As I sit here tonight, I just opened a coil of rope. This rope is special to me. It represents a LOT of research and a lot of work by half a dozen people. This coil of rope cost me $5,000 to get, and that is a bargain.
In this case, it was relatively simple. We found out our previous rope supplier was struggling. To help, and give us some insurance, I bought 2 pallets of rope for our monkey fists that are used at nautical weddings as centerpieces.
A month after that order arrived, I got the call. The tools were being auctioned off. A colleague tracked the auction, purchased the equipment, and before the equipment was even set up, we were placing our first order. Three weeks later, the 100-pound sample order arrived and, well, it was horrible, and I was despondent. Did my favorite part of the business get taken away?
So, I ordered a second batch, asking for some key changes. A month later, the next sample arrived; amazing lay (hardness) to the rope, but 25% too skinny.
Round 3: new settings, 3 more weeks, and nearly perfect. One issue. The fiber content was wrong, but all the other factors were perfect, so I ordered my 600-pound pallet. When it arrived, I cut into the box, took a handhold of rope and it felt marvelous! I knew I couldn't use it though. Not until I used up the 2 pallets from the previous owner of the tools.
Today, about an hour ago, I finally got to play with the new rope, and I'm in heaven. There is something about the collaboration to make just the right rope, the feeling of a professional rope that is indescribably thrilling to work. I've been tying knots for 40 years now, but it's only been the last 8 where we've had the 'power' to dictate what the material we work with is, and it's making all the difference. (My grandfather cheated, prior to 1976, the cod line and cordage was MUCH nicer than since. He had rooms full of it that lasted until '96 when he handed off to me.)
It's the small things that make all the difference. I get to enjoy working with material exactly right, and I get to see the look on our customer's face when they find the 'real thing' here at Mystic Knotwork.
By the way, I am collecting pictures of our bracelets over the years. If you have a well-loved bracelet to show off, please send us a pic along with your first name and how long it has been worn. The record is 5 years so far, but I'm hoping to see an older one!
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