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Arts and crafts: a nice relaxing way to have a nervous breakdown

Spring is coming, the energy is changing around me and I feel the urge to create something. It’s too soon to garden, so I took it into my head to pick back up on a crafting project I’d set aside a few years back when the logistics of what I wanted to do vs. my actual skill level ran up against each other. It was a loom beadwork design I’d made myself, but I needed it to be 10″ long, and the little hobby loom I have allows for about a third of that.  Since I wasn’t sure if the finished item (beaded dog collar) would work out, or if I’d have any desire to ever pick up a loom again after that attempt, forking out twenty bucks or so for a larger adjustable loom seemed unwise.

  • Several days were devoted to Googling the problem I had run into before.
  • Another day spent trying an alternate technique for the project, which didn’t pan out.
  • Several more days passed before I could pick up a buckle dog collar, which was needed.
  • And today, being off work and up bright and early, I decided to embark upon the actual project!

Ideally I would need Nymo or some other nylon thread, some tiny pliers, and beeswax. Again, refer back to the “what if this is something I will lose interest in,  better not spend a bunch of money” mental argument, above. Plus all these things come from Earth Guild in Asheville, and my plans for the morning didn’t involve driving all the way Asheville and parking downtown.  I figured I could use the cotton thread I already have for sewing, a bit of a regular candle, and in a pinch (no pun intended) my teeth, for nipping out errant beads. And if I actually finished this, and it turned out well, then I could pick up the proper equipment if I was still interested in beading.

OK, so the first hitch I hit was that my existing pattern I’d made was one row too wide for the collar. Back to the design table.

  • An hour was spent Googling for free patterns I could use that were the right size. Nope.
  • Another hour or so looking for the original pattern and software, realizing both were apparently lost to a drive crash a few years back, and then redownloading the software, which had been upgraded since I last used it.
  • Not sure if I am going to stick with this, so reluctant to pay for the upgrade, seemed to work in a trial mode so lets recreate the design. Spent about a half hour on that.
  • It would have helped if I’d noted that I would not be able to print in trial mode. Went back to the site, paid for upgrade, which thankfully unlocked it right away.

From what I’d researched, to make the longer item I needed, I should cut warp threads three times the length of the actual project, then string the little craft loom as I normally would, except wrapping the excess thread around the wooden spindle so I could let out more as the project progressed. It sounded pretty straightforward.

What ensued was another hour spent trying to untangle the 16 30″ threads over and over, I thought maybe if I waxed them that might help but then they just got sticky. I tried combing them apart and now I have wax on my only comb. At one point I was actually attached to the loom with a snarl of tacky black thread; the phone rang in the middle of this and I knew if I tried to untangle myself to get it, I’d never get the knots out. The urge to take a pair of scissors to it, toss it in the trash, and Never Speak of This Again was great, but I was determined not to give up.

I tried taping down various strands I’d freed, adding uncooperative generic scotch tape to the mix. I did eventually get the loom strung, though it remains to be seen what is going to happen when I try to reel out the additional warp strings. By now I was pretty defeated, but after all that work I was bound and determined to bead. Yes, I did spill beads everywhere — I’m sure anyone reading this saw that one coming — and spent who knows how long crawling around on the floor picking them up.

I am very, very, grateful that at the last second before starting, I did realize I had the loom reversed and all that extra warp thread would have been on the wrong end once I started beading. Finding that out later on after I’d put several hours of work in would most likely have been the end of me and crafts.  I’m also thankful that no cats came to help until just as I was ready to stop and put the loom away anyway.

My eyes are a bit sore, I have a headache, my neck hurts, and I’ve wasted half a day to spend a half hour of actual beading, but here’s what I have so far:



Paddy says Hello

I was trying to get Paddy to bark on command but he apparently took ‘speak’ a bit more literally than that…

Who knew that Paddy would sound like a cross between Scooby-Doo, and Lurch from the Addams Family, if he could talk?