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June 1, 2009 | Fiction

SpinningaGoodYarn.com FAQ

Eric Vrooman

SpinningaGoodYarn.com FAQ photo

Do you really spend 80% of your free time knitting?

Yes. I've knit during a blackout and a brownout, on the back seat of a double bike, on the beach during the eye of a hurricane, and during a deposition—when I explained how my neighbor's meth-head boyfriend stole tools from our garage (weed eater, chop saw, and rototiller) and used them to destroy her furniture. That happened a week after we moved here to "family friendly" Chanhassen, Minnesota.
 

Are you heterosexual?

Why are male knitters assumed to be gay, but not football players (the "hike"?), rugby players ("scrums"?), or wrestlers (Greco-Roman indeed!)? Freud said that men who are super-aggressive and violent haven't made peace with their attraction to men. I have—although, frankly, I wish they'd wear more wool! "Too itchy," they say, amidst all the scratching, spitting, and cussing. It might interest all these manly men to know that most of the first knitters in Western Europe were men! Renaissance men, in fact.

 

What would Ellen think if she read your blog?

The List of Irritants, Annoyances, and Injustices is getting pretty long (137 entries). I'm sure Ellen wouldn't like to hear me complain about the way she never switches the shower back to the tub setting. Or that she doesn't roll up Conrad's sweater sleeves while feeding him in the high chair—causing stains, discoloration, and sanitary concerns. But that's what great about the blog—she doesn't have to listen to my griping! Her job (regional manager of an organic cracker line) is pretty demanding, so she doesn't have the time to read blogs either. Since my primary line of work (house inspections) is spotty and seasonal, I've got to pass the time somehow! Better to share wisdom and release frustrations, or produce something (even a needlepoint of a windmill—yikes) than watch TV, right? Plus, it wasn't my job that forced us to move from Charleston, where I had built relationships with a bunch of realtors, to a place that gets so cold that wood moldings pull away from floors and ceilings. Ellen's right, there are far fewer Confederate flags here, but there aren't any trees higher than a flagpole either in this new housing development.

 

What's with all the lemurs?

I just love their eyes. I've never been to Madagascar, but I hope to go before the rainforest is completely destroyed by logging and farming. If you enjoy the Lemur of the Day photo or the knit lemur wall-hangings, help protect them from extinction. The Lesser Bamboo Lemur, the Hairy-eared Dwarf Lemur, and most of the Sportive Lemurs could really use your support! Make a "Save a Lemur" contribution (only $20) at Conservation International today! And stop ordering bamboo floors!

 

What's with the hard-core porn links?

I typically link with any site that wants to link with me. I assumed hotneedles.com and crossstitchmamas.com were family-friendly sites.

 

What exactly is for sale?

Knit cell phone cases—$19.95

Ear cozies (Note: These are NOT ear muffs. There is no tension-set metal connecting the two cozies. They simply slip over the ear for warmth!)—$4.95 per ear

Leg warmers for dogs and cats (small to medium size only!)—$6.95 per leg

Knit lemur wall-hangings

--Mica series (real mica used to capture light in their eyes and for ring tails)--$149.95

--Bead series (beads used to give the lemurs' hands more texture)--$129.95

**Basically, any item I've posted on this site is for sale. Just make a decent offer. Some of them may be pre-worn.

**All products are custom-made by me, so delivery times may vary.

 

Do you make a living selling these items on your web site?

No, but it nearly supports my knitting habit.

 

What's your favorite yarn?

Rowan Cocoon, color Mountain.

 

Why do you always take a picture of your lunch?

Unless you live on a farm or it's the weekend, breakfast usually consists of cereal or a granola bar, which is a fine (if boring) way to start a day. By dinner, most of us realize it's high time for a vegetable and some unprocessed food. But with lunch, everyone reaches for fast food! They give up. The last thing your body needs is starchy, heavy, greasy food during the middle of the day. I'm on a mission to promote homemade soups, quinoa salads, and bulgur burgers. If you support that mission, send me a photo of your lunch and I'll gladly post it. Let's take back the lunch!

 

Did you really knit while your wife gave birth?

Yes. It relaxed me, although I can't say it did the same for Ellen. For that, I've apologized and will continue to apologize.

 

Is it safe for infants to play with wool?

Lots of readers (well, two) wrote rather snarky comments about how they wouldn't wrap their three-month-olds in a straight jacket made of white yarn, not even for Halloween. I assure you that Conrad's facial rash was due to a corn allergy, not the wool.

