Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Pursuit of Swag

In 4 days I am going camping with some friends.  We had 2 months to make bedrolls and I thought it would be a walk in the park.  Now we have 4 days, little more intense.  I am going to attempt to make swags that are a shameless knock off of the Wynnchester swags.  We are going on a motorcycle trip and as our local is not hammock friendly one of these behemoths might be just the ticket.  Plus they feel and look very cool which is always worth something.
The gloriful swag

With the help of several friends I have been attempting to break the DIY chains of India and make some stuff.  It has not been easy.  After attempting for months to source things online it was time to just head out into the city.  The first stop was a bazaar which rumor had it held Canvas.  The market was abustle with activity when we arrived and practically packed when we left.  The energy of the place was contagious and I think just going out and doing something refilled my chutzpah quotient.  No one we could find carried canvas or knew where in the bazaar we could buy it.  Fortunately I now have another trustworthy lead if I need canvas in the future.

While at this market we found ourselves on a street of Ayurvedic supplies I thought we should ask about Beeswax.  Low and Behold almost everyplace had it.  Some wanted me to sign away my first child for the stuff but I walked away with 2 kg's for Rs 900.  I know that that is still way more than we could probably negotiate for but I was happy to just get it.  I'm hoping to write another blog on the purification process of the beeswax, which I found to be delightful.  I've said it once and I'll say it again, I was born to keep bees.

So on our long list of needs for the trip we had 1 of them.  We did get a lead from this trip and so a week later we were in Charminar looking for canvas.  We did find a light weight variety that was too expensive but we jumped on it as it was the first canvas like fabric we had found in our search.  Hopefully the other Bazaar will be the land of milk and honey that I am expecting it to be.   Now if anyone wants to someday follow our textile pilgrimage through Hyderabad and is frustrated that I am not documenting the names of the places we went, it is simply because I don't remember what anything was called.  While picking up the canvas we were told by the almost friendly shopkeeper where to buy zippers.  Bulk coil zipper was the one thing that I figured would bring this whole operation to its knees so we figured we would chase down this lead while we  were in the area.  This brought us further from our car, which will carry weight later in the story.

Down the street we go, down a narrow alley that I would never have gone down myself, and we find ourself in as close to a gear maker's paradise as I think Hyderabad holds.  This shop sold supplies for making luggage and I was surrounded by rivets, thread, webbing, buckles, many things that I have wanted in the past.  I wanted to just buy 10 of everything but this project is already getting expensive and "maybe for later" purchases always seem to just collect dust.  There is a solid 10% chance I could find this place again if I had to.

So we bought a nice big spool of polyester thread, 40 meters of zipper and 15 of the "higher quality" zippers.  I would have loved the zippers to have pulls on either side but at this point I was going to grab the goods while they were hot.  While we were paying sprinkles began to drop outside.  By the time we walked out the door the rainfall was, in a word, torrential.  So we sat for 20 to 30 minutes waiting for it to let up.  Mother Nature in all of her wiles relented for at least 5 minutes for us to get back out to the main street.  Withing 14 and a half seconds we were well soaked.  The long walk back to the car gave the rain ample opportunity to find any dry spots on our persons and soak them.  Luckily I was wearing my Chucks so the water that was several inches deep at the shallowest path we could find found a comfortable home soaking my socks.

These delays and the weather helped to ensure that the 40 minute drive to get to Charminar turned into a 3 hour drive to get back.  There were a few places we thought of looking for Linseed oil  (as this is a key ingredient in our waterproofing scheme) but the weather and traffic were so bad, plus us being soaked and freezing in the car, we just skipped the trip.  The good news is that armed with some banner material we have everything we now need to make the swag shell.  I still have dreams of a mosquito net, mattress, and waterproofing but we will have to see what the new day brings.

A sewing machine was supposed to arrive at my door 5 hours ago.  Hopefully it will come tonight and the late night sew-a-thon can commence.  Almost there but not quite.

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