Ticking and Chiming and Gongs, Oh My!

I did it!!!!! It’s finished – and it’s SO wonderful!!!!! My clock is done and on the wall, eye candy, and if there is such a thing, ear candy, too! 😀

Now that I’ve used up my quota of exclamation points for the entire post… 😉

Tile Fireplace 008

What a project! My extra parts order arrived from Klockit yesterday, and although I had many other things I really was supposed to be doing, there was just no way I could bear to wait even one more day to complete this project. (Apologies to anyone who was expecting an email from me yesterday…) It was a nitpicky project with what seemed like 200 little steps, many of which were challenging in one way or another, and at one point I realized that the most important thing I could do was to focus on what just the next step was going to be. Otherwise I was going to find myself very overwhelmed very quickly.

If you want to get up to speed on this project before reading this last installment, the first post is HERE, and the second is HERE. And to visit it on my Ravelry project page, click HERE.

The basic goal was to mount the movement, speaker, pendulum drive, and bezel onto the case, add the dial, and hang her on the wall. Of course, nothing is ever quite so easy as the basic goal. What actually happened took 4-5 hours was more like this:

  1. Briwax the case (after I gave up trying to remember where I put the color I wanted and settled for the darkest of those I could lay my hands on quickly)
  2. Mount the movement. This was a serious challenge until I came up with a plan of attack. The object was to have the shaft of the movement centered on the face of the clock. However, there wasn’t a simple hole in the case. Rather, there was an off center, large rectangular cut out. The movement wasn’t symmetrical either, and if I got this off center, it was really going to show in the finished project, because the bezel holes were factory drilled and on center. I finally resolved the problem by taping lengths of crochet cotton in line with the miters on the face, letting them crisscross at the center. Tile Fireplace 007I measured from this center point to mark the edges of the hole. Then I got the leftover carpet tape from when I installed the carpeting upstairs and used it to temporarily attach the movement inside the case. This way I could align it while looking at the front, but it would stay in place when I turned it over. Of course, from then on through the project, I had to take extra care to hang the edge of the clock off the workspace, because the shaft was protruding in front. For some reason, the movement didn’t come with any mounting screws, so that was another challenge – finding screws that were long enough and thin enough to do the job. The only thing I could come up with was a little too long, but since it would be behind the face, I used them anyway and flush cut the points off after I had them installed.
  3. Next I needed to mount the speaker. This required another screw hunt, but also a bit of acrobatic work between me and the clock. The speaker went into the top, and although I have a smallish drill, there just wasn’t a lot of room to work in that case with the movement in place, the case is heavy, and of course, I was limited in how it could lay on the table. By this point, I was very much in love with my carpet tape! Then there was the surprise discovery that there was a lot of wire hanging loose. I’d taken an odd  clip off the outside of the case when I started work and tossed it in my odds and ends in the tool chest. I dug it out and mounted it inside the case to hold the speaker wire out of the way.
  4. My solution for the problem with the pendulum hitting the inside of the case turned out to be purchasing something that was called a movement case. It’s designed to hold a small quartz movement and add a pendulum to its function. It didn’t say so on the site, but it’s actually a pendulum only drive – no clockwork in it, and it was precisely what I needed. That was the good thing. The bad thing is that it had to be mounted below the open area in the back, as high as I could put it in that area, and of course, level and centered. ClockThis photo was taken at a bit of a downward angle, so it looks like there was a lot of room to maneuver, but actually, the back piece is very close to exactly level with the light colored wood where the pendulum drive is mounted. There was also a screw protruding into the case right where the pendulum drive needed to be. It turned out that this was a screw I was able to replace with something shorter and absolutely perfect. I’d have never have been able to get the drive in without the tape to help me. And whenever I have to replace the battery on the pendulum drive, I’m going to crab and complain the whole time I’m doing it, as it is sandwiched into a narrow crawlspace between the front and back boards. But you know, it looks fantastic on the wall, and it really was worth doing it. 🙂
  5. Next I put the bezel on. Even this couldn’t be an entirely easy job. I’d been thrilled that the one bezel in the style I needed at Klockit was also the exact size I needed. I was even more amazed to find that the hinge holes that were factory drilled were a perfect match for the hinge pins on my bezel. On the other hand, the latch hole was an eighth of an inch too low. I had to remove the plastic plug that lined the latch hole, fill the hole (with wood putty that I first had to reconstitute), paint it over to blend with the case, and drill a new hole – which predictably enough was not a perfect fit for the plug. E6000 to the rescue… 🙂 The edge of the metal on the bezel is very sharp, so I can officially claim that here is both a lot of sweat and blood gone into this project…
  6. Finally – time to mount the dial! Of course, this is where I realized I’d not yet washed and blocked the knitting. :/ In my defense, I had already picked out one or two of the final rows of knitting in order to make it lay nicer, and I didn’t know until I got to the point of mounting if I was going to have to remove one more. However, here I was SO close to being done, and I had to wait for wool to dry… I put a lot of time into getting the face seated onto the metal disk perfectly as possible, while tightening everything as much as I could without risking breaking my drawstring of Palette yarn.  I couldn’t find the blow dryer, so I had a very long, impatient pace (well… actually, I cast on a new project to distract myself) until I was able to see the final project – and I was VERY late to bed, but do you blame me for that?

