Archive for the ‘Woodworking’ Category

22
Feb

Fair Projects for 2015

Posted under Charity, Crochet, Knitting, Life, Models, Paper Crafting, Sewing and Quilting, Woodworking No Comments

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It’s getting to be the time of year when you’ve got to start thinking about what projects you’re going to be making for your county and state fairs. Ideally you’d start too as working right up to the deadline is never fun, though it seems to happen more often than I’d like!

So far, most of my projects are rather bland looking, but I promise there are colorful projects coming too!


natural colored projects

Here we have a lace baby sweater which will ultimately be part of a three-piece set, a knit lace doily, and a crochet lace bag all in progress.

I’ve also been working on filling the first of three bobbin lace pillows I’m making for myself. I really enjoy the bobbin lace beginners kit I got for Christmas, but the failings of a beginner ‘pillow’ are more than apparent. I done some research on the best and longest lasting bobbin lace pillows and how they’re made. Then, I presented this information to my physical therapist and we worked out a stand set up to prevent any undue stress on my body. Now I’m building that stand and pillow set up! This is the first pillow in progress.

bobbin lace pillow stuffing

 

Kaia seemed rather displeased with my pillow stuffing as a few bits of straw landed on her in her bed!

dog with straw

The pillows are filled with natural straw cut into 4″ or shorter pieces. Cutting the straw is a painful and dull process, and stuffing the pillows is painful and slow going as a result, but when they’re done, I’m going to have fantastic traditional bobbin lace pillows, a standard 24″ cookie pillow and a more rectangular pillow with a roller in the back for making yardage. The pillow above is the roller that will go into the rectangular pillow. The exterior is a natural canvas material sewn into a tube with drawstrings on either end. Inside, there is a dowel running the length and I have two discs cut from 1/4″ plywood. One disc is already in place at the bottom of the pillow and the other will go in just before cinching up the other drawstring. The dowel sticks out a few inches on either side which is how it will connect to the support pillow.

The last big WIP keeping me busy lately is a paper craft project. Some friends asked me to make a 4′ tall LEGO minifig as a decoration for a Boy Scout party in March. After that party, the gigantic LEGO man will be a county and state fair entry for me before finally being sold to the highest bidder to fund some new LEGO sets for me! The main framework of the minifig is cardboard sheeting from Costco. Some of guy pal’s friends from work taught me how to use anti-fatigue mat foam to create the complex curves and gave me some foam to use for the project. Atop the cardboard and foam frame is paper maché. This will create a surface I can sand to a perfect finish. With the glossy paint a LEGO minifig has, any imperfections in the body will show. That’s why I’m doing the paper maché coating. There will likely be some spackle to help fill any gaps prior to sanding as well. Here’s the first two pieces being coated in paper maché, the head (which is upside down in this photo) and one of the arms. They’re the most curvy pieces and thus require the most paper maché to get perfectly smooth.

LEGO head and arm WIP

 

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10
Jan

Holiday Gifts 2012: part 1

Posted under CNC Mill, Holidays and Celebrations, Life, Scroll Saw, Woodworking No Comments

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Now that the holidays are finally wound down I can share with you the fun things I made for some of my family and friends this year. Since the most recent accident, I’ve not been healthy enough to make all the projects I wanted to make, but I’ve been trying to do what I can and get goodies out to people who will appreciate them at the most socially acceptable month of the year to do so. This post is all about the gift I made for my brother S.

I asked S what he wanted for the holidays, and he made it very easy for me and spelled out exactly what he wanted custom-order style! He asked for a Houston Texan’s wooden plaque with the logo and the phrase, “Bulls on parade,” carved into it with guy pal’s CNC mill and painted up like the Titanic signs from the party last year. Gift requests like that, versus “just something nice” make it so easy, even if it does potentially kill the surprise, but we’ll get to surprise killing later.

I took the request to guy pal who jumped on it. I was doing very poorly at the time, and he handled pretty much everything! I made a mock up in a word document of how the sign should look and a few minor changes to the final program, but he really did it all. He even got a board to use! I did go over to help, really observe, the milling part of the operation. We messed up the text on the first board by not clamping all corners of the board. The natural curve to the wood meant that the letters in one corner went too deep. Frustrated, we loaded up another board, and I took the ‘ruined’ one out to the garage. I cut around the main logo design and figured I could call it a trivet for an extra gift out of the waste! I painted only the interior of the cuts so that the acrylic paint couldn’t melt when a hot pan gets placed on the trivet. It seems just the right size for a bowl of queso dip at a Superbowl party, right?

