Picture this. It’s an early Saturday morning in June, and you should still be in bed. The grass is still wet with the dew accumulated from the night before, but the temperature is already rising and you know it’s going to be a hot one. Your driving slowly down the main road of your neighborhood, scanning the rows of houses you know so well. Then you spot it, a neon sign with big, clownish letters beckoning you hither: Yard Sale! it screams in black and pink. You pull over, crack the windows, and lock your car. You might be a while.
At first you try to act casual. Nothing excites you or draws your attention. The proprietors of this one-day shanty shop are seated in sun-weathered lawn chairs next to a child selling some nondescript beverage for 100 times its fair market value. Milling among the card tables filled with the purged wares of a household tightening its belt you find a thousand typical nick-knacks and everyday junk you’ve seen a hundred times before. Scanning the rest of the lot, you soon realize there’s nothing there for you. Disappointed, you get back in your car, and head for home.
But on a whim, you take an alternate route home, and there, on the very next corner, jackpot: an estate sale. Yes, you feel a touch of shame at rejoicing in your luck at happening upon a dearly departed’s treasure trove of stuff. But this feeling is soon overcome, and you abandon any attempts at appearing indifferent as you skip merrily up to the mounds like a kid about to enter the proverbial candy shop. One, two, three little thises and thats end up in your hand, you can’t even say how, and become a permanent fixture there. One way or another, they are going to have to come home with you. After a quarter-of-an-hour’s earnest perusal among the bric-a-brac of a bygone era, you emerge triumphant with half a dozen things that you didn’t know you needed but now cannot live without. You are about to cut yourself off, make your purchases, and head for home, when all of a sudden, you see it. The find of all yard sale finds. It’s huge, it’s old, and you’re sure it is (or should be, if the poor sellers knew any better) expensive. It has all the original pieces and accessories: every needful thing to render it fully functional. It comes with some extra this and the deceased’s carefully stockpiled that to complement its use. Oh, you know it’s just perfect. Not in a thousand yards sales will you find another specimen to equal this one’s merits. You hardly dare approach it, and yet you find yourself unavoidably drawn to it. Closer, closer, until you can almost read the asking price, written in pencil on a small post-it note. You take a deep breath, draw a little closer, and now you can read it. It is just as you expected: much, much less than an item of that condition would go normally go for. You soon find that you cannot tear yourself away, and go on standing in front of it, looking it up and down, all over, a dozen times. You pace around it, then glance over to the sellers, to see if they’re taking note of your interest. They’re not. They seem not to notice you at all. Then you cast your eyes over the whole sale, to see if there are any other greedy customers ready to swoop in and make off with your find. But there are only a handful of other shoppers there, and none seem to recognize the merits of your prize. Yes, it is your prize. You know it. It would be your crowning success for yard sale seasons to come. You begin to finger through the box of accessories, and wonder if the sellers will accept a check, since, under-priced as it is, it still exceeds your stash of ones, fives, and tens you brought along for the purpose. You are about to go inquire, when suddenly, you stop short. You hesitate. You doubt. It is too much money. It is too big. Honestly, you really have no idea what you would do with it. That voice, be it that of your rational spend-thrift spouse, or your own inner conscience, is resounding in your brain. You turn your back to the piece, and slowly, willfully, you walk away. Downcast, you quickly complete your petty purchases, get in your car, and drive off. It’s only when the car has gone several lengths that you allow yourself to look back. You can see it still in your rear-view mirror, glistening in the now-risen June sun like the gem it is. As you turn the corner and cast one last look of longing on your abandoned find, you know, deep down, that someday you will regret it. Maybe next week, maybe ten years from now, you will say to yourself, “I wish I had bought that such and such after all.” Your foot half hovers over the break, but you do not stop. You leave it behind.
For me, it was a loom. A big, beautiful, solid-wood, hand-crafted floor loom. I took one look at it and knew it was special. At the time, I couldn’t tell a warp from a weft, we were living in my grandparents basement, still going to school, and trying to save money for a house. I couldn’t use it, afford it, or find space for it. But still , I was sorely tempted. Oh, how I was tempted. But in the end, I, too, turned my back on it and drove away. Now, nearly three years later, that day has come. The day I say to myself, I wish I had bought that loom.
Remember how I said I bought a little yarn in Otavalo. Well, I meant a whole lot of yarn, 14 pounds of it (which, if you didn’t know, is about 2-4 sheeps’ worth, depending on the breed). I bought it because I could, with only a vague idea of how I would dispense with it all. And then the idea of the loom crossed my mind. Oh, that would have been perfect. Just perfect. (Never mind that I would have had no way of transporting it several thousand miles to our new location. It’s just perfect in my mind.)
(These next three pictures really belong on my family blog, but oh well, I’m giving you an extra dose of adorable.)
If you had all this yarn (100% wool, single-ply, and fairly soft), what would you do with it?