So while I was waiting for things to dry, I spent better than 20 minutes getting all the supplies and tools put away. I was amazed at the list of things that it took for me to make this project and decided it would be fun to write a list.

  • 11 colors of Knit Picks yarn
  • Clockwork Tam pattern
  • Computer and Knit Visualizer charting program
  • Printer paper
  • Circular knitting needles
  • Straight knitting needles
  • Sewing up needle
  • Scissors
  • Eucalan
  • Little wash tub
  • Recycled clock case
  • Quartz chiming movement (and included hardware)
  • Pendulum drive
  • Pendulum shaft and bob
  • 3 batteries
  • Bezel
  • Clock hands
  • Special order metal disk
  • Bias Tape
  • E6000
  • Crochet cotton
  • Scotch tape
  • Utility scissors
  • Drill
  • 4 different drill bits
  • Wood file
  • Sharpie Marker
  • Razor saw
  • 4 different screwdrivers
  • Screws of many sorts
  • Wood filler
  • Acrylic paint
  • Pliers
  • Briwax
  • Paper towels
  • Carpet Tape
  • Scrap paper (for measuring inside where nothing else fit)
  • Water
  • Ruler
  • Undu
  • Trash bag (to protect work space)
  • And a lead anchor in the wall 😀

So, it’s done, and I’m floating! It’s exciting not only to have conceptualized this, but to have had enough serendipity that it came out far above and beyond what I’d first visualized. I can’t think what would make me happier with this clock, and how often do you finish a project with that level of satisfaction? And if I needed even one more thing to make me happy, the clock shop where I bought the case quoted me $175 for the exact movement I used. I came home and bought all the parts, including the really nice movement from Klockit, and with case, parts, yarn, pattern, and custom ordered sheet metal disk, the entire project was still well under the $175 they wanted for just the movement. 🙂

And so I wander off to my evening’s work to the tune of the Westminster chimes, which according to an inscription in clocktower of Big Ben, prays:

All through this hour,

Lord, be my guide,

And by Thy power

No foot shall slide.

Amen!

Two Fun Challenges

Hubby went out of town for just over a week, and this time I was ready to take advantage of the time alone to get some big projects out of the way. There was a lot of work, but I made sure I had some play in the mix as well, and what fun I had! I did two knitting projects just for the sheer joy of doing them – and because I’ve wanted for several years to try out knitting with Schoolhouse Press Unspun Yarn. Of course, I really didn’t need anything else on my needles, and though I’d ordered my wheels when the new KAL for a Lace Neck Scarf or Shawl by Marilyn VanKeppel was announced, I had convinced myself I wasn’t going to actually cast on – at least not until I cleared out a few other projects.

Unspun 007

Beige, Spruce, Caramel, Dark Caramel, and Sage

Then DH took off to the airport, and next thing I knew, I had Unspun wrapped around my needles, eager to become a new shawl. 🙂

Peppermint Patty 006

Somehow that first evening, I got this brilliant idea that I was going to finish my project before he returned in a week, despite teaching 4 knitting classes, working on the remodeling, planning to finish my clock, doing some major cleaning projects, picking up all his normal chores… oh… and being surprised by one of my classes and having to cast on a sweater. The really fun thing is that I actually succeeded! I finished sewing in my end at six minutes past midnight, so the dates look like 8 days, but it was about an hour less than 7 days, not counting the blocking, which I faithfully did the next afternoon.

Unspun Wonder 001

The instructions say to block the top edge straight, but the pattern uses decreases in the fashion of the Danish heart-shaped shawls. I’ve wanted to knit one of those for ages, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to block this one taking advantage of the built in shaping. The top edge measures 72″ and the center back is 34″.

Unspun Wonder 004

I love the finished shawl. It’s feather light, but warm, the colors are lovely – sage, spruce, beige, caramel, and dark caramel, and the Unspun gives it a totally different look from anything else I’ve knit to this point. And it was lots of fun to knit!

