Wayne talks about what makes good sack sewing twine.
Sack Sewing with Wayne Ryan
by Lynn R. Miller of Singing Horse Ranch
While attending the 2011 Dufur Threshing Bee we asked our friend, and Threshing Bee stalwart, Wayne Ryan if we could photograph him demonstrating the art of sack sewing. He smiled in consent. Thank you Wayne for sharing.
Watching Wayne’s sure hands it was easy for me to forget that this is a 91 year old man. There was strength, economy, elegance and thrift in his every stroke.
Approximate fourteen feet of twine, folded back on itself, goes into each sewing.
String inserted into the needle, Wayne makes a loop around the far “ear” of the grain filled sack.
Two half-hitches go into the loop…
…the needle then goes in under and through…
…then the string is pulled up tight.
A view of the tied far sack “ear”.
Wayne is careful to make sure the “split” side of the eye of the needle is facing the palm of his hand.
String over the seam and needle back under and through.
Over and back under, over and back under…
…until it’s time time pull up the slack…
…and then another set of stitches…
…until the length of the proposed seam has been covered.
He worked towards himself and when he reached the end, he pulled the slack tight. Wayne then folds the string over and back under the ear ready to pass through the fiber.
Then Wayne adds his own trademark extra step as he creates an extra half-hitch which he folds over the ear and pull taut.
Wayne spoke with me about the challenges of finding the right string, the difficulty in locating true sack sewing needles, and how he had to hire a seamstress to make burlap sack because they are no longer available. Our time with Wayne was too short but even so it was wide and full and treasureable as so many golden aspects of this splendid farming life.