Did I say I would have the sleeves finished by Monday? Not so! They are long enough — too long, perhaps — but the decreases are not nearly complete. I am going to end up with excessively long sleeves, here. I have checked the photograph in the book, and I am going to end up with the same number of pattern repeats in my cables that they show, but I am afraid that the sleeves will flop over my hands. Do I frog now? Wait and see? Pull out from the ends of the sleeves and rib sooner (and upside down)?

It may be just as well that I am not yet ready for my next project. My desire for lovely Italian yarn has me on the horns of a dilemma.

First, some background. I was very happy when the Local Yarn Shop opened last year. I am not a very good customer — for one thing, I am not a stash builder. I just buy yarn when I’m ready to knit it. I knit one, maybe two things at a time. I only knit a couple of large projects a year, otherwise doing small things. I don’t knit exclusively with high-end yarns, and therefore buy some of my yarn at the Big Discount Craft Store. And I had just done a mail-order stock-up (at Harrisville Designs, itself an independent business) shortly before they opened.

But I love having the store there. I like to go in for information and inspiration, and to admire their yarns, and to pick up a few skeins of something really nice, or a pattern or perhaps a couple of buttons. I ‘m glad they’re there. I’m like that with the Local Quilt Shop, too, buying fat quarters of wonderful William Morris fabric, but getting my backing and batting on sale at the Big Discount Craft Store.

Since I manage an independent store, I know about customers like me. They come in for me to tell them the names of good books on a particular subject for a particular grade level — so they can then go buy them at the Big Discount Book Store. They buy most of their train set on the cheap at eBay and then want us to have the particular, highly specialized piece that they can’t find anywhere else. They browse every week, and buy twice a year. We cannot keep our store open with customers like these. They are not supporting us, but they like having us around for the times when they need us.

When the big box stores came into our little town several years back, our independent book stores, the art supply store, and so on were driven out of business. It is no longer possible to find the special gouache you want in our town — because the folks who valued the special gouache were willing to buy their basics at the big box stores. I try not to be a part of that problem. I shop at the farmers market, the local health food store, the local meat market.

But, with college tuition payments and the feeding of a houseful of teenagers hanging over my head, I feel that I have to be a little price conscious. I buy organic produce, but not organic butter. I buy meat from the local butcher, but get tea in bulk at Stash Tea’s online clearance sales. I buy cakes and pastry from the local baker, but mostly Oroweat bread. And I spend more, to be honest, at the Big Discount Craft Store than at the local places.

I am usually fairly content with my compromises. But now I have this dilemma. Because I found an online source of Brilla which would allow me to make my sweater for $45 (including shipping) instead of $78 (including tax).

Now, I was planning to get Lion brand (preferably on sale) at a big box store, and would probably not have bought the Brilla, even though I wanted it. A woman with a large family and a modest income has no business making herself a $78 sweater. So my buying it online would not really be a loss to the LYS (Local Yarn Shop), but only to the big box store where I would have bought my mass yarn.

But it was the nice lady at the LYS who searched her store and carried that ball of Brilla over to us. I would not even have known about it if it hadn’t been for her. How can I, in good conscience, spend $45 at Elann when I only spend half that when I go to my LYS?