Writer Rosemarie Colombraro lives in Vermont and wrote a recent post about how much she wants to go to Ireland and how that's not a practical thing for her to have in mind. She especially wants to go to the Galway region (I was spinning Galway wool for The Project just yesterday).
She heard about an event there and it got her thinking. She said:
This area of Ireland had called to me for the better part of my 50 years on this earth. It was on my "Boxcar List." That’s like a bucket list, but much bigger and harder to ignore. I had written about the female pirate queen, Grainne O’Malley, and recognized her castle immediately among the pictures on the workshops web site. There was a strange need to visit, to walk the countryside and find spiritual sites I knew but could not describe, to breathe the air of a country that I recognized only through genetic memory, through the drops of blood that came from my Irish ancestors.
She decided to see what she might have around that she could "trade up" into a trip to Ireland, like the guy who traded a red paperclip up until he owned a house. She made a list of several items she could easily spare:
1. 6 AAA batteries. Not new, but a few of them might have a little bunny left in them.
2. A wire hanger, used.
3. My wig, used this summer during my bald period.
4. The hair of a dog. Really. The hair of a dog.
5. A Virgin Mobile Kyocera phone , with chew marks and a battery that is still fairly good.
6. And, if I find it, I will offer a four-leaf clover, found by me. This is surely worth an entire trip, flight and all! Let me know if anyone is interested in this one and I will look harder.
JUST ADDED: My high school class ring, circa 1975.
My voice: Got an advertising project that needs a female voice?
My skill: Blog content? A story…on Ireland? Want me to tweet about your Irish wolfhound?
Grainne O'Malley, about whom Rosie had written, is the subject of Molly Lyons' exquisite one-person play, A Most Notorious Woman (with fine original music by Martin Stillion). I thought that if Rosie did not know about the play, she certainly needed to. I dropped a comment on her blog:
Okay, no trade from me yet (though I may think of one), but a question: have you seen . . . A Most Notorious Woman? It’s about Granuaile (Grace O’Malley, pick your name: the pirate queen). It is EXTRAORDINARY. I saw its world premiere—and have seen it three more times, and will see it again when I have another chance (and I don’t tend to do things I’ve done before).
Thanks for the info on the Grainne play, Deborah! And…um…this hair of the dog…beautiful spinnable Belgian Tervuren hair. A manilla envelope stuffed full. Want to trade for a sample of your yarn, to be put up for further barter?
Okay, THAT's interesting. Spinnable fiber. She's got my number. I figured I could find a sample of surplus handspun, probably even a whole skein, to trade for it.
Then I got to pondering. To make a long story slightly shorter, here's my trade for the dog hair (I like Belgian Tervurens, and I would love to hear that Rosie, whom I have never met, gets to go to Ireland):
Here's what I wrote about my trade:
Handspun yarn, I’d call it “rose gray,” a medium gray with a warm cast to it, plus a knitted swatch and a small piece of the original fiber: 2 pounds 4 ounces (1 kg, not a typo) of two-ply, light sportweight, moderately thick-and-thin, 14 wraps per inch, suitable for knitting or crochet, and strong enough to be woven (warp and/or weft).
This is a former UFO (unfinished object), about two-thirds of a sweater that I have disassembled and turned back into skeins of various sizes: most are good-sized, a handful are quite small. I’ve just washed the skeins [note: retrieved from semi-sweaterdom, skeined, and bathed in a hurry, as I was packing to head for the cabin], but they still have a bit of crinkle from their previous adventures, which were nearly successful. The skeins got slightly disoriented while I was spinning out the water in the washing machine (despite three skein ties each), but will be easy to ball.
I think the fiber was an Ashland Bay multicolored Merino top . . . that’s what it looks and feels like. Spinning quality: this was some of my intermediate yarn, the sort that a beginner aspires to and that gives a spinner with much experience an opportunity to feel good about her or his own yarn. It knits or weaves up to a nice, supple, lightweight fabric, or it can be worked double for more body (and quicker working).
A spinner could also uptwist the two-ply and turn it into a cable.
I actually like this yarn a whole lot. It's got great karma. It's sort of tweedy, like Ireland, and sort of rosie, like Rosie. I have no idea why it has not wanted to become something for me, other than yarn. I'd love to know what it becomes for someone else! (Whenever.)
Here's what I'm getting in return:
Traded to Deb: hair of the dog
This is a manilla envelope full of clean soft Belgian Tervuren hair from the coat of Richelieu’s Faelhan of the Land, the only surviving puppy of the last litter of American and Canadian CH Richelieu’s Exeter D’Allante, CDX, PT. This hair will spin into either a soft brown or gray yarn. “Fae” is my best buddy!
I'm thrilled. Fae's hair might make a special appearance in The Project, too. We'll see.
If you want to know more about this trading-up sequence, just started, there's a special page for it now.
Anybody else want to play?
Yes, all of it.