Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

Cleanup on Aisle 2, a Trip, and Some Shoes

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Dear Kay,
It’s 2:30 in the morning. Small Clif–poignant, brave, wildly barf covered–turned up at my bedside with trash can in hand to announce that he was having a bad night.
I am so very awake. Never been so awake. Let’s just leave that vale of Clorox behind for the moment, shall we? We’re going on a little trip.
Is that potpourri I smell? Like, six kinds of potpourri at the same time? Is that the sound of a taxidermied wildcat falling off a table? Why, it must be time for
The Tailgate Antiques Show!
There’s nothing like a brisk October morning when you get the semi-annual chance to haul it up Briley Parkway with your most eagle-eyed Tailgate pal in search of . . . um . . . stuff.
Mystic Crystal Revelation
We didn’t spy any arbiters of taste this time–Mary Emmerling is usually around, wearing her cowboy boots, a warehouse of turquoise, and three or four blankets. But that was OK–we were bedazzled by all the becolor.
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If I were into tatting, well. All you tatters, getcher boots on–this is a lifetime supply.
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The vendor was rassling two stuck buckets when we walked by. The stuckest buckets you ever saw.
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Greeeeeen.
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The backside of Fair Isle is what comes to mind whenever I see a batch of these jacquard bedcover things.
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Compulsory miter moment.
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A faded rag rug is always divine. There was a 21-foot-long vintage rag rug for sale, unused, for less than it would cost at Pottery Barn. Somebody please go get that thing–room 130.
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Makes me think of that Loretta Lynn song, “I Miss Being Mrs. Tonight.” You know, “I took off my wedding band/And put it on my right hand/Oh! I miss being Mrs. tonight.” [Pause to contemplate the greatness of Loretta Lynn, especially when Jack White is producing her.]
On to the Other Category of Things
You didn’t think I was going to leave you with a bunch of pastel-colored inspiration, did you? Here’s the real Tailgate.
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There’s a fine line between clever and stupid, as they say in Spinal Tap. Can you put a finger on the exact place where arcane becomes junk? Here! This box of busted watches is where!
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What in the world is this $95 framed piece of stuff? To my eye this looked like sailing canvas. Like, from the H.M.S. Surprise? The Mayflower? Your neighbor Bob who takes his sailboat out on Old Hickory Lake?
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I’ve always wondered what Ma and Pa Ingalls spent on that cabin of theirs. I’ve always wanted a log cabin–let’s do the math. $1,500 per window. Ma and Pa Ingalls had three windows in their log cabin: $4,500. If a window is $1,500, then a log surely has to be, like, more than a window because it’s bigger, right? So, $2,000 the log, call it 60 logs for a dogtrot because I am NOT sleeping with those two boys every single night even if those pioneers did it and ended up with six children. That’s $120,000, plus a door which has to be $6,000. That’s $130,500 for a two-room log cabin. No wonder Pa kept moving–he couldn’t keep up the payments.
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Take a look at this rag ball.
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Eagle Eye provides her hand for scale. Forget the Eight Pound Ball of Yarn. This thing weighs about forty pounds, and the seller said she had to roll it down Main Street to get it to her van.
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A word about rag ball economics: There is absolutely no rhyme nor reason to the pricing of rag balls. These balls were $22 to $48 apiece. I think Betsy Ross breathed on them or something. Six doors down, I bought a boatload of balls for five bucks each, $2.50 for the small ones. If you’re looking for rag balls for knitting projects, just keep looking.
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I’ve never seen mixed media taxidermy before, so this is breaking new ground. I’m seeing deer fur, dog face, and stripe of skunk on top of a form that surely must be a wig stand.
And finally, here are the shoes of the day:
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No, they’re not the shoes I was wearing yesterday, but aren’t these just divine? If I were a size five, I’d be clonking around in these.
Well, it’s been a while since our little Profile in Courage has erupted, so I think we’re in the clear now and I’m getting sleepy. I have to say, I’m having that same feeling that I had back in the days of constant nursing. I’d be up at four in the morning, reading three-day-old Tennessean classified dog ads, trying to decide whether, if I were ever going to get a dog, would I want the AKC Welsh Corgi or the Basset Hound mix. I’d decide–firmly–that a Corgi was the way to go, sort of the same way I’m sitting here right now certain that when dawn breaks, I’m heading back up Briley Parkway for that big ass rag ball.
Love,
Ann

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59 Comments

59 Comments

  1. Too funny! Thank you for such a wonderful slice of life. Cheered me up on a wildy, wet English morning.
    PS: Love the shoes, shame they weren’t the right size!

