Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Year 16, Week 46, Day One (week 877)

Year 16, Week 46, Day One (week 877)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
11-19-16 Saturday

68 degrees at six, 78 high, some meandering puffs, sometimes blocking the sun for a while. Negligible breeze. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.


I went to the turning club meeting. We had our elections for officers. As with most organizations, finding people who will do the work is tough. Our bylaws allow only two terms for president. That forces us to mix it up periodically. 

The demonstration was on Sea Urchin ornaments. We have done these several times over the years. This was a new technique. Before, we would do stuff like glue the finial and top cap to the shell and hope the shell holds. We would sometimes fill the shell with a spray foam to give it some strength as Shells can break easily.
With this new technique, he made it so a “rod”went between the finial and top cap so the shell was not holding any weight at all. He said he used super-glue inside and out to give the shell extra  strength. There are other methods to do the same thing such as other glues or fillers. I am using the terms Finial and Top Cap, simply because it is common to have the long dangling part on the bottom. One could have it on top if that is your design preferences. You could even have finials on both ends. Whatever you have on top is the top cap. 
Now the guy he saw this method from, would simply drill holes in the finial and in the top cap and glue in a separate rod (like a skewer) between them. This demonstration, though, was to turn the rod as part of the piece.  
I will say that this member doing the demonstration is a nationally known master turner who demonstrates at many of the symposiums around the country. Since I turn like Godzilla, I am not sure I will ever get that rod the right diameter. 
With this method, the shell holds no weight at all, and is not taking the stress of mishandling. It is just held there in place between the two pieces. 
He said that it is best to use a hard wood with straight grain if you intend to go very thin. Concentrate on getting the farthest end from the motor exactly the way you want it before you move on. It is best not to touch the finished end once you get it right so you are not placing any force on the piece while correcting something. 

I have not turned since before the hurricane passed so all I had to show was the spiral ornaments I carved a few weeks back. 


Mom and I visited several yard sales together on the northern loop. Several of the yard sales we visited also had them last weekend.  While several had more stuff, I did not get anything else at them. We visited a sale by some people who have had them several times a year. They separated the men’s stuff from the woman’s stuff. She had a mini muffin pan with some 20 muffin cups. It was brand new, still had the label on it. I barely use the ones I have. There were other things where I just did not have room for or would be a long time before I could use. I walked away from her section empty handed. 
The man once had a warehouse for his business and he finally closed it out. He had some tools available. When I was trying to figure one tool out on my own, I thought it was a puller for removing pulleys from shafts or something like that. I then learned that it was a tenon cutter for cutting ends of rods like found in chair. I don’t always get my guess right.  There were other small items that I could make use of. It came home with me along with a few other small items.
At several the yard sales, there was a lot of Christmas stuff. Some people are upgrading, down-sizing or discarding extras so they might have room for something else. Mom used to have loads of Christmas stuff that filled a shed, and has gotten rid of most allof it over the years. I sometimes tease her about it by saying, “they have some Christmas stuff here.”
I saw bookshelves at three of the yard sales. I am not ready for them but I would love to have gotten them.  One never has enough bookshelves.
When we got back, I headed out on my own. I needed to stop at the hardware store and another place, so I used that run as an excuse to continuing to look at yard sales. I was surprised at how few yard sales there actually were. This excellent weather was predicted all week. Of course, there were a couple sections I avoided entirely as I was in a hurry. 
One yard sale I stopped at is with an elderly gentleman who has sales two, possibly three times a year. He has a lot of stuff. I understand he took stock from a couple stores that were closing. He had a big box (two by two by three foot tall) filled with stuffed animals. The entire time I was there, they were screaming at the top of their lungs for me to take them home. It sometimes is almost enough to make one cry.  I ended up getting hit by a six inch cast iron fry pan and had to take it home with me. I will stop buying cast iron pans when I see it is becoming a problem...... I do notice the floor sagging in the area where I keep them....

