Thursday, July 07, 2011

We Survived 4th of July...

...and considering our idiot neighbor a block over who thought shooting off M-80s and M-120s was a good idea.... well, let's just say it's rough pulling your dogs off the ceiling when you're busy ducking because your large picture window is visibly wobbling. Luckily, a neighbor yet another block farther away was able to give the local police a decent location, and the cops started to increase their presence so that by the actual 4th of July, it was not as horrible.

My back door neighbor is a Navy veteran and when he says it sounds "like a combat zone" then I have to take that more seriously than I would otherwise.

Prayer Shawl in Pima Cotton
So, this long weekend saw several things accomplished. I'm 30 rows away from finishing the prayer shawl; which is good because unfortunately, it'll be needed soon.

I've been plugging away on it in earnest for several weeks now, and while there are speedier knitters, I'm not one of them. I am moving along as fast as I can, and remembering the premise: speed, in this case, is not the objective.

Mindfulness is the objective. Sounds like my last post? Well, in this case, doing a prayer shawl is a meditation on the person for whom it is intended. It's the one time that I really don't want to be a "product" knitter - interested in pushing out a product just to take it off my "WIP" list (work-in-progress).

While I can appreciate those who have a "stash" of prayer shawls, that's just not me. I make them for specific individuals. For example, the church ladies in my parish have a stack of "prayer blankets" and I think that's a fine ministry. That's the way they want to do it. I choose to make them differently, and that's ok.

Another addition to my knitting arsenal is the yarn pot Kid #2 did. Actually, I bought the clay and asked him to help me, but since clay is one of his hobbies, he just did it. Mainly because I bugged him...but that's a mom's right, right?

Yarn pot
Lid closed
Here's what he came up with. The clay is self-drying, so he just used some of my ornament paint, plus he rolled a clear glaze around the inside. He did a nice job; it's rustic, and while the top isn't a perfect fit, I don't care. It keeps the dog hair out! Another view shows it closed; I know he wants to do another version and I told him I'd be happy to be his "test market." Frankly, while I appreciate the lovely pots I see on Etsy, I'm tickled to know that all this one cost me was a box of clay and some sculpting tools. We also found out that the silicon mat I bought was useless. Wax paper seems to work well.

4th of July bandanas
River decked out
The next thing that got done (almost all done) were bandanas for the dogs. Since I take Tippi to do therapy work, I figured maybe I could deck her out to make her seem more approachable. We went to the Local Retirement Home on July 5, and she had to have something to wear, right? So I had purchased some fat quarters at the new JoAnn Fabric location and cut the bandanas to size. With a giant-sized snap on it, they fit her and River. Quinn, they're a little big on, but that's ok. Here are some pictures of the end product. The last bandana has to wait till I fix the tension on my sewing machine...and rip out the grosgrain ribbon that's on there... (sigh). I'm going to take the chunks of the fat quarters that are left, and (gulp!) "quilt" them together, making a "crazy bandana" for them to wear. I have fat quarters in various girly prints, since Tippi is often considered a boy dog at the Local Retirement Home.

Quinn's bandana
As you can see, we can literally tie Quinn's on her. I wanted to make them to be able to be used on all the dogs, so since River and Tippi are the largest, we went from there. I am anxious to work with the rest of the fabric, and I hope I'll have a nice selection for the coming months.

I heard on my elkhound list that there's some breed-specific fabric out there. It's holiday themed, so I'll be ordering at least a fat quarter for each breed! We do have some holiday scarves for the girls, and they'll tolerate them, so why not?

The final project that got done was the reupholstery of my chair. Now here's the story on that. We bought a La-Z-Boy couch and chair. The couch is lovely, except my feet don't reach the floor. Everyone else fits in that thing but me! So we figured we'd buy a chair to go along with it; and we found a lovely sort-of-Queen-Anne chair that I liked. Perfect reading and knitting chair. Except that the fabric didn't last 2 years, and it ripped right where the back of your knees hit. Now I could see if it ripped on the arm or where you might have something in your pocket, but I don't generally store things at the back of my knees!

Mechanically, the chair was sound. So I went to the local designer store and they assured me they could do the work on the chair. What they didn't tell me was that I'd have a coronary in the process. The chair originally cost me about $500.

My Chair
This is what it ended up looking like, with fabric that has been "wear tested" for 30,000 repetitions. So we can get into and out of the chair 30,000 times before it shows wear, so they tell me.

The first fabric I picked was my absolute favorite. But the gal made a mistake and miscalcuated. The original fabric I wanted would've cost me $800+ to have done. That's $300 more than the chair was worth new. And it's not like this is a family heirloom.

So we re-worked it and came up with this fabric. Well. It still cost me way more than the chair is worth, but it was closer to $700 than the other one. I'm not particularly happy for a couple of reasons: I liked the other fabric, in spite of its coronary-inducing cost and I was upset that she got the price so far wrong. And I didn't expect an upholstery project to cost this much just in general. This fabric is lovely; it's a little more stiff than I like, but maybe that's where the 30,000 "sits" come in! It's also a little more formal than I wanted for our very casual household.

Would I do this again? Well, not for a chair at that price. If the chair had been leather or had been a family piece, yeah, probably. But now, I wish I'd have gone with what Hubby said: Give the chair to Kid #1 when he moves out (with a makeshift cover on the bottom cushion) and buy a new one. The only thing I objected to with that was that I resented having a La-Z-Boy (who're big on advertising quality) that fell apart like that after only a few years. What if we'd bought the identical chair and 2 years after that, it did the same thing? No value there. If this fabric does last the way the designer said, then maybe this is worth the investment. In spite of the sticker shock.

On the plus side, it does match River, and she likes to sit next to it. Sometimes partially under it. So I guess I did make the right choice. Now we'll see if we can keep the elkhounds off it.

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