Bozemama Pix up Stix

January 25, 2013

Posted By: Bozemama

I pretty much knew when we moved here two and-a-half years ago that I would probably need to embrace knitting or quilting, or both. I mean, how else are you going to sanely endure nine months of winter, right? (Well, it turns out there actually are lots and lots of different ways, only one of which is drinking. And there aren't really nine months of winter, but I digress.)

There is a lot of knitting, crocheting and felting going on in Montana. Maybe everywhere, I'm not sure. But here in Bozeman, the bros crochet their own ski caps on the Streamline up to Bridger, people raise Alpacas and sell the wool so people can knit with it, friends gather 'round, spontaneously felting christmas ornaments during holiday parties (I joined in the fun this year and emerged triumphant with two fabulous creations that looked only semi-homemade.) It's really very exciting, especially for someone like me who would very much like to be Fiona the fiber finesser but is actually a lot more Spacey the spaztic tangler.

Adding to the overall intrigue is the fact that my 13-year-old daughter Hermione is a knitter. She really is. I promise. How did this happen? Well, my mother taught her one summer about seven years ago. (One might wonder why my mother never took the time to teach me, her own daughter -- but that would be digging up all kinds of unresolved resentment and a waste of time, so that question will just get tossed onto the big ole pile of unsolvable painful family conundrums.)

Anyway, Hermione and I decided we should take a knitting class together at Stix so that we could bond over dropped stitches and the brilliance of stockinette. Now before I tell you about the class, we need to talk about Stix. This place is very cool, OK? I mean the name alone should tell you that. It's where all the hip knitters in town hang out and buy funky yarn with sequins in it and knit crazy cute things that I will never be able to knit. And so you might think I was a little intimidated when we stumbled in for our class -- and, well, you'd be right.

Owners Tracy and Cameron are like the cool chicks I always wanted to sit with at lunch in high school who definitely know things you don't. But don't let that scare you; these ladies are actually happy to guide you and share their wisdom. And -- after teaching me to cast on, knit and purl without resorting to insults or violence -- Brittany, the store's manager, is my new best friend. This woman is the picture of patience, let me assure you.

Saint Brittany comes to the rescue

Not only did Hermione and I arrive a few minutes later than our classmates (adorable 11-year-old Belgrade middle schoolers Alexandra and Kendra), which I most certainly would not recommend, but we came unprepared. d'OH! Brittany very kindly told us what needles we should use and showed us the best chunky yarn for our project -- the knit ribbed scarf. Ooh la la. She gave us the option of borrowing supplies or buying them, but why borrow when you can buy, right? The class itself is free, by the way.

I'm not at all sure how she did it, but Brittany managed to juggle the four of us, happily answering questions and solving conundrums without slapping any of us upside the head. By the time I was finally done casting on my stitches, the class was half over, Hermione's scarf was already six inches long and I was ready to shove a knitting needle into my temple. (Why was knitting proving to be such a challenge for me? Not sure . . . might have something to do with my spasmodically impatient hyperkinetic tendencies. Just a guess). Brittany encouraged me to abandon any hope of knitting the ribbed scarf (in a nice way) and focus on practicing. And once I started actually knitting like all the other kids, I fell into a groovy peaceful rhythm where my hands were busy, but my mind was calm. It was great. Plus, Hermione was kind enough to use her mom-tone to cheer me on, "Oh my gosh, Mom, you're doing awesome !"

My very first row. Please. Hold your applause. 

But then it was time to purl, which is kinda like backward knitting and so the opposite of what I had just been doing for 20 minutes. My brain did not like this. For the first couple rows, I needed Brittany to hold my hand -- and she did. (Sigh . . . I heart Brittany.) After about ten rows of that, it was time to break out the chocolate. Thank god I had the foresight to bring snacks -- we were all ready for a little pick-me-up.

My practice work. See the stockinette thing going on there at the top? Genius.

Once the chocolate hit my bloodstream, I was able to focus on purling and ease back into my happy place. Sitting in this lovely shop alongside my girl, surrounded by gorgeous yarns and inspiring work, enthusiasts wandering in for supplies or guidance -- wow, what a truly fabulous way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Hermione's ribbed scarf. Now that's what Stix is talking about!

If you're interested in taking a class, here's the schedule . But Stix also encourages folks to bring in their own projects on Thursday's Knit Night from 7-9. Come alone or with a friend or child; it's just a wonderful way to connect with a community of people who enjoy creating beautiful things by hand.

OK, y'all. It's been grand, but I gotta go pick up my stix and practice (we all know I need it). Enjoy the weekend!

Stix, 23 West Main Street, Bozeman. 406.556-5786.

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