A flu bug took up residence in my body the Wednesday following Sock Summit. For ten days a fever lurked or raged, aches plagued my body rendering me next to useless. Last night I worked late to get this post written and launched as the grandkids will be coming over this evening to spend the next three days with us while mommy and daddy get the truck loaded and move to Idaho. (Mommy will be back late Wednesday). Shortly before I clicked on publish WordPress went down. Fortunately most of this post was saved in the draft file. Whew!
The final story on the Making of Ed’s Vest, what’s now known as the Friendship vest for all the friends that had a role in bringing it to reality.
I began spinning the corriedale and baby camel rovings longer ago than is in accurate memory but in dipping through old blog post I found the project was initially begun in March 08 then put on the back burner until that July when I got serious about getting all the yarn spun for Ed’s vest. Eight ounces of the dark brown corriedale were spun into singles: four ounces were plyed together to create dark brown yarn and two ounces were plyed with spun camel singles to make a variegated yarn. Then I separated two more ounces of the long, light caramel colored, baby camel rovings into thin strips and overlaid those on a second group of four ounces of the dark corriedale which was then spun together and plyed. I also spun four ounces of autumn colored tencel for a yarn with sheen. All of these and an ounce of grey Organic Irish Wool yarn that Jo sent were used in both the warp and weft notating the spacing and yarn sequence to acheive a subtle heathered plaid.
With the ongoing encouragement of friend Grace who suggested I set aside one day a week as a weaving day I finally got the loom warped and the handspun yarn woven on my Norwood four shaft loom last fall. The web (term for freshly woven fabric before it’s finished by wetting and drying it) was taken off, thrown in the washing machine then briefly into the dryer before finishing it with a hot iron , heavily pressing it onto the fabric. The thick padding on my ironing board was replaced with a once folded wool blanket. This allows me to press the iron as firmly as possible against the fabric. Once it was finished, and shown off at the spinning group, the fabric languished, hidden from sight until twelve days before Sock Summit.
In the course of a conversation with a new woman at church I mentioned my goal of sewing Ed’s vest that week but first needed to make a pattern. Turns out she loves sewing and invited me up to her house. Using butcher paper we drew out and cut a pattern using one of Ed’s beloved vests as the guide. I used cotton broadcloth for the back of the vest and a satin lining for the inside front. (view of the Front /back side seam, on top of the inside front lining and back)
The worst problem I ran into while sewing the bottom seams and front seams together was the woven cloth wanting to stretch in contrast to the stable lining. By using lots of pins and patience I was able to persuade them to match. By early afternoon the sewing machine part was finished leaving the handstitching of the French seams for the sides and shoulders left to accomplish. (A huge task!) When I took the vest out the next morning to tackle the French seams I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the concept, though I understood the end result. So, in desperation I called another friend, Constance who has done a great deal of hand sewing and quilting. Leaving it in her capable hands I was thrilled to think it’d be done within the week.
Her seams were fautless with tiny impeccable stitches.
I brought the vest home and set up the Singer with the button hole attachment. I’ve done this before – it’s a breeze. Snap, it’s finished. Ha. No such luck this time. Constance to the rescue. She quickly had it working so I made the first button hole, and she was one her way back home with a cheerful wave goodbye. Forging confidently ahead on the next buttonhole the sewing thread snapped. and snapped. and snapped… by then I was using leftover scrap materials trying to figure out what was wrong. I used a new spool of thread, and tried a new needle. Getting out the manual I dismantled the machine and oiled all the bits the diagrams showed to oil, fiddled with the tension. By then it was late Saturday afternoon. Ed walked in and shook his head saying he’d have had that machine in tiny pieces by then. Then he said, “Some people just aren’t cut out to work with sewing machines.”
I wanted to throw the machine at him.
Ed had excitedly anticipated wearing his handspun handwoven vest to church the next day and wasn’t about to see that dream postponed. He suggested calling a neighbor who also loves sewing and has a very fancy machine to see if she’d help me. Taking vest in hand we walked over after supper. Faithful had her machine set up with the buttonhole attachment in place. She had me sit down and test one of my scrapes. At first it was fine then it too starting acting up. After a great deal of perseverance and patience on her part she finally gave up trying to program the buttonholer to automatically sew the correct hole size and went with a closely spaced, narrow zigzag while hand guiding the material along chalked lines. Whew! By then I was too tired to think about sewing on the four buttons. That job was quickly taken care of before Ed was ready to go to church the next morning.
