In Which the Absence of a Bridge Results in More Yarn
Saturday, the M.E. and I spent a few hours at the art museum. Buoyed by the creative energy that always results from seeing great work, we wanted to find something else fun to do for the rest of the afternoon. But we didn’t know what, so we decided to head in the direction of our neighborhood and see if inspiration would strike.
Leaving the museum, we took the closest freeway entrance. Our direct route home had vanished with the collapse of the 35W bridge last week, but we figured that with a little maneuvering we’d have no trouble. The route wouldn’t be direct, but hey, it was Saturday. No hurry.
This plan might have worked if everybody else hadn’t been trying to go the same way. The lane we needed was jammed. Even on a Saturday afternoon, standstill traffic is no fun. We decided to be clever and take an even less direct route. Maybe we’d come across some amusement on the way.
Of course, we missed the turn that would have taken us in the right direction. Is it 44th or 46th that goes through? We debated the question as we passed them both. Before long we were miles in the wrong direction and found ourselves in an obscure and unfamiliar suburb.
It happened to be same suburb where a really excellent Italian deli had made its home a few years ago. If we had to drive around way out there, why not make it worth our while?
We stopped at a gas station to look up the address and get directions. The guy working the counter was a recent immigrant who was uncertain of the meaning of the term, “phone book,” but luck was with us–a neighborhood handyman who’d stopped in for gas offered to take us there. It was near his barber, and he was on his way to get a haircut.
The handyman’s red truck led us directly to a strip mall which was designed to look like a suburban version of the old West, with wooden sidewalks and cute storefronts. We didn’t see the deli but…what’s that? The Three Kittens yarn shop!
“Do you want to stop?” asked the M.E.
This was a silly question.
In we went, after waving a thank you to our kind benefactor in the red truck. We’d ask the Three Kittens ladies for further details about Buon Giorno’s location.
Well. If you ever find yourself in the wilds of Lilydale, Minnesota, this is the place to go. Three Kittens is stuffed with yarn. We had to trip over new shelving being built by a workman just to get into the shop. The existing shelves were bursting and big plastic bags of yarn were all over the floor, waiting for homes.
Since I’d never been there before, my intention was to check out the shop and perhaps find a skein of sock yarn before we departed for Italian deli locations unknown. The M.E. had other ideas. Oh, I found my sock yarn.
Colinette Jitterbug in Summer Berries. Go ahead, drool. But save some, you’ll need it.
I was going to be good. I have plenty of yarn in my stash. But the M.E. was poking around, amusing himself. He doesn’t knit but he appreciates very soft yarns, and bright colors. Didn’t take him five minutes to locate the basket next to the counter where the silk was kept under protective surveillance. “Feel this,” he said.
“It’s silk,” I said. “Of course it’s soft.” Claudia’s Hand Painted. Serious drool.
“You’d look good in this.” He held out a beautiful magenta. “No, no, this is better.” Electric blue. I mean, this was zap you till you jump back electric blue. Gorgeous. I showed him the price tag.
“How much is on here?” he asked. I pointed to the yardage on the tag: 1100 yards. Enough for a shawl.
“Hey, that’s cheap if you can get a whole shawl out of it!”
I love the way men of science think.
What could I do? He insisted. Not one single eyelash had to be batted–I was under orders to buy the yarn.
Really, you can’t photograph this color. It’s an elusive spirit, even more beautiful and complex than what you see here. I knew immediately what to do with it. I’d been looking for the perfect yarn for this project.
I smiled when I saw the sign posted over the cash register, the same one you see in nearly every antique shop in the country: “Your husband called and said you can buy anything you want!” Sometimes it works even better when he’s right there, picking out yarn on your behalf.
It couldn’t have been a better day. Amazing art and gorgeous yarn followed by way, way too much fun devastating Buon Giorno’s shelves. We dined that night on exceptional cheese and soprasetta, grateful for our good fortune, happy that our wrong turn resulted in a memorable afternoon. And I’m tickled Electric Blue that I have a new lace project to work on.
By the way, if you live in the Twin Cities and can possibly get to see Jantje Visscher and Mary Griep’s exhibit in the MAEP gallery before it closes next weekend (August 12th), you’ll be glad you did. Extraordinary work by two very thoughtful artists. The exhibit listing describes Ms. Visscher’s work as “minimalist sculpture,” but don’t let that silly bit of copy fool you. They’re drawings. Damn good ones. She just happens to be using light instead of pencil or crayon.
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