Reenactment Farm and Loom Assembly

I had an absolute ton of fun during the music festival and reenactment demonstration event I attended last weekend.  We were set up in the loom room which has two counter balance looms, one of which happens to be a Union 36, which is the same kind of loom I was gifted with.  They also have one Huge old barn loom, that is also a counter balance loom, with four shafts.  The warp on the barn loom is an old rotting boucle yarn that will probably need to be taken off before someone can realistically weave on the loom.  With quite a bit of help, we managed to get the loom to a point where some weaving could occur.  The holes drilled in the bottom shafts of the heddle frames were not in the correct spots so that if the heddle frames were lined up properly the treadles were overlapping eachother.  Due to this problem actually weaving with the loom was slightly problematic, but a ton of fun.  As the co-president of the guild pointed out, it is not a loom for a short woman.  Surprisingly enough I also managed to finish weaving my cotton scarf during that day in the loom room, the fringe will need to be twisted and the entire thing washed thoroughly before photos.

Thanks to the Union loom needing to be warped for the class visitations to come, I was able to obtain a very good idea of how the loom should look properly assembled, as well as assisting with the warping.  I then used this knowledge to assemble my loom on Monday while waiting for the oil company to perform their annual tune-up and cleaning.  This gave me the perfect amount of time to polish, assemble, and test my Union Loom.  I am so very excited for my warp to arrive so I can get started working with this loom.  Below Please find a picture that I found on letgo of the kind of loom I own.

Image result for union 36 loomI also heard from my handyman that after a really bad reaction to a steroid his doctor put him on for his back, apparently hallucinations played a part, he will be back this week to work on finishing the paneling in my studio space.  He knows of people that can use almost all of the debris left in the space, so hopefully by next weekend I will have a clear area that I can begin designing as my studio.

Regarding my studio, I already have two floor looms, a plant stand that should be good for dyeing, a heavy duty storage rack that should be good for storage, two rolling little craft carts, two little rugs for my wheel and other coverage, as well as an amazing rolling chair that should be good for most of my sitting needs.  I am still running an internal debate over whether I am going to move my kitchen table out to the garage and put my 16 shaft loom there, purchase a new table and use the 16 shaft on that, or just keep that loom in the house.  Part of the decision making process is going to depend on how much room there will be left once I have 2 floor looms, a storage rack, and a dye center set up in the garage.  Already the grey water from my rain barrel has come in handy washing my hands after hauling my garbage cans around.

Until next time remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

The Mice Are Dead!

Christmas Eve I wound up setting four snap traps with peanut butter around my kitchen and going out to see the New Mary Poppins movie.  It turns out that this is not a great movie for someone recovering from a recent loss, though in all other respects it will certainly become a new classic in short order.  When I came home the traps were untouched.  I went to bed that night, sort of.  I was up and about, I believe I caught about 3 hours of sleep between midnight and 3 am.  When I got up at 3 all four of the traps had been emptied of their peanut butter, but not set off.

I was furious.  I decided that I would reset the traps, Christmas Day, go to Mass and head to the local casino where I knew they were having a buffet.  I did so, the food was good, and came home to untouched traps again.  I spoke to the carpenter who is acting as an exterminator for me, and he said that he set the traps a bit differently so he would be up the next day to do so and hopefully that would help.  I, for the life of me, could not figure out how you could set a snap trap differently, so I decided to experiment.  Since I was essentially feeding the mice at this point, I smeared the peanut butter further up the triggering mechanism to try and force them to knock against the pin to get the peanut butter.  This worked, and I had to have someone get rid of the mouse that day.  The traps were reset, and my home organizers were due the next day, so I did not get much sleep that night either.  So out of the six days I had off I did not sleep much for four of them.  I did get two mice killed and I have had three days without any detritus anywhere else so I believe that they are all dead.  Now I just have to run everything I own through the dishwasher and scrub the entire kitchen before I cook in it.

On the other hand the home organization went extremely well.  I cannot believe how much they managed to get done in the 8 hours they were in my home.  No other animal byproducts were found anywhere in the house, not even flies.  I know that there are some people thinking that because I had a couple of mice, I live in the country, I have a dirty household.  Now that I am finished with my major destash I can finally focus on what I need and love in the house and making sure that I am surrounded by what I need and love.  The final note for 2018 is that I went to a buffet for New Year’s Eve Dinner and must have gotten food poisoning.  I will have to get the car detailed within a week so that I can comfortably drive it.  Needless to say I have not gotten much crafting done in the past 2 weeks, so sad.  What a way to end 2018, hopefully 2019 will be better.

