Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gypsy Rose, the Second Left-Over Bear

Gypsy Rose was finished at the same time I finished Hamish, but because she was a gift, I didn't write about her right away, and then I got sick and didn't have the energy or desire to write.  I decided today, that I can't wait any longer.  She needs her story told.
As many of the other bears were, she was finished on a trip to visit Bob's parents.  I think she has the sweetest face of all the bears, and just calls out for cuddling.

Hamish is on the left and Gypsy Rose is on the right.
Fortunately, some of the bears live close by, so she got to meet Othar and Benjamin one day when Davey and Bobby brought their bears over to my house.
In February,  it was "Take Your Bear to Work Day" at Bay Street Orthopaedics, so I decided to take this bear.  My co-worker Tina helped come up with the name Gypsy Rose.  She is helping Tina with some of her work.  It's a good thing that was just temporary information, because Gypsy got hold of Tina's pen and scribbled all over the paper.
Gypsy Rose is being a little Nosy Parker here, sniffing at one of her favorite foods in the cup.  Tina ended up sharing her oatmeal with her, since it would have been rude to eat in front of a baby bear!

I decided when I started making the last two bears that one would be for my daughter-in-law Jenn's birthday. The trouble was that Jenn's birthday was quite a while after Gypsy Rose was finished.  I started feeling bad that she was the only bear left to be adopted.  One day in April, Jenn called me and said she was in Traverse City, so I quickly wrapped the present and headed to Jenn's mom's house where they were having a ladies family gathering.
Jenn had seen a few photos of Gypsy Rose and was hoping she was going to be for her.  She was surprised and a little teary-eyed when she opened the early birthday gift.
I am so happy Gypsy Rose got to go to a home where she will be loved, and will get to live with four of the Griswold bears.  Hopefully they will all have some wonderful adventures.
Deb, Jenn's mom, also fell in love that night with Hamish.  I let him come along with me so he could see who was going to be Gypsy Rose's mom.
I don't think it is possible to be too old to love a Teddy bear.  I am thankful that all of Griswolds and Left-Overs have such wonderful new homes and mommies and daddies.

These will probably be the last bears.  Maybe their moms and dads will write about more of their adventures.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Weaver's Delight "Pink Pony" Stuffing Machine and Rigby Cutter

I finally got motivated to get back to my blog today.  I was given a "pink pony" stuffing machine by our friend Lou down in Missouri when Bob and I were on vacation in April.  I haven't been feeling well since then, so have only been doing dibs and dabs with weaving lately.  I finally took enough photos to show how I prepare denim strips and load them in the tubes for weaving.

Preparing denim jeans for rugs is labor intensive.  They are plentiful at the resale shops and from friends, so I don't make any effort to open seams, remove pockets, or take out hems.  I trim around all those areas and then make one fairly straight edge on one side.
I purchased a strip cutter on eBay because my hand can't take the heavy cutting for any length of time with the rotary cutter any more.  This particular cutter is a Rigby Cutter.  It is pretty old, but it has been working pretty well for me.  I would have preferred a Fraser Cutter, since there are more options for parts.  They cost more than I was able to spend though.
The red cutter is adjusted away from the cutter blade for the strip width I want.  I use strips that are about 3/4" - 7/8" wide for a twill weave rug.  I would probably cut them 1/2" for plain weave rug.  Anything wider than that and it is almost impossible to get the strips tightly packed. 
Turn the crank and it cuts the strip.
When I get enough strips cut with various colors, I take a bundle of them and sit with them on my lap and cut a 45 degree angle at each end.  I usually do all one end, then flip them around and do the other end.  The angle must be in the same direction at both ends.

Here is a bundle that is probably enough to stuff 2-3 tubes for the shuttles.
I overlap them about 1/4" and triple-stitch zig-zag the ends together.
The strips feed through the shuttle better this way, and I have fewer hang-ups then if I use a 45 degree seam.
I sew them in a continuous strip until it is hard to sew any more.  They loop around in front of the machine and eventually there isn't any more space to sew.

I clip my threads when I'm done sewing and pull them out from under the presser foot.  They will curl into a spiral and that needs to be straightened out before running the strip through the stuffing machine.
The fabric strip is threaded through the eyelet guide in front of the left concave roller, then brought over the top of the roller and drops into the funnel below.  The convex roller is brought forward against the fabric strip. 
As seen in this photo, I straightened my strip into a container on the floor.  While turning the large wheel with the leather belt, the pole is used to poke the strip down into the tube and pack it tight.
Here is a tube loaded into a shuttle.
This rug is getting close to being complete.  Three more tubes will probably be enough. 

I am using a twill tape to keep track of the rug length and the temple that came with the loom to help keep a consistent width to the rug.