Archive for the ‘wood working’ Category

ShawlPinHairSticksDone copyEver make a cardigan and not worry about putting buttons on it?  Most shawls also don’t come with closures. Sometimes when its really cold out, you kind of miss the closing option – so, make your own shawl pins!

ShawlPin2DoneThis shawl is pinned on the backside with safety pins, the shawl pin here just adds decoration.  Bling for your knitting.  (This is a pattern shawl, the Summer Flies shawl, which you can find here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/summer-flies).   Below, shawl pin doing actual pinning:


Making the Shawl Pins

You’ll need some sticks.  You can buy wooden dowels, or get sticks from the yard (both are pictured above).  If you get sticks from the yard, make sure they are a good hard wood, nothing that breaks too easily, and nothing rotten. Ideally, you want them a little thinner than a pencil so they don’t put big holes in your sweaters.

You’ll need some tools.  I used a dremel for the shaping /sanding.  You can also sand by hand, but of course it will be slower (take a nice long set-down and relax with some lemonade while you sand :-)).  You’ll need a couple of different grits of sandpaper (I used 100 grit “medium” and 220 grit “very fine”), and something to make a hole in the stick (I used a drill with a small bit -something around 1/16″ or 1.5 mm.).  You may have luck just pushing a thumbtack through it, you’ll have to try).  If you want to seal and protect your sticks, polyurethane or acrylic sealer.

You’ll need some decorations to make a big top for your stick so it doesn’t fall through your shawl.  This can be anything you think will look good.  I used an old pendent from a necklace, some wire from the craft store, a seashell from the beach, some sea glass beads, and the top of a broken hair stick.

SticksRoundingBreak your stick to about the length you’ll want it to be.  Use the dremel with the sandpaper tool, or the coarsest sandpaper to shape one end into a rounded point. Shape the other end flat by sanding a lot on one side, (or whatever shape will fit best with the decoration you chose). Tips:  If your stick starts to catch on fire or burns black, try using a slower speed.  Its a good idea to wear safety glasses.  Even though I’m right handed, I hold the dremel in my left hand and move the stick on the dremel instead of the dremel on the stick.  Mainly because I do this inside and this puts most of the dust on the table instead of in my face.

SticksSanding1Sand the sides of the stick and the rounded point smooth.  This smooths or removes the outer bark.  I do this by hand, and I used the medium grain sand paper, (#100) for this, then finish it off with the #220.   I make a hole in the flat part because I will use wire to help hold decorations on, so having a hole to put the wire through is helpful.


Staining and sealing: I used a bent up paperclip through the holes to keep the hole from getting sealed shut. I stained these to give them a little color, sanded slightly with very fine paper, sealed them with polyurethane, then sanded slightly again with very fine paper, each time just to remove any scratchiness. (Meaning you don’t really need to sand, just swipe off any rough stuff each time).


Here is an assortment of useful jeweling tools -though mostly not necessary for this. Various thicknesses of wire; and cutting, flat and rounded pliers (you can get this set of 3 pliers at the big box store for $9).  Tip: Real stuff (such as real copper and silver wire) tarnishes.  Some of the cheapo craft wire from the big box stores doesn’t tarnish quite as quickly.  If its really important to you whether your piece does or doesn’t tarnish, and you’ve got months of time before you need the piece, get some of your chosen wire and leave it out for a long time before using it to see how it looks later.  Silver can be polished with a polishing cloth from a jeweler, and I was told copper can be cleaned with damp baking soda and a soft toothbrush (but the one time I tried that I scratched the piece up, so, at your own risk!).  For this already tarnished pendant, I won’t mind when the rest tarnishes to match.  I don’t mind the old look on my knitting.

ShawlPinWireCutThroughSo, I have a thin piece of wire, about 8 inches long or so going through the hole.  Below:  I wrap it around the pendant to attach it, in and out and around it again, letting the ends wind up on the back side.  I left the loop on it where it used to hang on a necklace, I will attach another decoration here.ShawlPinWireWrapBackIt comes out looking like this from the front.  Since the wire matches, it is not that obvious.  People don’t usually look at things very closely, so its unlikely anyone will ever notice the wire, and it makes a secure attachment better than glue would.