Happy New Year!

Two Steps Forward Three Steps Back

*This is just an update on my life, if you only want to read crafty stuff, hopefully the next post will contain that.  There is mention of Mice and permanent ways to get rid of them, if you are big into non-lethal rodent control then you will not want to read this post.*

I am still trying to get around to reviewing all of the things that I got myself for Christmas, but the ongoing Mouse Saga seems to be two steps forward and three back.  In the last two weeks I have found droppings on the counters and just today in a drawer.  Fortunately my handyman is amazing, he looked to see if there was anywhere they could get in from the outside and sealed those up. He spoke with a couple of farmers and old timers and they advised him how to keep the mice out with an indoor/outdoor safe spray that smells a bit like Citronella and is supposed to keep them out.  He sprayed all around outside and quite a few doorways, I put it around the doorways from the kitchen to the rest of the house (after locking the cat away) and am waiting for it to dry so I can let the cat out.

Neither of us have found any detritus anywhere else in the house, so I think that they are contained.  If I see any more droppings I will let him know and we will get some snap traps.  (Don’t bother yelling at me about killing mice, once they are in the house they will always seek another house to get into.)  He will also get some special traps for outside to keep them from coming in, that will be Wednesday after Christmas.  I will need to run all of my pots and pans through the dishwasher, I’m going to throw out all of my baking goods, the thought of using them is making me nauseous, (not that I have time to bake).  I also plan on throwing out all of the plastics that I haven’t used in years and possibly putting the pots and pans that I haven’t used in a while in a plastic tub with a lid once they have been through the dishwasher.  Getting the outside sealed up and the deterrent spray were my two steps forward, my three steps back are a bit frustrating.  The first step is having to run everything in the kitchen through the dishwasher.  Actually the next two steps back were in one action, some of the tiles along the peak of the roof blew back leaving something like a foot of the attic exposed to the elements.  Thank goodness my handyman is amazing and he managed to get a patch on, but I am so frustrated that it seems like there is always something else going wrong.  On a brighter note, I also remembered that Mom and I collected Beanie Babies and they wound up stored in the back hallway.

They were almost all packed away, but most of them were in cardboard boxes and I decided that since I had some plastics I bought for the organization I wanted to kill several birds with one cleaning.  I wanted to make sure that none of the beanies were compromised, get rid of any that I know I don’t want to keep, make sure that there were no mice in the back hallway, vacuum the back hall, wipe down the walls, get the beanies in better storage, and have them in a state so that my home organizers don’t even need to concern themselves with them.  So I had 8 huge plastics, I think 125 quarts each, and they are completely full.  I ordered another 4 from Walmart online and bought 4 more from a dollar store.  I plan to spend some time tomorrow finishing up packing the beanies, then perhaps rewarding myself with a movie. I have decided on two big garbage bags full of stuffed animals I’m donating which doesn’t seem like much but since I have memories attached to all of them it really is progress.  The unexpected benefit is, I get to remember the amazing times Mom and I had getting these beanies, we spent a few weeks eating tons of happy meals when McDonalds were having their beanie special, the flea market where her aunt worked, the shop in town where we used to get them, and so much more.  Sometimes it is hard to realize that you are able to experience all of your emotions at once, happy, sad, melancholy, angry, frustrated, tired, etc.

Well, that is enough out of me.  Things are progressing quite well.  I am moving forward on the cleaning, and remembering good times along the way.  The roof was sorted out before it became a big problem.  All entrances for the mice seem to be sealed, and a deep clean/disinfecting is on its way.  Wednesday my handyman will be up to work on getting preventative measures in place, Thursday and Friday my organizing team will be up here and I will find out what my Grand in fees gets me.  Then I will be able to start my New Year Fresh and Bright!

Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays (no matter what you celebrate), and I will be on again soon.

Happy Crafting!

