Tag Archives: generosity

The Sweetest Mysteries of Generosity

stuffTwo large parcels arrived yesterday evening just as my friend Elizabeth and I were headed to Needlework Night. I wished afterward I’d opened them before we left.

They were from John, a nice man who has a soft spot for cats. He sent me his wife’s crafting collection, as Alzheimer’s had ended her use for it, and he wanted the cats to have its benefits.

john box(Thank you, John!)

Among the oodles of lovely yarn and really nice cross stitches and books were a few items I’d never encountered before. Some looked like they were for knitting, which is great, because my friend Isabel and I have an arrangement; she takes the knitting stuff and brings me lovely character knit dishcloths to sell for the cats.

But amid the stitch counters and holding pins and needle tippers were some items that looked…. diabolical. In his sweet note John had said quite pointedly (ha ha, get it, pointed?) that he didn’t have a clue what some of the items were.

Neither did I.

Enter the fine folk of CROCHET ADDICT, a list of some 70,000 participants on Facebook. I photographed the seven mystery items and put up the photo.

Oh dear…… Who knew there could be such debate about some items?Thankfully, there were no fistfights – and if you’re on a large crafting forum on Facebook, you know exactly what those cyberfights look like. If you’re not, well, think political debate, with yarn, add menopause and PMS, and then factor in that the discussion is exponentially more important to those participating than any rhetoric of politics.

Then run for your life.

thingsHave a look, from top left being number 1 to bottom right being number 7, and see how many you can name. And then scroll down to see what the list came up with. The little photo is a close-up of number four in the picture, because the first time I posted, someone said the black bit was velcro. I’m no great shakes as a photographer.







OKAY – here we go

1 is either a bobbin or a pompom maker, and quite possibly useful as both

2 is a cable knitting needle (think Fair Isle sweaters, because I am!)

3 is bobbins for a graphgan (and I have one in mind so am excited to have these)

4 is something to put over knitting needles to keep them from sliding off a project – except it might be a threader instead, depending on which faction you follow on Crochet Addict.

5 is a very old thread waxer – not even sure they make these anymore. You thread your thread (yes, I know, bad Wendy, verb and noun same word) through it and the beeswax keeps it from tangling and makes it stiffer for getting into the needle and working with on finer projects, like delicate quilting. (WHEE! I’m so happy to have this!!!!!)

6 is another kind of cable knitting needle – yo, Isabel!

7 is a (pick one) darning needle, amigurami needle, setting buttons into upholstery needle, surgical suturing needle. I’m cool with any of these.

December folder 047I’m also grateful to John for sending these and the rest of that big stash for the benefit of the Wise County Cats. Hadley and her friends say “THANKS MR. JOHN!”

And Jack and I continue to hold you and your wife in the light. Thanks!


Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, crafting, Downton Abbey, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, small town USA, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch

Don’t Look a Gift Potato in the Eye

I was gardening out front of the shop when one of our favorite customers pulled up. IMG_4190

“H’lo, dear!” Ms. X waved a hank of fuzzy cloth. “I was yard sale-ing and found this jacket and said, ‘This looks like Wendy.'”

Hence the favorite thing. Not only does she do nice stuff like this all the time, she’s always right. I liked the pretty jacket instantly. Cost her 50 cents, which she did not want back.

Ms. X is one of many people around here who takes life by the horns that tried to gore her, and headbutts it. She and her son, both chronically ill, have no insurance; he has a crappy job. They live carefully in a house that labels them legally homeless, frugal to a fault with secondhand sales, day old baked goods, and the daily, considered creativity of what’s for supper. They don’t fish or garden for fun. But they have fun fishing and gardening.

“They’s sweet potatoes in Appalachia,” Ms. X winked as she departed, a couple of value paperbacks under one arm.

That’s not some mysterious Southern code. About every six months, in a little town two miles over, some person or persons unknown dumps produce under an abandoned gas station’s awning. Word of mouth goes out, and those as want it, go get it. Often it’s sweet potatoes, sometimes bananas. (When that happens, banana bread becomes currency and Huddle House runs a month-long “banana breakfast biscuit” special.) Rumor says once “the dump” was Hershey bars.

quick get in!I’d never availed myself of “the dump” before but my friend Elissa’s dogs LOVE sweet potato treats. Knowing she was busy helping another friend run a yard sale, in a fit of mischievous humor I grabbed a tea cozy, the back scratcher we use to turn off the kitchen light, and a role of tp. Racing to the sale field, I leaped from my car and shouted to Elissa, “QUICK, GET IN! I’LL EXPLAIN AS WE DRIVE!”

I probably should have remembered that Elissa is a news photographer. While everyone else stared, dumbfounded, with a swift flick of the wrist she held up her cell phone and snapped. And now I’m a meme on the Internet.

At the dump we got two bags for Elissa’s rescue dachshunds–who will waddle through this week in plump yam repleteness–and a bag each for friends we knew were busy. I asked Elissa, born and raised here, about the dump’s origins and she said rumor suggested some wealthy individual who’d made good elsewhere did it for his hometown. No one knows who, or why. And no one really questions. Why look a gift potato in the eye?

I imagine sweet Ms. X and her son sitting down to buttered baked yams, she saying, “…and for breakfast tomorrow there’ll be fresh sweet potato muffins.” On the counter sits a steaming potato casserole she’ll be taking to the church social.

Go by, mad world.


Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA