Monday, September 05, 2011

Curbside Delivery

When Costco says "curbside delivery" that's exactly what they mean. Take it literally. The good news is that with two men (DH and Son) and a lot of motivation (Mom with camera and pom-poms), three pallets of cabinets can be moved indoors in about 30 minutes. 

Considering the right way to haul this f****r up.

Answer: just pick it up.

Cabinets in the living room.

Cabinets in the foyer.

No cabinets in the kitchen today, but painting happened!

I can't begin to tell you what it's like to be surrounded by cabinets all packed in their protective cardboard shells. It's excellent solid wood so it smells nice but it's weird anyway.

Anyone will tell you that doing a kitchen remodel is stressful and draining. Doesn't matter if you're doing it because you want to, need to, or any combination of the two. In my world this takes the shape of me having trouble getting to sleep, then waking up at 3:15 almost every night and it takes a half hour to get back to sleep. Why 3:15am? Beats me but it's frighteningly consistent. I'm not even doing the work. My right arm is "gimpy" (tendonitis) so about the only way I can contribute is handing tools to DH while he's up on the ladder, taking pictures, swiping the check card at Home Depot. 

Tomorrow is the first day of the new school year. DH is back to a "normal" work schedule. He also has a show opening on Sept 8th. He really knows how to load up on activities, doesn't he? My theory is that I'm carrying the stress for both of us (not by choice) so he doesn't have to this week. 

I'm so tired that I have to debate whether to go to bed early or get into the car and drive one mile to the grocery store for the four items we need. It should be a no-brainer, but getting into the car is so unappealing. Maybe I'll just have a little nap...just a tiny one...

The Kitchen Remodel, Cont'd

As my die hard readers know (ha, 'cause I have SO many of you), we've been picking away at a kitchen remodel in our 100-yr old home since we moved in, ten years this Christmas.When I say "picking away" I'm really not kidding. It went something like this...

2001: Bought the house, started and finished major rehabilitation work just in time to move in for Christmas: plastering, plumbing, flooring, carpeting, painting, and basically bringing everything up to code, inside and out, and making the place habitable.

2002 to 2004: OMG, what the hell are we going to do with the kitchen?! So exhausted and distracted by teenage boys and dealing with their problems that it was all we could do to make it through the day.

2005: Started drafting the kitchen plan. The kids become a little more independent, DH begins his work with FIRST Robotics, and we start to feel a little more relaxed, less exhausted, and a little motivated. Replaced and enlarged the electrical panel to make sure we could add the appropriate outlets in the kitchen, which has three really inconveniently placed outlets which had a tendency to trip the breaker.

2006: DH ripped out an entire wall of cabinets and built a beautiful wall of open shelving while I was on vacation for ten days in Scotland with my mother and grandmother. Boy howdy was I surprised when I got home. I think my exact words were "holy shit."

2007: Inspired by his success in the kitchen, DH took a break and constructed built-in cabinets in the living room (but the molding and the doors on the bottom still haven't been added, even though I bought him a NEW compound miter saw the previous Christmas because our garage had been burgled). Again, he started this while I was on a two-week business trip to India. Perhaps I need to go on another long vacation...

2008: Kitchen windows shortened. A little like a boob lift. We were having all the windows replaced (all as in 30 of them, yes, and well worth it, although to be honest there are still 8 more that could stand to be replaced) and had the guys order shorter windows for the kitchen. They still hit at the same height at the top, but the bottom was filled in so we could run counter in front of the window. Even then we knew where certain elements would reside.

2009: Moved the kitchen door three feet left of it's original position. We have always known where we would move the fridge, so this was an easy thing to add to the deck work we were doing.  I think we replaced the dishwasher during this year, too.

2010: finalized the kitchen design - FINALLY! In Fall of 2010, I said to DH: just do it. I trust you, tell me when you are done. We've been futzing with the kitchen design for years, and had settled on certain things but there were details that were incomplete.
2011: This year, we replaced our gawd-awful glass-top freestanding range, whose oven thermostat ran 100 degrees too hot, with a wonderful freestanding gas range (from Craig's List!) which we just love. Of course, this also involved getting gas piped in from the street, having the gas plumbing done, etc. We also replaced the vent hood, which didn't work anyway. 

Most of the electrical is complete, and the majority of the dry-walling and misc plastering is done. We'd hoped that would all be done a little earlier so we could be done with the painting by Labor Day Weekend but you know how these things go...they had to start a day late, then ran into some old-house-wiring happens and it's no big deal.What counts is that the work is done.

The cabinets arrived today at 6pm, and we'll hold them in the foyer and living room and wherever we can find room for them until the painting and floor is done and then we can begin hanging the uppers. 

13x13 Ferroker Floor Tiles
Backsplash - glass tile in "Arctic Ice." Ours are a little less saturated.

We haven't picked out the counter tiles yet but they'll be white, hopefully something with a little variation and interest, as in not just plain old white. In a couple of years, when we can afford it again, we'll replace it with solid surface Staron in Pebble Frost (probably, because it goes well with the floor, cabinets, and the glass tiles).

So there we are. The work commences at a roaring pace. The kitchen is barely habitable right now only because it's complete chaos and objects are continually changing places, like old base cabinets that still house flatware and pans. There is dust everywhere. 

Pictures to come...really. They are in my camera.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

This Is How It Goes

This is how it goes when I spin when I spin on a spindle. First, I pile on as much fiber as possible onto the little guy. The spindle only weighs about 16 grams, but the light weight allows me to spin very fine so I can ply three very fine singles to make a thin-ish yarn. In this picture I'm referring to the second spindle, the out of focus spindle, with the green fiber. I posted this picture a few posts ago.
So, I don't really care to ply from my spindle - a phrase, by the way, wrought with meaning in the world of spinners - so I wind it off onto a storage bobbin. The bobbins I use were recommended by one of my spinning heroes, Judith MacKenzie McCuin. They are generally used by weavers for storing small amounts of yarn. Judith has a whole philosophy about how a spinner can use these bobbins in the plying stage of the game. I will restrain myself from explaining it except to say: she's so damned wise.

Anyway. I spun up a little more than what you see here,  and wound it off onto one of my wee storage bobbins.
It's about 16 grams of fiber. I REALLY stretched the limits of the little spindle. There's some engineering involving rotation and gravity and twist per inch and how it translates to strength, and I read all of this in a book and was mostly lost in the math. Bottom line: a spindle can generally hold it's weight in fiber. I didn't make that up. I read that somewhere too, though not in the same place I read about the engineering and string theory (ha ha) as it pertains to spinning. Time to ply.

I wish I'd taken a picture of my slapdash "lazy kate." I'd love to know the origin of the name for the device that holds a bobbin from which you pull string/thread/yarn. I have a perfectly good one but it's very fiddly so I stuck a 3/8" steel rod into the spout of a teapot and put the bobbin onto the steel rod. It's quite silly looking and works marvelously if you only need to use one bobbin. On the other hand, if you have multiple teapots you can press them into use for multiple bobbins for plying two, three, four, or more strands into yarn. I'm using a single bobbin to make a three-ply yarn! Ahhh! It's magic! Nah, actually it's called Navajo plying and it is slick. 
So many colors! My goal with this round of spinning was to see how much I could fit on the spindle, and I just used whatever little samples of fiber I had lying around my desk. There's some black alpaca, creamy white cormo, dark green cormo/mohair blend, a short length of bright green mystery wool, and some teal/green/blue targhee. I was also interested to see how each of these would spin on the wee spindle. I'm still struggling with the right tool configuration for alpaca. I have so much of this fiber that there is no shortage of opportunity.
Cellphone picture. See, this little skein of yarn isn't very big. That's what 16g plied sock-weight fiber looks like.
The neat thing about this type of plying is that you can retain the color sequences of the fiber you've spun without a great deal of thought or advance planning. I've done the "split the roving lengthwise into three pieces and spin each separately, then ply." Yeah, I've done that a couple of times and all the colors SHOULD mostly line up but so far, for me, they haven't. Maybe my planning is less than wonderful. Maybe I'm impatient (ooh, rings a bell...). Now that I've figured out how to Navajo ply it's just about all I want to do. I'll deal with the other when I begin plying four, five, or more strands. 

Friday, September 02, 2011

I Weft My a Kromski Harp

There's so much to catch up on. Such as: I traded in my drum carder for a 32" rigid heddle loom. Below is my first project. The warp (long-wise) is Fannie's farmhouse sock yarn, the weft (short-wise) is Madelintosh Merino Lite. I love it. Consistent with almost all the other beginning weavers I've talked with, it took me most of the entire project to get the hang of the right-hand selvedge (edge). For some reason, I didn't have any problems with the left selvedge.

I have done a second project which I cannot discuss because it's a gift.

The third project is either a set of three towels in cotton-linen blend, for which I have fashioned a tartan pattern of black, gold, red, and yellow (which I have started to warp), or I'll do an "art" scarf with miscellaneous fibers, commercial and hand-spun. So many ideas!  So much stash to play with!

I did all this in Numbers on iPad. Neat, eh?

Just because I started warping the towels doesn't mean I need to start weaving them right away. I'm warping and chaining them (mostly) one color section at a time. As I'm warping though, I realized that the edges need something before the pattern repeat begins. The pattern begins and ends with the red, but I originally wanted it to begin and end with the black, so we'll see how this turns out. Yes, I know that's obvious when you look at the picture. It just wasn't obvious to me.

Update: I finished "sleying the reed" and my calculations were off...not way way off, but off enough that I have to adjust the finished width of my towels, and add a few more ends of black on one side. It'll be asymmetrical. Sure. That's planned.  I had to order another set of the same red, yellow, and orange to make sure I still had enough for the doubled weft.

In other projects, I'm working on a ring for a lovely faceted orange Mexican Fire Opal. I finished the shoulder bezel and, having sworn never to fit a bezel to the band again, I created a design where I have to shape the bezel to the band (which I finished since I wrote this two weeks ago, picture to come).

I figured out how I wanted to hang the big green pendant: on a combination of solid curved wire (a half choker) and chain, possibly with some beads in split complimentary colors - in this case, yellow-ey and red-violet. Or whatever I happen to have on hand :)