The Great Clean and Drag

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Some of you might remember my Loom from last year.  If you don’t, a gracious lady donated this heavy, metal, therapy loom to me.  At the time she thought that she would be moving to Maine, that fell through but she will be spending the Fall in Spain and walking El Camino, and so she was worried about transporting this monstrosity.  Her kind offer was met by great gratitude on my part.  I then set about trying to make sure that it would be in the best working order I could manage.  I spent the entire month of July 2016 scraping off old paint, trying different methods of rust removal, adding new paint, buying a new stainless steel reed, getting the heddles in order, and so much more.  Along the way I learned everything I could about the loom, along with NEVER SCRAPE OFF OLD PAINT, JUST PAINT OVER IT.  (lead content concerns, no point in courting cancer)

I left the loom to the mercies of my detached garage, the door doesn’t seal quite right and it is right up against the woods so, like all of the garages in the region, it tends to get mice.  At the end of 2016 I still could not get each of my treadles to move independently.  I utilized every trick I knew of and a few I begged off of guild members and still could not get the last two to move separately from each other.  I spent the winter brooding over it, and for most of the summer did not get around to doing anything with my loom.

Then early in September, my last weekend before the colleges I work for started up again, I dragged my big loom into the sunlight.  Now over a year later I looked at her again.  I need to touch up the paint, see if I can get some of the rust off of some of the springs, and warp her up to make some rugs eventually.  What I did accomplish was  enough for me, for now.

I wiped her down with Clorox wipes, making sure to pay attention to anything that looked like it might be detritus, and let her dry while I tried to get the painters tape off of the treadles (don’t let that sit on wood for a year, just not a good idea).  Then I took a cheap little hacksaw to the part of the treadles that looked like they were sticking.  My beautiful yellow loom snapped that hacksaw like it was plastic, luckily it snapped in the wood and didn’t cause me any injury.  Okay, so that isn’t going to work, oh well it was only a couple of bucks.

Next I went to the files I had purchased.  They are supposed to go into an electric drill, but, my cordless drill is not very robust and I cannot figure out how to change bits in my father’s old drill.  However, by hand I managed to hack and saw through some of the wood and loosen up the treadles, bit by bit.  After a half an hour or so of going over the top, up through the bottom of either side of both of the sticky treadles I began to move them at cross purposes, one up one down, several times very quickly.  They loosened up enough that I was able to get them each moving very freely.  I cannot say for sure if it was the naval jelly last year, the hacking, or just the sheer fact of trying to move them independently, but I am very happy to say that my treadles now work on my loom.  At least they did a couple of weeks ago.

Once I had her treadles moving as they ought I turned my attention back to tying up her harnesses to the appropriate treadles.   I had some Texsolv cord from last year that was anchored to each harness and then tied to the treadle, but not properly since they did not have freedom of motion at the time.  This was an awkward motion since I had to reach quite far back with my foot in an attempt to reach the point where I could push at the Texsolv to move a heddle or two.  Now I attempted to tie up my heddles to the treadles the way they were meant to be.  Okay, so my loom was on it’s side and when I turned it back over my treadles are almost flush to the floor and not really able to open a shed.  Oh well, at least they are threaded through the treadles and it is just a matter of taking up the slack so that they treadles are appropriately in the air and able to jack up the shafts.

By this point I am certain that you are wondering why I am going to all of this trouble right at the end of the season.  After all she is just going to go back into the external garage again, right?  Nope!  I managed to clear out a lot of my college stuff, it’s only been 10 years, from the garage under the house.  Now my beautiful yellow loom is living in my attached garage, yay!  There isn’t really a lot of room to warp her up so I do not know if I will have time to get her set up for Rugs before I have to start putting the car in the garage, but at least now she won’t have to worry about mice.

Hopefully next year I will be able to get the external garage cleared out and sealed up appropriately.  Until that time, I will get to look at my loom and hope that I get a chance to make up some rugs this winter.

Happy Crafting!

Big Project Update 4

The Loom is now complete!  I cannot believe how well it turned out.  The pedals still do not work but I managed to rig up some Texsolv Cord and Arrow clips (that are specific to the cord) so that I am able to treadle with them.  I did have to tie them up in a 1, 3, 4, 2 pattern instead of 1, 2, 3, 4.  When I tried tying them up straight from 1-4 then I could not press down on 1 enough to get a good shed (lift the yarn enough to pass the shuttle through).

