Adelaide's Secret is an exclusive story available only to my newsletter subscribers or subscribers to the Ficstitches Yarns Crochet Kit Club newsletter. The story features an inside look at the Unraveling series as well as hints and backstories to the novels.
For more information about the Ficstitches Yarns kit club, please see our website.
1st Installment of Adelaide’s Secret
By C. Jane Reid
Have you wondered about our inspiration for Ficstitches Yarns? Oh sure, crochet kit clubs are cool, and kit clubs of all types are all the rage, but why did we decide to package it with a story? Why the historical theme?
Allow me to introduce you to Adelaide.
OFFF, 2014. Or I should say Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival for those of you not local to the Pacific Northwest. It takes place each September in Canby, OR.
That was my first year attending. I wasn’t planning on it, but Laurinda insisted. She was teaching one of her new crochet classes that year. I couldn’t go to the class (admittedly, I take them for free—I’m one of her guinea pig students), but I helped haul in her gear, made sure she had enough coffee to get through the day, and forced some more substantial food into her hands when she stood still long enough.
In between all of that, however, I had much of the day to myself. I spent time browsing the many booths, both inside and outside. I watched the spinning circle in the yard behind the main hall, wondering if I could ever learn how to work a wheel. Eventually, I realized there were whole barns of animals to view. Just about any creature that produces fiber to spin or felt was on display. Rabbits, goats, alpaca, and of course, sheep. So many sheep!
It was in the sheep barn where I met Adelaide.
I was standing a few feet from a pen, watching the cutest little ram I’d ever seen. He was no taller than my knee, with a sweet black face and curled black horns and a pluff of cream-colored wool. I swooned. He was just so adorable. I wanted to curl my hands into his wool and kiss his sweet little nose.
Have I mentioned that I’m an introvert? So introverted that I will go to great lengths not to do anything in a strange place that might call attention to myself. Rather than give in to temptation and even pat the little sheep, I stood there staring at him, imagining what his wool would feel like, how velvety his little nose would be, wondering if he would make a noise so I could hear what he sounded like.
And then I realized a woman was standing nearby watching me. She was in her sixties, with steel gray hair that held a hint of the black it used to be. She wore her hair piled on top of her head and held back with a colorful scrap of fabric. Her face was weathered, with a steeliness under the lines, but her green eyes were friendly behind a narrow pair of crimson-colored reading glasses. Her Carhartt cargo pants were stained and well-worn, as were her boots, which marked her more participant than visitor to the barns. Her shirt was tie-dyed in bright hues, and over it she wore an interesting cardigan of crazy quilt-style crochet patches pieced together, framed by a collar and hem of crimson that at first glance looked like single crochet. I immediately wanted to learn how to make one of my own.
She gave me a wry grin when she found I’d caught her watching me.
“Not allergic are you?” she asked.
It took me a moment to realize she meant allergic to wool. “Oh, no,” I answered, feeling foolish.
“Give him a pat, then. He's sweet as f***.”
Here I should pause to warn you that Adelaide swears like a sailor. Her dad was one, as she explained to me when she saw my eyes widen in surprise at her choice of words.
“Dad brought home more than just stories from the war. He could swear in three languages. Guess I paid attention. And now I’m too old to care about watching my tongue,” she added with that wry grin. “One of the benefits of age.”
“Which war was he in?” I asked, figuring it to be WWII but not wanting to presume.
I'd never been asked why before when asking after someone's history. It took me aback.
“I like learning about the folks who fought in wars,” I answered rather lamely. Have I mentioned that I'm not very good at making conversation?
“Do you like history?” She looked eager, a little too eager, as she asked the question. I simply nodded, uncertain where this conversation was going now.
That’s when she pressed a card into my hand. “This is my farm,” she told me, speaking quieter, as though she didn’t want anyone else to hear. “You call me. You come see me. I have something to tell you. Something important.”
And then she left me standing to gape after her as she strode away.
I glanced down at the card in my hand. The Stitching Tree, owner Adelaide Rourke.