While the Cats Are Away…

the mice will craft!

Pumpkin Girl took advantage of our mostly testosterone-free week by making me craft with her. She’s working on basic sewing and sort of pre-embroidery skills. I’m not at my finest teaching her fine motor skills type stuff, but I powered through it, trying to remember how patient my aunt and grandmother were teaching me how to embroider. While Pumpkin plugged away at stitching, I cast on for another sock. It was a Little House on the Prairie moment. Sorry, no pictures yet.

Last night I tackled a long overdue project while the chicken nuggets were being heated in the microwave.

A bazillion years ago, my parents gave me these old ladder back, rush seat chairs. They’d had them since the dawn of time and I needed chairs. I’ve never liked the look, feel or sound of rush seats and these were falling apart but still functional. Then the three of us visited a Shaker village and I saw the really cool Shaker tape chairs they had. This was back in about ’95, before the internet became THE source of all knowledge, but somehow I managed to find a source for Shaker tape and a booklet of instructions.

I cut off the old rush seat, sanded and stained the wood chairs, then wove Shaker tape seats. Very nice. They held up well for 10 years until the Great Bathroom Flood of ’06 when they got hit by water and ceiling plaster. They actually dried out just fine, but the tape lost some of its starchiness and started slipping apart. After a year and a half they were no longer usable. Then Bip the Destroyer got to them and starting unweaving them. Here’s one coming apart:

So I got online and ordered new Shaker tape. As luck would have it, I found the little how-to booklet. Pretty amazing for 12 years and 6 moves later!

First step was to remove all the tape.

In between the woven seat is a little cushion I made, following the book’s instructions. The glue on the edges had loosed so I removed the cushions completely, shook them out and reglued them into place.

Now the weaving. Here’s all the warps (or is it the wefts?) in place.

And now the weft (or is it the warp?) gets going.  Once you’ve got a couple of rows, you add more warp (?) on the left and right to account for the bottom rung being wider than the back.

All finished. Nice.

When Bip saw it he said, “Oh, pretty!  Me sit on it?”  Then he went to the second chair, still waiting for it’s new seat. “You do this one, too?”

“Yes”, I said, “I’ll do that one, too.”

“When?  Later?  After naps?”

(Hmm, do you think I’ve been putting him off a bit lately?  Telling him “later, after naps” a bit too much?  Guess I’d better go remind myself about what I learned from Coconut Syrup.)

So one chair is done and I have plans to finish the second one before the boys return tonight.

More Mac and Cheese, please!


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