A few minutes ago Larissa sent me this link and I, sitting at the laptop with a baby sleeping on my stomach and boys playing happily on the living room floor, wanted to sob loudly. Mabel's (a knitting cafe on SE Division, about a mile and half from my house) is soon to be no more, replaced by a coffee shop with occasional knitting nights.
Mabel's Cafe and Knittery was where I learned to knit, and where I really discovered knitting community. It was where Shetha taught me to knit in the round; it was where I first touched a skein of Lorna's Laces; it is the where I went to meet James when Larissa & she and I all were pregnant with our now two-year-olds. It was one of the last places I went while I was pregnant with Monroe.
How many balls of yarn did Everett and I wind there? How many times did I tell one of my children to stop taking brightly-colored wool out of the bins? And who can forget the time Everett and Truman took out every skein from an entire display... the time(s) I thought surely I was going into labor at Mabel's... the maple lattes, the affogatos, the cookies, the many many pots of tea, all with a side of knitting... the woman who knitted the little 'peace cranes'...
Mabel's is, was, special, a place not quite like any other, one that we told long-distant friends about, that helped inspire an entire book, that was a constant in our commmunity. Surely we will go to this coffee-shop-to-come (and we're happy that the people we love will still brew tea and knit behind the counter) but it won't be one-eighth as unique, it won't be Mabel's. I feel lost and agrieved, deprived of something that made Portland even more Portland, funkier, arty-er, sweeter, more domestic, more neighborly. I know it's a market forces sort of thing, that yarn is a commodity with low margins and high competition, but still I find myself asking plaintively, how could they do this to me!?!?