January 21, 2017

The End of Betsy's Stalking.

Meeting a knitting hero!
I continue to work on the Wendy Johnson socks -- the heel has me slightly confounded at the moment. Truthfully, I was confounded about 3 weeks ago and put them down "for a minute," and have not picked them up just yet. They are sitting next to me right now, keeping me company. Nagging me, really. The live stitches on them have been moved, however, from my addi turbo circulars to some Knitter's Pride Dreamz circulars. I was irritated with the tiny needles and blunt tips. And when a girl wants some stilettos, where does she go? The yarn shop, of course.

On a very rainy Sunday afternoon, exactly one week following my last blog post, I headed to the fabric store. ( I know -- I said the yarn shop. I will get there. Promise.) I needed Easter dress patterns and fabrics for me and my daughters and oh, WOW were there some serious coupons that day! I took Amy Rose, my 7-year-old with me to occupy her while daddy worked on the car in the garage. 

The garage, complete with a "Tailgater" radio, loads of tools and shop towels all over the place and one swearing daddy is no place for a first grader. 

We set out on our fabric adventure. 

Amy Rose and I spent over an hour at the magical fabric store. Just like newly dyed yarn, there is something about the smell of new fabric that calls to me. Mesmerized, I follow it all over the store, my nose leading the way. With each new colorful, fragrant row, there are new enchantments. If the Pied Piper were made of new fabric, I'd follow him to the ends of the earth. 

At the fabric store, this fantastical journey with the piper always ends in paying him. I gave my due to the young lady at the cash register and the spell was broken. 

I suppose that this created some sort of a letdown, coming off the fabric store high, because I mentally--and somewhat unconsciously--began looking for another fix. I lingered in my running car for a moment. It slowly occurred to me that Blizzard Yarn and Fiber, one of two newer shops here in Vancouver, was close by. I knew they had an excellent needle selection, and it was on the way home. I needed some pointier needles, after all -- some stilettos! Yes, of course! I couldn't continue my Wendy Johnson socks another minute without better needles. Another reason for another lovely nose-enchanting high!

Armed with those few, thin, grown-up "reasons" to stop by the yarn shop, I headed that way.

Amy Rose protested in the back seat, "I just wanna go hoooooomme!! MOM! I'm so tired...." some familiar little kid whimpering followed, as if extra noise created needed and convincing emphasis on the statement. It was a mix of fake crying and moaning. It was accompanied by some deep leaning to one side in the car seat to be sure I saw the exhaustion. 

"Honey, it will only be a minute. Then we'll head straight home. Promise." 

More whimpering. I was unmoved. I was following the Piper again. This time he just had a different

The 10-minute drive felt longer than ten minutes to both of us. As I parked in the spot right by the
front door, my suffering waned. I dragged Amy Rose from her car seat and we headed into the store; I danced in, Amy Rose plodded.

Once inside, though, Amy Rose's mood lifted. I thought that maybe she heard the Piper, too.

It was Amy's idea to head over to the voices around the corner. We peeked.

And there she was. I thought. Betsy. The woman herself. I knew it was her. I was pretty sure it was her. I had never seen her in real life, though, never heard her voice, never watched her knit as this woman was doing now. Maybe it wasn't her. Maybe I just wished it.

I stared too long. Nervously laughing and chatting momentarily with the other women as the saleswoman who was working that day stood to help me with my needles. I welcomed the escape and we walked back to the front of the store where the needles were kept.

She has no idea, I thought. She doesn't even see me stealing glances back over around the corner. I nervously bought my needles and was poised to walk out of the store, never knowing the truth.

"Mommy, can we stay?" Amy Rose shook me, "Let's look around. Maybe can we sit down at that table and have a rest?" She said this so everyone heard.

Stunned and horrified at the idea of lingering and the possibility of being found out as the stalker I truly was, I stammered, "S-s-s-ure, honey. Let's look over here." Still glancing back at the table, I dragged Amy Rose to the back left corner of the store, as far from the rectangular table as I could get. I feigned shopping for yarn. Everyone at the table had gone back to the business of knitting and visiting, they had no idea of my obsession!

I sneaked around the isles, stealing glances of the Betsy-look-alike and hearing them women talking. After a while, I had to dare to walk past the table to another part of the store, so as not to be accused of shoplifting instead of stalking.

We smiled at the knitters.

There was nothing in the other room.

Okay, I thought, there's no option. We have to pass back by the table. We'll have to sit down. I asked the women unnecessarily, "Mind if we join you?" They are gave an energetic "Sure!" and invited us to a couple of chairs. I inconspicuously pulled out my Betsy McCarthy "Starter Stockinette" socks (seen in the last post) and began working on them.

After too many minutes of small talk, asking the other women questions and trying--but failing--to listen to their warm and interesting responses, I decided to strike. I addressed Betsy. I told her I felt silly, but had to ask if she was who I thought she was. And, after all that self-imposed stress, turns out it was hardly a big deal. Turns out she is the most approachable, humble and sweetest-natured person you could ever hope to meet.

I confessed I was knitting her sock right in front of her, and she just smiled. Of course, she likely knew it all along. Then, she told me about her life here in Vancouver, how she takes walks with a mutual friend of ours (who still lives in her building, in case you were wondering!) and how they take walks through downtown--and knit at the same time. Once, she told me, it took several blocks for her to realize that her yarn ball had fallen and been trailing behind her, unwinding all the way! That last story did it for me: Betsy McCarthy was a kindred spirit to me in some ways.

So, I guess, when you meet your heroes, sometimes it turns out okay. Sometimes they are more than you may have imagined, and maybe you even will have something to talk about. Sometimes, they may even let you take a picture with them at the local yarn shop, where it turns out you both buy yarn.

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