Tag Archives: heywood wakefield

String me up…

Gift knitting is wrapping up, work has been extra workful, I’m making a point of spinning for a little bit often to strengthen my wrist, and I feel like I’m not making enough progress in anything even though many things are finally getting my attention…

The mild winter had me fooled that I would be puttering about the yard now thinking about landscaping, digging some new beds, and playing with some of the great rocks we’ve unearthed around the property. But frigid temps, frozen ground, massive mud pits, and all around unpleasantness except for some brilliantly sunny days have kept me indoors and driven me partially underground to the basement.

Two more pieces of our Heywood Wakefield set are now refinished. Two more to go – the biggest and heaviest – two dressers – but those might have to wait until better weather so we can work on them outside, or at least with the windows wide open.

basement-refinishing heywake

And I’ve got these boxes and tubs still to unpack, redistribute (though there’s really no more room elsewhere), be rid of, or re-packed more efficiently and stored in a location I’ve yet to find or create. In our last house, the basement consisted of two rooms of piled boxes and tubs from hasty moves, art school crap, parental home downsizings, and childhood nostalgic detritus. We weren’t there long enough to deal with them, and now, though other things need to be done, I’m feeling done with them and have finally begun to tackle the heap.*

basement-unpacking

They’re full of art supplies, real photography supplies, rocks, shells, vintage tablecloths, a couple of washed fleeces, vintage dishes, paper making supplies, a few duplicate kitchen supplies, that blasted punch bowl, old rusty crap, sewing tools and notions, things from childhood, pots and plates I threw but don’t use but can’t get rid of, and a few more boxes of books outside the frame that I am able to cull without too much pain, as well as some giant photographs and paintings I just can’t figure out…

But with every one, surprises lurk inside.

basement-spools

In a tub that also contains chopsticks, drink stirrers, hanging hardware for picture frames I no longer have (or maybe re-stored in my folk’s basement?), clock parts for the clocks I used to make and sell, pez dispensers (why do I have so many fucking pez dispensers?), detached butterfly wings plucked from car grills, a series of vintage plastic robots, dried up tins of adhesives, glass bead making tools (some of them, others I gave away), the screwdrivers I’ve been looking for for two home renovations and was convinced I left in the old house, another staple gun (I think that makes 4 in our house now), tea balls, plaster tape for casts or sculpture, and finally a cigar box of old thread and trimmings from an estate sale, and a shoe box full of little spools of tatting thread from my once beloved thrift store.

basement-tatting

The contents of the tub indicate it was thrown together in 2008 – kitchen materials mixed with tools and craft supplies – place it in my old apartment’s kitchen/dining room/hall closet area, an s-curve shaped space of quirky lets-carve-an-apartment-out-of-this-grand-old-home because it’s the depression and we got killed in the market architecture. Perhaps I dug around in it once since then, but mostly it stayed in our old basement, then the storage unit for a few years. I knew I had some collections of old spools of thread, but I thought I had them all with me already – I had no memory of having this much more. And the tatting stuff? Completely forgot, though now I remember I wanted to frame some of them…

basement-thread

I’m on the fence a bit about using vintage supplies – on the one hand, they are supplies, meant to be used and used up, and I have no qualms about using a few inches of thread here and there to to make repairs on like-colored clothing or for a pop of color on a button or something, but on the other, they’ve become artifacts. But in the case of the tatting thread, it’s an all-out stash in itself or hoard… I don’t plan on tatting or crochet, at least at these fiddly gauges and I don’t do much embroidery, so I do need to purge it – sell it, likely and not think about if someone uses it all up on their own ghastly craft project, or squirrels it away again, or actually makes something beautiful or appreciates them as artifacts as well…

basement-tape

And then I found my stash of deconstructed VHS tape that I meant to make into an “art” piece, but I can’t stand to touch the stuff, and I’ve yet to don a pair of gloves and see if I can handle it that way… and I’ve forgotten about it, so why the hell didn’t I chuck it yet?

*So this was a bit of a pre-written post – I’m back to ignoring the emotionally overwhelming contents of our semi-subterranean floor…

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Winter blahs…

It’s finally gotten cold, well sometimes cold, and sometimes just warm enough to turn the backyard to mud again and then refreeze overnight.

january-pecker

It’s been a pecker party outside the kitchen window – red bellies, downies, nuthatches- mostly policed by a downy pair.

