Sunday, April 17, 2011

On to the festival at Greencastle

Greencastle, Indiana, is the home of DePauw University, a very good liberal arts school in some of the prettiest countryside in America.  The hills roll like some kind of voluptuous frolic -- as if living and breathing, maybe laughing -- and because spring has already happened tin this south-of-Michigan place, the slight greening turns yellow light an array of green tones, none of them precisely grass or apple or any of the other shades we think we can name.   The festival itself is at the Putnam County fairgrounds.   To get there, you have to drive through town-- a tableau of painted lady Victorian houses mixed with small bungalows, most of them in good condition.  A college town is a benighted town:  It has a year-round industry, unlike places like Harlan, Indiana.

Here is what the booths looked like inside one of the three display areas.  In the second photo you will find the darling, DARLING felted crocheted baby slippers that I pounced on ("I'll take all of them!").

One woman had a spectacular vase of brilliantly golden-orange flowers calculated to draw the eye to her array of natural yarns.  That's a good strategy:  We have learned at Artisan Knitworks that nature's ivory, tan, ash brown, and sienna tones don't attract customers unless you point them out.  We are so sated with saturated colors, noises, hype of all kinds that we just can't see understated beauty anymore -- subtlety and modesty increasingly have no place.  There is nothing more modest than a sturdy Corriedale sheep -- unless its a stalwart Angora goat.  Indeed, to make your way in the world, I sometimes think that all of us should be given huge trumpets at birth and training in their use by age five or six.   So here is the vase of flowers, and here also are a couple of those goats -- Don't miss the 'natural', silken, curly locks:

And here is a wonderful, quite new dyer of wool and silk and cotton yarns -- Lisa -- who's also a clothing designer (see behind her!).  She doesn't want to make more than a few skeins of each colorway.  She may change her mind in the future if she gathers some clients who want repeat performances.  But, for now, she's content to turn out 3 or 5 or 7 unique skeins, moving on to another idea -- and then another.

Finally, I made a friend, though I dare say his primary attachments lie with the young woman holding him as if her life depends on it.  Look at that face!  He was bawling like a newborn child, protesting his owner's insistence that he NOT run, NOT walk, NOT do what kids want to do:

I left after about four hours -- up the freeway this time with Michigan on my mind.  I decided at the last minute to cross Ohio on the turnpike so that I could have another 'go' at the big antique mall in Maumee (just off the turnpike) -- where I indeed found quite a huge number of really beautiful vintage buttons, and a half-dozen dazzling examples of thread crochet.  One of them is a perfectly enchanting little crocheted pinafore cover, complete with straps.  Every time I handle these things, I'm transported back to my mother's mother's home in South St. Paul, Minnesota, where she and I sat for hours and hours working on filet curtains and big, complex tablecloths -- me trying to match her gauge, knowing that I could never match her speed.   I'm going to use a dozen or so of these lacy lovelies (I have been collecting pieces of a certain tan color for a year now) to trim the lapels and cuffs of a crocheted cardigan, should I live so long.

Until later.  Everyone, don't forget to say "I love you" to someone close to you.  You never know what will happen next -- an hour from now, a day from now.  Take nothing for granted.


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