When I tell people that I usually work all day on Saturdays, most look at me with sympathy thinking that I must be sacrificing a lot by “giving up” my weekend. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I recently spent a weekend away from Winona and though I enjoyed the time I had in my hometown with my family, I felt a void from missing one of the busiest days the shop experiences each week. It is a time when those who can’t visit the shop during the work week stop in to chat and catch us up on the goings on in their lives; it is a day when laughter can be heard from our couches, advice is exchanged both on knitting projects and life, and new things are learned by teachers and students. It is a day of happiness and camaraderie.
Today was a Saturday much like the one described above and though I left Yarnology quite tired at 5:00, I had spent the day smiling with friends and working with some people I truly love. I had the opportunity to teach a private lesson to two great ladies this afternoon (we made felted clogs, a wonderful project I have made many times and will again), and as I sat at the table in our “classroom” I couldn’t help but overhear some of the things going on in the rest of the shop. Our “living room” was occupied by some long-term friends and a few of those people who only get to the shop on rare occasions. Sitting on our second-hand floral couches, they had some surprisingly deep conversations for that sunny Saturday morning, swapping parenting advice and sharing personal stories. Though we often refer to knitting as therapeutic, this description became literal; it’s much cheaper to spend an hour or two at the yarn store than it is to pay for a therapy session.
It’s always fun when you witness new friendships being made and with all the people who come and go on a Saturday, this happens often. An acquaintance of someone’s will come to sit, knit, chat, and drink coffee and in the process create new connections with others who have come to do the exact same thing. While bonding over their shared passion for knitting or crocheting, they will most likely find more common threads that exist between them. Without this yarn store many friendships would not be in existence, including some of my own, and Saturdays are the perfect time to strengthen or renew them.
Some of the new visitors that we receive on Saturdays are parents or family members of students that go to one of our town’s colleges. Unfamiliar with Winona, they often wander downtown to see what it has to offer and we’re happy to be one of the places they stop to check out. Even if no one in the family works with yarn, Yarnology captivates their attention with its vibrant colors and interesting displays. I love hearing family members brag about their student, the happiness at being reunited with them evident. With my family far away, I know how much it means when someone you love comes to visit. It’s always a goal of mine to show visiting families and friends that Yarnology is a safe and fun place for people of all ages. I feel that we represent a piece of Winona, and I want to do this wonderful town justice.
While my students were busily counting out stitches and rows, I became inspired to share, from my point of view, my favorite things about a Saturday at Yarnology. I quickly pulled the blank side of my pattern towards me and jotted down a list. Though I’ve just written about a few there are many more to share. It would take much longer for me write (and for you to read) all of them, so I’ll put the rest in list form, just like my untidy scribbling on the back of that pattern. So what do I love about Saturdays at Yarnology? I love…
- parents visiting their children and discovering us for the first time.
- teaching wonderful people something new and watching them succeed while they create something useful out of nothing.
- seeing red-cold faces fresh from the last farmer’s market of the season.
- people coming in with hopeless mistakes only to be reassured by the Yarnologists that actually, we CAN help you, do not be discouraged. We’ll work through this together.
- listening to knitters talk through their Christmas knitting lists, planning special projects for special people.
- hearing knitters say things like “I’m anti-gauge swatch” and “we have twenty four sheep” and not batting an eyelash.
- forming and renewing connections; it’s what our store thrives on.
- drinking 3:00 coffee with my coworkers.
- knowing that I truly matter to so many people at this shop and assuring them that they matter to me.