Wednesday, April 18, 2012

since Monday

Well this week isn't quite working out exactly as I had planned....perhaps because I didn't really have a refined or defined plan...? It has been very enjoyable so far, though.....but I am starting to feel the need for a swift kick in the butt to help me improve my productivity. Thinking about the long list of things that need to happen between now and the Annual is enough to bring on a panic attack.

So since Monday, I've...
  • read 2 books
  • been to the gym twice (for the first time this year)
  • cooked a delicious salmon dinner (with yummy leftovers :-D)
  • ripped up a couple of dozen yards of wool (it still litters my floor....)
  • steamed and squared Jumbo
  • Dyed and dried 27 skeins of slub
  • had a haircut
  • Fabreezed and sunned the stink out of my latest shipment of sari ribbons and yarns
  • visited my local quilt shop that is (sob!) closing, and scooped up a few more batiks and met a local rug hooker for the first time, while I was there.
  • done 4 loads of laundry
  • gone grocery shopping
  • made a shambles of my mud room by taking out 1/2 of the boxes from the closet and being too busy dyeing to put them back.
  • made a shambles out of my whole place, actually. Too many piles of things on almost every surface. That (hopefully) ends tonight.

So to recap the steaming.....basically the new steamer is the Cat's Ass. It is awesome. I used to think the Elna press rocked the rugs I've hooked, but now I know that it's just a long-lost cousin of my Rowenta DG5030 Pressure Iron & Steamer. It makes miracles happen right before your eyes. I had some serious wows and waves along the borders, but they have now vanished. I was pretty worried earlier this afternoon, when I was just starting. I thought there was no way that I was going to get one of the long sides to lay flat. But a couple of steaming sessions later, it looked just as good as the other side.

Armed with tape measures, rulers, pencils and paper, we set about the big job of blocking the ginormous rug (actual measurements today were 128" by 93" 10'8" by 7'9") Because of the sheer size of Jumbo and my desire to really straighten all of the edges, I did try something I've never done before - I nailed it in place while it dried. Yes, this made for extra work, but it was very much worthwhile IMHO.

My Mum and I were having a hard time getting everything squared (90º corners), but after a quick consultation with my Dad we knew the secret -- measure the two diagonals (they should be the same). Apparently this is what builders do for walls....and it appears to have done the trick for Jumbo, too. The two diagonal measurements, from corner to corner, should be identical (as should the measurements for each of the two sets of parallel sides, obviously). We had to do a little shifting on one side by 1.5" or so, but once that was done, it was simply a matter of holding it in place with nails (small finishing nails, placed about every 6" or so. The finishing nails have such small heads that it's easy to make little adjustments without having to change the nail position (just lift off the backing and then place it over the nail in another place to stretch or retract the edge). I tried to place the nails about 1" outside of the hooking (to allow for wiggle room and adjustments), and made sure they were inserted in between the backing threads (not splitting them)

Because the sun was so warm, it dried very quickly. I did end up re-steaming most sections of the rug a couple of times, and then did one last final tour around the outside edge to tweak it a bit more.

The next step is to zig-zag around the edges and trim off the excess rug warp....but as we've decided it's a 3-person job, I still have to coordinate a good time for that with my sister. It's so great to have family so close by! :-D

P.S. I know that the steamer is pricey, but I think it would make for a great group or guild purchase. Or hey, you could always recoup your investment by charging your hooking friends each time they want to use it -- $5-10 per rug would pay for it PDQ, especially when they see what an amazing job it does, and so quickly..... ;-)