Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Seam-Ripping Success: the Rogers Park Fabric Swap

Our swap wasn't big. It wasn't tall. It wasn't stout or thin. It was nice and manageable. No shoppers pawing through the fabric, dumping what they didn't like on the floor. No one ate any buttons. No one screamed "Bloody Murder!" and ran off with the one and only Lauren Hutton 70s-era sewing pattern. Nobody. We were nine strong (with two pre-K sewers-in-training). We came, organized, distributed money, redistributed that, ate (or nibbled), gossiped, walked away with some new acquisitions and made new friends. Somewhat in that order. But we cares really? We had fun. And made no money (that's for any Rogers Park librarians who might be snooping and reading, not shushing but checking to see that we're not causing any trouble). Zilch.

First round of props goes to Lisa Mitchell Utter (above). She helped me get this swap off the ground, gamely launching a Facebook group, sending out 800+ invites. And she brought food for the hungry shoppers! A tray of fresh fruit (yum). Another with veggies, cheese, and dip as well as some fresh chocolate chip cookies from Dominicks'. Now can you tell me shopping at Target is this fun? Or even Marshall's? If you snack there, especially from the goods on the rack, you might end up in the manager's office talking to the security officer. Not here at the Rogers Park Public Library meeting room. We don't operate that way. We're benevolent vendors - we feed (and extremely well at that) our customers. And we don't expect you to pay. In fact, we insist you don't (library rules). It's okay. Instead we had sewing dollars (who doesn't have a new currency these days? Whole neighborhoods have their own during this recession. It's time that sewers got on the stick and stimulated the economy with their self-made cash.)

That said, we share our currency. It's not illegal to print it out. Just don't to try to pass it off as the real deal, okay? Here's one file, which you can turn into a PDF file on your computer and print and reprint. Here's another Chicagoan, who would like to remain anonymous, organizing the patterns, which sorely needed work. We had a lot of 1970s, a good assortment of 1980s and a smattering of some representing the 21st century. As you can see, she is smiling here, probably because she already knows which patterns she wants. It's just a guess, but this table was popular. We all spent a fair amount of time hovering over these gems. Our nameless swapper was our mint - she printed out the money, and we adore her for that generosity. And her creativity! My favorite was the $20 bill with the pin cushion.

Carolyn Angelopoulos, also grinning. Most likely because she's glad to get rid of her polyester (pictured above). Finally. Not sure who grabbed it or if it went to the SalvationArmy. It was so great to see Carolyn, who braved the treacherous and sloooow roadway known as Devon Avenue to get this part of Chicago. We thank her kindly for her valor and good cheer and carting leftovers in her Subaru Forester to the local Salvation Army.

Not pictured: Ruth Zajiceck, fellow sewer and neighbor. She brought her two daughters. Newborn Eleanor slept through nearly the entire event, only to wake up for a mommy snack. I took daughter no. 1 around shopping. She held the money, and generally helped herself to any change she needed from the un-manned bank. I figured I was just training her for future Monopoly games. It's never to early to start this kind of training, IMO.

Also not pictured: Stefanie (last name not available), who I actually met a while back at the Jo-Ann Superstore in the pattern section. I admired her Central Park hoodie, which she knitted. I learned she's made a third hoodie, same pattern. Golly, I wish I was that fast with my needles. Not surprisingly, she's also an ace seamstress!

Finally, Ann Marie McManus, who took the no. 147 bus from downtown to Chicago, walked in 70 degrees hot weather, with bagsful of wool to the library. Trooper, indeedy! I'm not sure what all she took on her bus ride hometown, but the last I saw of her she was inside an elevator with the abovementioned ladies, laughing as the doors closed. She was happy, which is all that matters really.

Oh, I was there. I enjoyed organizing the swap and I'd be thrilled to do it again, perhaps in a month. Next time I plan to post on Craiglist (duh!). That will surely bring shoppers galore, but more importantly, kindred spirits - fellow knitters and sewers, helping each other out. I didn't bring anything to swap, next time I will. I swear. I need to part with at least some of my stash. I'm not going to sew it all. Pry it out of my hands. Come on.

Thanks again to Erin and Tina for donating prizes!


Lisa said...

Don't forget -- Erin was there too, tired from her flight from California. We sure had fun1

Angela said...

I just found out about this swap today! I'm sad that I missed it. I would definitely come to the next one you schedule. Is there a mailing list for updates?

the_lazymilliner said...

There is a mailing list for my sewing classes but not the blog. I will definitely post about any future swaps. I'll try to give more lead time, Angela.

Yes, Lisa, Erin was a big part of the swap. I know she wants to be in the next one. Stay tuned, all!

Gigi said...

I too would like to be a part next time..this past weekend was my son's wedding, and I was up to my ears in finishing last minute dresses, etc. But, it sounded like fun. What's your mailing list?

the_lazymilliner said...

Gigi, sign up for my newsletter (in the sidebar) and I'll let you know about the next one...