April 27, 2011

Other Distractions

Can't blame it all on the snake, even though I do believe the snake bit my dog. Really. The day after I moved the snake, I noticed Shae licking her left front paw, the way she does when she's been bit, stung or otherwise reproached by some creature she's insulted during her 'hunting' activities in the yard. So I asked Shae for her paw, and spotted a pretty good sized puncture down into the top of one of her toes. A puncture through the top is... unusual.  Pretty easy for me to imagine Shae pouncing down on what she thought was a lizard or mouse in the brush, only to be paid back by a quick strike to the foot. Do not worry! If it was indeed a snake bite, apparently no venom was released. Shae is fine and her toe is pretty much healed up. I can only hope the snake found the entire experience of being pounced on and then later captured and relocated distasteful, and plans on avoiding the backyard for a while. In the meantime, I need to figure out a (better) way to keep the rabbits out of the yard. I think they are what the snake is after.

I'll probably make a trip to the hardware store today, anyway, on account of one of the other distractions. Last academic year, I took some woodworking classes that are offered through the most excellent Cabinet and Furniture Technology program at Palomar College, a local community college. I just went looking for old posts to reference, and found that I had several drafts, but not many actual posts about what I did. Oh well.
Quick retrospective. First semester I made a clock. Here is a picture.
Second semester was making a side table. It still isn't complete. And I took a furniture finishing class. What ever type of person I am, I definitely enjoy the prospect and process of transforming something into something else. But I don't think I'll be taking any more woodworking classes. Because you can't really rip back to fix a mistake. And because I found that sometimes, no matter how much care I took in laying out and cutting pieces, no matter that they fit together perfectly on the pre-glue up fitting, sometimes things were still wrong once put together. Its like making gauge and then knitting up all the pieces of a sweater and having the pieces block out perfectly, and then the pieces won't line up for seaming. Except the already cut wood can't be un un-cut for starting over. In short, I'm not that good at it. And I'm not entirely comfortable with working around sharp cutting things rotating at high speed.

This semester I enrolled in the Advanced Finishing class. But it's really more of a faux finishing and decorative painting class. Don't have to use any rapidly rotating sharp blades for this class. In fact, it is sort of an odd class in the program, but I really like it. I like it so much I'm wandering around the house looking for things to put faux finishes on.  But the end of the class fast approaches and I have to complete my sample boards (5 different techniques) and my final project. I don't have many pictures of what I've been working on, but I can show you how my final project it coming along.

Here is what I started with. A horribly, ugly, battleship grey access door in the midst of all the lovely brown marble.
I lightly sanded the grey, then taped off the edges and painted on a coat of primer, in this case Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 water-base primer. So this;
Then I taped off where the grout lines would be, if there were any. I had a left over piece of tile I took to the hardware store to have 2 quarts of custom color mixed up; one to match the darkest brown on the marble, and one to match the lightest shade. Using a paint brush, I placed heavy, random dabs of each color paint onto the primer surface, leaving areas with no paint. I didn't take any pictures at this point. I was a little nervous so I forged ahead. I took a woolie pad (a bit of sheep skin with short wool, attached to a flat pad with a handle.) and dabbed the paint around, being careful to keep some areas of distinct color, and ended
up with this.
I'm so happy, I could almost stop here. But then my final project wouldn't be final. The hardest part of this, to me anyway, is adding in some of those lines. It is very hard to get them nice and random looking. I have 4 practice boards I used to figure out how to get this far, and 3 of them are now covered in ugly lines looking nothing like the tile. But I think I have it almost figured out. By the way, practice boards are the best tool ever for figuring out stuff like this. Some of you might be saying "Of course, you silly goose!", but I truly didn't know about this before taking the class. I also didn't know that a practice board is merely poster-board, covered with paint of choice. Nice. The instructor also recommends using a practice board for deciding whether or not to use a particular paint color in a room, rather than actually painting a portion of the wall, saying that if there is any texture on the wall, adding a layer of paint changes the texture in that spot, and it will always look different from the rest of the wall. Makes sense to me.

I will take pictures of some of my sample pieces to share with you later, promise.

And, as if this post weren't already long enough, I'm not done yet.  Before the Pocket wheel arrived, there was the Ashford Traveler. Since then, the Ashford has just been sitting in the corner, waiting. I feel kind of bad about this. Its a wheel that should get used! After some thought, I decided that perhaps it would make a good plying wheel. (I used to find plying on the Pocket Wheel fiddly, but I don't anymore.) I ordered a jumbo flyer and bobbin set up from my local fiber pusher and Ashford dealer. I got the parts a month or so ago, and I have to say, the conversion kit is pretty clever, and complete as well. The orifice on the flyer is very large, for making novelty yarn and such, but the kit also includes adapters that fit into the orifice to make it smaller yarn friendly. But, other than a test spin, I haven't really used it yet. Because I ordered the parts unfinished, and I wanted to finish them first. (Mini-rant here; many of my favorite wood finishes are no longer available in California, for environmental reasons. sigh. I get it, but still...) I have TADA finally put the finish on. Once I have the singles for the next round of sock yarn complete, I shall use the Ashford for plying. And maybe I'll even try some novelty spinning.

And finally, I have some spinning to show (off). Here is the sock yarn for Evan's socks, all washed and ready to wind. I think I over plied the mohair, at least compared to the merino. So the ply isn't as even as I'd like.

And here is my latest, more, yes more sock yarn beginnings. I may move on to spinning something else for awhile. Natural black alpaca from a fleece in my stash. This was carded and spun, unwashed. I could see the vm, but not the dirt. This stuff made my finger tips black!. The rest has had a good soaking now, and hopefully will be nicer to spin.
And this is more of the BFL roving I'd used in some earlier sock yarn. After the dirty alpaca and the reluctant mohair (it was a little felted), this stuff is spinning like a dream.
Once this lot of singles are done, the Pocket Wheel gets a freshened up finish. Must look nice for going to Black Sheep Gathering! Wheeeeeeee........

1 comment:

  1. So much going on! Sorry about Shae; glad the bite wasn't serious. I've heard that about 2/3 of dogs are actually immune to rattlesnake venom. Maybe you got lucky.

    I love the faux finish! You'll never even be able to see that door when you're done!