I arrived home and took the two by fours out to the back. I wanted pressure treated lumber for the base of my lathe. I found out that I only needed one board, not two. I intended to measure before I left and forgot. I brought out my Saws-All and when I pulled the trigger, it did not work. After a few minutes of making sure power was coming to it, I remembered that it had died on me just before the storm. 
I cut the board in half with a hand saw. The “branch cutting saw” would cut a little bit then get stuck as the moist treated wood expanded and bound on the wood as I cut. I rotated the board several times until I decided the saw would not work any more. I then put the board on an angle and applied weight on one side and heard a crack. I flipped it over and applied pressure and it broke. 
I then took out a solid two by two as I needed screw blocks. Mom got me her Saws-all style cutter from Harbor Freight. She told me it had no guts. It did bind a lot until I found out how to handle it. With a light pressure and the blade a distance away from the base, it cut quickly. I have some fence post pieces and cut them to length also with the cutter. 
I pre-drilled the blocks for the screw that goes into the 2x4s. I am not good on the ground, but since I was not in the mood of lifting the base to a working height,  I got on the ground to work. I set the block in place and marked where the screw that goes through the legs of the lathe go. I then started the screw into the wood and backed it out, and then placed the block in place, working both screws down in stages. The legs are at an angle in two directions which makes it tough to get in the right position to drive a screw . 
Once I got all four blocks partially screwed in place, I tipped the lathe stand up on end and tightened all the screws in a more comfortable position. Finishing the tightening of the screws only took a minute.
At this point I was looking at the blocks that the lathe will sit on when the wheels are up and the wheel assembly and was sort of at a loss as to how to go next. Later on in the day when resting, I figured it out. Not as hard as I was thinking, but not as easy as I first imagined. 
After mounting the boards it was time to pack up. It does slide on the boards which it would not do with the bare ends of the legs. If I had to, I could use it like this, but will put the wheels on. 

I hope to have the lathe all back together next weekend. It will free up a lot of space. As my stuff is well scattered. 

My brother is not coming up tomorrow so I figure I will stop at Mom’s for a short while since I will be in the area, have lunch with them, and then head home. 

I have a lot of projects in mind. I really want to try making rocking horse ornaments. I think that would be an interesting project. I need to re-paint my angel ornaments and decorate my paint brushes. I traditionally get my ornaments done by the end of November and show them off all December. Most of my ornaments end u p as gifts. I had hoped to have a whole lot more done by now. The storm really threw me off my pace. 

I will see what I do next weekend. 


sea urchin ornament

another vewe of sea urchin ornament.

some of the tools I picked up. I forgot to get a picture of the tenon cutter

drum sanding kit

six nch fry pan

lathe on 2x4 base. support blocks sitting on top.

Year 16, Week 45, Day One (week 876)

Year 16, Week 45, Day One (week 876)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
11-12-16 Saturday

68 degrees at down, Mostly blue sky early morning, high streaks of feathers with misty milk splashes. Very light breeze all day long. 77 at about 10 in the morning with some light puffs and it stayed about the same all day long, possibly up to 83. They sky was bright, but the sun was not up when I headed to Mom’s house. When we headed out to breakfast half an hour later, the sun was well to the south of us. We don’t seem to remember the sun being that far south, though we have had a month of cloudy weather where we never saw the sun in the morning, and I figure that explains a lot. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.

Here in Florida, we have a lot of Vanity Licence plates. There is a joke that says “You can tell it is fall by the changing of the color of licence plates. Because of all the vanity plates, it is sometimes hard to spot the other states plates. Traffic nearly doubled in the past few weeks. 

A local church was having a craft sale. It started at nine, and we were finished with breakfast  at eight, so we decided to check out some yard sales. There were several yard sales side by side and a few almost within view of each other. That made it enjoyable. We only followed the Northern part of our loop as the church we were going for the craft sale was on a road level to Mom’s house.
Near the top part of the loop heading north we found our first yard sales. One yard sale was visible to the right, and signs pointing to the left. We went left first and found two yard sales side by side. I picked up some cookie cutters and a clamp-on desk lamp at the first one and almost missed the one next door. We then hit the one we saw before we turned to see the first two.
As we headed south and found four more yard sales In quick succession, some with two side by side. We saw signs for, but could not find, two other yard sales. 
It is common for close neighbors to “double up” for yard sales. The same sales signs for both, and yard sailors love it as there is more selection between them. 

The craft show is fun to look at. There was lots of knitting and crochet, sewing, beading, decorated items just to name a little of what they had. One woman made clothes for Barbie style dolls, another made manger scenes using cloth wrapped doll rods, and pine cones for a tree behind them. 
One thing I learned at last year’s show, was to look closely at the ornaments on the Christmas trees they have set up around the place.  One can get interesting ideas from what they have. If you are not up to making your own ornaments, they are great selections.
The ornaments that caught my eye this time were angels. One type was made of shells. One shell for the dress, and then two shells for the wings, with a bead for the head. They added a gold decorative trim material down the front and wrapped around the neck of the “gown. The face was painted on and a tiny bit of separated yarn wrapped around to be hair or a bow. Another kind was a tiny bit of lace or fabric made into a cone and a a pair of silver silk leaves for wings and again, a bead for the head. There was a tiny bow for the hair. A third was the same style but a crochet dress and wings. There were other crafts that were nice to look at and if I had no ability to make things, I might actually buy. 

