June 14th, 2012

House - spring

Linen and Silk

The heading sounds more luxurious than the post will be.

Last night went fairly well.  I finally remembered to pre-register for Pennsic, and I also reserved our room in Wilkes-Barre for the drive home.  There was an incident, oh, a bunch of years ago where we realized that we were both too tired to manage the drive home, and decided to stop for a room.  We started looking somewhere around Williamsport, PA.  Everything was booked all the way to the NY/CT border.  By the time we struck out in NY, I decided that we needed to make it just over the border to CT, let ourselves into my parents’ house, and crash on the futon in the basement.  As I had predicted, mom woke up in the morning, saw an extra car in the driveway, and made a larger pot of coffee.  So it all worked out okay.  But that was the culmination of a number of years where we were having a lot of trouble within a half an hour of home.  So these days we stop and get a clean, cheap room in Wilkes-Barre.  Every year we get there thinking “we’re not *that* tired… we could probably make it home…” and every year when we get in the room we get smacked with the tired stick.  For $65, it’s the right thing to do.  We’re home by noon on Sunday with plenty of time to unload the car and make large inroads on the laundry.  That’s done.

After dinner, Bob cut some more cedar for me, and I got the rest of the shelves put back together.  I sorted out the linens, re-rolled some of it more neatly onto its bolts, and got it all shelved, and I got the rolls of fabrics back on the top.  I think it may be time to let the remaining velvets and brocades go.  I keep looking at the chocolate brown velvet and thinking what a lovely semi-formal skirt I could make, but the company doesn’t do a holiday party any longer, so where would I wear it?  Eh – it’s not hurting anyone up there, so I guess it can stay a while longer.  I’ve got a roll of 72” wide heavy linen that I really want to do something with.  It’s an orangey/rust with a fine white stripe, and I have a lot of it.  I’m a bit baffled as to how I would pre-wash – probably I’d need to whack off some yardage and wash just that piece.

After the linen and the rolls were in place, I brought the “other” fabrics back in from the hallway.  It’s a mixed bag.  I’ve got my huge pile of cotton duck canvas for my tapestry cartoon project, and that went back in place – that’ll be a project for the fall at the earliest, I think.  I sorted through the other stuff, and three bolts that I’m just not ready to let go of went back on the bottom shelf.  That should have been the end of that for the evening, but I had the bit in my teeth, and decided to deal with the last batch of “loose” fabric, which is the silk behind the door.  So I pulled out all those bolts and sorted them onto the floor too.

I’m really, really conflicted about the silk.  Most of it is either silk noile or raw silk (I’m not entirely clear on how to tell the difference, and I think sometimes the bolt end lies,) which I’m led to believe isn’t really appropriate for 14th century.  Mind you, I don’t know much about it – I’m only just starting to learn more about what fabrics are appropriate where.  I’m mostly still of the “Ooooo – pretty” level of education.  I got this silk when we were up in Syracuse, and it was dirt cheap – something like $3/yard because JoAnn’s was on a “get it out of the store” purge, and several bolts were faded on the fold line.  I combined cheap fabric with discount coupons, and I bought a lot of silk.  So… now what do I do with it?  There are a few bolts that I look at together, and I have the overwhelming urge to make a silk quilt – I’ll be keeping those.  Once the room is workable, I want to piece some quilt tops over the winter.  But the rest… I just don’t know.  I’m not sure I’m ready to let go yet, but I’m not sure if it’s worth the real estate it’s taking up.  I also have three shortish lengths of silk dupioni that I don’t know what to do with.  When all is said and done, I think I need Vynehorn to come over and give me opinions on the iffy stuff – fresh eyes always help.

Around this point I went downstairs to take a break, and said to Bob “This is why I need to get this all sorted out.  I have nine yards of a denim-blue silk/linen blend.  I didn’t KNOW that I have nine yards of denim-blue silk/linen.”  That’s a problem.  Some of this stuff is the legacy of living ten minutes from Fabric Place while they were having their going-out-of-business sales, but that’s no excuse for not keeping track of it.

I got the silk (less two bolts that I’m going to divest) back on the shelves, along with some really drop dead beautiful lengths that I want to make mundane clothes out of, and also got the embroidered linens shelved (they’re for work clothes.)  That’s when I discovered the three bins stuffed underneath those shelves with the other silks that I had *completely* forgotten about.  All refugees from deep discount sales.  Yards and yards of silk charmeuse in jewel tones.  A yard of silk brocade that I bought out in Minnesota and meant to use for a vest – I don’t feel too guilty about this one – I haven’t found a pattern that I like yet.  Some printed charmeuses that I don’t like any more.  Some short lengths of silk noile that I now remember that I bought specifically to piece a quilt top.

I decided that it was too damn late to figure out a better way to store those, turned off the radio, turned off the lights (I love my new lights,) and shut the door.

Clearly, those fabrics really shouldn’t be in bins under the shelves – I forgot entirely that they exist, so obviously that isn’t working.  I’m reluctant to put them on bolts for a couple of reasons, the big one being that I’m out of empty fabric bolts.  Also, my shelves are Ikea storage furniture, so they’re not sanded, and I don’t intend to sand them, so the charmeuse would likely snag  The rest of it are such short yardages that the bolts would take up more space than the fabric would.  I need to find a place to put the boxes where I can see them to use that fabric.  That will likely be part of tonight’s organizational project.

I don’t know if tonight is going to be as productive, because there may need to be a pause to figure out/purchase storage containers.  Or not.  I’m not sure.  Tonight, you see, I’m going to be diving into the weaving/knitting shelves.  I seem to be having pretty good luck with pulling everything out onto the floor when I can see it all, so that’s what I’ll do.  At this point, I can’t see the weaving stuff getting any smaller, so I need to make a plan now.  I have some other things on those shelves that I might want to relocate – some wool rug braiding tools and literature (and some wool scrap – that can probably go,) and whatever is in that bag on the middle shelf…

This didn’t start as a massive sewing room reorganization project – or at least it wasn’t intended to.  I was going to empty the shelves, install the lights, refill the shelves, finis.  But actually having the opportunity and inclination to do a purge and reorg was just too good to pass up.  One thing that has come to mind is that we need to get into the soffits behind that room and reinsulate them – correctly.  That will be a lot easier if we can get in and out without having to excavate first.  Also, I’d like to finish painting out the last of the mauve, and I can’t do that if I can’t get to it.  This will all end up being very useful.

So tonight will be the yarn/knitting/weaving shelves, and maybe the stack in front of the soffit door on that side.  I am *creating* a bit of a problem in that I’m piling random bits and pieces onto the ironing board, and eventually I’m going to have to deal with that.  My theory is that once I’ve worked my way around, there will be places to put those bits and pieces away, so the board (and the sewing machine table) should clear quickly.  Or so I hope.

This is all very exciting.  I love my new lights.  Now if only this sort of motivation applied in the basement…