Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Easy go

A hailstorm came through and really clobbered the vegetable garden, so we are not going to get much more out of it. We had one-inch hail at the house, bouncing all over the place, but the garden got it even worse than that.

I have been sewing, and made two more pairs of kid pants from old clothing. I am also sewing a blouse from an old skirt, which I originally made from an old sheet. Instead of a pattern, I have notes and measurements that I took when I deconstructed a worn-out shirt. I also have the first copy that I made of the shirt to look at.

I put in some time on sock knitting, and am about to turn a heel. But I am very low on sleep, so I am thinking that I may wait another day for that. It's probably not the best day to sew buttonholes, either.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

They are finished

I finished the dining room chairs I was reupholstering; will have a photo here sometime, technology permitting.

 The vinyl that I wanted ended up not being on sale, so the total cost was about $20, plus some staples for the staple gun. I only needed one yard of vinyl for the two chairs. Mostly the process was straightforward. The tricky part is gathering in the vinyl at the corners...the secret seems to be to make a series of tucks with the fold lines hidden underneath the seat. The backs were also attached in a way that took me a few minutes to figure out.

Monday, August 15, 2016

New clothes from old clothes

We did some sorting out of unwanted clothing. Some of it went into the donation box, and some to my fabric pile.

I try to sew up reclaimed fabric quickly, and I just about have it down to a four-phase process:  planning, cutting, sewing, and finishing work, which I work through as I find the time. Most of the fabric was jersey (knits), which sews up quickly with a zigzag stitch. Modern knit clothing is very simple in structure, and is not too hard to imitate, except perhaps in the finishing details.

Out of the small pile of old clothing, I made one child's skirt, two pairs of toddler pants, and a pair of knee-high leggings. I also had a number of scraps that I will use in place of paper towels (disposably).

Thursday, August 4, 2016

How to take things apart

Since many of my current projects involved disassembly at some point, I thought I would write a little about tools and techniques that are useful for taking things apart.

Generally, this involves Undoing Fasteners, Cutting the Material, or Applying a Controlled Amount of Excessive Force.

For the dining room chairs, I needed a screwdriver to unscrew the seats, from below. The backs were held on with a couple of screws and some friction; I had to guess how best to pull them loose after I took the screws out--they had tabs that slotted into the chair frames. After that there were many staples to pull out with a small regular screwdriver and needlenose pliers, and also some hooks to pry up.

For the armchair, disassembly was mostly a matter of pulling off the glued-on cording, and then pulling dozens and dozens of tiny tacks, again with the small screwdriver and needlenose pliers. There were also a few nails, which I pulled with a claw hammer. These same tools are the ones I used the most in tearing my couch completely apart.

For the sandals that became slippers, first I picked out the stitching with a seam ripper...but then I noticed that the stitching was only for show; the upper was actually glued into the sole. So I ended up cutting it off with kitchen shears (leather is a close relative of meat), and then going around with an Xacto knife and trimming the rough edges down to the level of the sole.

For larger woodworking projects, the flat bar and cat's paw are smaller relatives of the crowbar.

If you're looking for a challenge, try taking apart a stroller. Not many reusable parts, though.

Current projects

I have two more pairs of socks to knit; one more pair from the wool blanket, and another from some turquoise cotton yarn that I bought. (There are some very nice turquoise and aqua colors in style now.) The weather was too hot for knitting, but now it is cooling off a bit.

Reupholstering the armchair:  I have the chair stripped down, and I have started gathering materials to reupholster it. After considering some repurposing options, I bought some new upholstery fabric, and now I have to decide whether to refinish or paint the exposed wood.

Dining room chairs:  These are mostly stripped down, and I am waiting for a week or so until vinyl goes on sale at the fabric store. I have decided not to repaint the metal frames.

Footwear:  I took a pair of cheap sandals that had been handed down to me, and replaced the upper parts (with upholstery fabric scraps from the footstool) to make scuffy slippers, for indoors. I am also plotting how to replace my dress shoes, which are nearly worn out.

Produce:  We are getting plenty of tomatoes, cucumbers, and summer squash from the garden now. The challenge is to actually prepare and eat them.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The hardest part of the work

I've been spending my days researching, thinking, re-thinking, and deciding on my next steps for several projects. There's nothing to take a pretty picture of yet, but I have made a lot of progress.