The handspinners and weavers guild has a weekly stall at one of the big Sunday markets in Melbourne. To ensure I don't have to whack 40% commission on anything I sell through them, I have to volunteer once a year.
Yesterday was the big day. I had worked out that I needed to leave the house before 8am (on a SUNDAY!) to catch the train. All day passes for all the trams, trains and buses in Melbourne are $2.50 on Sundays - what a bargain! I had my ticket, my pack all set up with CD spindles and random bits of fluff, two lots of knitting and off I went into the wild blue yonder.
The weather here has been dodgy for days. It blew and blew and blew whilst I was in Cairns, and it's been pretty blowy (up to gale force) for all bar about two days since I got back. A strong northerly was blowing when I left home. Eventually I got to where I thought I was meeting my team mate for the day. I waited for 45 mintues (I had been early, now *she* was late). Then I asked around and found there was an UPSTAIRS part - I was waiting at the undercover market but there is a place on the top level! So of course she had been waiting there for me, cursing me for being late....
So we got the stall all fixed up - we had two tables not just one cos someone hadn't shown up so the organisers gave us their table. The Arts centre was behind us and the concert hall right next to us.
Confession time. I am a messy person. Anyone who has visited my place knows I am messy. I have too much stuff and too little place to put it in. To me that is not the worst of the confession. Noe the worst is that I am also a compulsive sorter. I like/adore sorting stuff. If I can sort stuff out then I can tidy it. Unfortunately there is too much stuff that is not tidied that I can only categorise as Stuff I Want to Keep and Stuff I Need to Keep and Stuff for the Circular File. Some people like to remind me that sorting stuff is typical of people who are autistic. Yeah, whatever.
I love sorting stuff. At one point I was determined to make me a coat like G'Kar's out of a gazillion leather bits and bobs.* (No links - can't find a photo worthy enough :-) I bought scraps and sorted them. I bought more bags of leather scraps and sorted them. I ended up with a biiiig tote bag full of leather scraps, and another bag besides, and about 20 squares of leather patchwork I had sewn together. Talk about a freak. Or the SF books that were in author alpha order until we moved. Or the beads - buying bags of mixed SEED beads, teensy beads, just so I could sort them out into their different colours (ok, not just so - I wanted the different colours for different projects and buying 250g of seed beeds like this was cheap).
So what has this to do with the market? Weeeeelllll, I tipped all the yarn out onto the table and sorted it into colour groups. *blush* It looks better in colour groups! It is easier for people to pick out what they like if they have particular colours they adore. (Mental note to self - dye up some mauve tops and make lots of mauvey yarn, plus the bright stuff - brights get snapped up. Oh and make sockweight singles.) All the scarves and shawls were arrayed by colour around the edge of the table and held on by the stock on top of the table.
(Y'know I can see that my companion must've been a real babe when she was young (of course we were all babies but I mean a good looking woman). I reckon she would've had a lot of young men after her in the 50s.)
Where was I? Oh yes, the weather. The wind kept blowing things around, mainly the tablecloths (which the guild had to buy at some expense) and the signs (which are just propped against the table or a nearby pole). It blew over the little beanie stands. It blew over all sorts of things. But it didn't blow all the time and the sun was shining and I was regretting not putting sunscreen on my arms cos my jumper was Too Warm.
Then the change hit. Suddenly I was wearing a raincoat, mittens and a hat. No more complaints about being Too Warm! My nose was glowing an interesting red/purple colour (so attractive!). The wind was still blustering and switching from a warm northwesterly to a cold southwesterly. Rain was persisting down and we were in a dip in the pavement.... and water started run straight at our tables.... and the tablecloth on one of the tables drapes nicely on the ground like a wedding dress on a wet day. (Not that I know about wedding dresses on a wet day). Then the sun came out. Then the rain came back. Yesterday was the first Spring day we have had so far - we've had far too settled weather for months, especially for winter. Spring in Melbourne should involve four seasons in one day (ok, maybe we shouldn't get falling leaves but you know what I mean).
We did sell a few things. Quite a few things, actually. I got to swipe VISA cards TWICE! Such excitement. One of my two skeins on the table sold - I have no idea where the others of them are cos I brought in about 20 skeins recently and have only got the money for half of them, and I couldn't find them on the shelves at the guild a week ago. Some people wanted laceweight or sock wool and it just isn't economical to make that really - the amount of work to make laceweight is impressive. It takes me about 5 hours to spin the singles and another hour to ply them (usually only to find I've make fingering weight) and even then I've only made about 200 or 300 metres. Sock wool singles would be OK - that is the same weight as I spin singles to make 8 ply weight/DK. It just would be energised to some degree.
E and I chatted quite a bit, when the passing cars, trams and gale force winds didn't drown or carry away the chat. It is surprising how many young blokes have to show off in their cars, even though hitting 80kmh in second gear is a) breaking the speed limit, b) wasting petrol, and c) a waste of time cos the lights 150 m away are red anyway.... Maaaaate, you look at my car! I go fast! I noisy! You look at moy! (Whilst we are on that subject, is a ricer still a ricer, ie a "hotted up" Jap car with all the trimmings, if it doesn't just look fast but goes fast?)
It was a good day, though I was pretty tired at the end of it and cold to the bone. It started off being about 20 degrees I reckon and then plummeted - my weather doodad on my computer said it was 8 and felt like 2.5C half an hour after I got home. I demonstrated spindling to some people and sent two away with CD spindles to play with and instructions on where to find online help. One woman was from Vancouver. LOL There were lots of Kiwis who used to spin looking at our stand. Apparently they have trouble getting fleece there. Weird, cos the Kiwis have just as many sheep per capita as we have. I guess you have to be in contact with a guild or something similar to find the fleece.
Would I do it again? You betcha! I'd just hope for a day where the weather was more consistent (preferably not drizzling all day, lol). I'd be better organised too cos I'd know what to do.
*I did make myself a coat like G'Kar's and wore it to an SF convention in Sydney about 5 years ago. It took up heaps of room in my bag. It wasn't made out of patchwork scraps - I found large enough bits of leather instead. I wonder where the coat is now - I couldn't throw it out! And when I googled G'Kar pics, on the second page of pic hits I found a reference to G'Kar and Squeaky go adventuring. I'm not going to say who wrote that.... but it was an adventure photographed at home....