Today, I finished sewing the designs on the tops of my second pair…black and white inlay…the butterflies are caught in a windstorm (which accounts for their erratic flight pattern). Tex is gonna to cut the toe foxing out for me. This is probably a good idea…sometimes there is a trade-off between learning opportunities and ongoing morale. I’m gonna be staring at those toes a lot. Good stitching and cutting with that Singer 31-15 is gonna take some more practice. There is a direction to the one-row stitching…Tex says it’ll be automatic someday. Right now I stare at it hard….curves towards the inside, start stiching from the bottom when the butterfliy is on the left…start from the top when the butterfly is on the right. Keep the roller-foot to the left of where you’re headed. I have to figure it out every time.

When I got back to my cabin last night, Mrs. Bourland had made me some tea. She likes to fix green tea, because it’s higher in folic acid. I plopped in a few ice cubes, and drank it straight from the jar. There is a billboard sign as you’re leaving Coleman on South 206…YOU ARE LEAVING THE FRIENDLIEST TOWN IN TEXAS…Come Back Soon! I haven’t been able to find a single example to prove ’em wrong. Everybody’s been friendly…The Robins, Tex’s customers, Mrs. Bourland and her son, the gals at the Dairy Queen, the fella at the post office (even though he did tease me a bit), and Emmett “Poppa” Payne at the BBQ stand a few blocks away, the one that’s open on Sundays. I was taking a walk down a quiet street in Coleman, a car passed me, drove on for what musta been a 1/4 mile…then it turned around, the folks drove back and asked me if I needed any help. This town is friendly alright.

I got an e-mail from my dad yesterday asking me if I was wearing my boots or keeping them as samples. The boots fit great, I love ’em & I’m wearing ’em. I even had a heart-stopping run-in with a outa-control gas pump in Abilene. In my hurry to shut off the gas that was gushing down the side of my rental car, I wasn’t paying attention to my new boots!…got a big ol’ spot on ’em , right on top, right by the wrinkle. The spot went away, but it was good practice…I’m gonna bang up those box toes, it’s just a matter of time.

One thing I’ve learned is how good just one or two rows of stitching can look on a boot. Tex said I should look at old catalogue stitch patterns and those of other bootmakers for ideas. Not to copy them, but to see how they balance and fill the space on the boot. I always wondered why there were so many points and angles in stitch patterns, why not curves and swirls? Tex showed me that the stitch length changes as you swirl around and around. Most bootmkers prefer the uniformity you get with ending at a point.