While I was helping set up the Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth early Saturday morning, word spread over the PA system that that the Optic Waves Shawl from my book had just been stolen from the Brooks Farm Yarn booth. It was a sad and sobering way to begin what was supposed to be a joyous event. Unfortunately, this proved to be the first of several incidents that shook vendors and festival organizers.
Clara has posted an open letter to the person who stole her shawl. Return it, COD, no questions asked. But seriously, whoever you are, if you happen to be reading this, you should be ashamed. This is not what knitters do. We create. We do not steal (well, except for clever tricks and tips from our fellow knitters). If you are a knitter, that is. I can’t imagine a true knitter doing this — someone who appreciates the value of handwork, and knows how much time and effort it takes to make something this beautiful.
Yet that’s not all. Clara continues, after the rest of her (not-as-depressing) show writeup (photos of sheep cheer me up any day):
Sunday began on another sobering note. Overnight, hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise had been stolen from several vendor booths in the main building and the nearby barns. Cash registers had been pried open, and all the goat pens and rabbit doors had been opened. Thankfully all the animals were safely found and recaptured.
See, this is what I don’t understand. Stealing cash — ok, anyone might do that. Stealing handmade items, though — that’s the lowest of the low. In March, at a sewing expo, we had original designs stolen out of our booth. Zabet from ¡The AntiCraft! was there to sign copies of their book, as was my friend Xan — we were signing AlterNation together. In our teensy booth, we had no fewer than five people inside and around the perimeter when someone (or multiple people) thought it would be ok to steal a few of Xan’s one of a kind, vintage materials purses.
Mind you, this came after an entire day of not-even-whispered “Oh, I could make that”s (well, you didn’t, she did), “This costs how much?”s and even one woman stopping to pull out a notebook and outright DRAW a schematic of one purse for sale. I don’t think I need to remind you, my sensitive and creative readers, that doing that is really, really rude. At least wait until you get a booth or two away! Hell, snap a cell phone photo when our backs are turned. People like that make me not want to do shows any more, I swear.
The cherry on top? After overhearing another set of “I could make that” people, one lovely woman browsing in our booth showed me a very cool bracelet she’d made. Then she informed me that a few booths away from us, one of the vendors who had bought one from her last year was now selling kits to make them — with her original piece as the display item. Do these people have no shame?
Remember the incidents at Handmade Arcade a few years ago? Stealing in front of me, and corporate spies snapping photos to take back to their discount-store overlords? It’s just been getting worse.
I don’t know what to say.