I have told this story to knitters and non-knitters, and it gets pretty big laughs. Here is the very wordy version.
At least a year ago, I was in a yarn shop doing a trunk show event. It was not that busy, unfortunately, so I had plenty of time to browse around the shop. I happened upon a lovely skein of laceweight superwash merino from Madeline Tosh, in a yummy smoky purple color. I carried it around the shop with me and even put it in a Safe Place, because I did not want anyone else to buy it, or touch it, for that matter. I was deciding if it would be mine. I for sure didn’t need more yarn (still don’t) but it really was beautiful. At the end of the event, I was packing up my stuff and decided that since I did not take a lot of orders, I could not justify the splurge on unneeded yarn. But it sure was pretty. I hugged it one last time and put it back on the shelf. The shop owners must have taken pity on me, because they gave it to me on my way out. That was pretty nice of them.
I took the yarn home, and added it to my stash. I had no plan for the yarn. I am not that kind of yarn customer. I just wanted to have it. I fall in love with yarn–usually the color is what does it for me–and I take it home, let it hang around and make friends with my other yarn, and figure I’ll do something with it someday. It kind of shocked me when I started meeting the other kind of people…those who don’t buy yarn unless they have a Plan for it.
(An aside) These days I have so much work yarn and so many work samples to knit, it is not very often that I let myself do any personal or gift knitting. My husband got a pair of half-finger gloves last fall after asking for them for a year. They were from my first Romney fleece that I washed, carded, and spun. Then I designed the gloves to custom fit his hands. There is a lot of love in those gloves, and he wears the heck out of them in the winter, and proudly tells his friends that ask “what’s with the half-finger gloves, dude?” that his wife made the “string” for them and everything. I sent my friend a handspun scarfy thing, and my mom got a shawlette made out of a luxurious bison blend yarn, that unfortunately got discontinued. I made a couple pairs of socks out of handspun. Every other knitting project was for work. But this purple yarn would surely be something special for someone, someday.
Back to the story. So every once in a while, I visited this nice purply lace yarn in my stash. I would look at it and fondle it. I pored over the label, minimalist that it is. I was struck by the strangeness of the name of the color.
Poomboy. I wondered if it was some kind of slang that I was getting too old to know about. I may have checked Urban Dictionary. Was there a Poomgirl? I wondered what I would knit someday with this lovely Poomboy. I looked and wondered periodically for many months. Every time I petted the yarn, I shook my head and thought, “Hmm. Poomboy. I really don’t get it. How did I get to be 43 years old and never hear about Poomboy before, and now here it is on a yarn label? Weird.” I finally resigned myself to the idea that I would not understand this funny name. I shrugged and thought, “Those crazy indie dyers. So creative. What will they come up with next?”
I eventually wound the skein into a center pull ball on my gorgeous, hand carved, some-kind-of-fancy-wood nostepinne that I gave myself at Rhinebeck last year. I kept the label, like a good knitter, and then one day, during a routine yarn visit, I looked at it “upside down.” It said Logwood. A perfectly normal purple colorway name. I laughed and laughed. It will always remain Poomboy in my heart, although now I see it was Logwood for all of those months.
Here’s what I take away from this. I am glad that I can laugh easily at myself. I am also glad that I can tell this story to my friends, even new knitting friends, and let them laugh at the way my mind works. Even 5 years ago, I would have been embarrassed and probably never told anyone about it. It makes me happy that I get really loud, good laughs from this story, from people who are very funny themselves. I told the story last night at dinner and a few people shared similar mistaken-perception, Of Course That’s a Real Word stories. And now, I have joked with people that Poomboy should be a word, and have thought about adding it to Urban Dictionary myself. Maybe its definition is someone who only looks at a situation a certain way for a long time and assumes it’s one way, but it’s actually the very opposite way.
The happy ending to this story is that Poomboy is now being knit into Anne Hanson’s challenging and lovely Pine and Ivy Shawl. I started it a bunch of times at the Knitting and Spinning retreat in May, was not able to get the beginning chart right until I got home, and now I knit a couple rows every couple days. Someday, when it’s finished, I’ll put it up on Ravelry as the Poomboy Pine and Ivy.