Monday, November 19, 2007

Serendipity and Interior Design

I went furniture shopping this weekend. I have now been to so many furniture stores my mind boggles just thinking about it. I have been to stores new, used, consignment, cheap, expensive, going out of business and just starting into business.

My last two stops of the day were a consignment store, and Ethan Allen.

In the consignment store, I found no furniture – but! I did find something else.

So there I was, poking around in search of club chairs and a sofa. And there it was, forlorn in the back of the store, shoved unceremoniously on top of a truly hideous end table.

An antique skein winder.

Have you ever had the feeling that Hands Unseen were guiding you?

Two weekends ago, I took a spinning class at Meridian Jacobs farm. See, twenty years ago I used to spin with a drop spindle…but I never learned to use a wheel. My husband bought me one way back when, and it has been a lovely decorative feature in our various homes since then – but it has never produced actual yarn.

Until a couple weekends ago, when Robin taught me what all those knobs and springs were for, and showed me how to turn sliver into actual yarn.

I think it is a tribute to her skills that I was producing actual yarn by the end of our time together. She is a seriously good teacher, and also a Darned Good Person©. Her weaving is seriously beautiful, too, and now I want to learn to weave.

Where I think I could put a floor loom is beyond me, and also beside the point. I want to make things like the things Robin was producing on her looms, and that’s all the logic I need. I am currently holding myself back only by the thought that really, one new obsession at a time is all I can handle. I’ve got a couple bags of crap sliver to learn with, and then one bag of gorgeous sliver to perfect with, and then I’ve got a few Hefty bags of raw fleece in the garage, which was what drove me to the spinning lessons in the first place. Long story, for another time, but I’m determined to actually make something with that fleece.


There it was, a beautiful old skein winder. It measures out to a rather odd 79.5” around (two yards would be 72”, two and a half 90”…I don’t get this, but as I’m not a commercial spinner I’m not going to worry about it), and the clicker gives out a loud and cheerful :click!: every forty revolutions.

It had a tag on it which said: “Spinning Wheel: $99.00 $79.00 $65.00 $45.00”

After I got done snickering about the ‘spinning wheel’ part, I grabbed it, lugged it up to the front, set it down and bellowed, “SOLD!” as I shoved money at the nice lady.

She then got a touch irritated, because after being in her shop for over a year without anybody giving it so much as a single curious glance, almost a dozen people crowded around it while she was filling out the sales receipt going, “Oh, what’s that? A which? What’s it for? You mean it actually DOES something? Isn’t it cute! Oh, how awesome! Do you have any more? Do you get a lot of them? Eek shriek giggle envy oh I just love it!”

After that triumph, I walked next door to Ethan Allen, waving my sock (closest thing to a white flag I could find at the time), shoved my Amex at them and said, “Want sit-on-thingees. You send in truck, charge Amex. Ugh. Wah. OK. Bye bye.”

OK, the conversation was slightly more high level than that, but not by much. Basically, I walked in, looked around, picked out the chair I wanted for my bedroom, and then sobbed hysterically about the insane requirements my husband has for the club chairs downstairs. Leather club chairs, tall ones with robust wings. Built for Mr. 6’4”.

I defy you to find this at IKEA. Or Macy’s. Or Sue’s Furniture Loft. ANYWHERE. We are talking about some very old-school ‘gentleman’s club’ style wing chairs. They just don’t make them like that anymore – everything is very ‘sleek and modern’ right now, and my husband wants a very, extremely, almost down to the precise measurements in centimeters style of chair.

I have looked. I did not find. Until I walked into Ethan Allen, where they said, “Oh yes, certainly we have those, right here! Now, here are approximately 11,000 different kinds of leather – which would you like? With or without nail trim? Do you like lion foot, or plain? And for the sofa, do you want fabric or leather? Reaaaalllllly? Are you suuuuuure? {shaking head at me to indicate correct answer would be ‘no, I’ve changed my mind, please take me by my interior-design-impaired hand and lead me’}”

I have given up, people. I am paying about $500 over my already inflated, “OK, but this is as high as I go and I really mean it!” budget for this furniture – and it is worth it to me. My ‘personal decorator’ Lisa is coming out here week after next to measure the room and check out our (so-called) d├ęcor and help us choose fabric and whatnot and to advise us on tables and then she is going to order our furniture and it will be delivered and I will sign the charge slip possibly without even looking at it and next year?

SO going to be a Living Below Your Means: Full Body Contact Sport kind of year.

But that’s OK. I can be frugal in my new bedroom, and hold coupon clipping sessions in my very grown-up living room, and if I want to read a nice book as an alternative to going out on an expensive jaunt to the mall, I can pick one from my own library upstairs.

If I’m not too busy spinning and skeining, anyway.


Barb said...

Congratulations on the yarn winder purchase (aren't those treasure hunts at consignment shops the best?) and the new Ethan Allen furniture. It will be well worth it, because you're getting exactly what you want and you will have it for years and years. Unlike the "disposable" purchases you might have made if you had settled for less.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the house is coming together! And the yarn winder was a lovely surprise! You'll have such a good time in your new-old house, you'll never want to leave. :-)

Yarnhog said...

Would you hate me if I told you that I LOVE furniture shopping and am drooling with envy at the thought of an Ethan Allen store and an AMEX? (I feel the same way about gardening, by the way, and accost any neighbors who might be digging up the front yard with endless, unwanted suggestions for landscaping ideas.) Congratulations on the new purchases!

Science PhD Mom said...

Ooooooooo, new furniture!! A treat! A treat! Just go with the flow and enjoy it as a reward for Frugal Living up to this point.