I have an arm style lamp at home over my keyboard of my computer. I aim it at the ceiling and it gives good bright, but diffused light, onto my desk. This week, the switch died on me. When I saw a lamp at a yard sale and grabbed it up.  After I got home, I partially disassembled the lamp to see what the connections were on the light socket. I was a little disappointed that the wires were soldered instead of attached by screws. I saw that I would have to bring my light with me tomorrow and see what I had to do to swap the sockets. 

I addressed my lathe by removing some boards. One shelf board, I figured out, was added during the assembly of the stand. I had purchased the lathe and stand from a friend, ages ago. I essentially had to bend the board to get it out. 
I could not quite figure out how I had attached the stand to the wooden base. I removed a couple screws in a block and it would still not move. As I was playing around, I realized there was little holding stand to the rotted end of the board. I decided to use brute force to solve my problem. I brought out the scissor jack that I had gotten three or four vehicles ago. And put that on the base with the head beneath a rail. I cranked it up and the wood complained before a screw gave. One side didn’t want to move even though the jack was centered so I moved it next to that leg and cranked. It finally gave. I was right, there was nothing holding the other end up or down. The delaminated layers of plywood on that end were bent down and supported nothing. 
I learned I had screwed a block to the plywood from above, and then put a screw through the metal of the leg into the side of the block. That side screw was what I could not see when I attempted to remove the base. I left two “Rails” on the lathe frame, one with a bunch of PVC pipe pieces screwed in to hold the tools. They were in good condition and did not warrant moving them. 
By this time, I had formed a blister in the palm of my hand from the screw driver. I Then popped it when I placed it against the corner of a board while pushing my tool cart under cover. It had been a very long time since I had to work with so many screws with a small screwdriver and I seem to remember I gained a blister then too. The drills and power screwdrivers are still buried in the shed. 
Having the base off, I had to drag the empty lathe bed and frame a bit farther in and saw instantly I was not going to use the lathe without wheels. I was already feeling my day, so I chose to end it then and there. 

Other than going out to feed and give lots of attention to Momma kitty, I stayed inside and relaxed the rest of the day. 

Tomorrow’s plans are up in the air. If my brother comes up, I will do some work at mom’s. If he does not, I might head home early to do some work at home. 

I will see what I do tomorrow.

 Year 16, Week 45, Day Two (week 876)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
11-13-16 Sunday

68 early morning, 76 mid morning and 83 in the afternoon, light breeze. Some tiny well spaced puffs soldiered across the sky, not effecting the sunshine. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.

My brother came up so I had both the lamp I picked up yesterday, and the one from home. The lamp I picked up was a higher quality lamp, but it was far too short and would not work for my desk situation, so I stripped a good lamp to fix a cheap lamp. 
My brother gave me some help. He was replacing some boxes that had tiny parts and screws so he was sorting their contents as he moved them from the old box to the new box.

I disassembled my old lamp and was disappointed that it was also soldered. I asked my brother and he said we could cut the wires and splice them together. That solved my problem. I cut the wires for both lamps and swapped the socket. I learned something about electricity today. I had noticed that there was a large prong and small prong on the plug. He had me find out which wire, using a meter went to the small plug. He then had me place the meter to the center contact in the socket and which wire went to that. That went to the center small prong. He said that if we got it backwards, one could get shocked when trying to change the bulb. 
He used wire-crimps to connect each wire and then a shrink tube (which he had me use a torch to shrink and I almost burned it as I was too close)  over the connection. The  lamp worked and is now giving the light that my desk badly needed. 

I still had time so I decided to strip the lathe base of the hardware. The wheels were my first requirement. My brother put them on using a pair of pipe hangers and some wood block to hold their side to side position in place. Other than one bolt turning through, I removed them easily. About the time he put the wheels on, he was using a hole saw to drill out some holes in metal. He used the metal plugs as fender washers to give the heads of the bolts something to grip into the wood with. 
One of the blocks was still on the board and that needed to be removed and that used hex head screws. The bolts were useful.  I removed a few other items bolted on and now had what was a mostly stripped board going out into the trash. 

Mom does not want those shelves on the lathe as it collects sawdust even when I have protection to misdirect the dust. What I am thinking is to get a pressure treated two by four, and attach them to the legs length ways. I then put the pressure treated blocks and wheels across sideways. The base will simply be a frame. 
The design of the wheels are to be able to be lifted out of the way and drop the lathe down on the blocks so it will not move anywhere. I found so far that I have not done any project where I have had to drop it down onto the blocks. That is used for really out-of-center pieces Because there was a lot of weight on the lathe shelving, it did not need that additional staying power of the wheels down. 
If I am not having shelves to put weight on the lathe, I am going to need to drop the lathe down on the blocks more for stability. I do expect, though, that it will roll a lot easier. 
What I will need to do is to get a pressure treated 2x4. One thought is to get some diamond mesh and make the shelving with that so the sawdust will pass through, but could have storage on the lathe. I am not sure if I have the tools to cut mesh. I will have to see what is available and what I have to work with. 

