Wild, Woolly West

Wild, Woolly West

You don’t understand how blood-thirsty old women can be till you hit an Arthur Bales wool sale.

behind every great knitter

I pulled in to my favourite knitting emporium late Monday afternoon – the first day of the eagerly awaited sale – allowed to leave work early for a reason far too tedious to explain here. I was rattled when I noticed the long line of cars parked tightly around the shop and surrounding areas. They were lined up neatly as far as the eye could see, like stitches in a row. Clearly I wouldn’t be the only one perusing the woolly wonderland.


‘There have been a lot of women going in there,’ said the shell-shocked car guard with scarcely concealed astonishment when I got out of my car.

‘Yes, there’s a sale this week!’ I explained.

‘So many people…’ he murmured into his shoes.

With horror I realised most of the good wool might be gone and left the PTSD-stricken guard in my dust (quite literally, it is a dusty parking lot) and made my way post-haste to the door.

Inside it was like a modern, yarn-infested version of the trenches in World War One. Bodies everywhere… women crouching on the floor grabbing at wool bales, others pushing people out of the way, with a polite ‘sorry’, as they reached for the colour they wanted, and wool scattered around with careless disregard. The shop attendants looked haggard and it was with scarcely concealed disdain that they asked if they could help; one sighed audibly when she realised it was only 4pm. I stepped gingerly around the figures in various repose on the floor and started fervently to browse. Wool was piled high on the tables like so many sandbags around a foxhole, and soon realised I was going to have to add polite chatter and elbows to my artillery.


So. Many. Options. And all much cheaper than usual. One comrade pointed out the merino selling at only 20% of its non-sale value, and I soon spotted some luxuriously soft bamboo wool that gave me goosebumps of delight. Projects, what projects?? I needed wool ‘just in case’ and this made shopping impossible.

One woman suggested I join her knitting group, and another I realised was a slightly mad Arthur Bales regular with no boundaries and too much free time. Avoid small talk, I chastised myself, while wondering how much money I really needed for groceries this month and how much wool I could get into the flat before my boyfriend broke up with me and or sent me to a support group.


Faced with so many options choice becomes ludicrously impossible but eventually I knuckled down, manned up, and toughened the fuck up too.

I left with bags bulging for future projects and an awareness that getting a credit card was a huge mistake.



I survived the sale. I SURVIVED THE SALE!


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