Wool Gathering: Salina, Kansas

I'd been driving a long while and Salina had been beckoning from roadside signs since Topeka. I didn't really have time to stop, since I had half of Kansas, then half of Colorado still to get through. But it was getting to be about lunchtime anyway.

So I exited I-70 and into town. I parked, opened the door and gasped. 108 degrees. No shade.

I wandered down what seemed to be the Main Street. Through the crazy heat haze, I saw a sign: YARNS. Might've been a mirage, but who can take the risk?

I opened the door and discovered cool air first. Then, yes, yarns, and lots of them. Then a whole circle of women appeared.

Carla Welsh, the one checking to see if the back of her head looks good for the camera, is a co-owner of the store, along with Jane Alsop. The whole name of the store is Yarns Sold and Told. And pretty soon I was clued in to the "Yarns Told" part of things.

Turns out I stumbled onto the Tuesday afternoon yarn therapy session. They drew me in right away when I pronounced Salina correctly (it's suh-LINE-uh). They wondered what brought me in. I told them who I was and where I was going (Loveland) and why (to put the Fall issue to press). The women had many lovely things to say about Interweave and the work we do, which was very nice.

Then Carla asked me what I would recommend to help draw crocheters into the store.

Well, boy howdy! Just pull my talk string! I sat down, a cold bottle of water suddenly appeared in my hand, and I settled in to talk all things crochet: various kinds of hooks, the best yarn for crochet, the best classes. I mentioned Tunisian crochet and a flurry of questions arose. 

Nancy wanted to know the best way to combat the curl. So I showed her how to pick up the first row in the back ridge loop. After the return pass, the natural curl of the Tunisian stitch pops up the edge to produce a lovely "v" edge. After I showed her the first couple of stitches, she pulled the yarn and hook from my hands and said "Let me do that! Ah, the hook goes in the bump!" And she had a swatch in no time.

Crocheters outnumbered knitters in this circle, though all the crocheters were also knitters. Very skilled, all of them.

Cynthia here was working on a crocheted Elmo:

Connie Jo pulled out her iPad and cruised to CrochetMe. We chatted about blogs and patterns. I'd been in the shop long enough that I'd forgotten how hot it was, how much farther I had to go. The women encouraged me to get lunch, come back, sit and talk a while longer. Tempting indeed.

But I knew that my co-workers would be mighty sad if I decided to stay in Salina much longer. I headed out.

If you find yourself along I-70 in central Kansas, stop in. Aim for Tuesday midday. Stop by Martinelli's first and picked up a quarter Chopped Salad, then join in the yarns.

Happy crocheting,


(Carla, Conni Jo, Nancy, Cynthia, Ann, Linda and Jane: Thanks for one of the best hours of my trip!)

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