Back to Back 2005

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I would imagine that all our incredible Back to Back team members are still in bed right now. I was just there as a cheerleader and I’m exhausted, so I can’t begin to imagine how Pia, Marilyn, Cathou, Delia, Sylvie, Jan and Muriel must feel. They had lots of support from Kim as the shearer, Anne and Jan as their main support staff and so many other Potluckers who were there demonstrating, doing PR, running errands, bringing food and beverages, etc. etc. We musn’t forget our fabulous judges/time keepers, Leta and Glen Elles, who stuck it out with style, a few good songs and a couple of jokes and stories not suitable for younger audiences.

We sang our way to the finish with Marilyn and Sylvie completing the final whip stitch and “gently handing” the finished sweater over to the Timekeeper.

The team started at 9:05am on Sunday morning, and got off to a quick start. The location was busy, with it being Family Fun Day on Apple Blossom Weekend at an already busy local greenhouse, Scotian Gold.

A contingent of demonstrators was set up outside to talk with the public, and I think there were quite a few new spinners born as a result. I arrived shortly after lunch, just in time to see all the Apple Blossom princesses in their white dresses and little tiaras, I felt like I’d been transported back in time.

As the afternoon went on, and the sweater grew in size, the estimates of when the finishing would happen changed by the moment. The dreams of six hours quickly left the spinners and knitters minds, replaced by 8 or 9 hours. As supper approached I heard several folks whisper that they’d be out of there by dark, which seemed almost possible when the sleeves were done and put together.

Spirits were up and down throughout the evening, so the stories and songs began. French, Danish, English, whatever came to mind. At one point we almost resorted to 99 bottles of beer on the wall, but managed to find something to replace it.

Everyone was surprised that they were spinning fibre right up until the end. There were a fears that they would run out, as the sheep was quite small, a Shetland, Jacob, something cross. Bits were being picked through from skirted fibre that had been discarded, odds and ends were picked up off the floor everywhere.

At 11pm the back of the sweater was cast off, and the assembly to the front and arms were completed. The back was much longer then the front, which meant some creative fitting, but they did it! Finishing the first Nova Scotia Back to Back sweater at 11:15:25pm, that’s 14 hours 10 minutes and 25 seconds after they began! Much to the delight of Butch, the Scotian Gold employee who was left with the task of closing up after us 🙂

We ended the evening with a 6 year old homemade cordial for all, just enough to warm our bellies.

The ideas are flowing for next year, ways to improve, tricks, and thoughts of having at least two teams going head to head on the Back to Back…

Julie Rosvall
Wolfville, NS (where the sun is shining for the first time in nearly a month, you can see the grass, trees and wildlife reaching up to that strange ball of fire in the sky)

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