Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Cynthia writes:

I have a certain admiration for Wal-Mart. I know that this is not necessarily a popular viewpoint. What I mean is, whenever we move the store around and get fairly large shipments (by that I mean two or three boxes of yarn or fabric, all at the same time), it takes days to get things straightened out. Go to Wal-Mart any night of the week, and you can see young men wheeling skid after skid of merchandise out. Displays have magically moved--conveniently located so you can grab whatever you need for the appropriate season. (This week it's "Back to School," with aisle after aisle, right up front, of notebooks, pens, erasers, paper.) I know that Wal-Mart has many employees to do this. But still.

Last week, we got a shipment of four fairly large boxes that looked like this:

And then we made the back storage area into a real yarn room:

It has taken three full days getting things arranged, one of them a Sunday, with a total of 5 people working on and off, and it's still not quite done.

Wal-Mart never looks very disorganized. Sometimes the aisles are full of shipments, but they're rarely actually messy. I don't know how they do it. I started out my day with the store looking like this:

I hate it when the store looks like this. It's embarrassing. But a big shipment somehow seems to lend itself to this sort of mess. I apologize to every person who comes in. Most customers seem almost delighted to have things out of place: "It looks just like home," they say cheerfully. I appreciate the empathy.

So I worked all day putting up yarn. I kept thinking about how the Yarn Harlot was making cute little insect-like baby booties, and in my head, I, too, made little ladybug and little bee booties. On the outside world, I built little sloping shelves out of grid and tie wraps, little shelves to keep the yarn from plunking to the floor like so many apples.

About 2:00, my mother stopped by. "Do you need an hour's worth of help?" she asked. I love my mother. Yes, and thank you. So we moved all the bulky yarn to the new back room, and we built more little grid shelves, and we put out new yarn. By the end of a couple of hours, it was starting to come together:

My mother is smart and knows when to quit, so she left. I put away a little more yarn, and then finally I, too, had had enough.

I did a few small tasks until it was closing time and one of our quilting teachers, Bobbie, came by to teach a class on quilted letters. Here's what she's working on. It's going to have an M appliqued in the center out of blue and green Oriental fabrics. How beautiful is this going to be?

And Deb, another quilting teacher and longarm quilter, gave me back my quilt top--all quilted. Kim and I had done this one as a class--a mystery quilt for the shop. We gave everyone a clue a month, for 6 months, and they slowly pieced the complex pattern.

[I was to piece ahead so that Kim could show everyone the next step as we went. Most times I cheated and did only a small part of, say, "Step 2," enough that Kim could show the step. As we reached Step 6, I realized that I was realistically on Step 3. By sewing on a Sunday all day until my right eye was twitching, I got it done on time for our Mystery Reunion last week.]

As I was making this quilt, I wasn't sure if I would like the fabrics I chose, but I have to say that in the end, I love it and would change nothing. There's a picture of it on Deb's website. Look under "Customer Quilts, 2005," page 2. You'll also see Peggy's mystery. Different fabrics, different look. These quilts also look different depending on how far away from the quilt you are standing; your eye picks up different patterns. I like stuff like that.

Okay, Kim. Tomorrow is my day off. Tag, you get to figure out where to put the rest of the yarn.

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