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Cadeau: The great Mother's Day yarn search

The infamous blue yarn reporter Teri Cadeau tracked down for her mother for Mother's Day in 2017. (Photo courtesy of Judy Cadeau)

With Mother's Day just in the rearview mirror, I've found myself reflecting on last year's Mother's Day adventure. It started with a trip to a craft store. Back in January 2017, my mother came down from Gilbert to visit me in Duluth. We went to a craft store and she found a super soft and bulky blue yarn she thought would make the perfect sweater. She picked up two skeins, guessing it would be enough for the pattern she had in mind.

Teri CadeauShe played what knitters call "yarn-chicken," where she attempted to finish the project before running out of yarn. She lost. Mom had a backup plan. She'd use a gray yarn that was very similar to add to the cuffs of the sleeves and make the hood. But she ended up tearing out all the gray yarn. It just looked awkward to her.

By this time, it was the middle of April. I decided I could surprise her by picking up some more of the bulky blue yarn at the local store for Mother's Day. I checked the store several times, but the yarn was nowhere to be found. I looked at other stores, but had no luck.

I turned to the internet. Surely, I could find blue Barcelona brand yarn somewhere online. I checked the company's website, but found no traces of the yarn. But I did find a chat window where I could talk with a customer service representative. The chat lead me to a phone number I could call to check if any stores in America still had the yarn in stock.

The phone rep was friendly and helpful, but couldn't find any of the yarn in stock in the U.S. But he could find that yarn in stores in Canada. "Great! Could they ship it to me?" I asked. "Let's see," he put me on hold. "Unfortunately not."

Really? I was frustrated. I'd finally found the yarn, but it was just outside my grasp. I called my mom to give her the news.

"It's OK. Thank you for trying so hard," Mom said. "Too bad we don't know anyone who lives in Canada, huh?"

Inspiration struck me with those words. I didn't personally know anyone from Canada. But on Facebook, I'm in a group with 15,000 people from around the world. The group consists mostly of fans of popular vloggers and authors John and Hank Green.

The group, known as "Nerdfighters," is dedicated to "decreasing world suck." I knew I'd seen a few posts in that group about Canada. Maybe someone in that group would be willing to help?

I wrote a post explaining the situation, how I'd been searching for this yarn for my mom for Mother's Day and asking for Canadian Nerdfighters to check their local craft stores to see if they could find it. An hour went by before I got my first comment.

"Not a Canadian, but I thought I'd comment so that your post gets bumped up and people see it. I hope you find it!" a group member wrote.

Another hour went by and finally some Canadians were taking notice. Three people vowed to check their stores within the next few days. Others said they took a look but didn't see any blue yarn.

Finally, a kind woman named Kori from Ontario found the yarn at her local store and was willing to send me three skeins, despite being eight months pregnant at the time. We figured out a way for me to reimburse her for the yarn and she popped it in the mail. Kori sent the yarn directly to Mom. Due to the delay in the search, I couldn't get it to her by Mother's Day, but she was pretty happy, nonetheless.

To tell the absolute truth, Mom still hasn't quite finished the sweater yet, but she's not playing yarn-chicken anymore. It was quite a long journey but I came out of it with a good story, increased confidence and a new Canadian friend. Kori and I still keep in touch through Facebook. A few months later, I was able to return the favor and send Kori a baby product that was only available for shipping in the U.S.

This year, I didn't take on such an ambitious project for my Mother's Day gift. Instead, I paid her a visit, washed the lunch dishes and brought her a fun jigsaw puzzle. And I think she liked that just as much.

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle. 

(218) 834-2141