When I cross the border for work and tell the border guard the kind of work I do – over the years this has included online magazine editor, book author, print magazine editor, freelance writer and editor – and in what industry – yarn crafts – I’ve been asked some pretty memorable follow-up questions.

Perhaps the most memorable was from the moustachioed border guard several years ago who absolutely lit up when I told him I worked in crochet. I mean, he went from all-serious-McSeriouspants to, like, delighted fan boy in under a second.

He said to me, “Maybe you can help me! In the ’70s I had THE BEST pair of crocheted slippers. They were the best. I loved them. I’ve been looking for a pair ever since. Do you know where I can find some?”

Oh, the pain of breaking a boarder guard’s heart.

“Have you tried eBay?”

Of course he’d tried eBay. He’d scoured flea markets.

Well. I think I may have found his slippers in an ad from a now-defunct company in the Fall/Winter 1976-1977 issue of McCall’s Needlework & Crafts. They look pretty darn perfect to me. If you’re crossing from Canada into the U.S. at the Vancouver airport and you meet the slipperless border guard, would you let him know?

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They look perfect! Wouldn’t it be fabulous if he somehow sees this post and can have his slippers again?

I had a yarny experience with a border guard too. I was heading down to Seattle for an editors’ conference and he wanted to know what else I was going to do in the States. Oh, I might stop at some knitting shops, I told him. “Knitting?!” he said. “Knitting,” I said. “Like baby booties?” he asked.

I was amused that he knew anything about baby booties.

Sally Howard

Hi I found a very similar version at http://www.angelfire.com/ca4/crochetlady/don_slippers.html.  They look thick and cozy.


Being a vintage pattern junkie, I’m sure I have a pattern like that somewhere!  I’ll keep that in mind next time I cross the border, haha.

I clicked on that link to see which issue it was and was a bit shocked that the seller was asking $14.99!  I’d pay about 25 cents for that magazine!


It’s amazing how crafting can break the ice in so many unexpected situations. I once had a TSA guy at the airport go from excuse-me-ma’am-you’ll-have-to-step-over-here to OMG-that’s-the-coolest-thing-EVER when he discovered the metal embroidery needle case in my carry-on. Go figure.

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