Pom-Pom Makers

yarn pom pom

pom pom maker set

Apparently, I’ve taken up late-night shopping on my phone.  All of a sudden plenty of amazon and craft company boxes started showing up.  I didn’t realize how many buy buttons I clicked in the past few weeks but everything I ordered seemed to show up all at once!   At least I will have plenty of things to write about.   The first item I opened up was this set of pom-pom makers.

Now there are plenty of pom-pom makers out there, but this was the one marked as amazon’s choice, which means it’s inexpensive and has good ratings.  Most of them look the same and they’re all made of cheap plastic, so why pay for a name brand when you can pay half price for the same thing, amirite?

I bought this because I’ve been knitting beanie hats like a mad man the past week and some of those hats are going to need a pom-pom dangling from the top.  The directions are simple, just fold out the little arms and wrap each pair of arms in yarn and push the arms back in.


To be honest, I hated this part.  Wrapping the arms was easy, but tedious.  Then, something amazing happened.   I started cutting the yarn down the center guide and the pom-pom started popping open in the most satisfying way.

cutting yarn to make a pom pom
It was so satisfying that now everything in the house will need a pom-pom.  Good thing I’ve been saving all my scrap yarn from the million socks I’ve made!

After cutting each side, tie a piece of yarn around the center, pop open the arms again and the whole thing will fall apart to review your almost-perfect pom-pom.

yarn pom pom

Pretty good for my first try.  A few little snips here and there and it’ll be a perfect little ball for my hat.

Cloudborn Basic Hat

Cloudborn Basic Hat Started

Cloudborn Basic Hat Started

Craftsy.com had one of their big sale last week and I ordered a few beanie kits.   I’ve never knitted hats, or knitted in the round really, so I thought I’d take advantage of a sale and give it a shot!   The first kit I ordered was the Cloudborn Basic Hat kit in red.

As the product name suggested, it’s a pretty basic slouchy hat.  A few rows of ribbing, a bunch of knits and then reducing it until it’s time to close up the top.

Cloudborn Basic Hat Finished

It was really hot this weekend in Seattle, so I pretty much locked myself up in my air conditioned room and knocked this hat out pretty quickly while listening to some documentaries.

I’m pretty happy with it being my first hat.   I sat down last night and started the next hat, which uses a chunky yarn, so I’m almost done with that as well.  Once I get a few of these under my belt I’ll probably break out the fingering yarn and knit some finer stitched hats.  I have lots of fingering weight yarn from all my sock stuff so I should probably figure out how to use some of that up!

I’ve got a golden thimble

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golden thimble

Baby Lock and Brother are coming out with their latest release of their high-end sewing machines and because of this, I’ve got a golden thimble in the mail to woo me into giving them more money for the latest machine.  Ya know, because apparently I’m a baller in their eyes.

I like being on the list of people they want to schmooze to buy a new product.    The problem I have is with the approach they’re taking with the new release.  They want me to slap down $1000 down payment for the right to a discount when it eventually comes out.  Which, I guess is not uncommon these days especially when you’re talking the amount of money these things go for.   You put money down for the right to buy the latest Tesla car and you put money down for the right to buy a flagship Baby Lock machine too.   If you’re not a sewer, you probably wouldn’t know that.   Oh right, back to the problem… They don’t tell you anything about the machine.   Just that it is coming and it has features.

It 👏 Has 👏 Features. 👏

No word on what those features would be but for $18,000 it better have some life-changing features.  I’m not looking for a new machine, but if I was, I’d need a lot more information than that before I’d pony up some money.  And for $18,000 I better be able to throw some fabric into the sewing room and return to find whole new outfits sewn and waiting for me to try on.

I tried googling the new machine but they are keeping it pretty hush-hush.  Not even any rumors on it.   Even the sales people didn’t have anything on it.   I kind of feel sorry for them.  It can’t be easy selling a mystery product at that price point.

Antique Weaving Loom

I’ve wanted to play with a loom and try different types of weaving as long as I can remember.  I shop online for them all the time but I just never pulled the trigger on actually buying one.  The problem is that I look at what companies are selling and I just can’t seem to justify the price in my mind.   If you look at most small looms (tabletop or lap) it really takes the most basic of woodworking skills to make one.  I don’t understand how they charge hundreds to many thousands of dollars for a few pieces of wood and screws.  As a beginner, I don’t really want to make one, I want to know how a professional one works first.

basic loom

So the last time I was at the fabric store I saw a mini weaving loom loom on the shelf.  Basically a picture frame with sawed out grooves for yarn.  For a few dollars I figured I could play with this and see how interested I really am in it and maybe use up some of that scrap yarn from all the socks I’ve made.

basic loom warped

While this is great for tapestry work, not so much for weaving.   I didn’t realize you’d end up sewing your way through it since there is no heddle or shuttle and then using a rake/fork to push all your work down since there is no beater.   I played for a bit and hated it.    I may make some hangings at some point with it, but my main goal is to use my piles of scrap yarn to make some scrappy scarfs.

I took to scouring craigslist for local looms.  Most looms you find are large floor models, which I definitely don’t have space for nor do I want to move one.  Eventually I saw an ad for a 1927 model from an artist’s estate listing.  I emailed and that weekend ran over and got it.

1927 structo aircraft loom

I dragged it to the back deck, ignoring that I had not completed mowing or did any of the other yard work and got to cleaning every little nook and cranny.  See that gas can in the picture?  Yeah, that’s supposed to remind me to mow the lawn.

