Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Cleaning, tatting and playing with thread

I've been tatting. Sort of. Mostly I've been hauling junk. Some years ago we started cleaning up the basement with a view to finishing it and possible moving all the computer equipment downstairs where it's cool in the summer. Then we got notice that the condominium corporation was going to re-insulate the attic of our townhouse, which was where we had stored a lot of unused stuff like camping gear and Christmas decorations. Of course hubby is a packrat and there was a lot of other stuff up there that had to come down, like a big chest full of motors that ran the various parts of hubby's robots. He built his first robot in 1962 when he was 14. The robot, and it's successors, have been dismantled, but the parts were in the attic.

Lots of things were finally thrown out, but much of it just moved from attic to basement. A full size steel shed, a box full of Avon containers which my SIL insists are worth money. Well they are, full and new in box, but empty, they're just junk. A full set of old dishes that we don't use because they have gold rims that spark in the microwave. Boxes full of encyclopedias, lots of computer programming books, and a race set with real little motors that run on a track

After the first pile of stuff got moved to the basement, other things followed. A big steel table that he though would fit in his room so that he could work on repairing computers. It didn't fit, so it got moved to the basement. Monochrome monitors to go with the Commodore computers, got replaced by the colour monitors to go with the Intel computers. The small monitors got replaced by bigger ones that were easier to see, which, in turn got replaced by flat screen monitors that use less hydro and give off less heat. The old ones still worked so they were kept, just in case,  because you never know when the new one might break and you need the old one for a while, or you need the parts, or something. I told you he was a packrat. I am too, just not as bad.

When we finally cleaned up, we got rid of an extra washer and dryer, 5 working monitors, 2 computers, 2 old TV's, 2 desks, a rocking chair, a large chunk of carpeting, 6 old metal bookshelves, the waterbed frame and other miscellaneous pieces of MDF, a Hibachi, a box full of assorted coffee mugs, 2 sets of TV trays, boxes full of books and old papers, lots of broken things had been kept because Mr Fixit here might need the parts and lots and lots of empty boxes because you know you have to have the packaging if need to return it.  We still had the boxes for things that had long since bit the dust.

The last straw came when my sweetie started to smell something funky from down in the basement whose corners we couldn't even see, let alone clean. The metal scrap collector was by our house 3 times to pick up stuff and we fortunately had 2 weekends of unlimited garbage collection that let us get rid of most of it. A stop by the Salvation Army emptied out the more usable stuff. My darling sweetheart built shelves along the wall to get everything up off the floor and then we washed down walls and concrete floor with bleach.

Once that was all cleaned up he decided that he should sand down the stairs and re-paint them. Using the sanding disks to strip off the old oil paint kicked up a lot of dust which meant that everything we'd piled onto the shelves had to be vacuumed off again, but finally, finally the basement is clean.

The downside of all this cleaning activity is that for over a month now, I have been too tired, too achy, hands too swollen to tat. I have enough energy to vegetate and that's about it. I am working on a hanky edging that would normally take me about a week to do. It's been languishing on the couch for over a month, half done, half attached. The thread I won on eBay has come and been admired, but not touched other than to sort it by colour. Here's the hanky, just as proof I haven't forgotten how to tat.

I like to use the finer threads mostly for hanky edgings and bookmarks. A nice wide edging will take the greater part of a ball of size 80 thread, but a bookmark done in multiple colours will use less than a shuttle full. A couple of years ago I realized that I wanted a lot of colours of size 80 thread. Here is my original palette, red, white, blue, red/purple, yellow/mauve variegate and a variegated blue that was given to me.

The only local source was Michaels who carried white and during the Christmas season, red and green, with each tiny ball priced at about $3. On the other hand Ebay had small batches of it for $7- $10 and with $4 or $5 shipping it worked out to roughly $1 a ball. Granted it was "used" thread with a lot of partial balls, but it also meant that for the price I got a variety of colours.  So for me it was a great deal and I ended up with lots of colours to play with.

Using someone else's colour choice helped to get me out of my comfort zone. Then, after using some of the colours in little projects, I discovered that I didn't have a lot that mixed and matched in the ways I wanted for the projects I had in mind. So I started haunting Ebay again, which is where this newest batch comes from.

The first bunch had lots and lots of greens and pinks. Pink rings for flowers and green chains for stems makes for lots of nice edgings. The latest lot has a whole bunch of white and variegated threads in every colour of the rainbow. In looking at both batches in detail I can see that they are mostly pastel colours, which I like, but I can see I need a few deeper shades for contrast. Maybe I need to surf Ebay again. Or maybe I should just get cracking and use up some of the 110 balls of thread that I have, and not be so greedy.


Anonymous said...

You can NEVER have 'too many' balls of thread. ;-) No matter how much you have, you always need a ball of *one* color you don't have for some special project you want to tat next.
Stephanie W

Kathy Niklewicz said...

Another amusing post! Love the technology story! We're not quite as bad, but I never dreamed we'd have so many tech things! The neat thing about blogging is that one sees that others' lives are just as 'crazy' as one's own! We are pack rats, also! I'm envious you actually HAVE got rid of some things! I made a slight effort but haven't gotten too far. My excuse now is that the weather is too nice to be sorting through stuff indoors.

God's Kid said...

Your hanky edging is beautiful!! :)