  2. Go for it… you can never have too many rags! Oh, and the box o’ broken watches, buy it for a friend who needs more time!
    Hope SC is on the road to recovery…

  3. Poor fella, I hope he is feeling better now. That has got to be one of the more unpleasent jobs of motherhood.
    That dog-head thing is pretty scarey. What sick mind came up with such a thing?

  4. Thanks for starting my day with a smile! Now that dog thing might have been just what a “house Tour” needed to spice it up…. Now YOU need to go back to bed and sleep, that stomach thing has been here all week too. It’s hard on Mom’s too. I love how my kids managed to hit everything possible when they were sick.Hope he feels better! Sofa, Tv ,a little knitting, tea and crackers should be your morning! Ok, go get the Rag Ball….it will haunt you if you don’t!

  5. I need those shoes! maybe I can get a cinderella’s-sister operation to fit into those guys (yea, right.) Just the thing for my witch-momma momments!
    Hope the brave child is better soon. Barfing is no good for anyone. Happy disinfecting!

  6. You need the yarn ball, and maybe the rag rug as well – how can you pass up a good rag rug!
    give the little one a hug and some ginger ale – always made me feel better.

  7. Love the huge rag ball and you must have it — but the dog think was a little freaky this early in the morning.

  8. Barfing in the night… poor everyone.
    Grab a few of those broken watches for me, eh? WOuldn’t you love to display them on a plate on your dining room? Make a chain of them for the Christmas tree? I wish I had room to display useless yet cool things like broken watches…

  9. I needed the Loretta Lynn reference this morning. Thank you for making my day!!!

  10. I’m sorry about the barfing, I hope he feels better today.
    On another note, that stuffed thing has the face of my maltese Henry…. strange.

  11. I’ve seen those broken watch pieces made into jewellery, at least that’s how it was advertised.
    I never see those rag balls up here in Ontario – hope you get that 40 pounder! Will you then unravel it, and knit something?
    The shoes are fabulous, but way out of league of my size 8+ feet.

  12. Poor Clif! I prescribe saltines and flat sprite and all the television a boy would like (and, naturally, a nap for his Poor Sainted Mother).

  13. Don’t scoff at the broken watches. My father in law would have bought them. He’s an antique dealer and always on the lookout for “parts”.

  14. “One person’s trash is another’s treasure…” What a slice of Americana those photos are! Love your description of Mary Emmerling! (And that’s some rag ball.)
    Hope everyone is feeling LOADS better today.

  15. My grandmother taught me to tat when I was young. I have no idea where my little tatty thingys are, but it made me think of her–thanks. I think you could use the string for a nifty scribble scarf though. That big, giant rag ball would be perfect for a rug in my house, too bad I’m too far away to go get it. I think I actually had those shoes back when I was in college (but not in a size 5!!). Hoping Cliff feels better.

  16. I enjoyed your trip, the watches were a little over the top. But…..where are your SHOES? I think that I would like to see them too or did you put them out for SALE?

  17. *snort* Mixed Media Taxidermy! Rather scary actually… but I love all the photos.
    I talked with a rag rug maker at the NC State Fair last weekend and she told me that there has been a drop in suppliers of wool cloth appropriate for braiding, from 30 back whenever she started to 5 nowadays, and the prices are rising…

  18. Love your blog, since I live just across the state line in KY and am from MA.
    I missed the tailgate show, but have you ever been to the fleamarket at the fairgrounds?
    Great stuff.
    On a side note you can’t go wrong with a nice Boston Terrier. Sturdy, easy maintenance with an outgoing/steady personality.

  19. That mixed media taxidermy may be the most frightening thing I’ve ever seen…
    Hope your brave wee man feels better soon.

  20. Take a nap before you decide on that ball! I’ve resorted to making my own.

  21. Ah, those dead of night, sleep-deprived mom shopping decisions. I know them well. And strangely, I have never regretted any of them. Is there some kind of clarity that comes with personal sacrifice of sleep?
    Let us know how that 100 pound rag ball works out.

  22. You tease! Still haven’t shown the shoes you were wearing..thanks for the virtual tailgate show..I could almost smell it.