Thanks to all the friends who had a hand in making this vest come true!
Wonder if I can make him a matching cap for Christmas. Dare I? Perhaps Constance would be willing. I’ve enough material.
Hard to believe a week ago we were frantically dashing through last minute organizing and packing, and I’ve yet to recover from the blur of Sock Summit.
Hard to know where to begin and what to share. The weekend was an amazing calidescope of colors and people. Our booth was on the outside of the first row. Instead of being able to wave and chat with people in booths across from us we stared at a huge grey cinderblock wall. Being on the beaten path to the restrooms on the other side of that wall wasn’t such a bad thing, there were some booths that didn’t get near the traffic.
We arrived shortly after ten Thursday morning and found very helpful convention center staff who cheerfully directed us where to park and where to go to sign in. There is a certain rushed hustle bustle that always takes over Ed and I when we set up or tear down from a shore. That rush takes over and we are incapable of slowing down, looking around or chatting with other vendors. Once we were set up and had things more or less organized in that cramped 5 x 10′ booth we took turns quickly cruising through the hall checking out other booths and vendors. I did talk with a few, and finally got to meet Jocelyn , which was one of the highlights of the Summit for me. The hustle bustle seems to affect most everyone and there wasn’t much chance to really connect with people. A great deal must be attended to before a show opens, vendors must have everything organized and ready as much as possible before the doors open or the first hours will prove either chaotic or dismal.
Our behind-the-booth neighbors, Cheryl and her helper, Kathy, of NewHueHandspuns were terrific. Kathy and I had fun talking violin stuff as we’re both adult learners. We’re planning to get together to play. I’m totally gobsmacked by how much yarn Cherly is able to spin. She’s one serious, dedicated spinner with a great eye for color. How in the world did I forget to buy some of her yarn?
The Marketplace was open to the workshop participants for two hours late Thursday afternoon. The place was like a madhouse (in a good way!) We’d anticipated lots of people going through all the booths checking out all the goodies and making lists of what they wanted to buy. Nope! The buying frenzy began at once.
Ed and I were kept on our toes during the two hours which passed like the snap of fingers. When the announcement was made we staggered out to the car and drove the hour home, already feeling exhausted. Dreams of the marketplace caused both of us to sleep restlessly until 5am when I rolled out of bed and stumbled down the hall to turn on the coffee pot.
Friday morning was much calmer though steady. Ed and I finally worked out a system where he took payments (ran the knuckle buster card machine and kept records while I wrapped the items (I used the silk hankies I’d dyed until they ran out sometime on Saturday – Ed hates touching those hankies) and tried to be available for stepping away from the booth to help people spin and/or demonstrate.
Shortly before 11 there was an actual break when no one was at our booth. Both Ed and I sat down for a moment – the first time I’d sat since arriving, and I’d just started to eat half a bagel to take the edge off the hunger that was beginning to grumble about such an early, long ago breakfast, when who should appear? The Yarn Harlot and Rachel! They were on a fast mission dashing past the booths waving tickets for the Knitting World Record Event taking place at noon. They hardly slowed down and the shock of seeing them pop by so unexpectedly paralyzed me. Then they were gone. Oh! How I’d longed to get in on that record breaking feat! I’d even brought a pair of straight needles and yarn. But I didn’t feel right leaving Ed alone in the booth. It’s tricky to man a booth alone when people are continually wanting demonstrations on using the tools, and most buyers were using credit cards which takes a great deal more time. One of the women from my spinning group was coming to help us in the booth but I had no idea when she’d be there. So with huge regrets I wasn’t able to get in on the world record breaker of over 900 knitters all knitting simultaneously.
Never before have we participated as vendors where I felt so left out of things. I wasn’t able to get to the booksigning and by the close of the Marketplace we were too exhausted to go to any of the scheduled events. We missed out on all the extra stuff. Even after Sue arrived I managed to slip away long enough to say stop by Briar Rose Booth, looking for Anne Hanson (we ended up only having a very brief encounter when she took time to stop by our booth – she had a packed teaching schedule) and to say hi to Jocelyn and Chris and eye those gorgeous yarns Chris dyes, then dashed over to get some food with protein only to end up sitting on a chair across from the booth wolfing down the rice and stir-fried beef with veggies, for the booth was busy again and Sue was in high demand as a demonstrator and teacher. She has a knack for helping new spinners learn to spin a lovely consistant yarn.