Our house has been troublesome – hot water heater, newish refrigerator, and well parts giving up varying degrees of the ghost within a couple weeks of each other – as well as our bodies with a mild but lingering cold since just before the new year, and routine and not so routine medical tests which required healing downtime and acceptance scenarios involving amputations, but turn out normally abnormal in the end.

We’ve been thrifting and antiquing a bit more, though on weekends when crowds make it a bit more unpleasant, but perhaps improve focus and curb impulse.

We said we had enough Heywood Wakefield * in our lives, but then a decent china cabinet opportunity came up and we took it – the scale is perfect for our small but not too small dining room and overflow Fiestaware.

furniture - heywood wakefield china cabinet

We’ve also had good luck finding more cheap and fun mid-century lamps.

january-lamp

And I still haven’t culled my vintage china herd, but I’m rotating through it with a use it or lose it tactic.

january-cakes

These meat on a spit plates have been a favorite for years but I rarely use them because they are large – perfect for part of a roasted ribcage – and we tend to eat on a smaller scale. I only have three plates and two cups and saucers that don’t officially match but do, so a meal that requires a large plate and coffee cup is rare, and all I can come up with is pancakes, which we make only maybe twice a year and usually with a souvenir bag of Polly’s pancake mix from the summer before.

N has been building some built-in bookcases and doors to previously un-doored closets, so the house is becoming more our own and finally has spaces for things, but I’d gotten used to our still semi-packed minimalism, so striking the balance between delightfully interesting and my previous states of delightfully cluttered is a bit tricky. As much as I loved my previous live-in cabinet of curiosity life, it was awfully dusty and too delicate (and a grand bitch to move).

january-door

I’m still unpacking hastily thrown-together boxes of supplies and organizing my work space.

january-studio

And doing a bit of use it or lose it on some old WIPs – nothing much to show, just a bit of slogging through to see if I want to keep slogging through…

* When editing this post, I clicked on the link to make sure it was the right one – and good god, is my life so routine that every January has me shopping for vintage lamps, watching woodpeckers, and obtaining more Hey-Wake furniture?!?

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Renewal

I would like to publicly thank my shop vac.

trustyvac

(Or perhaps I should thank my parents who “loaned” it to me nearly a decade ago…)

It has faithfully sucked up all matters of crumbling house shit – even some of the actual stuff I’m sure – through two whole home renovations.

And each time, it has played in integral part in renewing old floors.

Living in a house with a new lease on life makes me want to revive other aging but still solid things.

renew-longscarf

Like this ridiculously long sock yarn scarf I made for N back in our early days.

(And yes, that is the same spot where the vac was, only with a newly built bookcase made by N to house his cookbook collection – I’m standing in the kitchen – and the color isn’t quite right, the walls are a yellowy cream.)

But back to the scarf.

I’m really loosing the concept of time these days and my brain can no longer keep track of events and markers in which to categorize life and the passing years.  But I do know if I see one of my own garter-stitch scarves, then a helluva long time has passed.  I thought I was past those by the time I deemed N knitworthy, but perhaps I just wanted to work it up as quickly as possible.

renew-scarf detail

He picked out the yarn – I remember that part.  And he said he wanted it to be long, so I delivered.

Only it grew and grew and grew…

So I’m finally going to rip it out and turn it into a baktus sort of neck thing – preserving the original intent with garter stitch, but making it much more wearable.

 Or maybe socks?

And I’m not in the clear with woodworking projects yet…

renew-heywake

We decided to immediately tackle the massive refinishing job of our new Heywood Wakefield furniture, and started with N’s desk as it was in the worst shape…

And I have to pat myself on the back again because it turned out great.

renew-heywood wakefield desk

We used the wheat stain and toned varnish from here followed with some clear poly at the end.  I was a little skeptical about using water-based stuff, but I’m now sold (at least for this furniture).  There was just a pinch of opacity in both products giving it that wood soaked in skim milk (yuck) effect, but it was nearly spot-on with the original.  And though I’m also a whiz as renewing old linoleum, I doubted I would have been able to come up with my own oil-based formula to use on these pieces.  I also used some wood bleach for the first time on the desk, and was amazed how well it worked – it took out 99% of a nasty black ring left by a plant or can of paint or something of that size.

