Tools and Supplies

Love Letter 1/4

Dear First (Loom) Love,

We have been through so much. You were my first and it was so awkward those first years. No offense, you have some strange quirks. But I learned how to work you like a pro, and we settled into an excellent rhythm.

Then I met another. And - oh the elation! I didn't know I could feel this way. Hard strong wood, the smooth stroke of a beater, straight even selvedges, a proper drum brake. It felt like cheating.

I know you're not supposed to try to fix a loved one. But I cannot imagine living without you. And you have such a good core underneath that outer layer! You will be transformed. I have a feeling it will give us a second chance. See you post restoration.



Today's UPS Delivery

It's hard meeting people in New York, let alone making any sort of connection to them. Over the summer, for some odd reason, I was making a lot of online purchases for the apartment, business and myself. Our UPS guy was coming to the door at least 2 times a week. (I know, it seems ridiculous, apparently I was a good consumer this summer.) He is not one for chitchat, mostly because he has so many damn deliveries and he needs to be quick. But I would do my best to be nice and ask how his day is going as I signed my name. I don't know when it happened exactly, but he started calling me by my first name. And now, whenever I see him, whether it's at my door or outside while he unloads his truck, I make sure to wave and say hi. It's the little things, you know?

What does this have to do with anything?  Be nice to your local service people. Well that, and the fact that he came to my door today with a package I totally forgot I ordered... a pair of heat proof, water proof gloves! Whoo-hoo! It's like Christmas today!

I've been meaning to purchase a pair of these for myself to use while I dye. Originally I was going to let my man get them for me for Christmas, but really that's too far away and I need them NOW. You see, when I dye protein fiber, the water has to be hot - like close to boiling hot. I've had several instances recently where it feels like my fingers are burning or melting inside of my regular dye gloves. I know, gross. So I'm super excited for these!!! They have a soft felt removable lining. 

The dexterity isn't great while my hand is inside, but I only need them while handling the fiber and that usually means I don't need a huge amount of flexibility. I'll still have to use my regular rubber gloves while I measure out dye powders. But these will be a huge improvement for the rest of the process!

Thermometer hold

Last month, I put my polyester dyeing to the test. When dyeing synthetics like polyester, you need the right tools - most importantly the right dye. The dye I use is temperature dependent, so I need a thermometer to make sure all my pots are simmering at the right Fahrenheit. This is where my trusty thermometer comes in handy. Except I realized the other day, I didn't have a way to secure it to the pot!

Enter a trusty little office supply: the binder clip.

Specifically an OXO binder clip. This binder clip happens to have rubber on its grip. When clipped to the pot, the themometer can be slid between it's arms and will hold it in place.

Genius, if I do say so myself.

Organic sweater?

Let me tell you a little secret: I spend a good chunk of time at the Goodwill in Queens becuase you can buy clothing by the pound. (I heard about it via this post.) Mostly I'm looking for items to make rag rugs out of or perhaps some really awesome puppet material (teal velour jump suit, anyone?). And it's way cheaper than paying for virgin material. The other day, I stumbled upon this awesome sweater:

But what caught my eye, was not the pattern, but the tag:

Anyone else see a conflicting pair of terms? Definitely made me laugh!

For the Love of Tools: Part 4

Now, I wouldn't normally post about a new toy tool, but it's quite a handy little sucker. It's a temple. 

A temple keeps a weaving piece the proper width while on the loom. When weaving without a temple, the side threads have a tendency to draw in, causing tension on the outer threads. Constant tension on those threads can result in broken warp threads. Not cool.

This is actually the first time I'm using one, and I'm not entirely sure if I'm using it properly! But it has definitely helped with keeping things in line and the right width. I'm excited to welcome it to my tool box.

Too Integral

Do you remember that DIY bobbin winder I made? The one that is extremely integral to the weaving process? Well, the wooden handle I use to clamp it down with wriggled itself loose and then right off the steel shaft. Apparently it was only glued on and I definitely didn't have the proper tools to fix it. It was rendered useless in early May and I wasn't able to weave for a solid 2 weeks. Which is one of many reasons why I haven't been posting anything about weaving.

So I brought it to my brother, the machinist, and he fixed it. It now has this really awesome "prosthetic arm" that clamps wonderfully to my table. Really, it works way better than before! Thanks dude!

And if you're wondering if my entire family uses their hands in some way, the answer is undoubtedly yes. If the economy ever collapses and we have to go to bartering, we'll be just fine, thank you very much.

For the Love of Tools: Part 3

Are these getting old? These love of tool posts? I can stop. Really, I can. I swear. Just let me tell you about my scissors. Then I'll stop. Maybe. We'll see.

I hate tools that come in stupid packaging made just for such-and-such reason. For instance I came across a scissor the other day labeled "Just for embroidery!" and really they're just a pair of cheap children-sized scissors that have been re-packaged. Ugh.

Anyway, I didn't know what a cuticle scissor was until I did a project at Smart Design redesigning the Sally Hansen Beauty Tool's line. I don't use them for that purpose - all I saw was the gently curved blade and thought, "Holy crap those would be awesome for snipping a close thread!" Especially important when doing anything with weaving or knitting, since if you slip and errantly snip the wrong thread or yarn, your entire piece can unravel and come apart. Not that I know that from experience. No sir. Never done that before.

(It really stinks, just in case you don't know!)

Upholster 101: Memory Lane

The upholstery project I set out to complete has been a little slow going. Mostly it's because I can't figure out what material to reupholster the stackable foot rests with. But more on that another day. I figure it's better to take one thing at a time, so I set out to disassemble them to see what I was up against.

 Thankfully the staples used were super easy to get out, so taking them apart was the easy part. First the white pleather one, then the red one, then the brown one...

Oh, that dark brown cushion was an emotional one. It took me on a trip down memory lane. There were two holes in the plywood underneath each cushion and upon further notice...

What's this I see? A little treasure from the past! I recognized it immediately as a scratch and sniff sticker I had when I was super little. It was probably even a hand-me-down sticker from my sister dating it from.... well, let's just say a long time ago. 

I removed the cover and found the scratch-n-sniff mostly in-tacked along with a penny from 1964. Sweet!

The best part? IT STILL SMELLS LIKE CHOCOLATE WHEN IT'S SCRATCHED! Ah, memories. Although makes you wonder what they used on that sticker for it to smell 30 years later...