Art and Music Blog or Vlog 365 Fiber and Fabric

Day 74 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Progress in the Leather Workshop – Part 3

A good deal of progress was made today. The leather work desk was organized, I drew out two patterns and got one wallet back carved and tooled.

After letting it dry and taking another look, I realized that I’m not satisfied with the quality of the tooling. A large part of that is the long period of no practice. The smaller factor was the quality of the tools I had purchased. I found a better quality set at reasonable cost. It arrived, as well as some other tools and supplies.

I fell down the Pinterest rabbit hole.

Yes, I downloaded and printed off some patterns for the projects on my worktable. However that took far too long! I have fairly limited production time and frittering it away online is not the best use of such a limited resource.

I have leather tooling and wood burning projects on tap.

Several of them are inspired by Celtic and Viking designs.

Got some more progress.


Blog or Vlog 365 Fiber and Fabric

Day 73 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Progress in the Leather Workshop – Part 2

Yesterday I posted this image of my new leather work desk / station.

The plans for today got cancelled, so I will be addressing this disorganized mess, and starting production.

I moved a magnifying light from my computer desk to the leather desk, replacing the magnifying light with a floor lamp, and my small desk heater over to the leather desk.

My spinning wheel got moved so I can have access to some storage shelves and supplies got moved off the desk until needed. I may take my spinning wheel up to the living room until some of the planned work in my Homestead Office gets completed. (but that project requires it’s own series)

All the small tools and supplies are now organized. I have started tracing out the first pattern for one of the billfolds.

I will be using different patterns for each of the ten kits. I hope to get the tooling done on at least two of them today.

I better get at it!

Blog or Vlog 365 Fiber and Fabric

Day 72 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Progress in the Leather Workshop

We got a used drafting table as part of a trade. I have it set up in the Homestead Office for leather working. It’s been too cold in the office the last few days for my hands, but this week should be better. I need to do a good deal of organizing!

We have plans for most of the day Sunday, but Monday will be a good day to stay indoors.

First up is the ten billfold kits on the lower left, then a dozen travel journals from the leather at the top of the image. Then from the scraps of that leather will be as many bead and leather bracelets and cuffs as I have materials for.

There is quite the process to describe, list, package and ship items to Amazon Handmade for sale.

I’ll be taking and posting photos and videos as I go along.

Blog or Vlog 365 Fiber and Fabric

Day 70 of 365 Blog or Vlog

What is PU Leather?

PU leather is a product made of thermoplastic polymer. It is sometimes advertised as “vegan leather”.

I recently ordered a bag kit made of it. While I would never offer the finished bag for sale on my page, I plan to use the pieces of the kit as a template so I can make bags out of real leather.

I wouldn’t say that it looks bad, just obviously fake. I was rather hoping that I could finish the kit for my own use.

The stitching holes are spaced roughly twice as far apart as they should be on leather. My suspicion is that is intentional as this fake leather is not nearly as wear-resistant as real leather. There is no way to finish and burnish the edges, and the straps are far too narrow to hold up.

I’ll be making these points in my review. I can still use the kit as a template – with major modifications.

Blog or Vlog 365 Fiber and Fabric

Day 69 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Nearly All of the New Leather Work Supplies Finally Arrived

I’m still waiting for the contact cement. That should get here before I’m ready to assemble anything. I could use some more colors of dyes and finishes.

Forty years ago, the accepted practice was to rubber glue the leather to some stiff poster board to keep the leather from stretching during tooling and dyeing. Now the procedure is to use packing tape on the back.

I find it somewhat amazing that I can have nearly everything I need in only four square feet of space. That’s not enough space for laying out the leather and cutting, but I can tool small projects.

We have a curious piece that Rahn collected some time back. It’s the lid to a baby grand piano. Rahn had the genius idea to mount it on sturdy hinges in my office so I can fold it down onto supports when needed as a work desk.

It’s going to have to wait until we can get some things out of my office and get the inside of the walls finished in that corner. I do have another work surface that I can use on a temporary basis.

Now to draw out some designs!

Blog or Vlog 365 Fiber and Fabric

Day 68 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Online Ordering and Anticipation

In getting my leather working tools and supplies ordered, there are a number of items coming from multiple sources. Some things have already arrived, a couple things are arriving today, and the biggest order coming from Tandy Leather hasn’t even shipped yet.

This is making me think about what are going to be my first projects. I had been thinking of diving in on the ten billfold kits from Tandy, but the delay in shipping is putting that on hold. The leather from European Leather is out for delivery, so I’ll be starting with some projects using it.

