Studio Update

Over Memorial weekend a couple of items in the studio decided that they had had enough.

The plastic venting for the window air conditioner/heater came undone. When I went to reattach the hoses it began to shred. No problem, there is extra tubing, I’ll just cut it off and attach it lower. Unfortunately the entire length of hose shredded at every opportunity. No more air conditioning for the studio until I find some new hoses.

Air Conditioning hose

Air Conditioning hose

An online search proved that finding replacement hose in the length I needed was not an easy task. During my search someone mentioned using dryer vent hose. It comes in several diameters, is cheap, and available at your local hardware store. Unfortunately I needed 5″ and the home improvement stores only stock 4″ and 6″. Gotta love the internet. Home Depot allows you to order non stock items and have them delivered to your store for free or to your home for shipping costs unless you order over $45.

The weekend also saw me at my wits end for the sliding glass door. Bill and I took a look to see if we could replace the rollers on the door. We are certain that they are in a million pieces. It should have been simple, just stand inside and gently lift the door up and over the track. Not so quick, it won’t lift over. Start searching online, some doors have an anti-theft device, looking…. Nope. Bad news. That means you have to take off the outside, fixed door first, which mean taking the door apart. This is not a good option, the studio door is very poorly installed, not square in any direction and just barely keeps out the water as is. That also assumes that once we get it all apart we can even find the correct replacement rollers and get it back together.

(Side Commentary)
Why you ask haven’t I replaced this door yet. I’ve been complaining about it for years. First it is expensive. Yes, this door is terrible, but the door from the family room to the deck is getting just as bad. That door has a twin to the deck from the bedroom that works fine but would look dumb if we only replaced one of them and then there is the door off the eating area and the other end of the family room. Also working fine, but in the same room as the family room so would also need replacing. That makes a total of 4 sliding doors to replace. No small project, so it just keeps getting put off.
(Side Commentary Ended)

Thinking we must have missed something, I looked at the other web links I opened, hoping that there would be a better answer. Thanks to good marketing and search engine optimization one of my hits was for a company called “Slide-Ezzz“. It bypasses your door rollers and instead you install teflon tracks and skids. In searching for reviews of the product it turns out that Home Depot sells the product for home delivery and it is only $32. That is a price point I am willing to give a chance.

So I placed an order at Home Depot for dryer vent hose and 2 Slide-Ezzz sliding door repair kits. As long as I am at it, the door off the family room is now requiring 2 hands to close.

The dryer vent hose came first and it took both Bill and I to get the hose connected to the Air Conditioner parts. The dryer vent hose was just slightly bigger diameter. With patience and gentle persuasion, we finally got both hoses hooked up and had the Air Conditioner once again pumping out cold air. Only down side is the ugly silver hose…. Danger Will Robinson…. But the studio as a whole isn’t a show room, so it is all good.

Danger Will Robinson

Danger Will Robinson

Yesterday the Sliding door repair kits arrived. This evening I decided to see how far I could get by myself. I got out a bunch of cleaning supplies and tools and set to work.

Getting Tools together

Getting Tools together

I wasn’t quick, but the directions were clear and everything worked as they said it would. I did need to use tin snips to cut the track. I don’t know what kind of good scissors would cut thru the teflon track. Wire cutters might do the trick. One of the last steps is adjusting for an out of square door with shims. They tell you to move the door to one side or the other and look at to see if the door edge is consistent, if not shim. I slid the door all the way open and determined I needed shims on the left side. put in the shims and slid the door closed. Wow. There is now a gap that is over a half inch at the top of the door. Remove the shims and put them on the right side instead. Now the door is straight when closed, but is uneven when open. Since having a door closed is the goal, shims on the right it is.

The door is completed and I can close it with one hand. It isn’t perfect by any means, but I’m pretty sure that now people won’t have to stand outside waiting for me to open the door for them with my special ninja hands.

Very pleased with my purchases and would definitely recommend the door replacement kit if you have a tricky door and want to put off getting new doors for a while longer.

Why no pictures of the completed door? It is dark and it looks exactly the same as it did before. Now it just moves easier.

Thermometer Fun

I just got back from 2 weeks of dyeing class with Carol Soderlund. One of the objectives of the class is to figure out which variables in the dyeing process are important. One of those variables is temperature. In a separate discussion on an email list, we started to talk about thermometers for taking temperatures. Since I own 3 types of thermometers, I thought I would do some testing to see how accurate each was.

For this exercise I used three thermometers; Omega OS540 Infrared Thermometer, Taylor 9842 Instant Read Thermometer, and Redi Chek Remote Thermometer.

