“What are you going to do with all that hair?”
I remember asking Elaine that question a few years back. Elaine was stockpiling the hair from the shearing’s of our 33 goats and 5 llamas.
Elaine: I have an idea!
Me: You need all that hair?
Elaine: I have some alpaca hair, also!
Me: That’s a lot of hair!
Elaine: Do you want to hear about my idea?
Me: Well…..is it going to take a long time? You know I don’t know anything about what you are talking about, anyway.
Elaine: I’ve designed a cape! It’s going to be made of mohair, llama and alpaca. It’s going to have a hood, and be about this long……..and……and…..sounds cool doesn’t it?
Me: Like a Superman cape?
Elaine: I don’t know why I talk to you?
Me: I’m guessing because I’m the only one here.
Elaine: I’m going to enter the cape in the Taos Wool Festival Show.
Elaine started spinning her accumulation of mohair (goat), llama and alpaca fiber into beautiful yarn. I soon realized this ”cape” was going to be something either very complicated or very big. Elaine had an entire room full of bags of fiber. Elaine spun animal fiber on her “Sleeping Beauty” spinning wheel for days. Days turned into months. If Elaine wasn’t drawing power lines at her engineering job, playing Mom or sleeping, she was spinning yarn.
Elaine finished spinning the last bag of fiber. Elaine told me, “I have almost 6000 YARDS of yarn.” I had to grab the calculator.
Me: That’s 3-1/2 miles of yarn.
Elaine: Would you like to see a drawing of my cape?
Me: Ah, I guess.
Elaine: Forget it, I will show you the cape when I’m done. I’m going to start knitting.
I thought Elaine spent a lot of time spinning yarn for her cape. I had no idea how much time was needed to knit her “cape”. Elaine knit every available minute. HUNDREDS of hours. The Taos Wool Market was in the near future and missing that deadline was not an option.
The cape was finished in time for Taos. Elaine’s cape won the blue ribbon in her division and was the Reserve Grand Champion of the entire show at the Taos Wool Festival. Not bad for a years’ work.
This “cape” is pretty special to Elaine. It was photographed for the cover of a fiber magazine. It has been featured at several fiber arts shows. It has been admired by many customers in the store, not by Superman, but lots of other people.
But the story of the cape does not end here.
Me: Elaine, what are you going to do with the cape?
Elaine: I don’t think I can sell it, I spent so much time making it.
Me: What are you going to tell someone if they want to buy it?
Elaine: I will price it so high they will not want it.
And that is exactly what she did, several times. And then………..here comes that woman.
Lady customer: I love this, is it for sale?
Ivy: It is not really for sale, but I will ask my mom.
On the phone,
Ivy: Mom, will you sell your cape?
Elaine: I think I will, do we have a serious customer?
Ivy: We have a customer, I don’t think we have a serious customer.
Elaine: Tell her she can have it for $______.
After several minutes of telephone bartering, Ivy watched the cape going out the door. The cape is gone. For Elaine the moment was bittersweet, with a heavy dose of sweet.
Nope, the story is not is over.
The very next day the same woman who purchased the cape came back to the store with the cape in her hand. With tears in her eyes, she announced, “My boyfriend says I cannot keep the cape. I love the cape, but I cannot keep it.” (I’m not sure, but I think her boyfriend might be Superman.) Elaine consoled her by telling her we could ship it to her if he changed his mind.
The cape is back in the store. Somehow I think it belongs there.
Our crazy lives!