One of a kind
Saturday March 08th 2008, 12:49 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

There was a bit of a buzz on the Knitlist about things to knit to donate for a silent auction, and someone said, make a felted bag; handbags are always in demand, and a one-of-a-kind one would be doubly so.

Ah, yes… (Cue to Back In The Day.)

It’s worn out and a bit flea bitten and I don’t know where it is at the moment, although I know it’s safely inside a plastic bag somewhere, but I have it. In its honor, here’s a photo of a handwoven wool-and-wood plant hanger I bought at a craft fair, the planks having been the roof of a circa-1800’s barn falling in on itself and recycled, that I fell in love with when I was 18. I used it for many years, and looking at it here, I think maybe I should bring it out of retirement. Anyway.

handspun handwoven plant hanger from Frederick, MD craft fairMy husband was in his first post-grad-school job in New Hampshire. We had bought our first house at the very best interest rate then available in several years: 12.5% fixed. (It still makes me shudder. But we had neighbors with an ARM that hit 19%.) We had small babies and not a spare dime anywhere.

My folks, meantime, went to a craft fair in southern Virginia. Dad being an art dealer, they always love to see what people are creating, and they came across someone selling handbags from wool that I believe was handspun from their own sheep (right, Dad?) and handwoven, with a twisted-cord strap, done in the natural colors of the sheep. Dad bought Mom one; Mom had once tried handweaving herself when they were newlyweds and had made herself a couple of handbags, but had long since worn them out. Dad bought me one, too, in a slightly different pattern, probably thinking of my plant hanger and knowing I would like it; they sent it to me for my birthday.

I was thrilled. I was inordinately proud of the thing. Something made so much by hand, something nobody else in the world owned anything like, something that spoke to my upbringing in a household that valued the artist, and I took it with me quietly proudly to church and tried not to hold it up in the face of every person I encountered, demanding that they admire it too. (Joyce, do you remember this?)

The second week I had it, our Mormon bishop’s wife happened to walk into the chapel and one look at her stopped me dead in my tracks. I got her attention, church not having started yet, and barely able to speak the words for disbelief, asked her, “Where…did you get that?”

“Oh, isn’t this nice? My husband and I were on vacation and we were driving through southern Virginia, and we stumbled on this craft fair.”

She’d picked one in I think it was the same weaving pattern as mine, with a slight variation in the coloring; probably done on the same warp at the same time as mine, I’d guess. Out of all the people in all the places on all the planet, and all the choices at that craft fair, for that matter, what were the chances…

One could say God definitely has a sense of humor. And a tendency, like any good parent, to tell me not to get too full of myself. It still makes me laugh, all these years later.

5 Comments so far
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Oh what a let down, but I definitely agree with you that God has a sense of humor. Sometimes I just wish I wasn’t the one he thinks is funny lol.

Comment by Lisa 03.09.08 @ 5:38 am

LOL, I love serendipity.
Life is full of terrific moments, we just have to keep our eyes peeled for them.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 03.09.08 @ 8:01 am

It was a letdown at that immediate moment, but very quickly it was one of those small world, isn’t life funny stories–and I love it that she and my folks chose the same thing.

Comment by AlisonH 03.09.08 @ 11:39 am

One of a kinds are cool – and with handcrafts, they are all one of a kind! (Even when they are made at the same time by the same person. Ever try to make a second of ANYTHING just the same as the first? As an OCD master, I can tell you it ain’t easy!)

Have been away awhile. . .just catching up with my favorite blog today! Will hopefully email later.

Comment by Pam 03.09.08 @ 1:44 pm

I’m several days late with this, but I wanted to comment on the blueberry cake recipe and the soda issue.

I had a friend “back in the day” who worked at a bakery. She was a fabulous baker herself and she’s the one who told me that “Powder puffs and soda spreads.” Now I add or subtract soda and powder depending on what I want the mixture to do. Sometimes I include both.

And regarding boys who grow up–mine will be 21 this week. Now the only thing he can’t do legally is get good car insurance rates!

I love your blog. I wondered over here a while back from the Yarn Harlot, but never commented before.

Comment by shadylady1216 03.09.08 @ 3:50 pm

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