Last year, while living in Dallas, one of the hottest, most miserable places I've every lived, I decided to take up knitting. Because nothing makes you want to knit a big wool scarf like 100+ degree days and days and days! But I hardly knew anyone, we didn't have cable, and I needed something to keep me busy when I wasn't working or going to the gym or just sitting staring at the walls. Good times, for sure.
So I went to JoAnn's or Michael's or something, bought a book called I Can't Believe I'm Knitting, which I am still tempted to call I Can't Believe I'm Not Knitting (due, of course, to the non-butter product of the similar name), picked out some needles and yarn, and taught myself how to knit. I didn't have high hopes, as I am NOT a crafty, handy, artistic person. But every other year or so, I get an itch to create something by hand. Usually, those attempts end in half-completed disasters that I then pass on to my mom to "make it all better." But this time, I actually got it, much to Mr. J's amazement, who was incredibly cynical of the entire endeavor.
Here I am, more than a year later, with four scarves and two hats under my knitting belt. Not one of them turned out absolutely perfectly, but even I was able to agree that they looked pretty good. So good that I gave all but one of them away as gifts. Since Christmas, I haven't had a project or an idea or anything of what I wanted to make next. But then I saw this blanket and thought, "Wow," that would be perfect for our friend's new-ish baby. (I'm extremely slow on getting gifts to people in the appropriate amount of time, but if all goes well, it will be a great 6-month-old birthday gift).
So, I dragged my friend Miss Z to the knitting store with me to help pick out some yarn. The nice lady in the store pointed out a wall of yarn and said that each ball was $3.99, which sounded pretty darn reasonable. After about 15 minutes of fondling all the fantastic colors of soft, cuddly yarn, we picked four fantastic colors (which I never would have chosen on my own). Because the balls were smaller than what the instructions called for, I decided to get four each of four different colors. $65 was a much more than I expected to pay, but those colors were so worth it.
Then the other nice lady rang us up and said, "OK, that will be $115." I stood there with my jaw on the floor, thinking, "WHAT?!?!? How the *&$#% did that happen?" I was stunned. Thank goodness Miss Z was there and asked, "But I thought they were each $3.99." Oh, no, Dear. Apparently we moved one step too far to the right and ended up in the $6.99 section. So, back we went to the Wall o' Yarn to try to find something similar in the cheaper colors. And, of course, there was nothing that we liked. We did find some cool colors a few steps too far to the left, but apparently those balls were $9.99. Dang, after a year and a half of buying my yarn at JoAnn's, I have only now discovered how ridiculously expensive this little hobby of mine really is.
We tried and tried but just could not find anything we liked. So back to the cash register we went, where Miss Z was incredibly, incredibly kind and generous and offered to pay for half. So now we are both giving a gift to little Miss Sydney. And she better treasure this blanket for all the days of her life. And to think I took up knitting in part because I thought it would be so much cheaper to make things like sweaters and scarves and hats for myself. How very wrong I was!