07 February 2012

The Most Awesomiest Swap Day EVAR

Sometimes things just work out.

Mango, my friend who hosts a monthly Knitting at the Farm, couldn't host on the usual Saturday in January, so rescheduled for the last Saturday instead.  (This worked out well for me, because I was in Florida for the usual weekend and would have missed it.)  It had been a while since we'd done a swap, too, so we decided to throw that in there and make it a day.

A few days before the swap, I was looking on Ravelry (the Vermont forum) and came across a post from a woman who wanted to destash completely.  She's moving to a smaller place, doesn't even want to deal with sorting and packing, who wants it?  $200 takes the lot.  Best part?  She lives really near Mango.  I'd be there anyway, with a bunch of friends.  I sent an email to the group asking if anyone would like to split the stash with me.  Three people responded immediately that they would, so I emailed the woman who'd posted the offer and snapped it up!

Photo courtesy of Jess
Seriously, what a massive score.  I wish I'd thought to take pictures when it was all in my car: three full garbage bags, two big bins, and a couple of smaller bags... it completely filled the back of my station wagon.  We are talking a HAUL here, people.  It was a lot of yarn.  A LOT OF YARN.

Photo courtesy of Jess
The four of us sorted the yarn by size (thank goodness one of them was a librarian!) in Mango's front room.  Even once it was sorted, we are still talking about an overwhelming amount of yarn.  Jess kindly snapped a few pictures, and then we got down to the business of staking claim.  We'd put a pile of, say, fingering weight yarn in the middle of the floor, and then we'd go around in a circle and each take something until we got down to the yarn that none of us wanted.  Then we'd put aside that yarn and move on to the next pile.  We went all the way through to the chunky yarns in complete peace.  Rarely did two people feel equally passionate about how much they wanted the same skein of yarn.  There was never a disagreement or an argument.  There was a great deal of potential for fisticuffs (after all, we are talking about a room filled with yarn, free for the taking), but we all restrained ourselves.

Photo courtesy of Jess
It took about two hours to sort and divide up all that yarn.  Maybe longer.  Honestly, we were having so much fun that I didn't really pay attention to the time.  We each came away with about a garbage bag full of yarn we wanted to keep, and there was still a huge amount of yarn that none of us wanted left over.  We opened the pile to our friends who were patiently waiting (and swapping, and eating, and knitting) in the other room.  Everybody took a look and chose something to take with them.

Me taking an "I need the big picture" break while Erin sorts yarn. Photo courtesy of Jess
There was still a ton of yarn left over, so I brought it home with me and will figure out some place to donate it.  Maybe I'll go through it again and sort out things I think would be appropriate for the nearby elementary school.  Maybe I'll just take it to Goodwill.  We'll see.

After all that sorting and dividing was over, we rejoined the regular swap taking place in Mango's kitchen.  I did trade a few things, but mostly the swapping was done by the time we got in there.  I'm okay with that.

Just for comparison's sake, here's a picture of everything I brought to the swap (pre-giant-haul):

And here's a picture of what came home with me:

Imagine three *more* garbage bags full of yarn, and that'll give you an idea of how much we scored in the first place.  Seriously, we each spent $50, and we each came home with $500+ worth of yarn.  Every time I think about what was in that stash, I cannot believe the amazing deal we got.

So here's the thing: that stash was up for grabs because the woman selling it was getting a divorce.  She was moving out of the house she'd shared with her husband, and needed to make some big lifestyle changes, including shedding a lot of her possessions.  It wasn't a sad thing that they were getting a divorce: "my husband and I are actually much better friends now that we're not married to each other," she told me, standing in the driveway.  She just wanted to start over and move on, and part of that was starting over with her stash.  We found a few half-finished sweaters in the pile, and I'm guessing there could have been some painful memories wrapped up in some of that yarn.  But for the most part, she was getting a new life, and so was the yarn.  Because of her divorce, my friends and I had a wonderful afternoon of fun and reconnection and building new memories.  And she was getting a new kind of freedom in releasing the baggage (in this case, literally the garbage bags!) of that former life.  We will always have the blessing of that connection, those few minutes spent chatting outside her old house, with her dogs bounding around us, that final handshake and smile.  New life abounds, even in the midst of change and loss.  Maybe especially in the midst of change and loss.

That, my friends, is a kind of Resurrection.  Thanks be to God.


LiturgyGeek said...

Would you consider posting pictures of some of the leftover yarn? I'd be happy to pay you to send me some interesting stuff, and I could really use the motivation of yummy yarn to get me going on some projects.

Abby said...

If you wanted to send that yarn to a co-op in Guatemala, I have just the person. The women there always need yarn and it is an AMAZING ministry.

Sirkku said...

You were really lucky to get that much yarn at the price you paid. Wonderful, think of all the project you can start planning now :-) About ten years ago one of our sopranos asked me if I would want to take all the yarn she has, as she thought she will never knit again!!! I said of course, of course. The following week she brought her yarn... Three plastic bags and absolutely fabulous yarn, some of them hand dyed. I wanted to pay something but she refused. I still have some of it stored waiting for inspiration. I must have made at least 5 sweaters so far. The very first one was for our choirmaster. He was a teetotaller and the traditional bottle of whiskey couldn't be given at Christmas. Actually I made an additional four for him, his colours were so clear and inspiring.