Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Sweaty, nekkid folks, prizes galore, and a trip down South

So I really need to tell the story of my visit to Stony Mountain Fibers.

-Warning. The following post contains briefly described nudity, religious ceremonies, and S.E.X.

Two Fridays ago, I went to Charlottesville, VA for some work stuff. I was going to ride in Friday afternoon and back out Saturday evening. Luckily for me, some FABULOUS old friends happen to live there and agreed to take me in Friday night in lieu of my having to Holiday Inn it. I was a bit sad that I wouldn't really have time on my trip to hit any fiber-y type spots (I had not even heard of the YNBA yet), but getting to see J and H more than made up for it.

Friday was all work, then much yapping and wine-slogging into the wee hours of the night. Which meant that Saturday, I lolled around in bed and went in to work with aforementioned old friend around 2 in the afternoon. Just before we left for work, J offered me their hospitality for another night.

I couldn't resist. Unfortunately for the world fiber market, work on Saturday took more than the two hours I had estimated, so by the time I was ready to hit the shops they were all closed. One shop actually closed early, even though I had called twice to see if I had time to make it in. The woman said (not un-snottily) "Well, it's five o'clock on MY clock, so we're closed." Hmph. Her loss.

On top of that, every shop I called was closed on Sunday, my totally free day.

Then I called Stony Mt. Fibers. The answering machine said: "Thank you for calling Stony Mountain Fibers. We are closed today, Saturday, but will be open from 12 to 4 tomorrow, Sunday...." Eureka!

H and I hit the road after 3 on Sunday. We had had to search a bit for the address (it wasn't posted on the their website... Clue #1), and once we found it, we had to try a couple of times to mapquest it, cause it was really out there. I even called the shop back but got the same recording from Saturday (Clue #2). Since the message still said they were open... Off we went.

The road to the farm/shop is long and muddy, through farms and homesteads.

When we finally got to the address, we saw three or four vehicles in the driveway, but no lights on in the house or shop (Clue #3). We got out of the car, and walked all the way up to the shop door (even though we could see the "Closed" sign from back in the driveway).

On the way past the house, H pointed towards the back saying "Look, they have a teepee!... ooooh and there, behind the fence... Is that a sweat lodge! How cool is that?" It wasn't 4 yet, and these seemingly cool teepee-dwelling sweat lodgers were closed! Totally unfair!

Then, we heard a man's voice calling "Hello?... Hello there??" I think he had said it a couple of times by then, but we had had our noses all squished up and fogging the shop windows and hadn't heard.

We started walking toward the voice. He kept calling out but didn't seem to be getting closer, you know the way someone would normally set down what they were doing and walk toward an interloper, the same way said bummed-out interloper would walk toward him? The voice seemed to be coming from the back... near the teepee and what we thought had been a sweatlodge.

As we got closer, H staged whispered "I hope they aren't all naked in the sweatlodge." I snickered.

The man's voice said "Who's there?" And I responded "Um. A knitter..."

The man's voice said (as we were almost to the fence) "We're closed."

As I walked to the corner of the fence, I was already explaining about the message saying they were open until 4. As we rounded the corner we saw the naked torso of an older gentleman half-birthed out of the sweatlodge.

My statement about the answering message was still sort of hanging in the air. I already wanted to take it back, as this guy seemed a bit too occupied to sell me any wool.

Naked Man - One second.
[NM ducks back into sweatlodge]
Me (stage whispered to H) - You totally called it.
[several voices murmuring in the lodge]
NM (after popping back half-way out) - Um. That message is from last week. I'm sorry.
Me - Oh, that's too bad... I was hoping to get some souvenir yarn.
[At this point, the wool junkie in me was obviously speaking. I had seen some neat stuff in the shop. We drove quite a bit to get here... And the message SAID they were open and all...]
NM - You didn't drive far did you?
H - I'm from Charlottesville, but she is visiting.
NM - Visiting?
Me - I came down from Rockville, Maryland.
Naked Man - One second.
Me and H (sort of jumbling over eachother) - No no, that's ok. We don't want to interrupt. Please...
[several voices murmur for a much longer time this time]
H - Do you think it's a religious ceremony in there... Or a more earthly one?
Me - (snicker) Could totally be either.
NM (did he sound dejected? Couldn't tell) - Go on over to the shop, the door's unlocked, the light's on the right side. Some one will be with you in a bit.... But, it will be a little bit.
Me and H - Thank you! OK! Take your time! Thanks again... etc etc.

We wandered through the looms and wheels. They had some Crystal Palace novelty yarns, and some Interlacements mohair and worsted. A small selection of Lamb's Pride bulky and wildfoote. Also, several different kinds of small bagged roving, and a whole wall of dyed stuff that looked like the same set-up they had at Rhinebeck: black wire cubes, with a tail of the roving hanging out so you could pull off and bag up what you needed. They had tons of coned cotton and chenille in the second room.

I wasn't really ready for more roving, but recall the issues I had been having with my thrummed mittens? I picked out a 2 oz bag of white wool/silk roving to be the designated thrumms, and found some really beautiful Manos on a bottom shelf in a lush red on red colorway for the mitten body.

Having interrupted whatever it was we interrupted, I clearly had to buy more stuff, however.

H fell in love with a novelty scarf, and was VERY excited when I said I could make her one. She picked out the CP Squiggle and Fizz that became the Thanksgiving Scarf. There was also some sort of super-soft black furry stuff that I couldn't stop petting, so I grabbed a couple of those. (I don't know what I am going to do with it, ok? But it was SO SO soft, you wouldn't have wanted to leave it either.) There was also a little bag of undyed angora that really didn't want to be left behind either... Remember the blue roving? It is already madly in love with the angora. They will be lovely plied together.

A flushed and sweaty Mary showed up shortly, and seemed genuinely happy to ring me up. They were at a stopping point in the ceremony anyway, and really it was fine.

We were very appreciative and after a bit more of a chat, we left Mary and her gang to their devices.

These thrummed mittens now have such a great backstory, I need to hurry the hell up and get 'em on the needles.


Thanks to those who played my meme game... Here are my answers to folks' questions:

Lara -
1. Mashed Potatoes. Always.
2. Probably socks. Since I am mostly cursed at sweaters. Otherwise, cardigans.
3. Haven't tried it. You?

Susan -
1. I made a really great lace purse for an old friend's birthday. I made up the pattern, and all of the finishing... And it actually turned out. It was sparkly red and shiny black. With a cool silk tassel and a great silver button.
2. I miss the Tex-Mex. And being able to (usually) drive myself to work. I am too nervous to drive here.
3. The heat and my job.

Jennifer -
1. Depends. Is it a European or an African swallow? See also, here.
2. They aren't actually that small. As has been demonstrated, they are about the same size as Norma's, and quite a bit larger than Stephanie's. The blog title is from an E.E. Cummings poem, , and most folks who end up here via Google are looking for the poem. I have been told that my hands are "graceful," "flexible," and "insane," but never small. For a long time, they were the only part of my body I appreciated.
3. Kali is the Deva, or hindu goddess, of destruction and protection (depending on whose side she's on). I have always loved paintings and sculptures of her. She is my totem, and embodies a lot of traits I wish I could manifest.


I won not one, not two, but three contests last month! Woo!

Looks like its time to give back to the blog-contest-karma goddess...... Stay tuned next week for a small hands contest™.


I am heading out in the morning for four days in Northern Louisiana. Funk Master Flash and I will be visiting his folks and brother. We haven't seen them in over a year!

We get back late Sunday, so I probably won't post until Tuesday or so. Please, have a great weekend and knit safely.

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