I use some glue too.  I use Aleene’s Tacky Glue, but any craft glue would probably do.  I put some between the pendant and the stick to help hold it in place. I used an old bobby pin to dab glue on the ends of the wire to help dull them a little.  Its best to tuck them between the stick and pendant, then cut them to that length to really keep the ends from getting caught on things, but gluing them to something helps too.  I also put a dab of glue on the loop I had to open to add the butterfly decoration to help seal it shut.

ShawlPinApplyingGlueFinished pin below, securely attached and made from a stick from my yard.  This is an old pendant my mom had, but you can get pendants like it, and the butterfly, at the craft stores.

ShawlPinDone1aAnd of course once you’ve got the wire, you wind up making other fun stuff like the necklace (a crystal wrapped in wire, then wrapped in felted wool, then hung on the copper wire).

ShawlPinOnShawl pins also make great hair sticks!  (Which of course also means that if  you don’t want to make shawl pins, you can buy hair sticks with big tops to use as shawl pins.)

ShawlPinHairStickDetails on each stick:  1. Stick from the yard with necklace pendants, stained and polyurethaned.  2. Wooden dowel, unstained, red wire wrapped around a glass stone (glue behind the stone helps with security).  3.  Wooden dowel, stained and polyurethaned, seashell glued on to a flat end of the stick with copper wire wrapped around for both decoration and security.  A separate wire is bent and hanging through the hole, beads added to each end, and wire wrapped into spirals with the round nose pliers to hold the beads on.  4.  Wooden dowel, I tried my hand at making a spiral shaft, but you really kind of need a wood turning machine.  The pendant glued and wired on to this was the top of a broken hair stick. 5.  Haven’t decided what to put on this stick from the yard yet, but it is urethaned and ready….   6. This was a chopstick from a chinese restaurant, unstained.  I colored it with colored pencils to look like those harmony wood knitting needles you see in magazines. (This was an experiment, didn’t come out quite like I hoped, but its okay.)  Copper colored wire wrapped through the hole and spiraled at the ends to hold the bead on.

ShawlPinHairSticksDone copy


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It’s been a long time since my first post on my Ashford Kiwi (here: https://ilovesocks.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/the-ashford-kiwi/).  I have since learned to spin much better yarn, had much fun mixing colors, and even spinning funky yarn.  Here’s one example, some home spun socks, and I put green coils in some of this yarn so that when I knit it would come out looking like these caterpillars.  I added some butterflies after making this yarn a scarf.  (I haven’t blocked this yet, the edges will probably look straighter after that.  This is another chevron scarf following this easy pattern – domesticrafts)KnittingCaterpillarScarfSocks

Back on topic – finishing my wheel!  I have stained and varnished things before, but never once have I done it RIGHT.  I always just painted things with random stuff and ended up with something scratchy feeling with odd lumps of varnish on it, so I hesitated all of these years.  In a way, that was a good thing.  This project wound up taking about 2 weeks in all, so if I had done it when I first got the wheel, I would have gone crazy having to wait so long to use it!  But now, after all of those years of spinning, this is how my unfinished Ashford Kiwi looked:


As you can see, you don’t really see the wood grain, its just flat and pale, but by far the worst looking thing is all of the lubricating oil which seeped up and down the pedals and footmen.  The wood looked so very thirsty, I decided to give it, and all of these other spinning accessories some love!  I wrote to Ashford and asked if any of this was going to be possible in this condition, and the answer was yes.  I just had to use sandpaper to sand off all of the oil down to clean wood.  (If you do this, be sure to only go up and down with the grain, I went in circles with the rougher sand paper and a little of that showed later.)  So began this learning adventure in woodworking.

Ashford recommends a paste wax.  I have waxed a floor before and it came out looking about the same as before and not very shiny.  So, I don’t know, the wax may be wonderful, but I wasn’t excited about that idea.  They had said in the past that danish oil was fine, but a negative about it is that it would cause dirt from feet to collect on the pedals and stain them.  I figured at this point I’d just try to spin in clean socks.

