Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bring Me a Doggie Bag

World Steam Expo is looming on the horizon, as well it should. A vast measure of steampunkdom is rolling, flying, time travelling, and patching little leaks in their airships to make it to Dearborn, Michigan. One, however, will be inconspicuously missing. Arbutus Tinkersmith - cracker packer by day, builder of exotic armaments by night. Some say he's a recluse, and shuns the public eye. Others say he stays too dang busy for his own good. Neither one is true for this week. Vacation time is here, but travel time is not. With the unwavering rigidity of a petrified duck, the schedule was not permitted to be split to get off the follwing Monday for the trip back. Petrified duck, huh?

With his trusty companion Tesla Underfoot by his side - well actually under foot earning his name on a daily basis - Arbutus prepares for the upcoming "weekend of solitude." In need of a project and a new vest, Arbutus bravely purchases the material for an endeavor outside of his usual skill set. Snipping away at the vest pattern with scissors that bind a bit as they close makes the task a bit tedious. Brocade fabric for the front pinned, Arbutus finds the cloth does not like to hold it's shape while cutting. The back and lining are a bit more compliant.

A new day dawns, and the time of departure draws nigh for all but the father of SPATS, Mr. "I got sewing to do" Tinkersmith. Katie Smithington finds herself laden with freshly printed SPATSFEST flyers. "Shameless self promotion. Take advantage of it whenever you can." How often has she heard that mantra. This time the task of convention promoter falls on her 18 year young shoulders. "Spread the word all you can. Learn all you can. Be awesome all you can. That is your assignment."

Katie accepts the flyers and assignment. "Anything to shut him up." she thinks.

The ladies in Arbutus' life are loaded up and ready to go. "Guess it's just as well I'm not going. There's no room for me or my stuff in this puny car now."

Hugs and kisses are exchanged, the pitiful puttering of a crap-for-crap car, and the home falls silent. The darts sewn earlier in the day call out to Arbutus. "When you gonna get off your butt and do the pockets?" The pockets. Nothing was that big of a challenge up to now.

"Fuse the welt. Fold the welt. Iron the welt. Baste the welt. Sew the welt to the front of the vest. Sew the pocket to the front of the vest. Cram the pocket thru the little hole in the vest. Sew some more crap. Hope to God you didn't screw anything up, cuz you got no ride to get replacement cloth." Some instructions. They come across with the attitude of, "We know you. You don't sew. You're a big fat phoney." About this time a tell-tale Tesla fart wafts silently up from under the table.

Arbutus shifts his focus to the computer. A fresh location with no dog flatulence - yet. "I gotta get some of this crap caught up." Emails, postings, replies to postings, self indulgent tweets. One message on twitter falls on something other than the usual deaf ears.

"I have a good cheater way to do welt pockets." Jill makes Arbutus the best offer he's heard all day. She offers to draw it up and email it to him. Bless her heart. Arbutus does not see himself as so macho as to not accept sewing advice from a woman he barely knows in the twitterverse.

After all, being "macho" is a sign on insecurity, right? If someone is secure in who they are, then they will gladly accept help without stigma. Yeah. This is what the SPAT Society is all about, anyway. Bringing artists, bulders, and enthusiasts of the world of steampunk together. As we help each other, we become a self sustaining force. Growing, pulsing, and throbbing with every drop of new blood that falls into the talent pool. Let's see what the morning brings.

Hopefully some welt pocket cheater plans.


  1. That was quite an enjoyable read. I can't wait to see how the vest turns out. Back in high school, I sewed quilts for sick children at the local hospital. My "lab" partner was not quite as intelligent, so one day while I was sick (skipping class, playing video games), he took it upon himself to actually do some work. The next day I found that the steam engine on one quilt had an odd green wheel with what looked to be a pupil in the center, while the whale on another had a very large spoked eye. Of course no one noticed but me. We were featured in the local newspaper for our work that year, but like any other event photo, my head was cropped out of the shot and my name was spelled incorectly. Ah, the memories....

  2. I had one sewing machine that worked great, or perhaps I mean "was foolproof enough" and five that sought to kill me me with tangled thread and sticky bobbins.

    God speed and good luck. It is good to know you're getting the hang of it (I can go to you for pointers when I am ready to try it again myself).