Repairing an antique chest of drawers

I really love this antique, probably Victorian, chest of drawers, despite its sad state.

Victorian chest of drawers

Victorian chest of drawers in need of restoration

My hope is to one day being able to use it in my home – but before that, it will need at least a degree of TLC to make it functional, if not perfect. I might be in for a looong term plan…

Some time ago I made a start, by repairing one of the broken drawers: the back was partly broken and coming off, part of the sides were split and bits had come off.

The sides are being repaired – the clamps hold the parts in place while the glue sets. Note the back is still broken and the dove-tail joins are coming undone

To restore it, I used wood glue to reattach the parts that had broken off, while for the joins I opted for liquid hide glue because it’s reversible (this is what could be used for “proper’ restoration, as it can be later taken apart if needed).

This is the drawer after the repair

I’m quite pleased with the results!

Ideally, this work should be done in a garage or a workshop – that is, if you had one….

The kindness of strangers

That’s a lofty title for a simple blogpost, I admit.

There isn’t a philosophical commentary on kindness and people to come, sorry…. I don’t think my boring style of writing would be up for the task.

Anyway, what I’m meaning to talk about today is natural dyes. And incidentally mention Freecycle.

The natural dyes have been kindly donated by a sweet elder lady through Freecycle (a site where one can offer or ask for free things). Freecycle is “a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and neighborhoods. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. […] Membership is free”. Isn’t Freecycle a wonderful thing? And there are local groups across the world, I believe. I’ve used it to give and get items countless times – it’s fabulous. Go check it out, maybe there’s a local group near you?

The lady was offering quite a few of colours, dyes and art supplies. I hope she didn’t have to relocate or downsize, but she was just tidying up her home. I didn’t want to be nosey and ask…

Back to the main topic, I’ve long been curious about natural dyes. The only experience with them was in my teens when I used some walnut powder to dye the dark squares of a chess board I was making.

I’d love to try them again. Two things hold me back though: lack of space and the desire to avoid any harsh chemicals. So I’ll need to do a bit of reading on the best way for me to fast the colours. And then I may need to wait to have space somewhere at some point to do the process.

This is what I was kindly given:

  • madder
  • quebracho red
  • pomegranate
  • logwood purple
  • teal
  • indigo? (unlabelled blue powder)
  • woad
  • Brazil wood chips
  • cutch
  • sorghum
  • old fustic
  • cochineal
  • some unused packets of tannic acid and cream of tartar

If you have advice on easy and gentle dyeing, please do let me know 🙂

PS I’ve just learnt that off Freecycle (wikipedia link), a new non-profit organisation was born in the UK: Freegle (wikipedia link). I think I’ll join them too!

An end, a begin… and a mistake

The Old Shale Shawl is finished and awaiting to be blocked. I promise it will happen some day!

The pattern by Amanda Clark is free and really easy to follow. I’m very happy with the finished object and it took me only 4 years… yep.

Short after the Nurmilintu Shawl was cast on, because I just couldn’t wait to try that pretty yarn. It’s Natural Dye Studio’s Dazzle, a British wool, 100% Bluefaced Leicester, in delicate shades of blues, greens and purples – very soft.

The first section before the lace is done

but obviously not everything could go well…

Sigh

See what happened?

That’s about 3/5 from the start. Mep

Whatever. It’ll get a lifeline (because this yarn is very slippery and would unravel to the next rows before I could blink) and hopefully I can recover from there. Not tonight though.

By the way, yes, I love blue and green, if you were wondering.

The weekend was overall quite productive and some tidy up was done, which leaves one with such a good feeling!

Some vintage yarn purchase also happened, because really, I need to build back some of my “collection”. And some antique silver – my new interest since I read some blog posts on silver items! Contagious. But expensive, so only done in wee bits. The best buy was a spoon with my initial engraved (well not mine originally but we share that letter), so now I feel very decadent to enjoy yoghurt with an antique silver spoon (1853) – that is when it arrives!

How was your weekend?

What next

I’m about to complete the Old Shale Shawl, after a long time in the making (and hibernating).

I cannot yet officially start projects for the Summer of Basics 2018 (aka Make your Own Basics), so this morning I’ve been perusing my Ravelry queue and picked up a couple of projects (this may be a wildly optimistic plan…).

The first is the famous Nurmilintu shawl, because it looks pretty and easy, and it’s also free. Plus I have a weak spot for Finnish (Nurmilintu means “sleep, sleep, little bird” from an old Finnish lullaby). I plan to make it with Natural Dye Studio Sock yarn in Dragonfly:

The other project is the Pixel Stitch Socks, a beautiful free pattern by Putl Soho, to be made in Natural Dye Studio’s Dazzle HT Sock in Whitby Pool and Lynmouth – high twist yarn for longer durability.

I’m sure I won’t get much done with them until the end of the month, but it’ll be fun anyway!

What are you up to?

Have a lovely weekend!

It’s growing!

Just past row 132 out of 145, which is about 90% done.. I really look forward now to seeing it completed!

Not sure how I’ll manage blocking such a large piece as I have neither space nor specific tools. I’m sure I’ll get creative in the end – I think it won’t be a stylish solution but as long as it’s effective, I’m fine with it.

The colours are a bit hard to capture but the closest is the first picture.

I’m planning for the Super Birthday Sweater I mentioned in my last post, but won’t probably start until June for the Fringe Association’s Summer of Making – I’m thinking of joining in, but haven’t decided yet, I might take part even if I won’t be able to finish 4 projects in 3 months. So far I’ve short listed two jumpers, one summer top, a folk shirt I’ve been wanting to make for ages and a pair of simple cable socks (because never done cables, so that’ll be easy!). A bit too ambitious? I won’t stress wanting to finish it all.

Have you planned projects for your summer (or winter if you live on the other side of the globe)? Or will you just decide as time goes on?