Sunday, November 20, 2005

too busy... clothes, and a sewing desk

No pics of current knitting at present. I'm still working on the Neverending Hap Shawl -- have done about 4" of the Old Shale border, and I think it's gonna take me months to get more done.

Also on the needles: the second of a pair of socks I started at the WWI event last weekend, since I needed something to fiddle with when not making donuts. I was surprised at how interested the tourists were in the knitting, actually -- one man asked if he could take a pic of me knitting. Wish I had a copy of that; I should've asked him to send me one. After that, I'll probably be knitting some more socks for hubby and for the nephews. I'm planning a sweater, too -- I have some gold-colored wool yarn, and am trying to decide if it wants to be a gansey or not.

I've been on a bit of a spending spree myself on clothes, but mostly accessories like sweaters and shoes and stuff, since I really don't need suits for work. And a pair of cowboy boots, on Ebay (they haven't arrived yet). I wanted a pair of cowboy boots since I long ago wore out the last pair I had (they wound up being so grungy I was wearing them in the garden), but apparently they're really "hot" right now (go figure). I decided not to let their trendiness deter me, however. Glad I didn't buy the ones on Target's website, since I saw those at the store and they wouldn't last a season.

Two weeks ago I went to PA witth another officer of my reenacting group to visit the former treasurer of the group and get some banking stuff taken care of. While at the latter's house, I noticed a nice sewing cabinet, of the type apparently called a "Martha Washington sewing cabinet*", and complimented her on it. She surprised me by offering to sell it to me for $25. I had, in fact, been looking for a small table/cabinet with drawers to go beside the sofa, so I wrote her a check and we loaded it into the car.

*The next day I saw one for sale, refinished, at an antiques show for $225. I figure that's fair -- I'd be putting about $200 of labor into this thing to get it into useable shape, as the finish needed to be completely stripped and redone. Some antiques shouldn't be refinished, but this desk was in rough shape -- cracked shellac, and one broken drawer knob. These desks were popular in the 1920s, and they were mass-produced, so there are a number of them around -- found several on Ebay when I searched a few days ago. My mom saw this one and mentioned that my great-grandmother had had one just like it.

I tried using a Formby's refinishing kit that I had to strip the cracked shellac off, but it was taking forever, and the toluene/acetone/whatever mixture kept eating through the rubber gloves (eek), so yesterday I got some citrus stripper and applied that. It has the advantage of being safe to use indoors, so I was able to do this in the kitchen, which is a benefit as the weather gets colder. The citrus stripper works great (applied two coats to some of the stubborn areas), and I was able to get the shellac off the fluted legs with the help of a scrubbing brush. Unfortunately, I think I'm allergic to the stripper (I'm allergic to citrus), so if I do this again I'll want to wear a better mask and be stricter about keeping it away from my skin.

So now it's in the garage/workshop, where I've put on one coat of a stain to even out the areas that were bleached by the Formby's kit. I need to put on a bit more stain over the next few days, and also have to get the new knobs stained to match the rest of the cabinet. Then I'll be coating it with several coats of satin polyurethane. I thought about taking it back to original with shellac or something, but... no. It'll be beside the sofa, which means coffee cups and other hard use, and since it's not a particularly valuable piece, polyurethane will be just fine. And it'll be nice to have a cabinet where I can keep my sewing stuff by the couch, instead of having it scattered all over the coffee table.

I desperately need to clean the house, since it's gotten rather more disorganized than I prefer it to be. Was looking for a knitting pattern and finally found it, but the level of chaos in my sewing room and computer room is getting a bit out of hand.


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