Sunday, November 20, 2022

My crafty fall.

I have another topic I wouldn't mind writing about (actually, if I wanted to go all political again, I have a few topics I could write about), but I've been promising y'all a crafts post for the past several weeks. So here we go.

This is not just knitting this time, oh no, and it's not just weaving, either, although we'll get to both of those in a minute. First, let's talk about the table fail.

Maybe a year and a half ago, I bought a used equipale table from someone on Facebook Marketplace. Equipale furniture, by the way, is made in Jalisco State in Mexico; Mama Google says the name comes from ikpalli, the Nahuatl word for chair. (I'd post a link, but all the sites I've found so far look kinda sketchy. You're welcome.) It's characterized by thin cedar planks criss-crossed for the base, plus leather upholstery for chairs and either leather or copper for tabletops.

My tabletop was covered in leather, but it was worn out; I tried leather cleaner on it, but it was just too far gone. So I planned to rip it off and redo it, maybe making it look like copper. Here's what it looked like as I was pulling off the leather: 

Lynne Cantwell 2022
As you can see, it was pretty rugged underneath. I'd planned to fill in those cracks and things with wood filler, but it turns out that I suck at using wood filler. It ended up all lumpy bumpy. I painted it with metallic copper spray paint anyway, but it just looked terrible. 
Lynne Cantwell 2022
So I purchased a random orbital sander, sanded off the mess I'd made, and repainted, this time with metallic copper spray paint that included primer. The result wasn't perfect, but it looked so much better! So I went ahead and put a few coats of polyurethane on it and called it done. 
Lynne Cantwell 2022
Next up: weaving. Right after I moved into the condo, I'd purchased memory foam cushions for the dining room chairs. Here's the problem with memory foam cushions: if they're not very thick, they flatten out pretty fast. If you're just grabbing a bite, they're more or less fine. But if you want to sit at the table for a while, well. It's not the most pleasant experience. So I decided to make my own cushions. I have four chairs, so I'd be making four cushions total.

I bought the yarn last December. (It's churro wool from Tierra Wools here in New Mexico.) Then I spent several months dithering around with the design while my cataracts got worse. Finally, I got started on them several weeks ago.

The first step is to measure out the warp threads (the ones that go the long way on the loom). There are a few ways to do this, but for the table loom, indirect warping -- measuring out the warp on a warping board and then moving it to the loom -- seems to be the way to go. I needed each warp thread to be five yards long, so I could do two cushion covers at once. Here's how the warp threads looked on the board. Well, technically, this is how half of one warp looked. I had to do this a total of four times -- two warps for each set of two cushions.

Lynne Cantwell 2022
If anybody really wants an explanation of the difference between direct and indirect warping, I'll tackle it in a different post. For now, let's just move on. Here's the loom all warped and the first cushion cover about a quarter done: 
Lynne Cantwell 2022
Once the loom is warped, the weaving takes no time at all. But then I had to sew the covers together and stuff the polyurethane foam forms into them. I also braided some of the leftover yarn into ties for the cushions (those will probably get swapped out for something less stretchy later, once I figure out what to use instead). A few days after starting the project, the first two cushions were done, and Tigs put his stamp of approval on them shortly thereafter. 
Lynne Cantwell 2022
The final two cushions are woven and nearly finished; I need to sew the second tie onto one of them and finish sewing the sides and ties on the other one. I'm hoping to finish that tonight, once I post this. And I have plenty of yarn left over, so I'm going to make a table runner to match -- although hopefully it won't take me another year to design and it. (It won't. I just need to the additional warp yarn I've ordered to get here.)

Finally, I completed the knitting project that's been the bane of my existence since last winter. On Ravelry, I called it the Spiral Sweater of 897,000 Ends to Weave In. 

Lynne Cantwell 2022
It all started at Taos Wool Festival last fall, when I bought a couple of bundles of Fusion 800 yarn. Each bundle contained 100-yard lengths of eight yarns, all in the same colorway (mine is called Aurora Borealis), but each a different type. One was tweedy, one was spun with sparkly strands, one was a boucle, one was mohair-like -- you get the idea. Every time I ran out of a 100-yard length and joined the next one, it created two ends to weave in. And I switched yarns a lot

I knitted this sweater top-down, and it occurred to me last spring as I was about to finish the body of the sweater that the stitches I'd put on holders for the sleeves were in the boucle yarn. Which meant picking up stitches in boucle under the arms. Which wasn't going to be any fun. Plus I had to measure out and split the yarn I had left so that each sleeve would more or less match. And hope I had enough left of the yarn I'd used at the neckline and sweater bottom for the cuffs. And weave in all 897,000 ends. 

At that point I made an executive decision: It was getting to be too warm to knit with wool (not to mention the cataracts), so I set the project aside for the summer. This fall, I put on my big girl pants and dealt with the damn sleeves and all those ends. And as you can see, it turned out fine.

To think I could be writing a novel this month instead...


These moments of all sorts of crafty blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Stay safe! And for my American readers, happy Thanksgiving!


Unknown said...

Wow. Weaving your own chair seats. They look great.

Lynne Cantwell said...

Why, thank you!

Anonymous said...

I’m always impressed with folks like you. I start many a project, but tend to leave them half finished.

Lynne Cantwell said...

I used to be anal about finishing every project I started. Now, as you can see, I'm better about letting them lie fallow for a few months. Or even a year, lol.

There have been a couple of projects over the years that I never finished, but you won't see me post about them. ;)