Texans Trivet

The next cut came out perfectly on the main plaque S wanted, and I took it home to paint up that very night. Unfortunately, so many tiny detailed cuts took forever and a day to paint. I spent over 6 hours watching Scrubs reruns on Netflix and painting like mad all night long. It came out great though. Step-dad even pounded a picture hanger saw tooth piece onto the back so I could get it wrapped up the next morning.

Texans plaque

All in all, I’m very pleased with the set and wrapped them up together with the trivet in a smaller box atop the big box holding the plaque. With a big bow on top, it was a pretty package, not these exact packages mind you, but something similar with a wonderful bow.

bows on packages1

Yes, these ones do have bar codes on them, but that’s a story for another time.

On Christmas morning, the beautiful box was plopped into brother S’s lap and as he was slipping the bow off, I asked that he open the larger one first. Given how specific his request was, seeing the trivet would certainly give away the surprise of the plaque! He set the smaller box to the side and tore into the big box. He was thrilled with the plaque and I was thrilled with his response to it. Mom, who obviously hadn’t been paying attention, asks, “So, did you like the trivet too? Isn’t it cute?” I was horrified. Brother S made the simple dog face.

If you haven’t read Hyperbole and a Half, you NEED to. It’s fantastic.

But there it is, I made a perfect holiday gift to specs and my mom goes and ruins the surprise by assuming he’s open the smaller gift on top first. At least it was a nice little set to give S, even if mom had to go muck it up! See if I show her what I’m working on crafting next holiday!

IMG_3233

24
Jul

El Paso County State Fair

Posted under Crochet, Knitting, Life, Scroll Saw, Toys, Woodworking No Comments

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At a local friend’s urging, I decided to enter some of my fiber arts work into the county fair. I figured that since I’ve only been knitting since February 2010, surely I would rank mediocre at best. I like to try some unusual and challenging pieces, but I still feel like such a beginner! I figured I didn’t have much to lose since the entry fee is only $5 though, so I got to work on some special projects.

My first project for the fair was a pair of socks I’ve been wanting to knit for myself for quite some time. I’d seen someone else win a second place ribbon in one of my Ravelry groups with some knee-high socks, so I figured that knee-high socks were an impressive enough sort of project to enter into a fair.  I ordered the yarn and made a few modifications to the pattern. The pattern was beautiful as written, but featured many floats over 5 stitches which is not structurally sound or traditional knitting. These socks also had a heel type I’d never tried before that is unique to traditional Norwegian stockings. It was great fun to learn the new heel and to do so much stranded colorwork. That’s my favorite kind of knitting to do. It takes just the right amount of attention to detail and works up into a nice, thick fabric. I like my knits to be cozy.

The hardest part of these socks was actually blocking them. I’d never blocked socks before, but I figured they needed to be done up nicely. I couldn’t find large enough sock blockers anywhere, so I ended up having to make them myself. Unfortunately, I’m not doing well enough physically since the most recent accident to be using my power tools. I broke a half dozen blades and failed at cutting on the lines I’d drawn on the plywood. The sock blockers aren’t great, but they’re enough to get the job done. Any puckering from the stranding blocked right out of the socks.

Then, because I was trying to work on the project anyhow to publish the pattern, I decided the bird I was knitting could be entered in the knit toy category of the fiber arts department. I’m currently working on getting the pattern typed up and materials to a test knitter. The pattern will be available for purchase and download by the end of the year. The entire bird is knit from Knit Picks Palette yarn on size 0 needles. It’s stuffed with wool as well, and has wool wrapped wire for the feet and crown feather. The eyes are 1/4″ rounded-top, shank-style buttons. I made the stand out of craft wood from Michaels Arts and Crafts and painted it out matte black so it wouldn’t fight with the cockatiel for the eye.

Finally, right after the most recent accident, a Ravelry friend of mine gifted me a pattern for a crocheted schnauzer as a feel better and know you’re loved sort of thing. I figured I’d better crochet a little dog and post pictures to show my appreciation. I didn’t really want a great big toy dog cluttering up the place though, so I unraveled some wool yarn and crocheted with only one ply of yarn on a size 7 steel crochet hook. This made an itty bitty toy dog and almost everything is better in miniature! I also rewrote the legs in the pattern, did the face embroidery differently, and needle felted in the beard. I made him a collar out of the finest red ribbon I had and stitched on a sequin to be his dog tag. His eyes are two black beads that were in with the rest of my seed beads but mysteriously a size larger than the rest. Working on such a small scale with such fragile single ply wool was a pain, but the end result was totally worth it. He came out so well I decided I may as well enter him too. After all, you can enter up to 10 items for the $5 entry fee. You only have to pay extra if you enter more than 10 different items in 10 different classes. You also only get $4 back if you win a first place ribbon though, and I wanted to up my chances of making back my $5. When you’re really broke, that $5 matters a lot!

