I have in the past couple of months become totally and inexplicably obsessed with two things:
1. Really nice underwear; and
(And I will pre-empt your comments by saying, right now: No, I'm not going to knit my own underwear.)
Now, obsession #2 is kind of a continuation of a knitting phase that started in Seattle, and which had been in dormancy for the past couple years, only to flare up again a couple months ago. However, whereas in Seattle, I was merrily knitting a couple hours a week, doing things like simple hats and scarves and basically using knitting as an excuse to fondle soft fuzzy skeins of yarn, here, I think of nothing else all day except for how much knitting I can get done that evening, after work (with some brain time set aside for obsession #1). While at work, I spend all my time on knitty.com and knitting pattern central, among countless other websites of knitting patterns and techniques. And it's embarrasing how many on-line yarn sellers I've browsed through. With yarn shops so thin on the ground in Dublin, I'm reduced to drooling over yarn on the web, which at least keeps the yarns more hygienic. I'm thinking of flying over to London again in a couple of weekends, to visit the yarn shops there. I only got to one last time. I'm also entertaining a trip to Galway, 'cause I read somewhere on the web that there's a new yarn store in town. This weekend, I corralled the Limey into driving me out to a soulless commercial/industrial estate in feckin' Walkinstown, for Christ's sake (no, there's no need for any of you to know where that is) because Springwools is there. I bought 6 balls of a cashmere/cotton/angora blend that I don't even know what the hell I'm going to do with. I also ran out of the lovely GGH Soft Kid (which I'd bought in London last time) about 12 rows from finishing a cardigan I started on last week, so I went to yarn-shop.co.uk to buy another ball. (12 rows! And you just KNOW the new ball is going to be from a different dye lot, and my lovely soft mohair cardigan will look like I spilled tea on the top few inches.) And while on the website, I thought, Well, it's silly paying all that shipping and handling just for one ball of yarn, isn't it? So I ordered 5 skeins of a lovely yellow wool that I also don't know what the hell I'm going to do with. I went to all three of the biggest bookshops in town on Sunday, to see if their stash of knitting books had expanded at all in the last week. (No, they hadn't.)
Now, obsession #1 is a surprise for me. I mean, up 'til December or so, my idea of great underwear was the cotton ones my mom had bought for me in a 25-pack at one of those Asian random crap stores that you find on Clement St. in SF. Fit OK, four or five colours so you don't get bored, a teeny bow at the front so it's not completely featureless. Most of my underwear still consists of these, and my mom died 7 years ago, for Pete's sake! This tells you how often I thought of underwear and how often I bought new ones. (Hey, they're sturdy cotton and wash well, okay?) But now! If the price tag on a bra has fewer than 3 digits, I sneer at it. I only want underwear with lace constructed of silk from hand-fed silkworms and satin that's been woven by fairies from pixie hair. Or at least, that would be the only things that would justify the prices on some of this stuff. I slink around the Agent Provocateur shop in Brown Thomas, in my Zara jacket and cheap jeans and try not to call attention to the fact that I can't afford to even look at the merest sliver of silk in there. The Myla people sent me a catalogue (thus ensuring that, should I ever move away from this address, future residents will never be able to use their bathrooms, which will be constantly occupied by their heavily-breathing 14-year-old sons), which I leaf through at night when I'm done leafing through knitting books and patterns. I had to stop myself from browsing this stuff on-line during the day, 'cause all my co-workers would then think I'm browsing porn, which is basically what some of this stuff is. Hey, at least it's expensive, high-class trash.
When I walk around town nowadays, I stop at the window of every knitwear shop (of which there are lots in Dublin- why the hell don't they have some decent yarn stores, then? Makes no sense) and scrutinize their stock. I have come to the conclusion that Aran sweaters are just absolutely hideous. I mean, the cabling, the diamond patterns, the heavy in-your-face Oirishness of it all is just disgusting. And it's not like Aran jumpers are easy to knit (although they're probably all done by machine). It would take forever to knit one of those- why waste your hours just to make something so ugly? Maybe there are simple Aran-style jumpers out there, that are nicer? There must be. In between knitwear shops, I look in the windows of lingerie shops (of which there are also lots here...hmmm...maybe I'm just obsessed with these because that's what there is to obsess about here?) and sniff at the quality (acetate lace? rayon? Pah.) and design (brown and aqua blue? Really? Together? In a bra designed with the structural engineering of bridge scaffolding?).
This is all very bad. I've spent a whole bunch of money on yarn and knitting supplies; I'm constantly disappointed at my underwear drawer; I'm not getting any work done. Even worse, since my evenings are all knit-obsessed, I haven't read a book in ages! This is bad.