The Wool Stories is a fictional account of life in the studio, the people who work here, the people who visit. I am writing this story for the joy of it. It will chronicle studio life in a fictional way and I will write the wool stories once in a while, maybe once a week if I can stay interested in it. I have never wrote much fiction before so here goes…
Isabel walked in to the studio in a mid length royal blue wool cloth coat. She had a hand knitted cowl scarf around her neck. It was easy to see from the get go that she’d like the place. I think the scarf was made with Noro wool. I sort od automatically like people who like Noro wool. It isn’t fool proof as a personality test or anything so don’t go using it as your gold standard.It just is a little indicator, like your gas light on the car. Really it comes on but you can still drive for miles, or maybe you’ll run out at any moment. You are just along for the drive. S many people pop in and out of here, there is no telling who is going to belong to the place and who is just passing through. There is no telling if they are going to become part of the personality of this place or if they are high tailing it out of here first chance they get.
Most people love the place. They say it just gives them a good feeling but every once in a while Someone comes in and says they can’t stand the smell. See everyone is different. To most people this place smells great, but once in a while some one finds us stinky. To each his own, I say, though it is my nature that I want everyone to feel good here. I can’t help that. I own the place. I started it with as a trunk full of wool and patterns and farmed it ( yup..farmed it) til it became a great big lovely place that I build my life around.
As for Isabel, She just looked comfortable and I felt comfortable with her. So there you go. The scarf helped. The soft wool of her coat helped.It was the kind of wool you wanted to touch, to run your fingers along , just to see if it was really as lovely as it looked. It was a kind of a moon shine blue. you know the colour around the edges of the moon on a dark night when the moon is big and got lots of shine.
On her first trip in here she stayed an hour and left with two skeins of knitting yarn and a rug hook. Standing over the cash, I said “Whatcha makin?” It is a standard question for me. I like to know what people are up to. I’m nosy. You’ll figure that out about me soon enough. In fact when I meet people I have to be careful not to interview them. I’d like to know all kinds of things but in my head I sort things out and figure out what is reasonable to ask…”Whatcha makin?” is fair in a wool studio.
She said she was making a scarf for her friend up north, and described an intricate pattern that she wanted to use. I said, “and the hook?”. She smiled and said that she might go on youtube to find out how to use it. I brought her to the frame, put her hook in the frame and she pulled up a loop like she was buttering toast. It was easy for her. I gave her the usual spiel about what she could do, and off she went saying she had a coffee bag home that she was going to hook a rug on. I warned her of the perils of rotting burlap. She smiled and went home with a yard of good burlap to start a rug. As she walked out the door, I felt happy that I had another one hooked.
Yup, you might have guessed I run a wool studio. Mostly we hook rugs, but we also felt, crochet, knit and one of the women who works here weaves. We make stuff, beautiful stuff, everyday. After years of running the studio and raising my kids in my home I ventured downtown and started a little spot about five years ago. That little adventure changed my life in a myriad of ways. First I got three new rooms in my house which is on an old farm , that we don’t farm on the edge of town. But the real big change did not happen in the house it happened in town. It happened in the studio when it became a place for women and wool. Yup, women started to gather there. Women like Isabel, who it turns out had just moved to town. There are others too. We have a cadre of women who love the studio and they walk in with their stories, lay them down, pick up the needle or the hook and let it flow.
You could say they were customers but that makes it sound so commercial and cold. Really we all became like some kind of big wool harem…with wool being the husband. We were married to making stuff with the finest materials we could get our hands on. There was no telling who was gonna become part of the studio circle. Every once in a while someone would come in and we’d connect right away but lots of times it was just the fact that someone came again and again and showed us what they made. Liking what people make, makes you like them. You share a burden of making things beautiful, and beautiful burden that it is.
I say we alot because the studio is a we….The we being the four of us who worked there. I started out with it just me, and we still laugh that it is all about me but the “we” here is not the royal we. The “we” here is honest and real. I have three lovely strong women who are full of ideas and they all work part time here, and make stuff, and live their lives the rest of the time. The first person I hired I was slightly scared of, but she seemed so competent I hired her anyway.
First there was Leana. She was sixty if she was a day, but I have no idea how old she was really, cause I just knew from being around her that I was not supposed to sake. She was though, an expert. An expert at everything wool. She could turn her hand at anything. Her kids were all grown and moved away do she travelled a good bit and got around, always coming back with a new idea of activity. She has been with me for ten years and I trust her with my life, let alone my business.
A few years after Leana came, Evie joined us. She , we know is forty nine, because she tells you everything and you don’t have to ask. The stories come and go. She’s single but looking for the man whom the sweeter fits. Yes, ten years ago, she knit a cream cable sweater, like a fisherman knit, and when the right fella comes along she is gonna give it to him, then she is going to tether him to her little cottage estate on the edge of town. She has not found him yet, in fact, there is not on man that she even let try the sweater on . She the indy sort.
Then there is the baby of our family, she is Mel, short for Imelda, and she started with us a few months ago so we are just getting to know her. She is young and fresh, to the rest of us who are old, or at least older and saltier.
So there is the four us…I’ll tell you about me later, and then there are people like Isabel, who walk in and out of the studio and make our days more interesting.
We get together here weekly and that is when the stories start to roll. Sometimes talking is like dropping a ball of yarn. It falls to the floor and before you know it the whole thing is unwinding.
We have had quite a few balls drop here over the years, and I get the feeling a few more are on the edge of the table.