Now we just have four more pieces to go…

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Stash flash – the commercial yarn edition

I’m not a huge fan of stash flashing.

Sometimes it just seems like crass showing off, sometimes I think of the world’s starving people, sometimes I think it’s a little funny when a middle age woman poses naked with it in a bathtub*, sometimes it gives me anxiety of having too much, sometimes it gives me anxiety about having too much of one thing but not the needed thing, and sometimes I’ll admit I’m a little jealous.

But we reached a milestone on the house – the floors and walls are done in all of the main rooms – so I’m finally moving into my teeny tiny studio and figuring out how to cram everything in.

stash-mound

And part of that involves taking stock of my yarn stash.

It was in relatively decent storage – a few big plastic tubs – but sock yarn was mixed in with sweater quantities was mixed in with random cones of mystery fiber…

stash-cone

And of course there was yarn shoved into other yarn…

Everything needed to be aired out – there was the odd unfortunate odor of our old apartment’s carpeting trapped inside some of the tubs, and a few lavender sachets lost their pleasant one.  But all was well – no evidence of wool-munching crawling or flying f*ckers.

stash-sock&fingering

The sock and fingering weight yarns are now separated out into their own bin and I know I don’t need to shop for the stuff possibly ever again.  I’d been wanting to make some jolly-colored tights for years now, but I haven’t even considered casting on for them, so maybe it’s okay to just make one pair of socks from one of three skeins, or consider making a blanket.  I’d really like to make some pants, but though I’d like wacky tights, I’d rather have more dull pants (trousers to my friends across the pond) though I do adore my wool pants (underwear).

stash-cones

Need I remind you that I got everything really cheap?  Yeah, the internet is good for that, as are Italian markets and those newer craft/construction materials thrift shops.  I’ve been picking up the odd cone of stuff for a few years – I thought I’d be weaving by now and dying more too…  And I do intend to use some of it in spinning…

stash-lambspride

My old favorite Lamb’s Pride is all in one place now too – this is one of the few yarns I have sweater quantities of – large coat or king-sized afghan quantities…  I fell into a brief obsessive love with mosaic knitting several years ago and planned to make a cozy big long coat.  I got a billion yards of two shades of green on the cheap online, but the colors weren’t contrasty enough and besides, I never got around to finding or making up a pattern, so it sits and waits…

And the bulky green in the bottom right was, for a short time and twice, an Owls sweater, but I never got the sizing right, so I frogged it and gave up.

stash-greenlambspride

I’m in love with that old gold greenish shade “golden mushroom” in the upper left, so it’s high time I cracked it open… I love nearly every shade of green though, so I’ve got some thinking to do…

On the day that I organized this stuff I had one of those disturbing time warps wherein I missed lunch.  I never miss lunch. And the day was pretty much shot – I feel a bit guilty overall for “wasting” the time and that I have so much, yet I can’t part with it either.  I got some of it up on ravelry, so I may sell some things if asked.  But I also don’t really need any more clothes or blankets, so my knitting mojo for anything other than gifts, sales, or a few smaller accessories is pretty flat at the moment.

I’d like to replace a few commercial sweaters with me-knitted ones, but the ones I wear most often are grey.  Do you see any grey yarn up there?  Nope.

And since I work from home, I need nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I don’t get the people who work from home or stay at home and are crazy prolific garment sewers and knitters… where and when do they wear the many, many things that they make?

(And I still have loads of yarn from unraveled sweaters, a nice bunch of that lovely Italian wool, and a smallish (relatively speaking) amount of handspun.)

And though I accomplished a needed organizing job that day, I ultimately failed when I realized that there’s still another box/bag/tub of the stuff somewhere…

*I’ve seen a few of these on ravelry, but sadly can’t find one at the moment for you – and no, I won’t do that.

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Welcome January…

nuts&bolts done

I’ve bitched about the holidays before, so I’ll spare you my annual rant and expressions of joy that it’s all over.

