Monday, March 5, 2012

Oh the Joy of a LYS

As mentioned yesterday, I’m about to start something big. This isn’t big in terms of excitement, cost or contribution to society, it is just big in terms of the many months (years) of knitting that lay ahead. I decided that this project deserves its own set of knitting needles - something bought special that will be used only for this project and never be distracted by anything else.

For those not immersed in the world of knitting, LYS stands for Local Yarn Store. A LYS is the mythical place that should have everything you need – as in when someone tells you about a great yarn they say “you should be able to get it at your LYS”, or if they talk of the newest in knitting accessories, they say “available at your LYS”. So yesterday I dragged the boys to my LYS in search of a new, special pair of needles. Since I had the boys patiently waiting outside I breezed quickly through the store and found some standard metal needles and some bamboo double-points, but nothing that said “here I am - the special needles that you seek”. So I assumed my LYS wasn’t up to the task and off we went.

Some background on my LYS is that it is located in the local mall. This is a mall that should be fantastic but is unexplainably mediocre. I live in what may be the most populated neighbourhood in the country; this neighbourhood is also home to some highly affluent people. That combination should be a natural fit for an amazing mall but sadly our mall is merely mediocre. For years this mall contained a Lewiscraft which was a great store to pop in and buy some odd or end for a crafting project. A store I shopped at often, Lewiscraft was always a mess and carried only the cheapest of knitting accessories, and then one day it was gone. While I was excited about what may lay ahead I was also sad to see a craft store go away. Then came the wonderful day when a new store sign emerged and it was clear we were getting a Mary Maxim in its place. For those not familiar with Mary Maxim it is a long-standing Canadian company that has been selling yarns and craft supplies for more than 50 years. While Mary Maxim does sell many a treasure they also sell more than their fair share of acrylic yarn and cheesy craft kits.  It is difficult to look into Mary Maxim and not think of Lewiscraft. Even now, years after they have replaced Lewiscraft I still expect Mary Maxim to be a haven of only acrylic and cheapness, and then I remember this just isn’t so.

Mary Maxim has done an amazing job of stocking the finest of knitting yarns and the most beautiful of knitting accessories and beading supplies. While on the surface the store may look like a basic craft store, the reality is that Mary Maxim is an amazing LYS and would be at the top of my list for best store at the mall. As I day-dreamed at work today I decided to head to my LYS, on my way home, and see if they were up to the task of showing me the perfect needles that I did not find on my own on the weekend.

Being the end of the day I was not very articulate (as evidence by this run on post). So I put on my most pathetic “please help a fellow knitter” face and entered the store. The face worked and a lovely LYS lady took pity on me. Our conversation went as follows:

Lovely LYS Lady:  Can I help you?

Me:  Yes please

LLYSL:  What are you looking for?

Me:  I have a fussy request

LLYSL:  You have a fuzzy request?

Me:  No “fussy” - I want a pair of needles (pause) I want them to be short (pause) I don’t want metal (pause)

LLYSL:  Nods patiently

Me:  I want something nice to knit up sock yarn scraps

LLYSL:  Come over here

Next I watched her rummage through a box and then voila, she says “you want these”.

And she was right – I did want the needles she produced. They are a wonderful pair of soft flexible Bryspun knitting needles.  According to the Bryspun website they are made of a special plastic that is warm and soothing to the hands. I can’t wait to use them.

Next the LLYSL said “But what you really want are these”, and she produced this amazingly beautiful set of Knitter’s Pride Symphonie Dreamz wooden needles in a gorgeous array of colours.

She was so right – I want those needles, but at $92 for the set, those needles will have to wait.

In other news…

I came home tonight and found this at our door.

I’ll be sure to post more about it in a couple of weeks, but for now I will just say that I’m incredibly excited!

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