JIM’S SWEATER, Chapter 4
We drove into Maob “the back way” which is almost the best scenic byway I have ever been on. A sunny, warm day enhanced the experience. This is our 2nd visit in year, but a big part of the plan was rest. We love the Grey Panther, but seem to drive around too much. So we booked into a well-rated economy hotel for a few nights. Since leaving Sheridan, I had continued to knit a few rows and noticed a couple of very large errors. Keep them? Or visit the local yarn shop for help?
The door to Desert Threads, was open on the warm day and I went in. I wandered around a bit as customers were being waited on. Yarn shops have their very own ambience, and Desert Threads was no exception. Beautiful yarns, samples of knitted items and specialty items such as a handmade leather needle cases, felted book marks and stunning felted scarves filled the small store. I approached the counter and was greeted by Cathy, one of the co-owners. Her warm welcome eased my anxiety. As she looked at the knitting, she decided the two big mistakes needed help, which she graciously started to correct.
In the meantime, I met 2nd grader Danny playing with complicated lego vehicles he had made. He also told me he had knitted a scarf with other people who came into the shop. Rosalie, his little sister, was having a snack in the little back room. Danny graciously asked if I would like the last apple/honey bar. When I declined, he helped himself. Soon I was holding Rosalie (once a grandmother, always a grandmother) while Cathy continued to work, nonplussed, on the sweater. Rosalie wanted to sit on the counter where she often sits. Meanwhile Cathy continued to fix the sweater while refereeing sibling spats—“Use kind words” she told them. Finally the mistakes were in better shape. She wanted to knit a few rows of the sweater and calmly added length to Jim’s sweater.
Cathy told me it was “stitch night” when the local knitters came together to knit in the shop at 7pm. She was sure many of them would love to knit a few rows. Too often in our travels, we don’t stay long enough to get to know the people of a community. I welcomed the opportunity .Not sure of how they would react to a stranger, I was the first to arrive and sat in one of the folding chairs arranged in a circle. Soon other people arrive, including one man who stated he was a “privileged white male”. He liked to knit while he watched football. An atmosphere of friendship and easy talk filled the room. I relaxed. So many different projects—a mermaid blanket, socks, hats, a reluctant afghan for someone’s mother, still in progress for a year, warm colorful mittens, scarves.
Cathy’s sister, Rosie, sat next to me. She is a teacher and a co-owner of Desert Threads as well as responsible for some of the beautiful handwork for sale in the shop. Conversation topics changed from local issues and asking questions of the mermaid blanket knitter about her upcoming move to be closer to her friends in the Society of Creative Anachronism.
I felt so comfortable. I only meant to to stay the first hour, but I suddenly noticed two hours had zipped by.
Most of the knitters wanted to knit a row or two and the sweater was passed around the circle as knitters put down their own project and without missing a blink, nor stopped chatting, knit a row and passed the sweater on. Cathy was determined that the Maob knitters would add inches to the sweater. And they did!
The little grey panther had come along and hung out in the usual places, helping when necessary. Unfortunately, the little panther slipped away from me, staying in the shop. Cathy emailed me to let me know she would keep him safe for the night. I picked the panther up the next morning, a little anxious as to what havoc prevailed (think Night at the Museum) during the night, but there was still a warm smile on Cathy’s face as she handed over the little panther.
We said goodbye and I left with the spirit of the time spent in the Desert Threads held close to my heart after spending time with new people whose kindness is woven into Jim’s sweater.
Count: 3 yarn shops; (Wooley Ewe, Telkwa, B.C.; Close Knit, Portland, OR; Desert Thread, Moab,UT) 15 knitters !