Friday, April 20, 2012

More dreaded home dec

So I'm headed to Germany next week for 2 weeks and what am I doing tonight instead of packing or getting a knitting project ready to take? Making Roman shades. And writing a blog entry!

The shades are for the French doors in the back of the house, which let in a lot of light. While the light is great to have, it's not very forgiving on any fabrics I may leave out on my cutting table in the direct sunlight. The room also doubles as a guest room and it's not very private with only the sheer drapes I made last year:

The shades have been on my To-Do list for a while and I already had the fabric, a light purple seersucker. I even had lining in my stash. I found this Roman shade kit on clearance at Joann's and I hoped it would help quickly me make these shades. Well, not quite.  

The kit includes enclosed lift tape, which is cording encased in a thin strip of some polyester type fabric. There's also some hardware: screw eyes, shade rings, cord cleat, cord condenser and some brackets for mounting a board. (I ended up only using the lift tape, shade rings, and cord condenser). After reading their instructions, I decided that using just the kit to make the shades wouldn't result in the shades I really hoped for. First, the instructions don't call for any battens or rods to be used to help the shade fold properly. Also, they suggest stapling the shade to the mounting board and using the enclosed screw eyes for the lift cord. Since my French doors open outward, I need to be able to wash these shades when they get dirty. So, I searched the internet for other options and found some good sources. I found this video particularly helpful for overall instructions on how to make the shades:

I like the hardware calculator on and ordered flat pulleys from them to use instead of screw eyes. I decided against the cord lock since they warned that it can fray the cords over time. I maybe should have ordered them because the alternative is to use a cord cleat and that means putting more holes in the door for the cleat. Drilling a hole in a door feels more damaging than drilling a hole in a wall. I started to use the instructions on Terrell Designs but they glue their battens (rods) onto the shade. Really? Glue? Again, I need to wash these shades, so I don't know that glue is the best way for me to put battens on the blinds.
As for the battens, some people use wood dowels but they can be pricey and not very straight. Terrell Designs carries battens, but I'm fortunate to have a TAP Plastics near me where I was able to buy 3/16" acrylic rods at only about a dollar per 6 foot rod.
Ok, back to slip stitching the lining to the fabric. These blinds are quite tedious, but I think they'll look great when I finally get them finished and installed.

Monday, April 02, 2012

WIPs and FOs

I know I've been neglecting this blog. I have been knitting and weaving, and although I'm not sewing, I am cleaning up the sewing room and hope to maybe squeeze something out in the next month. Changes are in the air and as a result I may only have a month to sew before the sewing machine is unavailable until next fall. Of course I've been sewing very little over the last few years so not sewing for 5-6 months will be nothing new.

But here are some works in progress and a finished object:

Placemats that I wove on my rigid heddle. They're off the loom, but I haven't cut them apart yet and finished them completely. The weft yarn is Lily Sugar n' Cream and the warp is recycled cotton/acrylic/wool from a failed knitting project.


Here's a scarf that's just about finished on the rigid heddle. Or maybe it'll be a sash/belt. The weft and warp yarn is rayon from Valley Yarns Brilloso. This was a big lesson learned - this yarn has a black thread plyed with it that was not really strong enough to withstand being passed through the heddle. Sometimes the black thread would break and it caused a big mess. The other lesson learned was not to use slubby yarn as the warp. I didn't know this yarn was slubby - the first hundred yards or so was relatively smooth. After I warped about 6 inches, slubs started appearing every 12-15 inches. Like a newbie weaving idiot, I kept warping. I ended up unwarping all the slubby stuff and what you see is what I left for the warp width. 



And finally, here are my husband's Tiger Socks. The yarn is Opal Zweger Garn Rainforest. I used size 1 needles and cast on 76 stitches. The ribbing is 2x2 and the body of the sock is stocknette, the heel is Eye of Partridge.