The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Nipfaced, and the Search for the Wooly Grail

This is my cat:
This is my cat on drugs:

Here are some of the interim steps:

I know, it's a bad catmommy that will get her cat nipfaced and then take photos of her to post on the internet. I'm sure KPC (Kitty Protective Services) will be knocking on my door sometime very soon with a stern warning. I'll tell you one thing, though--this cat's a cheap date. I sprinkled some catnip on this giant pet pillow in the hopes of encouraging Ed to sleep on it instead of attacking and attempting to strangle every area rug in the house in the process of making "a comfy spot" and he sort of sniffed it, sniffed it some more, walked away. Miss Thing, though? Drunk off her ass in about half a minute, and she stayed that way all afternoon.

Since we're the sort of trailer trash who actually would corrupt an innocent animal for a Kodak moment (okay, no trailer anymore...but someone commenting here pointed out that you really can't take the trailer out of the girl, and I think this an excellent point...definitely worth stitching on a $4.99 pillow from Walmart in bright orange acrylic yarn), we spent the morning prior to compromising our cat's dignity by driving around and looking for garage sales.

You folks in other parts of the world will have to clue me in as whether this is a peculiarly American phenomenon, or if it makes perfect sense to you to drive around looking for people to give money to so that they'll give you their junk that they don't want anymore--because they were just waiting for some dumbass to pay to take it away so they don't have to haul it to the dump. I can't explain the fascination with them, except that in the back of my tiny mind, there amongst the dust bunnies and the cobwebs, lingers the fantasy that I will walk into someone's garage and find a mammoth box of wool and cashmere and alpaca and llama--and the person manning the sale will just want to get rid of it and say cheerily "oh, I reckon you could have the whole box for $10". I realize this is about as likely as me driving by a yarn store without stopping, but a girl has to have dreams.

That said, I mentioned this fantasy to Mr. K (I read somewhere that men like it when you tell them your didn't seem to do much for him, though) and even as I spoke, I realized the fatal flaw in the plan. Specifically, anyone fiber-obsessed enough to acquire a stash of that size and quality isn't likely to sell it off in a garage sale. I've only ever really found any nice yarn at an estate sale, and it wasn't a mammoth box of cashmere so much as a few balls of reasonably nice wool attached to a started sweater the size of a wooly hula hoop.

Turns out that not everyone has the ability to just "eyeball" the number of stitches to cast on for a sweater. (Either that or the lady was actually knitting covers for tanker trucks--I swear, I held that started sweater and spread my hands to their fullest extension and still couldn't quite get it to full size. I'm 5'8 inches tall and your arm span is supposed to be the same as your by my reckoning this sweater was shaping up to be about 70 inches in diameter.)

Still, I wander through stacks of warped tupperware and grimy stuffed animals and hairy Christmas ornaments (they say only cockroaches will survive at the end of the world--I disagree. That angel hair stuff will be here looooong after the cockroaches) and mismatched shoes and trashy romance novels and fake flowers and doilies (I'm not sure why every garage sale has doilies--I never see anyone buy or make them, but they appear in garage sales as if by magic...maybe they come with the permit?) and puzzles missing 3 pieces and clothes so far out of date that they're a year or two away from coming back into style and I keep thinking this will be the day the treasure will appear. This stupid, happy-go-lucky certainty that the barn stuffed with manure must contain a pony is, by the way, the reason I do not gamble.

All of which leads me to this snippet of overheard conversation at a sale in Issaquah, where a youngish man was digging through boxes of stuff in search of his own version of the wooly grail, and he suddenly called out to his son: "Hey, Sam. Come over here--remember the other day when I was telling you about records? This is what they look like!"

Yeah, Sam--that was back when no one owned a computer because it filled a large room and you actually had to wait an hour for a baked potato and dinosaurs roamed the earth. Could I feel any older?

Tomorrow I promise some more photos of squares, including another one of Lynn's megasquare which, as it turns out, spells L-O-V-E if you're not a dork and actually turn it around the right way. Sorry about that, Lynn. I must have had an extra helping of stupid with my cereal. It's beautiful, and I love you for it.


  • At 9:20 PM, Blogger ~Tonia~ said…

    LOL It is kitty crack. I like to get my cats stoned too. ;)

    Ummm yeah what is it about yard sales that drawls us in? I look for antiques though. Sadly the things that I had as a child are in the antique malls. Ummmm I am only 31. So does that mean that I am an antique???

  • At 4:29 AM, Blogger Jo at Celtic Memory Yarns said…

    As another confirmed garage-sale, junkshop, charity outlet searcher, I know just how you feel. Somewhere in there are designer labels, exquisite yarns, rare out of print books, back issues of Knitters... somewhere underneath those acrylic luminous cardigans, lethal electrics and sad little broken ornaments. And the doilies. Yes, I noticed those too. But we're right, Ms Knitingale, and we'll find what we're searching for. Eventually. (BTW is my DH the only one who goes to the recycling centre and comes back with more than he left with?)

  • At 4:35 AM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    LOLOLOL - the upside down fang-face! Any vampire would be proud. Snorking on the garage sale bit, not to mention the records. And now that you mention it, I can look back at the pic of Lynn's mega-square and see L-O-V-E! Simply awesome. You've just gotta tilt your head right. ;)

  • At 5:11 AM, Blogger Marianne said…

    my long as no one took advantage of Miss Thing...
    I wonder why some cats like it, some don't....Smooch could care less.

  • At 5:38 AM, Blogger Robin said…

    Kitty Crack?
    Kitty Pot?
    For Mr. Ace it's Kitty Pot...he gets really! Looks like Miss Thing reacts differently!

  • At 6:30 AM, Blogger ambermoggie said…

    n't fogot the squares project just had a bit on my mind with Mr Mog. Hey do you think I should feed him catnip? Would it help at all:))Only kidding
    squares soon

  • At 7:32 AM, Anonymous angie Cox said…

    Jo call them "Garage sales? We call them "Car-boot sales" This is not to say we buy car boots or even out of them . The sellers have a trestle table at a pitch and unload car boots or trucks , vans etc. I havn't been to a good one for ages so prefer charity shops . There used to be "Jumble sales" held in church halls but they were like a rugby scrum although I once got a silk Ralph Lauren sweater at one they were not very good. If you go to Windsor charity shops you are onto a winner ...the folks of Reading should throw or burn most of what they sell.

  • At 6:59 PM, Blogger Lynn said…

    Hey, sister, thou shalt not put thyself down. [That would be the umpteenth commandment, just in case you're curious.] Heaven doesn't give great ideas like the Miner Blanket Project to stupid people, but to people who are awake when they see the bush that's on fire and decide to walk over and smother it in wool.

    I was going for "subtle" with the L-O-V-E, remember? [And apparently I succeeded.]

    More hugs from TX.

  • At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The wooly grail IS out there, BELIEVE it! I got a set of Denise interchangables at an auction (with some other goodies and a gorgeous basket) for $10! I also got a huge bag of wool yarn, a TON of needles and vintage pattern books (there was a wool-two piece bathing suit pattern, no lie), AND a sweater that was all knitted, had the sleeves set in, and just needed buttons and the side seams sewn. Did I mention the fact it EXACTLY fit my niece? Or that there was enough lambswool/angora blend yarn to make SEVERAL projects???? And that I spent $5 max???? Please observe a moment of silence in homage to the gods of home, hearth, yarn and needle....


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