Except… the armchair epidemiologist in me was especially piqued and horrified this year following various blog and f*ckbook posts wherein a family gathering/food decorating/potluck event ended in various shared and publicized GI viruses – and many that started at Thanksgiving continued to pass around through giftmas…   My worst of the worst nightmare.

People, keep your hands and all of your juices, exhalations, coughs, schmears, sneezes, and hearty wet laughs out of food and away from others.

(And if a baby pukes it is because he is sick and is entirely and hugely contagious and everything and everyone around him much be bleached and quarantined and all gatherings cancelled until the incubation period is over.)

january

Moving on, and a brief public service announcement…

A heads-up to those reading this through ravelry and/or if you have a blog fed through there as well – the feed thing hasn’t been working right, so posts haven’t been updating since November – not sure what’s going on, but I re-entered my address and it seems to be working now.

I’m glad to see 2014 go – for no specific reason, I’m not a fan of years ending in 4.

Yes, we got out of a shit apartment and finally snagged a house, but it’s been a helluva lot of work.  The more fun part of working in the yard will come this year.

pileated pecker

(A yard that contains many beasts such as this finally spotted Pileated Woodpecker, deer, and a still yet elusive fox.)

But I’ve been hobbled by a torn meniscus and been made entirely weepily furious about the American healthcare system… And that does require a rant – I have elaborated in this sister post.

I made some stuff and will make some more this year – that’s the summary and the resolution.

And I have a deep, burning desire to become a minimalist…

vintagelamp-notglow

But I can’t when we still need to get stuff for the house.

I misjudged the interrogative harshness of the new ceiling light in our dining room and missed the window of time to return it, so we’re lighting the room more tolerably with a few vintage lamps that we snagged on the cheap from junk shops in other states over the last couple of months.

vintagelamp-blue

I didn’t want to get too many new things for the house since it is smaller than our last, and I’m not a big enough fan of the mid-century aesthetic, but we were lacking in lighting already, and more than one lamp suffered in our various moves.  And these few bits of mid-century do help to tie the rooms with the house, albeit eclectically, but eclectic is the only way for me.

But I’m ready to re-paint the dining room already – it was the one major paint color fail.  It was our favorite color in our old house, but for whatever mysterious reason, it just doesn’t work here… it’s supposed to be a soft earthy orange leaning to yellow, but it’s beige in daylight and gold with the lights on… odd and disappointing.

But though I’m not really in love with the mid-century, I do really like Heywood Wakefield furniture from that time period – it’s pretty much the only mid-century furniture I do like, and I don’t like anything later than their lines that started in the late 1940s.  I’ve been on the hunt for a reasonably priced dining room set since we were in the older house and we’ve been trolling the usual internet sites and cheaper (though they really aren’t) antique stores around us, but we’re just too damn close to too many cities with residents willing to pay way more than they should for anything.

So it came as an utter whopping surprise that we recently won an auction of a mother-lode of Heywood Wakefield “Encore” (1948-1955) bedroom furniture!

hey-wake

And we needed nearly all of it – we didn’t have any dressers (left them in the old house because they were too heavy), and N’s current desk is falling apart – the headboard will go on a guest bed.

We got all of it for less than what new really cheap furniture would cost even after factoring in the truck rental – nay, it was pretty much the price of buying it all from a thrift store!  However, I was immensely fearful because it was an online auction… the furniture could reek of mothballs, unwashed clothing from unwashed bodies, cat piss, cigarettes, and Shalimar…

And we knew the finish was a bit worn in places, which is usually the case with this furniture, but I can’t deal with stench – cat piss and mothballs are deal breakers for me….

But all is well – it is all in the house and full of our stuff now.

heywood wakefield drawers

It does stink a little – by way of something like Shalimar or Jean Nate – a certain old lady scent, but it’s not too strong – not like thrift store costume jewelry.  And one half of the headboard smells like coconuts.

Vintage contact paper is adhered to every drawer as well, but it is okay and will stay.

heywood wakefield finish

The finish on the tops is really pretty bad though – we’ll need to address that at some point, but for now, that’s what dresser scarves are for.  The desk is pretty poor though – looks like there was a leaky plant pot on top – we’ve already started to sand it a tiny bit, but we’re not sure how we’re going to finish it yet.  The original finish is impossible to duplicate and the top coat was balls to begin with, so I’m doing some research…

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