There was no way this thing was going in the house until it was sparkling clean.  I have a severe allergy to dust and cleaning this was going to be a struggle.   It had been sitting in storage since the mid-70’s.   I could tell because there was brittle newspaper jammed between the layers of warp thread on the back roller.

Hours later, all the dust and grime was gone and it resembled a wood loom again.

Now I need to figure out where to put this thing since I haven’t found my second hoarder house yet.   More to come once I find a place to set it up.

Still need a Bob

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A while back, I painted the Belcher children to line my stairway:

belcher children acrylic paintings

It’s been on my to-do list forever to paint the parents to hang on the other side of the stairs.  Linda Belcher has been in progress for months now.  With summer here and the grass growing, I haven’t had time to finish it.

But it was raining this weekend, so I was stuck inside instead of laboring outside in the overgrown jungle that is my yard.

acrylic painting of linda belcher
 

She’s almost done.  I need to do some touch ups, paint the sides so it’s not bare wood and put a sealant on it.  Somehow I manage to paint even on the messiest table ever.

Even though my crafty time has been lacking the last few months, my yard is starting to come together.  Last weekend I finished the front tiers that are in my front yard.  It took me several weekends but I ripped out all the weeds and filled with rubber mulch.  Under the mulch are layers of tarps because I don’t want anything to grow down there…. ever.   It’s such a paint taking care of a yard on a hill.

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There’s still so much to do.  The top tier needs some work.  It has a large fountain, grass, and several trees.  I haven’t decided yet what I’m doing there.  I don’t even want to think about the staircase that runs down the other side of the front hill or the backyard.

Business Embroidery Patches

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A friend asked me to make some embroidery patches for his work.  Which, at first, I rolled my eyes.   Then, to my surprise, he sent me the image.   For once, someone actually knew exactly what they wanted.  THAT I can work with.  I rolled my eyes back from inside my head and got to work.

I grabbed my laptop and pulled up my embroidery software and started poking around.  Embroidery software — good software — is extremely expensive.  We’re talking thousands.  So it was nice to have a new project to actually use it on.

Digitizing artwork for embroidery isn’t very easy.  The software is great, but there’s a lot to know.   My first few attempts at stitching this out were flops.  I realized pretty quickly how the layers were building up and getting too thick to stitch.   A needle broke on one of them trying to get the letters on top of 2 other layers.

Finally, I got the project down to 2 layers: a background and lettering.  I could’ve even got it down to 1 layers, but I wasn’t confident it would look great when it was done based off what I was seeing on the screen.   It looked like there would it was producing a gap between the letters and background. So I did 2 layers and slowed the machine way down to minimize mistakes and breaking of needles.

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It looks like it came out great.  Though I am wondering if they’ll say it has the wrong colors.  The problem is that businesses have very specific colors for their brand and embroidery thread does not come in a color range that will support that pickiness.  I sent it off last weekend so I hope to hear back that they like it.

Putting shelves in the closet

Making shelves for the broom closet

Last weekend, I found my new table saw.  By Friday night I finally got down to the workshop and put it together.

This closet has been a pain since we moved in.  It didn’t have shelves and we always just stacked everything inside.  Then all those things toppled over and we couldn’t shut the door.

Do you think anyone fixed it?  Fast forward about 5 years and it still won’t close and we just keep walking past it every day.

Saturday morning I headed down to the shop and cut some wood for the shelves.   Circular style saws scare me.  I have used handheld for years and it has scared the bejezus out of me every time I use it.  It always kicks back and I drop everything and go running while it’s soaring through the air.

My voice may have jumped a few octaves on some occasions.  So far I haven’t cut anything off so I may still have some dignity left.

So I take all the wood I cut upstairs only to find out I cut everything wrong.   I realized after remeasuring that I misread the little laser measuring thing.  It said 2.0′ and not 20″.  Everything was 4″ short.    Of course, I only bought exactly how much wood I needed because I don’t make mistakes.

I threw things down and walked away for a bit.  Shortly after I told my roommate how I screwed up and he pointed at his old bed he had just finished tearing apart.   Glorious sideboards that were only slightly smaller than the boards I bought.

I dragged it down a few flights of stairs to the basement, removed all the metal hardware and started chopping his bed into pieces.

putting shelves in the closet

As you can see it all worked out in the end.  Is it perfect?  Nope.

Do I care?   Nope.  You can see some of the 4″ short pieces holding up those shelves.

I do have to go back and repaint all the replaced pieces.  Only some of them got primed through the whole process.  But for now, it is done.   I have other shelves around the house to make and a fence to rebuild, so I’ll be back to finish painting this when I’m running around the house painting those things.

I’m just happy the vacuum and mops have a place to be now and they are not just randomly found around the house.  Oh, and I’m happy the door shuts now.

My life is pretty boring lately

wen table saws 3720 c3 1000

To be honest, my life is pretty boring lately.  I’ve been working long hours and by the time I get home, I have enough time to eat and go to bed.  Fun, right?

I am working on some commissioned paintings, but I can’t really report those either since they are a surprise for someone which makes my blog even more lackluster until it’s complete and given away.

I did, however, do some shopping this weekend and bought a table saw.  I don’t like saws as they like to scare me by kicking back on me.  But I have some closet shelves and DIY projects around the house to get done.

I don’t plan on using a saw much so I got one of the cheaper ones.  But, it came with a cart so that sold me on this low-end model.

Make sure to stay tuned for some boring shelves in my boring closets!

wen table saws 3720 c3 1000