When I finally got to go to the fair after judging on Saturday, I was greeted pretty quickly with my knit socks. They won first place in the knitted accessory category (socks, hats, gloves and such) and won the Adult Fiber Arts Department Reserve Champion ribbon. I had to ask what that meant exactly, and it’s second place out of all adult fiber arts entries: knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving, tatting, felting, and rug hooking. How exciting!

Then I found my knit bird and crocheted dog in the glass display case. They each also had a first place ribbon for their category on them, knit toys and crochet toys respectively! I was thrilled!

We looked around at all the other entries for a while, and we couldn’t find the Adult Fiber Arts Department Champion. I really wanted to see what was nicer than my socks. We asked and were told that not all the ribbons were on the items yet. The woman helping us went to check the record book and when she came back, she was carrying the champion ribbon to hang on my crocheted dog! I couldn’t believe it! I won every single award my items were eligible for, three first places, the department champion, and the reserve champion!

I’m so excited. I can’t wait to pick my items up, show off the ribbons and projects at show-and-tell at the Front Range Fiber Artisans annual picnic, and get my winners (the socks and dog only) to the state fair. I’d send the bird too, but the state fair combines knit and crochet toys into one class, so I can only enter one of them. Fingers crossed for more success at the state level. It’s much more competitive and you don’t even get your items displayed unless you win.

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14
Mar

Scroll Saw Dragon Pendant

Posted under Scroll Saw, Woodworking 1 Comment

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About a month ago I started a project for a friend of mine from my online fiber artists with chronic pain support group, the Chronic Bitches. She loves dragons, and was oogling the many free dragon patterns in Steve Good’s scroll saw pattern catalog. Since I had many pieces of thin board on hand from the dog and cat pendants I’ve made, I figured I’d jump right in with the dragon pendant.

These are the first three dog necklaces I made and won runner up in the Gorilla Glue Contest on Lumber Jocks!

When I first started looking at the pdf for the necklace, I was shocked. This was just WAY too big to have be a necklace in my book. My chest isn’t that big, there’s space taken up with boobs! I pulled the image over to Microsoft Word for easy scaling with rulers. It’s amazing how often I use Word for pattern making actually. My reduced pattern measures 2 inches wide and just a smidge over 3 inches tall. I kept the same proportions as the original so my pendant wouldn’t end up elongated or smooshed looking.

I mounted up my pattern to some 1/8 inch thick walnut, drilled a few holes, and started cutting. It wasn’t long before I realized I had missed some of the entry holes I would need, that I wasn’t good enough to cut such bitty details accurately, and that getting so tense trying to cut something so small was only making my pain worse in my shoulders and upper back. I set the pendant on the back edge of my Excaliber’s table and proceeded to ignore it for a full month while I worked on other projects like my inkle looms, some toy cars for charity, and another Siamese cat necklace.

Tonight I went down to my friend’s garage to visit with my saw. I had to prepare a set of necklace blanks for a small workshop I’m teaching tomorrow night on how I make my inlay dog and cat necklaces. We’ll be making one of my favorite dog breeds tomorrow, the border collie! Once I got all my border collie blanks done, I still had a little time left before it was time to head home. The dragon pendant was glaring at me from the back of the scroll saw table. I fished out a size 60 drill bit, put in the bitty holes, and had a go at it since I already had a 00 reverse tooth blade in the saw.

Surprisingly, my skills have improved enough over the past month or so for me to be able to fly through making the pendant. Sure, I still spent about an hour finishing the cuts and another hour sanding down to a 600 grit paper and gently buffing in a mineral oil and beeswax finish, but still, I was flying compared to a month ago. I’m so excited to have it done! Before long maybe I’ll actually be able to do some of the more advanced ornaments from the book I got last year! I’d really wanted to make the train ornament for my dad and the motorcycle for my brother, but I messed up and broke the spokes in the wheels of both. I hope by next Christmas I can fly through those ornaments and give them out!

I love how it came out!

