Friday, March 29, 2013

String Fever

by Opal Scott from the Threadville Mystery Series by Janet Bolin

As a pre-teen, I was lanky and coltish. “She needs to fill out,” the old folks said.

I loved reading. “She’s mooning around,” they said. “She needs to play outside and get some red in her cheeks. She needs flesh on her bones. It’s not healthy, being that skinny.”

When spring came around, they said, “She’s not doing anything. Give her some spring tonic.” “Spring tonic” was cod liver oil.
But I was doing something. I was reading. 

When I finished a book, I felt a kind of grief. I missed those characters. I often read books again, right away. When I could finally set one book aside, I started another.

My folks stuck to their definition of spring fever—a listless lack of energy. 

I preferred Mark Twain’s definition: “It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

During my early teens, I felt that way most of the time, not only in spring.

And then, the summer before I turned seventeen, I met a college boy, and suddenly, I knew why my heart ached. If you’ve read Dire Threads and Threaded for Trouble, you know what happened. 

That fall started badly. The boy went back to college. He didn’t write. I never saw him again, but I was as faithful to him as I was to the books I read and re-read. He was like another character that I couldn’t put down.

Winter was worse. I filled out, but not in the way my folks expected. Aghast, they sent me out of their lives.

Don’t feel sorry for me. That was more than thirty years ago, and everything has worked out, thanks to my best friends, Naomi and Edna.
I wanted nice clothes for my baby. Naomi suggested that we should all learn to knit and crochet. We spent the months until Haylee was born in a fever of knitting.

Taking turns looking after Haylee, the three of us finished high school and college, and we all went on to careers. I kept knitting...

Haylee’s grown up now. We raised a wonderful daughter, and she loves having three mothers. 

When Haylee found this big Victorian edifice housing separate shops and apartments for each of us in a tiny village in northwestern Pennsylvania, she convinced us all to move there. Haylee set up a fabric shop, The Stash. I started my store, Tell a Yarn. Edna opened Buttons and Bows, and Naomi opened Batty About Quilts. Haylee’s best friend, Willow, has a machine embroidery boutique, In Stitches, across the street. Our tiny village is known for miles around as Threadville.

We love Willow as if she were our own, and we’re always ready to help her investigate a crime, especially if it involves donning disguises... 

These days, my “tonics” are sipped from crystal stemware, in the company of friends.

But that winter when I turned seventeen, I caught string fever, and it keeps getting worse. Do you have any idea how many beautiful yarns there are?

Do you have a hobby that has grabbed you? Have you ever thought of turning it into a career?

You can read more about Opal and how she helps Willow solve a murder in the third Threadville Mystery, THREAD AND BURIED, coming out June 4, 2013! Pre-order THREAD AND BURIED from any bookstore or from these booksellers.

Janet Bolin’s first Threadville Mystery, DIRE THREADS, was nominated for both an Agatha Award for Best First novel and for the Bony Blithe Award. The second in the series, THREADED FOR TROUBLE, has been nominated for the 2013 Bony Blithe Award

Visit Janet at facebook and twitter.


  1. Wow that is harsh, getting kicked out because you got pregnant. But still, you don't seem to have suffered long from it. Nothing better than good friends.
    Looking forward to reading your books, because reading has always been and will always be my spring fever.

  2. What a wonderful extended family you are. Friends make all the difference.

    I think turning a hobby into a career is the smartest thing a person can do. What's that saying? Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life!


    1. I agree. Sometimes friends can be the best 'family' anyone can have. And work? In a yarn shop? That's play! Well, except for keeping records, maybe...

  3. Ive read the first book in this series, and looking forward to reading more! This book sounds great! =)

  4. Opal, I love it. String fever. Sweet. I, too, am a reader. I love books. Now, I love cookbooks and cooking. No one, I assure you, ever thought cooking would become my hobby. By the way, I love having an extended family, as well. You can't always pick your family, but you can pick your friends. Good for you for finding your way.

    Hugs from afar.

    Jenna Hart, from Crystal Cove, California