I have plans for next weekend. Some stuff are going to be moved under the awning that had not been there before. I guess I will have a very busy weekend tomorrow. 

It looks like there will be a Turning Club meeting Thursday. Something I wanted to bring to the meeting was put away for the storm and I cannot find it. I might have to empty out selected sections of rooms just to see if that is where it is. 

I will see what happens next weekend. 


Shell angel ornament

lace and leaf angel  ornament

crochet angel ornament

manger scene example

cookie cutters

cookie cutters

the lathe up on end without shelving and base board

base board

rotted end of board with wheels still attached.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Notes on Crochet

I don’t remember the last time I wrote exclusively about crochet, if I have ever done so. I mostly talk about woodworking.

I have found that when I am in a doctor’s office, or dealership waiting room, or other place where I have time to kill, I have a choice of reading, playing games, or working crochet. Each has their advantages and disadvantages. One thing I can say about Crochet. At the end of the day, you have something to show for your efforts, and they make great gifts.  I was given a tablet for Christmas and found that I may go many levels in the game, but when I turn the tablet off, I have essentially wasted time. Also, crochet tends not to run out of batteries......

* * * *

Recently, I have seen where people have used cardboard tubes to make yarn balls that pull out from the center. I have also seen where one can use a knitting needle to create one. I used the needle one a couple years ago and was not too impressed.

Last year, I discovered a method of creating a ball where the center pulls out, that is simple and needs no special equipment at all. Recently  I created a quick video demonstrating how it is done.

Basically the way it works is that you look the yarn around two or three fingers with a whole bunch of wraps. You hold the starting end of the yarn between a couple other fingers so it stays put. I have had great luck when it is attached to a project and the skein has gotten floppy.
I have had the best luck with three fingers, but my demonstration was two fingers as the ball is small. Three fingers ends up with a slightly bigger hole which is easier to make into a ball.

I remove the loops from my fingers, still holding the starting end, and put my thumb into the starting end hole. I then wrap the sides, rotating it. After several times around, the ball starts building up. Your thumb keeps the hole open. You don’t have to care about the bottom hole. It disappears after a while. If you continue wrapping top to bottom straight, as you did when you start, the ball becomes teardrop or heart shape.

When the ball becomes big enough, I will change my angle so I miss the very bottom and let it build up like a tire for a while. Then I return to top to bottom again a bit later, which helps hold it together. Now you are missing the bottom and wrapping the sides.

When I run out of yarn, or cut the yarn if it is big enough, I tuck the outside end end beneath a few strands of yarn so it stays put.

While working, I will test pull the end out a little to make sure it is free. You should not pull very much out because you then wind up with a long strand sticking out, out of control. Unless you are working with a project  on the end, the less sticking out the better.

In the fifty to a hundred times I have made these balls, I have had four early failures where the center did not pull out.  I was able to get the center started on one failure after pulling out a big glob. To tell the truth, I have had worse luck with commercially wrapped skeins of yarn I picked up over the years.

This is the link to my video on hopow to make a center pulling ball

* * * * * *

I got into crochet mainly to make stuffies – stuffed animals. I found though, that I love quick and easy projects and stuffing the creations is a bit of a bother as it has to be done under controlled conditions, such as at the table, rather than wherever you find yourself as crochet itself tends to allow you to do.

My very first two bears.

I have made a lot of dish cloths and scarves as they are comparatively quick and easy projects. I have made them for Christmas many years, giving them to the women I am associated with. Many of the dish cloths I have made ended up on display rather than being used.

While making a scarf or dishcloth might sound boring, they allowed me to explore different stitches. Unlike a blanket, if the results are not great, one can go to another one very soon to try something else.

One of my favorite stitches is the wave, where you go from half stitch, single stitch, half double, double, half treble, treble, then half treble, double, half double, single, half single. And do that all the way across in one color, then go back across in another color doing the exact opposite stitch, half single on the end of a treble, and a treble on the end of a half single. I found the best results was to do a regular row right after of the same color, then swapping colors. This is a stitch that tests your concentration as it is so easy to get on the wrong stitch and have to undo some of it because it did not come out straight. I tend to only do this after I have done several other pieces and am nicely in tune with the work.

wave stitch dish cloth.

These small projects allow one to stretch one’s skills. More than once, I have frogged (ripped out) an entire project because it came out bad. Ripping out a scarf because the edges wander is much nicer than doing that on a four foot wide blanket .

The project I have on the hooks right now is a “Christmas Scarf.” I liked the color of the Red and realized a big sheet of fabric of just that color was not going to be really good. I grabbed some other colors I had and started making stripes, red, yellow, green (I did not have white with me at that moment) so it looks like Christmas.