Monday, September 7, 2009

Footstool in Parts

The frame has been dissected and hubby got out the sander. It required electricity and everything, so it's safe to say that I used a power tool (and safely, too). I don't know what kind of wood this is yet because I haven't done a Show and Tell with Uncle Dave, the wood artist of the family.

But as I sanded, I couldn't get into all those little nicks that I had managed to inflict on the poor little stool over time. I've decided to keep them, however, because: they add character to the stool, I'm a lazy sander, I'd end up changing the shape of the legs, and to make it look old (I remember when some people took small chain link to furniture on purpose to make it look this way). The stool still needs a bit more sanding and then I can finish it - once I decide what finish to use.

Here is the original yarn, (hand-dyed by someone other than I). which is a wool & alpaca blend. Very soft. I tried to crochet with it, but came to the conclusion that I really, really don't like the colors (dizzy inducing). So I over-dyed it because that is the answer to all dye issues, of course. Some of the it I over-dyed with yellow and some with green. The original colors give some interest to the yellow and green. A little bit of tweediness. That little wood thingy is the punch I'll use to make the top portion of the footstool. I added a bit of natural brown alpaca yarn for some contrast.

No, I'm not going to show you the design yet.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Footstool ala Familia

Footstools are wonderfully useful little things - especially if you are short (ahem). So, when this gem was passed down from my mom's side of the family, I grabbed it. I have to be honest, though. It was in better shape when I got it than it is now (but what do you expect when it is useful and I am of a lower stature).

Not that the family has pack-rat tendencies, mind you, but...

...this little thing is about 80-100 years old. It belonged to my great-grandmother, who was married in 1898. She did the same type of stitching and design on 3 chairs and a settee, which my brother has in his home. Aunt Godie (an aunt/cousin-ish sort of relative) did the stitching on this footstool.

Now, the problem with old things is that they wear out, but (depending on when they were made) they still have 'good bones.' This beauty was not designed for disposability.

And from a fiberish perspective, its other advantage is that it can be a Little Project (umm - short-term). It can be a fiber artist's canvas, just waiting to be stepped upon. Thus bringing form and function together.

Don't worry - I am well aware of the importance of history and all things related, especially home textiles. History of Textiles was one of my favorite classes in Home Ec. during the college years. So I have taken many pictures and I'm keeping whatever documentation came with the stool...

...which is this tag. It has just about everything except the date it was made. It is 60% cotton felt and 40% Excelsior (such a New Material that I don't really know what it is, but probably the black backing fabric). It was made by the Heagle Co. in Wisconsin, has a New York registry number, and the tag was attached as required by the State of Washington. This footstool has been around, is old, and used.

So face it, the poor little thing needs a face-lift...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dyeing in Paradise

I just came back from Paradise (fabulous folks there!), where I got to teach some spinning and dyeing classes (dying... Paradise..., yeah).

On Saturday, we played with color, using two methods of painting fiber. We each had two 2 oz. bundles of Blue-Face Leicester wool. Without realizing it, I picked the same colors for both methods.

One of the
2 oz. bundles was a bit lighter than the other, so I decided to spin it from light to dark. I haven't been all that picky about the quality of the spinning - just having fun with the colors. Next, I'll ply it from a center-pull ball so the light end and dark end are plied together.

As you can see, the light to dark color idea didn't quite happen. No matter. It is still fabulous, if I do say so, myself.

Warm, soapy soak to set the twist so it wouldn't do the messy, untwisted thing when I started knitting with it. Hmm, green water so there must have been too much dye. Back to the rinse tub.

The results?

I like it!

It is more variegated and interesting than the theoretical version. I think I'll knit the neck warmer in the most recent Spin-Off magazine (yes, I know... believe it when you see it done).

About Me

I am a spinner and knitter in Southern California. I live with a very patient husband and two cats in a house full of wool and cat toys (with the occasional musical instrument to keep the hubby happy).