 

Does Ellen wear everything you make for her?

She's never worn the trapeze jacket (calling it "circus wear"), and she didn't even try on the felted slippers due to the color (Lake Trout) or the crocheted corset (too many clasps and buttons, she claims, but isn't that the point of corsets?).

 

How do you find time for family, knitting, working, and blogging?

It's not easy! Conrad's squirmy, so I can't knit and hold him at the same time. He can be entertained in his bouncy chair or on the play-mat for ten minutes or so—time enough to knit part of a sleeve. As a five-month-old, he's now in daycare from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., but while Ellen's at work, I've got to advance the laundry, sterilize bottles, grocery shop, and make trips to Babies R Us for wipes, diapers, Boudreaux's Butt Paste, nipple cream, etc. And maintaining a daily blog is time-consuming. I guess I should do the job-search stuff first, but that's not really as fun or interesting. Plus, how do you do house inspections when roofs are completely covered in snow and ice? By the time I'm done blogging, I'm pretty tired (I do the night feedings) and, well, the bed's still unmade.

 

Do you ever "knit angry"?

Because of the List of Irritants, Annoyances, and Injustices, some readers think I've got anger issues. To prove I'm "one of the gals," I reveal more about my private life and Ellen than I should. Then I feel angry about my betrayals and pettiness, and my needles pick up speed. But are my woolens made from anger? No. The anger is simply the wavy surface atop a lake of love. Love for Ellen. Love for Connor. And, on good days, love for myself.

 

***

What happened to your blog?

I stopped blogging on February 26th, the day Ellen found out. Now, two months later, as per our marital counseling directive, I must provide a list of all that I've done each day job-hunting-wise. Gradually, I'm restoring trust, but I'm more socially isolated than ever. Ellen's coworkers give me the "stink eye," our next door neighbor takes perverse pleasure in monitoring my comings and goings (as if I'm as bad as her old meth-head boyfriend!), and there just aren't many men who want to talk about knitting or lemurs. Ellen insists that I limit conversations with women—online, on the phone, or in person—to just work-related exchanges. So there you have it.

I'm a Renaissance Man living in an outer-ring suburb of Minneapolis, where if you go for a walk without a stroller, people think you're a stalker and will stab them with one of your needles. As our counselor said, there's probably a reason why I knit the straight jacket for Connor. It wasn't that I wanted to handcuff him, but that I myself feel handcuffed. No job, no "real" friends (as if people in the blogosphere don't really exist!), and no organic food within walking distance.

Outside, the ice is melting (finally!) and the world and natural light seem to expand every day. I'm starting to feel more expansive, too. I'm working on a List of Love. I love how Connor lifts himself up to a standing position at the coffee table and smiles as if he's just defied one of Newton's laws, that squash bisque is his favorite food, that his "lovey" is a spatula, and that he's willing to share his maraca with me. I love how Ellen calls leaves that have changed colors "turn coats," that she pushed for a new line of bulgur crackers (my suggestion) despite substantial opposition, and that she now rolls up Connor's sleeves before he eats. Love for myself is still difficult. Whenever Connor's nose bulb isn't where I think it should be or someone's forgotten to refill his wipes warmer, my first instinct is to blame Ellen, rather than take the high road or accept my share of responsibility. I'm also not particularly proud of the two-week stretch where I ate a Baconator sandwich from Wendy's, a Chalupa Supreme at Taco Bell, and some other hemlock-esque fast food. But I am good at making Connor laugh, even if it means I have to get on all fours and pretend I'm a cow with the hiccups. I also give Ellen the best portion at dinner and bring her coffee in bed. And I haven't taken a depression-induced nap in over a month.

Thanks to those of you who cared enough about my well-being to post comments. I'm glad thatpurlypearl is continuing the "bring back the lunch" photo tradition, and the purple capelet with the ribbed collar that darn_it_girl made is truly exquisite. A pair of felted slippers and a trapeze jacket are yours, if you want them.

I'm off to interview for an assistant office manager position at a dialysis clinic (yikes). I'm bringing my lunch, though. And, rest assured, as soon as I find a job (preferably one with loads of free time and no computer monitoring), I will reenter the blogosphere in fully-knitted splendor, maybe to blog about renal failure or the evils of cholesterol!

image: Ryan Molloy


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