First application: (Best done outside, on a warm day with no pollen flying around.)  I decided to use Danish Oil.  In the beginning of this project, I was still looking for easy and fast and didn’t want to have to do a bunch of sanding beyond the amount needed to clean the wheel up, and it looked like Danish Oil would allow a quick application without needing sanding afterward, or to be reapplied after years.  (I am no longer sure if it’s true about not reapplying.  I’m getting all of this from the great wisdom of the internet –  so there is a lot of disagreement about just about everything.)  So, I sanded with a coarse sandpaper, then 220 grit, and had disassembled only to this point pictured. Then I applied the Danish oil in “medium walnut” with a paintbrush.  The oil will collect in the carved kiwi bird, so be sure to hold it sideways and pour it out of him right after applying and wipe off.  After waiting a few minutes as the can instructed, I wiped the oil off with a cotton rag and allowed to dry.


I LOVED the color, but as you can see, it was completely devoid of shine (this is a flash photo and you can see no light bounce-back from any of the pieces at all, only a window reflection on the floor).  The great and wise internet said that if you do coat after coat of danish oil, it will eventually get shine, but I do not know if this is true.  I did only one coat and didn’t really want to do any more.

I like that it absorbs into the wood, the particle board wheel just drank it right up.  Because the parts are different wood types, I expected them to come out different colors, and they are, but it doesn’t look bad at all.

So I read up some more and found that if I wanted shine, I could then coat after danish oil with a clear, oil based polyurethane (I chose semi-gloss).  There is much disagreement about whether one should do this over danish oil on the great wise internet, it seemed to be about 50/50 yes and no.  The no’s basically said that it wasn’t necessary, so since they had no other negative points, I went ahead, because by this time I had learned that the danish oil may or may not dry out and need reapplying.  So, not only did I want more shine, I wanted to seal the oil in and be done for good.  Time and future posts will tell how this wheel holds up.

I had to wait until the danish oil dried before applying the polyurethane, and while it was essentially dry after a couple of hours, it SMELLED of what I guess is linseed oil for about 10 days.  The dissipation of the smell is supposed to indicate complete dryness, so they say.  (You will want a dry place to allow it to sit for days away from where you or anyone else has to sleep.)

Waiting and sanding: I waited about 2 weeks (which I had to do anyway because it took that long before the weather got warm and dry enough).  In the days after drying and before I planned to do the polyurethane, I sanded any little nubs off of everything with 220 sandpaper where necessary, and with finer 600 black sandpaper afterward for complete smoothness. I then wiped all the sawdust off with a damp cotton cloth (cut up old t-shirt) and let dry.

The day of the final staining:  I tried applying the polyurethane with a brush, but this made little bubbles rise up on the wood, and I didn’t want any extra bumps, so I put it on with the brush, then wiped smooth with a small cotton rag (gloves necessary).  I let it dry, re-sanded with the 600 sandpaper (which really wasn’t much sanding at all, just a few swipes here and there), then wiped the sawdust off with a slightly damp rag and let the dampness dry a few minutes.  I reapplied another coat of polyurethane the same way with the rag and let dry.  Then, a final quick swipe with the 600 sandpaper to make sure everything was super smooth.

I LOVE IT!  It is so beautiful and shiny and smooth, I can’t even believe I made that happen myself!  (Every time I’m near it I pet it and admire its beauty!)   This is the finished lazy kate – so shiny!  The wood grain shows up, and those white stripes going vertical in this photo actually move like the shine inside a tiger eye stone when you move it back and forth in the light.  I find it kind of amazing.


This closeup of the bobbin assembly shows the shine and the grain in the wood.  (I did not finish inside the edges of the bobbin or the edges of the wheel to prevent the fishing line and drive band from slipping on the smooth surface.)


I love my kiwi, and I’m happy it is now not only more beautiful, but protected.


Note:  Do read the warnings on the cans. Both danish oil and polyurethane have nasty vapors and could start fires if you aren’t careful.  Just follow what it says on the can and it’ll all be alright.

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