Before the next part, I have to give you some background information.  I live with my mother on almost 2 acres of land.  We are surrounded by a bit of forest.  The house is built into a hill, which really helps avoid flooding, with a garage under the house and another detached garage.  We use the garage under the house for the car (we share one between us), and have not been using the detached garage for much of anything since my father died 7 years ago.  This is why my weaving has stalled.

While we have not been using the garage, other creatures have decided to move in.  Specifically there are some PVC pipes on a metal rack that a family of mice has decided to move into.  This was actually alright with me for a little while, I set out traps and would play music to keep them away thinking that the traps would get them overnight one of these days.  This worked long enough for me to get a bit of a sampler project done, then one day I looked up and found a face peeking at me out of the PVC pipe.  Well that was the end of my weaving until we get someone in to get rid of the mice.  My bravery only goes so far, telling a patron that I am pretty sure is high that they need to leave the library, keep it down, watch their language; Fine.  Telling a patron that I know is drunk that they need to leave the cashbox right where it is, and taking it out of their hands; Fine.  Mice around when I am trying to relax and concentrate on my weaving; NOT FINE!

Weaving Sample 1Weaving Sample 2

I managed to get these twill samplers woven (it’s a fraction of what I wanted to do but a decent start), and as soon as someone has been in to see about the mice I will put a topcoat on my loom and start planning for next year!

Spring Weaving will be a blast!

Happy Crafting

Big Project Update 3

I cannot believe it!  The loom is almost finished!  For Reference, this is what the loom looked like when I started:

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This is what the loom looks like now:

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I still have some work to do with the pedals, the two furthest to the right do not seem to want to work right.  It is amazing what a little hard work, primer, yellow paint, and Feed n’ Wax will do for a piece of furniture.  Please note, I did paint the heddle rods inside each frame, I did not prime these pieces.  That was a big mistake.  I think it is simply the fact that I did not add primer and that the heddles are metal, but the paint has been flaking and chipping since I began putting the heddles back on.  I believe now that they are on the rods the chipping will slow down, but it is something to be aware of.

Since this began life as a therapy loom there are weights on top of each heddle frame, I will not be keeping them there but I did want them painted to match the loom.  I am so very excited to see the loom this close to being done, I have a semi-gloss topcoat that I will be putting on…well I intended to get it done soon but Mom is so excited to see what this device can do the final gloss might wait for the colder months!

Big Project

This is where I admit that I have been Pre-Scheduling these posts so that I am able to have content each week!  Lol.  If I did not do that then I would have 20 posts in 2 weeks then it would be 3 months until I get back to it.   That being said, by time you read these posts I hope to be done with my project, but stay tuned to see how my summer went!

I promised myself I would do a number of larger projects this year.  Due to circumstances I think that my larger projects are going to be:

  1. Get the paint/rust off of my ‘new to me’ loom and heddle bars; repaint it and reassemble it for use (probably next year)
  2. Make sure that I have enough projects ready to go for a set of classes 1-2 a month (1/week if I can swing it) for the public library!  Very exciting

As a refresher, this is what my Loom looks like.

It is a bit hard to tell from here but the bar on the bottom that the pedals are attached to is completely rust covered and there are rust spots all along the paint.  Not pictured are the weights that came with this loom, since it was a Therapy Loom.  The heddle bars, pictured left, are not supposed to be that color, they are completely rust covered.

I just started this last night and since then I have managed to get the heddle bars completely cleaned off and one side painted for 7 out of the 8 heddle bars.  The 8th is being used to hold the good heddles, 734 total.  Tomorrow, if it is not raining, I plan on painted the other side of my first 7 heddles.

I have also begun trying to get the paint and rust off of the weights that come with the loom.  They are in pretty bad shape and I thought they would be a good place to make any mistakes.  Using an attachment to a cordless drill I am able to get the paint off quite quickly.  Within 30 minutes I had the paint off of one side for 2 of the pieces.  The rust is in there a little more deeply than I would like and so after I get the paint off of all of them I will get to work on the rust.  After they are cleaned off to the best that I am going to get them I plan on putting Rustoleum Primer and a topcoat of Yellow paint.

This is a huge project and I am a bit intimidated to get started with it, but I hope bit by bit this gets done this summer so I can have a fall and winter of picking out yarns to use on it next year!

Happy Crafting!