(I kept forgetting to take pictures, and totally forgot to get one of Ed wearing the vest I spun and wove which he wore on the other days. Pictures were taken the first time he wore it, I’ll be posting about the vest next time.)
We have a good friend who lives about 2 miles from the Convention Center who welcomed us to stay with her Friday and Saturday night. We both thoroughly enjoyed putting our feet under her table, eating her fabulous vegetarian creations and talking the evenings away. Fortitude is a wonderful person whom we’ve known since living across the street from each other about 24 years ago.
(Fortitude, heading out to meet friends for a long trail hike in the mountains.)
Leap ahead to Sunday morning when I was privledged to have a scheduled hour of public demonstration/teaching Learn How to Spin using a Turkish Spindle at the Elizabeth Zimmerman Pavilion – ie Marketplace Square. This was the highlight of the show for me. The ladies and man who grouped around the tables were open, friendly and very supportive. It was a blast teaching them how to spin. Since I’d no clue who or how many would be there, and knowing that people would be coming and going at will, I didn’t take any extra spindles for them to work along with me but I managed to give them enough hands on. At the end several ladies told me that I should take up teaching; I should teach at Stitches, at SOAR! They’d taken previous classes but the light bulb went on during my demonstrations. Apparently several others bustled to our booth and bought spindles for by the time I’d finished answering questions and got back there Ed was beaming. Not only had they bought spindles but they also told him I should teach.
Imagine my surprise when at one point I looked up and saw Ed skirting the area snapping pictures of the demo.
Though we only shared stolen snatches of chatter, Ed and I were totally taken in by the dynamic duo of Tsock Tsarina and Gywniver aka Lisa and Jennifer from New York. The pair of them are a riot. They blurt out the same words simultaneously as if they can read each other’s minds. Just as we were about to pack up they slipped over and gifted us with their Empire Apple roving and laughter.
Sock Summit was an extraordinary experience full of cheer, positive people and goodwill. Despite sometimes long lines and crowds, and long distances to cover on concrete floors people were upbeat and thoughtful. We loved selling and talking to buyers face to face. Ed’s passion for woodworking is so clear when talking about his spindles or needles that it’s contagious.
As we scurried out with loaded dollie I dashed back to the Briar Rose booth and had Chris snap this picture. Thanks Jocelyn!
I only wish we could have figured out a way to have connected with some people in a more meaningful, leisurely way. Guess that pleasure will be one of the joys of heaven!
Boxes, fiber and paraphernalia of all sorts litter the living room, trailing out from the storage room and office, spilling forth in the kitchen. Even in our bedroom the Sock Summit bug has left its mark evidenced in a couple piles of clothing to be packed tomorrow evening.
Most of our products and booth gear are packed, lists crossed off one by one, except for my long list of things I would have liked to accomplish in the knitting department, and bagging fiber duty. Two boxes filled with sundry sheepy fiber are waiting to be divided into small bundles and sorted into Fiber Sample packs. I’m totally rethinking that whole concept. The amount of time spent pulling fiber into equal chunks, rolling them and writing the sheep type on a tag then making sure each bag with 10 types of fiber weigh approximately the same takes hours. For three hours I sat on the floor last night, surrounded by bags of wool and such dividing, rolling, tagging, weighing. Sadly there aren’t many for that much effort at the price I charge. I should be on the floor finishing up another group of bags but I am tired.
In the past seven weeks we have made:
360 some spindles – (243 for SS the rest were sent to vendors needing them for workshops & classes)
124 pairs of circular needles. (70 pair were made in early June)
62 Hairpin Lace Looms (35 to go to SS)
As well as many individual and drop ship orders that day went to the Post Office
232 Books printed, cut and compiled, and that many dvds burned to accompany the books.
Copious amount of yarn for sample bits to be knit into tiny socks. (ha, managed to get only six knitted), and to weave into a shirt – which sadly hasn’t happened in time for Sock Summit
Finished my socks – whoo hoo!
Finished Ed’s Vest! Halleluia! He wore it to church last Sunday. I was so proud I wanted to burst my buttons. (Pictures to be forthcoming)
Ed’s exhausted. I’m exhausted. Tomorrow we head up to the Convention Center by 8:30 am to get set up. My house is a disaster. Aurora brought her sewing machine over this evening so I could sew the sleeves for our poster (sewing machine disasters this week, long story). While I was sewing, she washed my dishes. Sweet girl. She’ll also water the garden for us. We’ll be coming back but won’t have time to tend it.
I need to go to bed.