Cheap Thrills and Expensive Tastes

Yarn, glorious yarn! Does it get much better than this when it comes to fun things to look forward to? Spring is in the air, my friends, and it’s April. That means that May is right around the corner and that means……ta-dah…trumpet voluntare…..crashing of cymbals, please! It’s almost time for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I can just about feel that yarn now.

I do mean FEEL it, too. I can’t keep my hands off it when I’m there. I have to touch every skein I come into contact with, smoosh it in my hands, rub a strand between my fingers, and sometimes (gasp) I even sniff it. Now some of you non-knitting folks might think this behavior is a little peculiar but au contraire, my friends. I’m not the only one stroking the goods. Look around. Most everyone else is, too. Unless, of course, you were conscripted into service as a driver or navigator and dragged to the event like my daughter was three years running.

Two years ago I was happily petting yarn in a booth while my daughter waited out in the aisle. She refused to come into the booth with me and the other fiber fanatics who were crowded around the tempting display. I don’t remember if I purchased anything from that vendor that day but I do remember the grin on Laura’s face when I finally re-emerged to join her.

“What’s so funny?” I asked.

“You are,”, she responded. “Hey, see that guy over there? He came up to me while I was standing here and said, ‘You’re not one of THEM, are you?’ and he pointed right at all of you in that booth. “

“One of THEM?” I said, astonished. “What did he mean?”

“I told him ‘Nah…I’m here with my mother. She’s in there squeezing the yarn’ and then he said ‘I THOUGHT you were one of the normal ones. I drove my wife here. She’s in there doing the same thing.'”

This year my daughter has moved further from the fairgrounds where the festival is held. That means I probably won’t be able to coerce her into coming with me. I’ll probably be arriving with my husband in tow. This was the case last year and it presented its own set of challenges. It wasn’t so much that he minded me handling the merchandise. Oh no, he patiently tagged along and told me to take all the time I wanted to look. But that’s the operative word….”look.” I didn’t WANT to just look. I wanted to BUY. And I wanted to buy without someone with an accountant’s knack for keeping a running total standing there looking over my shoulder.

I tried sending him on errands like getting drinks for us or trying to find a manual for the weaving loom I’d received as a gift but he kept coming back like a homing pigeon, only quicker. Finally in desperation I said, “Honey, would you mind sitting down over there?” and I waved vaguely in the direction of a lady giving a demonstration of felting. “I won’t be long,” I assured him. He looked a little dubious but trotted off nevertheless and found a chair.

Quickly I started grabbing the skeins of alpaca I’d been eyeing and then made a lunge for some fingering weight merino, almost knocking a lady over in my haste to make hay while the cat was away. “Oh, I’m so sorry,” I gasped. “I’m just trying to get this yarn bought before my husband comes back and sees what I’m paying.”

“Honey, I know exactly what you mean,” she chuckled. “Mine’s over at the spinning demo. Where’s yours?”

“Felting,” I replied, as we grinned at each other over our armfuls of yarn.


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