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Living in the Boston area, wool lovers are spoiled with more than 20 local yarn stores (lys), multiple sheep and wool festivals and a bevy of fairs where you can find independent dyers tempting us with luscious fiber and colors. My yarn stash does just fine without purchasing yarn online.  Even Webs, that jumbo online yarn emporium with the amazing back room, is only 2 hours away.  Why buy online when there’s beauty all around you?

During the 2011 pilgrimage to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY, I had a mission: find yarn to knit a cardigan for my daughter, who had texted a picture of something she saw in a a very posh shop.  “Mom, could you make this but in purple?”  Rhinebeck is a perfect blend of wool, food, and animals (the leaping llama contest is my favorite) mixed with crowds wearing wonderful hand made garments and Ravelry pins.Rhinebeck_yarn_shop

After much yarn handling, the alluring  Miss Babs  Yowsa super wash merino wool, color Clematis fit the bill.  I invested in 3 skeins, or 1680 yards of the lovely yarn.  Way  more than I needed, but 2 skeins would limit the design possibilities.  What a treat to touch Miss Babbs’ yarn after reading about their marvelous color ways online!

The following week, I traveled to Italy to work on future Tactile Travel tours and meet up with clients Giardini di Sole.  The long flight, train time would give me good knitting stretches.  Like many knitters, I don’t want to be caught without a project or twelve in the suitcase!  So I packed 2 of the skeins, my design notebook, a variety of needles and set off for Italy! The pattern and knitting proceeded quickly, but I only used one skein during the week.  Imagine my dismay when the other ball of Yowsa rolled under the bed at a friend’s house on my last night!  Theresa said she would send it via post.  Initially, I was reluctant to agree…. the Italian post office was not always reliable and perhaps I could finish the sweater in only 2 skeins.  Eventually I asked her to send it, and the wait began.

I wait, and waited and waited.  Two month later, I emailed Theresa, who said that the tracking said the package was  delivered three weeks after she sent it, sigh.

Checking Miss Babs online marketplace, I didn’t find the Clematis colorway.  Eventually I searched stashes of Ravelry users, hoping there was some leftover Clematis languishing.  Sympathetic negative responses yielded no results. Finally, Clematis appeared in her shop again.  I sent a sample of the yarn I used, hoping the dye lots would be a good match, and last September, I found a rumpled package on my doorstep.2012-10-09 21:44:48 +0000

“What on earth is this?” forgetting that the yarn might be on the way.  The return address label didn’t give many clues, so imagine my delight when I opened this tissue covered confection, complete with a stitch marker and sample of new yarn. Knit with Miss Babs Yowza This was my first online yarn experience, a fabulous customer experience and a sweater that my daughter now wears several times a week!
Alanna Nelson hand knit sweater
hand knit sweater by Alanna Nelson
Huzzah to Miss Babs!