fe & Chimayo as well. But out in the desert it is the land of wool, so my pocket book was (mostly) spared any real damage.
One afternoon I was left to my own devices on the plaza while mom had a cooking class. After a while I wandered into a coffee shop, purchased some hot tea, and sat in a cozy chair to knit. A gentleman in the process of “extreme couponing” sat next to me and struck up a conversation. He didn’t understand my obsession with yarn, I didn’t understand his obsession with little scraps of advertising, but we had a nice chat anyway. Occasionally I would notice that people outside on the sidewalk had stopped to watch me knit. I kept wanting to say, “Come back in about 9,000 hours… it should be far more entertaining then.”
Each evening my mom and I would return to our hotel, sit by the kiva (it was unseasonably chilly that week), she would make necklaces and I would knit. You can always tell what I hold dear by looking at what I’ve packed in my carry-on as opposed to shipped back or left to the (shudder) fickle fates of baggage claim. And yes, my knitting was tucked safely next to the chocolates for James and the gifts for my kids.