  23. Lovely post, but some of us would still like to see the fancypants in-this-century shoes.
    Seriously, though. The rag balls? $40? Wow.

  24. Hey I was up early today too but because of the music emanating from the Denali parked illegally under my window instead of a puke-soaked kid. I don’t know how you can resist all that treasure. Maybe someone else already bought that ball –

  25. The Jack White/Loretta Lynn pairing was ingenious. Great album.
    You know, I have never seen rag balls for sale up here. Maybe I haven’t been looking, though.

  26. Don’t know what’s more disturbing, that dog thing or trying to imagine the person who made it. Alert Stephen King.
    Ann, in Minnesota

  27. Ann–you crack me up! As a fellow “mom in the trenches” I understand your pain. I am one of 11 children and I can remember when we ALL got the stomach flu. My mom lined the entire hallway with towels because she said that none of us could make it to the bathroom in time. Can you imagine–11 kids all throwing up at the SAME TIME! I think Oprah needs to send my mom somewhere special just for that!!!
    The flea market stuff you showed reminds me of the “bulk pick-up phenomena” we have here. Every three months, you can put out anything on the curb–ANYTHING…and the trash people will haul it away. Of course, everyone goes out in their pick-ups and scours these “curbside shops” looking for that buried treasure. I have found some incredible things from antitque oil paintings to vintage wicker to books and even boxes of unused pencils…its awesome I tell ya!

  28. that franken-taxidermy will be haunting my dreams for WEEKS. *shiver*

  29. Much awakeness in the middle of the night last night at our house b/c of sniffly 19 mo old Crabcake.
    Today, I think my hair might look like a big-ass rag ball.

  30. I saw a little chihuahua taxidermied and remodeled into a tiny lion once – I still regret not getting it, but it freaked me out at the time.
    My younger kidlet has always been very brave about the barfing, too. His dad took him to Wild Waves last summer, fed him a verboten hotdog – kidlet came home to me and kept saying he felt like he was still in the wave pool . . . the hotdog of course revisited us later that night.

  31. I have no idea why, (very few people understand the connections my mind makes, they’re um… unconventional, even if this leap wasn’t) but your post made me finally realize what I’m gonna do with all those old t-shirts from every sporting team and school function since 6th grade (I’m 25 now and continued t-shirt handing out school activities and sports all through college, you do the math)…I’m going to rip them up and make a braided rug out of them! With applique from the cutest pictures on them! Wow! I’m so inspired I might stop working on Eunny’s print o’ the wave stole for a little while. (Those size 00’s and cobweb yarn gave me a migraine yesterday anyway.) Thanks!

  32. What were you thinking to walk away from the big ol ball in the first place? Also broken watches are lots of fun for kids to take apart and make robots from…

  33. Mid-night posting! Poignant children! Spinal Tap quotes! thank you.

  34. The nursing reference? The compulsory miter moment that also happens to be the rug in li’l one’s nursery? Sick kid cameo? You must be talking straight to me today.
    I wish Shelby could just bring me a diaper and some wipes, look me dead in the eye and say, “Mom, I’m not having such a good night. Can I get a little love?” Instead we must go through the “nurse, doze, cry at length” formalities. Nice to know they turn out more articulate than this, though.
    P.S. About 4 this morning I contemplated whether or not to buy a new sewing book. Like would I really USE it? Could I sew that great structured jacket in the Garnet Hill catalog? Could I tailor a pair of pants to fit THIS new midsection?
    Signed,
    Sleepless in Mississippi

  35. So, what shoes were you wearing on that walk down funky junky lane? I’m all into shoes now that I got myself a pair of the comfy cozy Keene Mary Janes for fall and winter… talking comfy? It would be even better if I could walk on that yummy rag rug.

  36. Ugh, I so have size 5 feet! Kisses to the little guy!

  37. ann….you have positively the coolest loot in nashville!

  38. the corgi is definitely the way to go. My hubby and I have two and they are our kids and we wouldn’t have it any other way

  39. the corgi is definitely the way to go. My hubby and I have two and they are our kids and we wouldn’t have it any other way

  40. I used to live in Nashville — grew up there, in fact — and now I live several hundred miles too far north. I still get homesick, although it’s been years since I moved. Thank you for talking about Briley Parkway… sometimes it helps just to know that someone else understands the places that I understand.

