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It has Started

Summer has arrived. I’ve waited for what seems forever. When summer arrived, it decided to make it hurt. Ninety-nine degrees yesterday. Ninety-nine is so close to that magic number of one hundred that it makes you feel like it is hot. National Public Radio tells me Denver tied a more than one-hundred-year-old record high temperature. Man, it was hot back then.

I don’t want to write a temperature story today. I want to write a wool show story.

Back in the mid-1970s hanging out with Elaine, I had no idea that wool shows existed, and I would be attending them. There were hints that maybe I should have paid more attention to. The first Christmas present I received from Elaine was a hand-knitted scarf and matching mittens. It was blue and white, made from the best polyester yarn a seventeen-year-old could buy. I’m not sure exactly what happened to the scarf. I think Elaine herself threw it away after it had stretched to more than a city block long. You think I’m kidding, don’t you? I’m not. That scarf got so long that I felt like a mummy every time I had it on. As for the mittens, there is an unsubstantiated rumor out there that the mittens were sold to Andre the Giant on F-Bay. I can’t confirm that.

Now that I think about it, I wonder if that scarf and its stretching is the reason Elaine developed a love for natural fiber yarns. She says she doesn’t use polyester yarns any longer because of the potential to melt when exposed to flame. I think she might have changed her thoughts conveniently to keep her off all planes. Stretchy yarn is not a reason not to fly.

By the 1990s, Elaine was all in for natural fiber yarns. I was dreaming of our children (Ivy was one of them, Alex was the other) becoming world-famous athletes. Elaine was dreaming of our children learning the benefits of non-melting, and non-stretching natural fibers. It took a while, and Alex did play on a baseball team that traveled to the Netherlands and Belgium, but world-famous athletes were not to be.

Did I mention Elaine and I accompanied Alex on that trip? Ex-patriated Americans passed out in the Amsterdam town center square, canals and dykes, really old buildings, good baseball players, and the red-light district. There, I saved you the trip.

It took even longer, but Ivy started paying attention to that natural fiber stuff. No disrespect intended, but she might be crazier than her mother about this stuff.

Summer, Monner, summer.

As time went on, Elaine had been absorbed into some kind of natural fiber mafia. Sometime in the late 1990s, Elaine mentioned she would be attending a wool show in Estes Park, Colorado. How bad could it be? Estes Park in the summer. I went along.

The next year Elaine was demo-ing at the wool show. That started it. Next came teaching at wool shows. Attending more wool shows. Wool shows in other states. Wool shows in the fall. Wool shows at Christmas. More teaching. Joining the planning boards of wool shows. Taking the twins to wool shows. (We did arrange the wool shows around the twin’s athletics.) Without sounding bitter, I, myself, maybe enjoyed one or two of the shows. Oh, come on, two to three days to pick out yarn?

It was my idea to open Your Daily Fiber. We wouldn’t need to attend any more wool shows. Ivy (and Elaine) could teach in the store. I convinced the two of them.

The wool shows didn’t completely stop. But I sure slowed them down. Two, maybe three shows a year. Life was pretty good. Beervirus!!

Beervirus closed Your Daily Fiber temporarily, and as a family, we were able to take a breath. Elaine was able to admit how much she missed wool shows. Ivy went back to school (not knitting school, real school). Elaine continued weaving. I started seeing more and more finished garments around the house.

Me: You are finishing more than you can wear. What are you planning on doing with all this stuff? (Stuff; a highly intelligent term for finished garments)

Elaine: I have some ideas. Me: You are going back to the shows, aren’t you? Elaine: You don’t need to go.

While in school, Ivy knitted for fun and picked up a couple of teaching gigs when it worked for her schedule. I’m not sure what the word “gigs” means, but all the really cool people say it and, well, I definitely fit that bill.

Elaine and Ivy decided we should attend the 2022 Estes Park Wool Market. Not as vendors, (well, Ivy picked up a couple of teaching gigs at Estes) but as spectators and buyers. With tears in my eyes, I agreed to go with them, if we could go to breakfast first. Everyone agreed.

Yesterday, on the first, almost one-hundred-degree day we drove up the canyon to the Estes Park Wool Market. Elaine bought a bag of roving (fiber for hand-spinning), and Ivy bought some yarn for a sweater. Me? I had an omelet and avoided explaining compression socks to the mafia.

I’m missing walking down the red-light district in Amsterdam right now, but it looks like we're going to be wool showing. They can’t help themselves.

Our crazy lives!



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