Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Frustrating Attempts to Craft But Victory in the End...Maybe

Okay so yesterday, I announced that I was making Dew Drop Shawls for the female members of my family.

I priced the loom used in the video. Yowser! It is expensive! $46 without the shipping added. For me these days, anything over $20 is expensive. Especially for a want. Granted this isn't a one time use thing. It allows me to stretch the possibilities of things I can still do. It's crafty and creative. But I still have to buy the yarn I have in mind to make the blasted shawls too. I couldn't justify the cost in my mind.

So I reverted to my favorite pass times once again- Google search and youtube for a cheaper alternative. I could build my own for less than $20. Now I really don't have any confidence in my skills with power tools like saws yet, but my local Home Depot could take care of that. A hammer and nails I think I can do, but keep in mind my work bench is inaccessible in my garage with half my tools.

My BIGGEST mistake...thinking!

So I come home with my prize, 3/4 inch square dowels cut to 24 inches and 3 inches for two side pieces, enough wire brads to do the job, and some Gorilla glue to make sure the nails didn't move. All I spent was $17. I thought, Cool! And, they wanted $46 for this. Sanding it all smooth as a baby's behind was a piece of cake. I braced the pieces between my belly and the edge of my desk and used a very fine sponge sanding block. I made the block with stuff I had on hand by taping 220 grit sand paper around a kitchen sponge.

According to the instructions, I had to measure down the middle (roughly) of each dowel and draw a line. Simple, right? WRONG!

 Hurdle #1- Have you ever tried to draw a straight line with a ruler on a raised surface one handed? The ruler moves, the block moves, and the line is waving like a ship being tossed in a hurricane.
The Fix- Used the other dowel to support the ruler and put thumb tacks to hold it in place. Now I make no bones about doing anything with my nondominant left hand. I suck at using a pencil with it. The line is fairly straight after three attempts. I only have to do this three more times on the other pieces to the loom.

Next, according to the instructions, is marking the nail holes along the length. I knew the spacing on the All-in-One loom so this was a no brainer. I took my double pointed compass out and marked along the line in purple ink. Why purple ink? Because I can. There was no way I was going to take a ruler and figure out what marks went there 3/8th of an inch along a 24 inch length. I knew my brain couldn't hack it. I left enough space along the long pieces to account for the joining cross pieces. Huzzah! The brain remembered!

Hurdle #2- Holding the dowel in place while I traveled the compass down the length.
The Fix- Brace it against my keyboard and put my paralyzed arm against it.

Now all I needed was a hammer to nail the brads in place deciding that I would first do this before gluing and screwing the frame together. I also decided not to pre-drill the nail holes. The nails only had to go in 3/4 of an inch. There I go thinking again.

I've got FOUR hammers of varying weights, sizes, and uses. But could I find just one? NOOO! Ah! There they are! On my work bench as they should be. There is only five feet of boxes and sacks in between them and me. No way I'm going to be able to move them out of the way by myself to get one from my work bench on my own. And, climbing Mt. Everest is not my list of fun things or accomplishments for this year or ever. The attempt is not worth the risks. Thank you, daughters #2 & #4 and a smattering of grandchildren for leaving me this mess. Off to my local thrift store to buy another hammer. Success! I can hammer nails now.

The results.
Being a smidgen off in the long line makes a difference. By not pre-drilling the holes, the nails went in crooked. The only good thing about this is...I learned my lesson and tried it. It's back to the drawing board for me. At least, I tried to nail the nails on the short piece first.

I'm going to have my beloved draw some straight lines for me when he wakes up. Luckily this is a square dowel so there are four sides to draw on. I'll remark my nail hole, and pre-drill the nail holes.

I'll make a handy dandy depth gauge like the instruction show out of 1/4 inch washers taped together. That way I'm sure to get the nail 3/4" across the board evenly plus it's a bigger nailing surface to hit. I've got at least forty of them in an easy accessible spot thank to my scavenging husband. He's one of the few men I know that will thoroughly take apart something broken and scavenge all the nuts, screws, and anything else that might be useful one day. It drove me batty, but now I'm thankful.

Now where is my drill or my Dremel tool so I can pre-drill my nail holes? Oh, that's right! They are on my work bench. ARGH! I'll be back with a picture of the finished project, but it may be a while.

Nothing is impossible with determination.