Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Seeds of Many Meanings

When you go out looking for yarn in California, you might get more than you bargained for.

My daughter and I were heading over to a yarn shop in Sacramento while I was out there visiting. We both knew it might not be open, given that this was a Sunday. Well, we were going on a whim, since we had been in that general vicinity on another errand, so it was no big deal.

As we approached the strip mall in question, she pointed to the sign that said “Kelly’s Yarns” with an “Open” sign in the window, and a handful of cars in the parking lot, so we pulled in and parked feeling pretty optimistic.

Kelly’s was next to a shop called “Green Pastures Hydroponics“. My daughter hesitated as she took her keys out of the ignition. “Um, Mom…” she began, “The place next door--it might be a medical marijuana dispensary…” She seemed very concerned that I might be appalled.

“Really?” I asked. “What makes you think that? I don’t see any of the standard buzzwords, you should pardon the expression. Besides, don‘t forget I lived in San Francisco in 1974, so I‘ve seen pretty much everything.”

“I’m just saying,” she explained, “that so many storefronts in California that offer plants actually turn out to be ‘clinics’ for the dispensing of medical marijuana.”

“Well, what’s weird is that both shops are marked ‘Suite 130’. And come to think of it, the plant place door says ‘Use other door’, and the only other door is on the yarn shop. Hmmm… At the very least, this is a little peculiar.” After all, I thought, they could have saved some money and materials and just shared one sign: “Kelly’s Yarn and Weed”, or “Bong and Bling“. I mean on “Harry’s Law” the window is painted with “Harriet’s Law and Fine Shoes”, so there’s a precedent. Sort of…

We went in. Along the right side of the spacious establishment were rows and rows of lovely wooden bins with a gorgeous array of colorful, seductive yarns-- silks, cottons, wools, blends-- you name it, it was there. Pattern books, supplies, knitting needles (also known as ‘sticks‘), totes-- all the things that make me want to spend money like a drunken sailor. (No offense to any drunken sailors who might be reading this.) I can resist shoes, purses, jewelry and lots of other things women often get accused (sometimes rightfully) of overspending on, but let me loose in a yarn shop or a fabric shop, and I’m likely to leave with a slightly melted Visa card.

Meanwhile, on the left side of the store, there were multiple rows of planting and growing supplies for the budding home-based plant aficionado. There was an endless array of grow-lights, plant stands, terrariums, seeds and nutrient products.

A young woman came out from behind the counter under the hydroponics sign and offered to help us. We told her we were just going to browse some yarns. She informed us that the owner of the yarn shop wasn’t in, but that if we wanted to buy anything, she could handle that. We thanked her, and went back to our petting of the sweet, soft hanks of promise.

If the hydroponics are ‘just add water’, then the yarns seem to me to be “Instant Sweater”-- just add sticks (and a whole lot of time.) So maybe if I were opening a yarn store, I’d call it “Sweater on a Stick”. And if I were opening a fabric store, I’d want to call it “Cutting Edge”. These are just two of the reasons I’m not opening either one.

The woman from plantville came back several more times to make sure we didn’t need help. I should have asked her if we could put some yarn and knitting needles under her grow lights to make a sweater. But since I didn’t want my daughter to disown me, I kept my thoughts to myself.

Anyway, it was a quiet Sunday in the strip mall, and no plants or supplies were sold while we were there.

We did, however, make a dent in the yarn supply. And the pattern my daughter chose? I must confess-- it’s in the Seed Stitch.


  1. If I ever win the lottery, I'm opening a small shop and naming it "Leah's Bong and Bling." I don't even care what I sell.

  2. Leah...I love reading your blogs....they crack me up! This was a good one! Keep em coming.... ;)


  3. Those are both great store names! Very funny that the yarn store and the pharm store are together, but as you point out, it works in Harry's Law. Sort of.

  4. Hi Leah! What a strange combination... apparently there was a store in North London back in the early Eighties that sold both firearms and musical instruments. No idea what it was called, but maybe LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BASSOONS? Indigo

  5. So, Cutting Edge is a GENIUS name for a fabric store. Stopping by from SITS! Have an awesome day.

  6. Was any of the yarn hemp? Maybe they actually made their own yarn too? Wow, impressive place!