Friday, May 23, 2008
Coming Up for Air!
Well - I've been meaning to blog since Maryland Sheep & Wool was over, but it's been rather a whirlwind of work & travel chez moi.
Here are some booth photos - before the feeding frenzy began.
The Wall O' Peace Fleece - I love to see all the colors together!
Most of the Fleece Artist yarns
All the Cashmere Hand Maiden yarns
I ordered some of the new Hand Maiden Swiss Mountain Silk Cashmere, and on Sunday we put these skeins in a basket on the sales table and invited customers to touch it. It was a great entertainment to watch each individual react to the extraordinary softness of this yarn - some people oohed or cooed, one shrieked, and most pulled their friends over to have a feel.
Maryland Sheep & Wool was great once again but exhausting, and we were fortunate not to be affected directly by any of the thefts & vandalism - a very sad occurrence. The fiber community has gotten too big, apparently. Or big enough to suddenly look bright & shiny to some thoughtless thieves. Much has been written about these events, and I will add my sadness and concern to the balance.
It makes me think of one of the Frances books we read to our girls when they were little. In A Bargain for Frances, Frances and her friend Thelma are playing and Thelma tricks Frances into buying her old plastic tea set and then says No Backsies when Frances discovers the deceit. The sad lesson for Frances is that she will have to be careful with her friend from now on, but that it is better to be friends than to be careful.
We will have to be careful, to pay more attention to security and where is the cash box and where we display the fancy goods. Some of this is common sense and should be done under any circumstances. But some of this asks us to view our booth and/or sales operation from a thief's point of view and that is a place we didn't think we needed to go. Our cozy, small town has gotten too big. Let us all hope that with vigilance and attention, a new balance will be found.
I only made a few purchases - 2 hanks of roving from A Verb for Keeping Warm bought from our neighbor, Cloverhill Yarns. Isn't it a lovely orangey color? Orange is popping up all over in my fiber life these days!
Cloverhill has a new owner and we really enjoyed meeting Jolene and her booth babes and checking out all the indie hand dyes in their booth. I also stopped at The Fold and bought an Avi Wasserman spindle, a skein of Knitters w/out Borders STR and a Sheep to Shoe kit!
The weekend after MS&W, Peter & I drove up to Long Island NY for his sister Wendy's 40th wedding anniversary. Wendy is his only sibling and she & her husband Juan are Jehovah's Witnesses - which means that weddings & wedding anniversaries are the only events or holidays they celebrate - so this was a big deal. Their kids put on a surprise party and our arrival was the biggest surprise.
Here is the happy couple, serenading their party!
We both felt that it was worth every minute of the long drive up & back so see the look on her face when we walked into that party. It was wonderful. Great party, very nice folks and we got to meet some new kinfolk. Wendy & Juan have 7 children, all grown now and mostly married. Three were married in the last year and we were unable to make any of the weddings - so we got to meet new spouses and a boy friend and it was great to see and catch up with everyone.
We stayed in a dreadful motel - the last remaining room was a smoking room but we took it anyway as we were exhausted and both sick with the Horrible Cough. We had stayed there before so I knew the windows in the room opened. While we were signing in, a woman came up behind me and asked if she could get a room for an hour. Oh, my giddy god. Add to that that the room hadn't been cleaned properly - there were cigarette butts in the window frame - the sheets had holes in them, the mattress was a misery and there was tepid water for a shower in the morning. We will not be returning to this particular establishment. Sniff!
Next morning, we drove into Brooklyn and had lunch with Peter's cousin & his wife. Then we headed for a walk around Coney Island before hitting the road. We ended up walking around Brighton Beach, both on the boardwalk and around the neighborhood for a couple of hours. I took a year of Russian in high school, and I still remember the phonetics of the Cyrillic alphabet, so as we walked around I tried to read all the signs. It was like a mini-vacation in another country.
We went into a teeny tiny fabric store that was remarkably vertical - the goods were stashed and hung right up the walls. There were a few knitted items, and I bought a little shoulder shawl for $15, undyed brown yarn with little gathered scallops in the hem - see - This dark photo shows the shape best but is otherwise dreadful.
This photo is better - this is how it was displayed on the hanger.
We went into one store that was mostly books but also CDs and movies and some souvenir type goods - and I noticed some knitted items in undyed wool. It made me wonder what part of Russia they came from and what tradition.
We had an uneventful journey home except for heavy rain and wind for the last few hours - we have had so much rain here in Virginia that our pond is now quite full!
Enough for one post. More in the next one!