But what to do?

The leather from European Leather is fairly small – 4 to 6 square feet – so my options are going to be somewhat limited. It is also light weight. Probably too light to make a guitar strap for Rahn. I should be able to make his tooled cuffs, however.

The European Leather Works package arrived. My feelings are somewhat mixed. Other than an obviously permanent crease in the leather, it is a nice size.

I think that if I take advantage of the existing crease in the leather for folds, I can cut out projects fairly well.

It’s a little over six square feet. It is too light weight for a guitar strap, and I think I would need to line it for his cuffs. Excellent weight for billfolds, wrap wallets, ear bud cases, and tooled bracelets. Perhaps a notebook cover.

Now to draw out some patterns and decide on the tooling.

Blog or Vlog 365 Fiber and Fabric

Day 67 of 365 Blog or Vlog

I’m Not Going to Make New Year’s Resolutions

It is something of a truism that people make all these fantastic New Year’s resolutions, but they don’t follow through. I am not going to set myself up for failure.

Instead, I am going to make some doable plans with achievable steps. Rahn an I were discussing how much our homestead has changed in the last four years, and what still needs to be accomplished.

My attention is on how to get an income stream from leatherworking. I have spent a fair amount of money this past week on getting tools, supplies, and leather. The temptation is there to jump straight to offering customized leatherworking.

I’m not ready for that. I need to build up some capital first. What I plan is to make up the 10 billfold kits I purchased from Tandy and sell them on Amazon Handmade. Then re-invest that money in getting more kits and leather.

We’ve identified some local stores that would be good potential places to offer my work at a later date.

The progression I have in mind includes ten to tweleve each:

Billfold kits
Small card wallets
Tooled cuffs

Sell these on Amazon Handmade, re-invest and repeat a couple times. Then add some more expensive projects and see how they perform.

Blog or Vlog 365 Fiber and Fabric

Day 63 of 365 Blog or Vlog

A Few Planned Knitting Projects

I haven’t been knitting for the last couple years. My vision has been so bad, I just couldn’t see both my pattern notes and stitches well enough to work.

My cataracts were removed at the beginning of the year. It’s been a few months, and the ophthalmologist has been treating some diabetic changes in my left eye. It’s starting to improve.

Spinning, art work, and even sewing has also been on hold. It’s time to handle all of it.

First will be some needed projects for colder weather. Socks, fingerless gloves, knitted headband, a ruana or asymmetric front sweater. A triangular shawl that will be woven, then felted will be a nice addition in hand spun wool.

There is a substantial stash of yarn in both commercial and hand spun.

Blog or Vlog 365 Fiber and Fabric

Day 55 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Yesterday I finished wrapping up leaving the promotional project. I believe I have managed to become more philosophic than shocked by the loss.

If you don’t fail, you aren’t trying new things.


Moving on.

This image is a 3D printed electric spinning wheel known as a Nano. It’s a lot of fun, and I have toyed with the notion of taking it to the gym and spin while spinning on the stationary bike.

I think that would be a cute video. Not today, however. Rahn is having a lot of back pain yesterday and today. I was hoping we could go to the gym today, but he is not feeling up to a ride in the truck.

I have an appointment today and some errands. I’m planning on sitting down at my large spinning wheel when I get home and work on spinning flax.

My Jensen spinning wheel was built for me thirty years ago by a skilled wheelwright in Wisconsin. I have spun miles and miles and miles of yarn with it.

This pile of yarn was spun on my Jensen wheel and is about two sheep’ worth of wool.

Art-earnative Life Farm Blog or Vlog 365 Fiber and Fabric

Day 42 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Planting and bits and pieces of other projects

Several things are going on. I have some sweet potatoes in water in the kitchen to get some slips started, I ordered some additional seeds from Azure Standard for this year’s garden, I’m still working on cutting up t-shirts, and I’m starting an artistic sculptured box series to post on Amazon Handmade.

It does seem like a random collection, but the connecting thread is the time and space to work on these things.

I want to get the t-shirts cut up to clear space to work on the sculptured boxes.

The boxes need to get assembled to use up the cardboard and clear the corner of my office to have space for the rack for the seed starting.

Getting the boxes completed and sent to Amazon Handmade will start a new income line.

Once I have the seed starting rack set up in my office, I can move the trays I have in the kitchen to the office.

It does all make sense when I put it in order.