Temperature of Ice water using 3 thermometers

Temperature of Ice water using 3 thermometers

I started by taking the temperature of ice water. The ideal temperature of ice water is 32˚ F. The Instant Read  and the Redi Chek thermometers were a very consistent temperature of 33˚ F and 33.4˚ F. The Infrared thermometer was 29˚ F. I was using a semi-translucent container. The Infrared thermometer jumped around a little depending on where I pointed it. When I lined the container with a white cotton napkin, the infrared thermometer had a much easier time keeping a consistent temperature and by adding more ice I got the Instant Read and Redi Chek to read 32˚ F and the Infrared to 28˚F.

Temperature test of Boiling water.

I then boiled water in a metal container.  The ideal temperature of boiling water is 212˚ F.  Again, the Instant Read and Redi Chek thermometers were very accurate at 212˚ F. The Infrared temperature jumped all over. Unfortunately I believe the reflective surface of the electric kettle I used was causing the laser to pick up the temperatures of surrounding items.

I also tested the temperatures of my 3 irons with the Infrared and Instant Read thermometers. Two of the three irons had shiny bottoms and caused the Infrared thermometer temperature to jump all over depending on what additional surfaces it was picking up. The one that had a mat finish had more consistent readings, but when I placed the Instant read thermometer on the sole plate, I got very different readings than the Infrared.

The end results is that the Infrared Thermometer was fun, but I don’t think it is very accurate in many situations, and in all instances read low. I will have to do more testing to determine when it is accurate to use, since it is Really instant and fun. The Instant Read Thermometer was very quick at arriving at temperature. The Redi Chek was not as quick, but it could be left unattended. They both were accurate.

A New Day, A New Floor


For those who have been in the studio and even just those who have read the blog, it is apparent that light colored carpet was a very bad flooring choice for the studio. I have been considering my options.

The studio is the original 1930’s garage for the house, so is just an oil stained concrete floor beneath the carpet. One option would be to just clean and paint the floor and call it good. Easy maintenance, but a big bummer on the legs and back when standing to cut or dye fabric.

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Late last year I noticed a new book on skinny quilts. I was immediately drawn to the quilt, but in looking at it, I determined it was something that I could do. Showing up at my weekly Friday sewing group 3 of the other 4 members saw the same book and were also drawn to the quilt. Fast forward to January when the designer of the quilt visits our quilt guild and has a workshop to create the quilt from the book.

I didn’t really feel I needed the class, but I knew that if I signed up, I would actually get the quilt made. That turned out to be true.

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Quick Cuddle Quilt

Hospital_quiltI needed a quick quilt for someone in the hospital. Hospitals are so drab and if you have to spend any time there you really need something brighten up the room.

I designed a quick layout of squares and rectangles. Two squares and one rectangle make up the quilt blocks. I played around with sizes and decided to make quick work of the project, bigger was better. A good size turned out to be based on 16 inch blocks.

To ensure that it was nice and cozy, I used flannel for both the front and the back. The colors didn’t come out exactly the way I wanted, but it worked for the purpose.

Light or Dark: That is the question

I am working on some UFO’s that I inherited from my grandmother. She had several boxes of projects in various stages of completeness when she passed away.

I have been working to complete some of the projects to give to the grand kids. My goal is to try to divide up what I have so that each family gets a lap size quilt. Since I only need 7, I think I will have enough pieces to work with. All but one of them are scrappy quilts. The projects that she was last working on were simple one patch designs using 5 inch squares of scrap fabric. I have one completed and she has enough squares cut and started for at least 1 or 2 more. Continue reading

Creating Value

There is a book out on skinny quilts that all my friends seemed to have. It has a quilt on the cover we all liked and kept saying we were going to make, but none of us got around to it. Along comes the guild speaker for January, the designer of the quilt, Carol Taylor. I knew this was my opportunity to play with the technique and give me the motivator to dye all of the fabric needed for the project.

Dye Cups

Dye Cups

My hand dyed fabrics work great for gradations of value, so I was excited to get started. We needed 4 values; light, med light, med dark and dark. We needed 10-12 pieces of fabric for each value. I wanted to have 4 colors, so that worked out to a minimum of 3 different hues of each color. I decided to do 4 just to have some extra to choose from. I also decided to do 6 values of each color. Just in case I didn’t like the lights and trying to get as dark as I could.  So off to work I went. The first step was to cut up 96 pieces of fabric. We didn’t need much fabric so I died Fat 16ths of fabric. For the non-quilters a fat 16th is a piece of fabric approximately 11×9 inches. Then it was on to the dyes. Mixing fun colors and putting everything in tiny cups. I know it looks like they are all black, but really they are each a different color. Continue reading