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08
Feb

13 New Hexipuffs put me at 175!

Posted under Hexipuffs, Knitting, Lathe, Woodworking No Comments

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Here are the first 13 hexipuffs of February 2012:

The castle puff is from the duplicate stitch tricks tutorial. The cat puff and one of the matching puffs are made from Premier Yarns Serenity in Lavender Topaz. I’d received enough for a single puff in a swap and mentioned to a friend on Monday that I wanted more of it for puffing. She offered to give me two puffs worth from one of her balls of Lavender Topaz destined for sock knitting. I duplicate stitched a black cat on one of them to forever immortalize her in my quilt. It’s actually quite appropriate as she’s had black cats as long as I’ve known her and her name is Kat! Before Kat offered me some of her Lavender Topaz yarn, I’d also mentioned on Ravelry that I’d loved these colors and was shy on purples. Did anyone have any? Ajsgramma said she had some Purple Spice in the same brand of yarn that she’d be happy to send me! Her yarn arrived and I knit it up into the two fake isle puffs here. The two semi solid purples and two semi solid pinks are some of the Maple Wool Farm soda pop kettle dyed yarn! I love how bright and summery the soda colors are. The three green/blue/purple ones are from a swap on Ravelry from Minibrrdie. She sent me several wonderful yarns in exchange for a hand turned nostepinne from my woodshop. I made that this weekend and am getting ready to send it off to her. I actually like it better than the darker one I made for myself about 7 months back. I think it’s got a better weight in the hand, but I do like the deep beading of mine’s handle. Looks like I need to spend more time getting comfortable with my lathe so I can perfect a nostepinne design.

So there you have it! Thirteen brand new puffs to add to my puff pile and a beautiful pine nostepinne to head out for a swap. I’m particularly happy with the past 8 days of puffing because each yarn has a story, from swapped and gifted yarn from friends, to pictures representing my friends (the castle is in honor of a friend who’s making 1:24 scale castle dollhouses with me for fun, but more on that another day), to some of my own soda pop yarn!

The next batch of puffs is going to be a Valentines set done in all lovey-dovey colors because I’ve got a shortage of pinks and purples in my quilt. I’m not a big fan of Valentines, but I’ll try. I guess I’m just of the belief that it’s too commercialized and that someone who loves me can tell me any day, and it’s more special when it’s unexpected! Plus, my valentine won’t be bringing me chocolates. He’s furry and can’t have chocolate. Maybe I’ll commemorate the day by making a puff of him! I’ve already got the chart ready and waiting.

Will you be making a special hexipuff to put a bit of your loved one in your quilt?

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27
Dec

Toy Society Holiday Drop

Posted under Charity, Models, Scroll Saw, Toys, Woodworking No Comments

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On Christmas Eve, I dropped a handmade toy for the Toy Society. I made this little tow truck and car set:

I used a free pattern from Steve Good. You can download the pattern here if you want to make your own car and truck set. The only addition I made was to glue a small strip of wood across the back of the truck bed to keep the car from rolling off too easily. I left off the smoke stacks and the little button lights. The smokestacks have not held up well when my friend’s kids play with the truck I keep at my house and I didn’t want to have bitty lights that a small child could chew off.

I cut the body of the two cars from a scrap of 2×4 leftover from another project. The truck bed is cut from a fence picket scrap. I ran it through my planer to clean it up and get it to size. I actually like the look of the redwood fence picket truck bed more than the pine truck bed I’ve done on previous tow trucks. The wheel well strips on either side of the cab are cut from pine as the redwood was a bit too brittle to hold up well to tight curves on an item meant for child’s play. The wheels are all pre-made oak wheels from a local specialty wood shop. I cut the body of the car and truck with a HUGE blade in the scroll saw. It’s a reverse tooth blade from Woodcraft that’s so big it doesn’t even have a number. I used size 7 blades to cut the wheel well covers, the truck bed, and the dowels for the axles.

The drop was made on Christmas Eve around lunchtime in Old Colorado City on a bench in front of an Italian restaurant, some souvenir shops and art galleries. There was a gaggle of kids visiting Santa just a block and a half away, so hopefully a lucky boy or girl found this set just in time for Christmas!

In general, if you’re into scrolling, check out Steve Good’s site. He’s got TONS of free patterns, and several of them toys for doing Toy Society drops! This was my first drop, and it was fun. There will certainly be more! I cut several tow truck and car sets for my Christmas Eve drop, but I ran out of wheels, none of the wood shops were open, AND I couldn’t find my hole cutter set to make my own wheels. Talk about failure!

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