  41. I love your writing style. You’re goOOD at 4:30 a.m.

  42. I had a pair of Joan&David’s just like that that I re-soled three times before I wore a hole at the side (right pinky toe) and had to let my mom throw away (I couldn’t bear to do it).
    And the mind’s true libera-a-tion!

  43. I so want to go “junking” with you. Hope your little guy is feeling better.

  44. I wouldn’t trade my Little Miss Princess basset mix for nothin’ – even when she rolls in something stinky.

  45. I had my husband all convinced that knitting constantly, and buying yarn everywhere I find it (I got flax twine at an auction, do you think it will knit???), were all (relatively) normal things. THEN he got a glimpse of JoJo the dog-faced skunk, and now he’s concerned for my (and your) mental health! Seriously, though, I would have had to back away from that thing, and avoid eye contact with the owner. YUCK!!!! Thanks for the laughs!

  46. I had my husband all convinced that knitting constantly, and buying yarn everywhere I find it (I got flax twine at an auction, do you think it will knit???), were all (relatively) normal things. THEN he got a glimpse of JoJo the dog-faced skunk, and now he’s concerned for my (and your) mental health! Seriously, though, I would have had to back away from that thing, and avoid eye contact with the owner. YUCK!!!! Thanks for the laughs!

  47. I had my husband all convinced that knitting constantly, and buying yarn everywhere I find it (I got flax twine at an auction, do you think it will knit???), were all (relatively) normal things. THEN he got a glimpse of JoJo the dog-faced skunk, and now he’s concerned for my (and your) mental health! Seriously, though, I would have had to back away from that thing, and avoid eye contact with the owner. YUCK!!!! Thanks for the laughs!

  48. I must stand up & defend those amongst us who collect vintage watches!! I once picked up a vintage Baume & Mercier for $15.00 at a flea market. It wasn’t running but after a trip to my handy dandy watch repair man it was cleaned, up & running & on it’s way to ebay. I sold it for $200!

  49. As you have no doubt heard before, my personal recommendation for the stomach thing is to be on the road toward Nashville for Christmas and have it strike suddenly and viciously on I-81, where you have to stop and find a motel (one that is conveniently next door to a washateria and a Subway for those who can eat), where you can hole up with a supply of hot and cold running clean towels, a VCR and many many movies.
    And speaking of Christmas … you know how taxidermy would fit in to our lifestyle, what with the Chicken Footed Thing and the confederate war dead headstone in the living room, though I have to say I’d vastly prefer a leonine chihuahua to whatever that thing is.

  50. I’m thinking the taxidermist featured in this here post ought to hang up his tools and call it a day. Yeesh.
    That looks like a very interesting market. I guess the price is in the eye of the seller and one of them values old rags immensely and one sees them as they are, old rags.

  51. I had one of those nights last night too!

  52. You know you never saw anything like that skunk dog-face thing on Wild Kingdom, but it could qualify as The Most Extreme!
    (But don’t show it to the barfy little guy – it could cause a renewed bout of nausea!)

  53. I’m a tatter and I was totally baffled by those,erm, items. Is it just me or are we sure they aren’t for bobbin lace? If they are for tatting, how did I live without a bucket o’ them?
    Lalalalalalala (I’m trying to get the image of that animal thingy out of my head.)

  54. Nothing will qualify you for sainthood faster than caring for your vomiting child–no one will ever need you more than your little guy did during the night. Just a note–I vote for the corgi, my own son’s favorite dog. Not to mention the Queen’s.

  55. Well that made me laugh till tears rolled down my face. Especially the bit about the Log Cabin. I used to love those Litle House books when I was at school in the 60’s before they made that terrible TV series. Any road up keepo em coming we need a laugh

  56. Did you know JoAnn’s carries rag balls now? I bet they were more than $2.50/ball though!

  57. I believe the coverlets are actually overshot, at least the peach and black one definitely is and the blue one probably is. I can’t see the third one well enough to tell.
    It looks like you had wonderful fun.

  58. What a fun little antique show! People who make jewelry would turn those broken watches (the faces, mainly) into some funky pins and things.
    Here’s hoping your little one is feeling better!

  59. To revert to a prior topic, to wit: abusing one’s handknits. If Kay can do it, why not me? I’m working on a wrap with Noro Silk Garden which has annoying sections of unattractive gray. Would they look better after being daubed with permanent magic marker? Yes, they would!