Sayl Chair Makeover

Sayl Before

Auctions can be a great place to find inexpensive sewing room luxuries. Take a look at this dirty drab brown worn chair.

These Herman Miller Sayl chairs are comfortable. The arms lower pretty far and will not get in my way when sewing. They have adjustable lumbar support and are curved just right to support my back and hips. Brand new these Sayl chairs including the tilt, height adjustment, lumbar support, and tilt lock brings about a $700 price tag.

First a brisk cleaning with soap and water. Second tightening loose arm rest bolts. Then, a little upholstery fabric in a cheery color perks up that boring chair.

My total cost (not including the tools) for this $700 chair was about $30. Score!

Sayl After

What is a guild Bee Keeper and Queen Bee

In the Texas Tea Stitchers I was nominated to be the Bee Keeper. Well, actually I was asked to be the Bee Coordinator but I thought that name was kinda boring, thus I became the Bee Keeper. My role is to keep track of our guild’s bees not to run them. As a Bee Keeper I am a kind of central repository or resource to find out about current bees. I will try to keep up with the folks who are in the guild bees. I hope they notify me when they start or end a bee. That sure would help.

As Bee Keeper I’m to keep track of the Queen or King Bees. Basically the ‘host’ of a bee. Some guilds call these people Momma or Poppa Bees. Generally, the Queen or Kins is the person generally in charge of the bee. Typically their responsibilities include:

  1. compiling all participants and making a list of email addresses, blogs, flickr names & mailing addresses
  2. setting up the schedule of months
  3. deciding on the “rules” of the bee
  4. facilitating communication between members (sending out emails, facebook posts, twitter tweets, phone calls, etc.)
  5. answering any questions from bee members
  6. organizing meet ups online or in person.

And if it is a monthly block echange type of bee or a round robin duties can also include:

  1. helping keep track of who’s month it is, and if fabrics have been sent out, and recieved.
  2. keeping track of blocks made/returned
  3. deciding how to address conflicts within the bee (fabrics or blocks lost in the mail, members dropping out, tardy blocks)

What to do with an old stool?

My Grammy’s wooden stool holds a lot of memories for me. I remember sitting inside the legs pretending it was a house, a fort, a jail, a treehouse and a dozen other wonderful hideouts. Grammy would pretend she couldn’t see me when I was under that wonderful old stool. I’m sure it was a great play toy for my cousins too. I remember the day I could no longer fit inside the legs of the stool. Grammy laughed and laughed until I started laughing too. We both had tears streaming from our eyes. Those were great times.

That stool moved with Grammy from home to home until she moved in with my parents. She gave me many of her things as I was a young adult and starting out on my own. The stool was one of them. And through my own moves and life changes I have kept that old stool. I’ve used it in all my kitchens just like Grammy did. At 50 plus years old, the stool finally started having issues with staying together. The hard oak wood is still sound, but the joints, just like my own, are a little loose and the legs and cross pieces would come out of their joints. Glueing helped temporarily but within months the joints would come apart again. I want to continue to use the stool. What to do?

I took string and wound it around the base of the legs to keep pressure towards the center and the stool stayed together. So, like me, that old stool just needed a little help. The string wasn’t very pretty.

I was shopping at the Antiques Week in Texas and north of Roundtop I found a place selling upcycled useful things. I bought some giant balls. Long strips of cut up sari’s double plied and made into beautiful colorful balls of twine or yarn. The balls could be used for decor or for crafting. I wanted to use the twine for Christmas wrapping. I didn’t and the balls have been sitting in a kettle by my fireplace.

That sari cord! Yes, the perfect thing to use on the stool. After securing the base I spent three evenings trying to figure out how to wind and secure all four side at the same time. I needed to create inward pressure on the legs in order to keep the stool together.

I did figure out a way to do that, but felt that I couldn’t continue the pattern until the legs were completely covered. I did decide to go ahead and cover the legs completely. I also figured out how those rush seated chairs are woven in the process.

I’m not finished with the stool yet. But I have one side done. I think it looks I interesting and it will definitely give this chair another few decades of use.

Sharper is always better!

Sometimes I forget my own rules. Usually it’s intentional when I am in an improvisational mood. Sometimes, I am lazy and just don’t want to go find something or go to the store. Sometimes I’m just not thinking. Brains are in our heads for a reason! We should always use them.

Last night as I was cutting just two layers of fabric and my rotary blade was requiring a lot of pressure and making a loud noise as I was cutting. It was taking forever to cut the fabric. I was only about 10% of the way through all I needed to cut. Hubby came in the room and blurted out, “wow, that’s loud! How tough is that fabric?”

I set the cutter down and slapped my forehead. DUH!

Usually I have to change the rotary blades because I nick them and they don’t cleanly cut. Apparently this blade was immune to my propensity to leave needles in fabric and escaped the usual nicks. It was cutting cleanly so it didn’t occur to me that the blade was dull.

Changed the blade and was able to stack my fabric in five layers and cut the last 90% in half the time it took to do the first bit. And, it cut like butter.

The really interesting part was… after cutting I looked at my cutting mat. The dull blade made deeper wider grooves than the sharp blade. Good cutting mats are expensive.

Moral relearned: sharper cutting blades (scissors, knives, blades) are better! Safer! More accurate! And save money!

Perfect Mitered Binding

Mitered corner sewn on the machine.

I have long admired the teaching skills of Ricky Tim’s. His way of explaining this makes it easy for me. Though he uses a very special and useful tool, I find myself using any square ruler with a corner to corner line in it. Here is a video someone posted that shows the technique.

Ricky Tim’s Quilt Show Mitered Binding

1880-1900 Linen, Hemp, Cotton Textile Cleaning

Finding a huge lot of old unused and well used textiles was probably my score of the year. These poor things had been in some European abandoned attic for a hundred years. Talk about dirty! They are tough though. A hundred years of roof leaks, rodent piss, and who know what else hasn’t done much to this wonderful stuff besides make it ugly and smelly. It is still intact, still sturdy and usable. I am trying different cleaning tactics and have abandoned the washing machine with agitator for the coarser hand woven items.

Several soakings in sodium mono carbonate for two to four days is really getting the years of crap off the textiles. I plan to follow up with a final wash with some actual laundry soap to ensure the animal leavings are completely gone.

These fabrics are destined for pillows, table runners and art projects. Maybe I’ll make an apron using leather harness straps too. I have a design in mind reminiscent of an old blacksmiths apron.

Grain sacks and antique toweling first soaking in cleaning solution.Antique grain sacks and linen flax and hemp textiles submerged for cleaning

Dye Class at Houston Quilt Show 2017

I took a gradations dying class from Cindy Lohbeck. Her class was all about creating color value. I have been learning a lot this past year about value which is basically lightness or darkness of colors. In Cindy’s class we used dilutions just like I did in chemistry class back in college. We made six values from light to dark of seven different colors. It was awesome to make 42 fat quarters of these rich colors. It is something that I am going to keep in mind when I dye in the future.

On originality vs doing someone else’s pattern.

Catbird has a point of view that I ascribe to. Telling it in story form is excellent. Here it is:

Long ago in the time of gods and goddesses, there was a mountain nymph named Echo. She lived on Mount Cithaeron with other nymphs. One of their frequent visitors was Zeus, who … ahem … enjoyed the company of the beautiful sprites. Zeus’s wife, Hera, was a jealous type, and she followed Zeus to the […]

via The Curse of Echo — Catbird Quilt Studio