Lemonade Out of Lemons, Part III: Coronavirus Edition

What do you know…all it took was a global pandemic to inspire me to write a blog post for the first time in months. I hope anyone reading this is following medical advice and staying home as much as humanly possible, and obsessively washing their hands.   

I’m normally at home most of every day, knitting. But now, I’m following the advice of Dr. Fauci and MA Governor Charlie Baker, and staying home all the time (except for occasional visits to the grocery store, and walks or runs in my neighborhood). My gym is closed, so strength training, Zumba, and Pound workouts now take place in my living room. My dogs do not approve of said workouts interrupting their naps, and would request that the gym open up again posthaste, so they can get some sleep.   

Today, I was supposed to be packing to go to Stitches United. I hadn’t planned on going back after my less-than-stellar time there two years ago. (You know, the one where half my classes got cancelled after I checked in, due to a predicted blizzard which never materialized.) But, last fall at the WEBS Fall Retreat, my knitting pals and I all agreed to meet up this spring in Connecticut at Stitches. My biggest complaint about Stitches (aside from the non-storm that prevented Franklin Habit from being able to get a flight there to teach) was the lack of camaraderie. That wouldn’t be a problem this time, with seven of my friends being in attendance. And a total bonus was that Beth Brown-Reinsel was going to be at Stitches, teaching the very Traditional Gansey Techniques class I had signed up to take in Scotland last March. (You know, the one that got cancelled two weeks before the festival where it was to take place.) This was going to make up for the lackluster experience of two years ago AND the missed class at EYF last year in one fell swoop! Even better, I was going to spend four days with my favorite knitting buddies! Awesome! Third time’s the charm, and all that.   

But instead of packing for Stitches United today, I’m now under at stay-at-home order due to the Coronavirus. Stitches United was indefinitely postponed.    

To paraphrase Carrie Bradshaw, I can’t help but wonder: is the month of March cursed, when it comes to knitting events?   

Two years ago, I made lemonade out of lemons by using my class refunds to increase my yarn budget in the marketplace at Stitches, and by using what would have been my class time to work on the Abayomi sweater I was knitting myself. Last year, I also used my class refunds to increase my yarn budget, and used the class time to spend more time with my cousins. This year, Stitches is (so far) refusing to offer refunds, so there are no additional yarn purchases coming my way. I’m not getting to play with my friends.  Everything is scary. But, let’s try and make some lemonade out of these lemons.   

First, I took some of this time at home to do something I desperately needed to do: organize all of my yarn. I did this four years ago, dutifully entering all the yarn I owned at the time into Ravelry so I could keep track of it all. Sadly, I didn’t keep that up that practice whenever I bought new yarn. New yarns didn’t get neatly stored in protective bins, either -- just stacked in cardboard boxes and paper bags in my basement. So…last week, I hauled it all upstairs to my living room, to make sense of it all. I figured it would take me a full day to do.  

It took four days. FOUR DAYS. But it’s all done now, and it is glorious. I discovered long forgotten yarns. Projects that had long since slipped my mind came out to say hello. The yarn I’d intended to knit up into a Christmas present for my sister this past December was finally unearthed (seriously, I’d gone foraging in my basement three times trying to find it. I’d started to think it had been abducted by aliens). There are yarns by companies that are now out of business (Classic Elite, I miss you!). Should this virus keep me home for the next year (please God, no), I have enough yarn to keep me occupied.    

Second, my knitting friends are awesome. We keep in touch via our private Facebook chat group, and tomorrow we’re going to try having a virtual Knit Nite on Zoom.  But for this crisis, I doubt we’d ever have tried that. Hopefully it’ll become a regular thing, because I enjoy hanging out with these women so freaking much.   

Third, because everyone is (understandably) reining in their spending in these uncertain times, I have exactly one pending order. It should only take me a couple of days to knit up. After that, I can start plowing through some of the yarn in my inventory. Maybe I'll bang out a couple of projects to give as Christmas gifts, make some blankets to have in my shop inventory, knit myself another sweater, or take some time to teach myself some new techniques via books and YouTube videos.  We'll see what strikes my fancy when the time comes.

So, there is definitely a silver lining in all of this chaos. Most importantly, my family and friends are safe and healthy, even if we’re all spread out and isolating in different locations. Stay safe, my friends. Wash your hands. And for the love of all that is holy, stay indoors, if you’re not an essential worker. And, last but not least, to all of those essential workers out there taking risks to help your communities, THANK YOU!   

Legal imprint