Unspun Wonder 021

Unspun Wonder 023

Unspun Wonder 024

A few days into that project, I headed to Dayton to teach my Concerto and Symphony classes at Fiberworks. I was surprised and pleased to learn that Arlene now sells Unspun at the shop! She definitely needed a sample project and hinted about my shawl, but there was no way! Instead, I bought 4 more wheels, thinking I’d make the smaller Neck Scarf version of the KAL pattern. (Remember… I really needed a new project, right? 😉 )

Denim, Winter Blue, Donahue, and Raspberry

Denim, Winter Blue, Donahue, and Raspberry

Having succeeded in my “While Hubby’s Away One Week Unspun Wonder” (as I named it on Ravelry), I got this crazy idea. Could I do the scarf in one day? Wouldn’t know if I didn’t try! It took some scrambling to get it blocked before my 24 hours were up, but guess what… I did it! I finished the knitting in six hours (counting fixing a few mistakes that happened because I was thinking “fast” and totally negated the speed bit…), then had it washed and blocked an hour after that.

Little Wonder 001

I used larger needles for the scarf – size 10 (6mm) for the shawl and 10.75 (7mm) for the scarf.

Little Wonder 002

The following day was a gorgeous autumn in Ohio sort of day, so the photo shoot was fun!

Little Wonder 011

My “Little Wonder” measures 36″ across the top and has an 18″ drop.

Little Wonder 012

If I were to do this one over again, I think  would move the raspberry stripe down against the winter blue instead of having a denim buffer between the two. Still, I really love the way these two projects turned out, and there will definitely be more Unspun in my future. In fact, I’m going to be teaching Unspun projects at Fiberworks in the near future! 🙂

Still Not Ticking

My patience is still apparently being tested by way of my clock project. The good news is that my parts came from Klockit much more quickly than predicted, and everything was beautifully packaged. However, a quick test assembly proved my belief that a wood disk for a dial was definitely too thick for the shaft. After some discussions with online friends, I knew that I needed to find a sheet metal shop, and when I googled and discovered one right here in town, I was thrilled! Thursday I happily exchanged $5 for my custom made, galvanized disk, plotting to finish my clock that evening. Turned out that was “best laid plans…”

The disk had a sharp edge, which I knew would make a quick end to my knitting, so I applied double-fold bias tape around the circumference, using one of my favorite glues, E6000. I figured that since it was photo-safe, it should also be fabric safe.

Clock 001

Once the glue was set, I did another trial fitting – or tried to do one. I don’t have calipers, so the size I’d provided them for the center hole wasn’t accurate. I had to find and employ a file before I could proceed…

Hole enlarged, I eagerly put everything together again, then discovered there was yet another snafu. The construction of the case is such that even with a pendulum mount that is set back 3/4″ from the front of the movement, the pendulum rod still laid against the framework of the lower portion of the case.

Clock

My immediate thought was to carve it out, but it’s actually the entire front piece, all the way down to the window, that is so thick, and it would be nearly impossible to do, not to mention that it would possibly damage the integrity of the piece. Of course, by the time I made this discovery, Klockit was closed for the night, so I wasn’t able to talk to anyone about what my options might be, and I didn’t know enough about what I was doing to be able to figure out anything on my own.

Friday the idea came to me to buy a second movement – just an inexpensive one without chimes, but with a pendulum, and mount that in the lower part of the cabinet. Even better, I talked to Karen at Klockit on Saturday, and they actually have an item they call a case for a movement, and although the info isn’t spelled out clearly in the item description, it’s really a little battery operated pendulum drive with no movement! Needless to say, I placed another order with them, and now I’m going to be pacing for the next few days again!

Why is this Legal?

I just got off the phone with my credit card company, and I’m spitting nails! Barclay customers have been notified of a 5% interest increase, effective in November, and this isn’t just on new purchases, but also on existing balances. The way I see things is that I borrowed that money with the agreement that I was paying a certain percentage of interest on it. How they can change the terms of that transaction after the fact is beyond me. I suddenly feel like I’m dealing with a loan shark instead of a company that I’d previously respected. The notice added that if we don’t agree with the new terms, we can simply pay off our balance and close our accounts. If I could pay off that balance, believe me, I wouldn’t have it on my card! No one in their right mind carries a balance at the rates I’m paying on that card if they have the cash to pay it off, you know?

So, I called them this afternoon to ask what I’ve done to deserve such a usurious rate hike. Was it that I’ve paid my bill on time every month since I took out the card? That I’ve recommended the company to friends? That I’ve been a (sadly) regular customer? No, I was told that it was “across the boards.” When I asked why, the representative told me that because of the economic situation, the company “needs” money. And I don’t??? I’m still trying to get a grip on the fact that it’s perfectly legal for them to say, “We need money, so we are taking yours, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You borrowed money from us, so we can do absolutely anything we want to you until you pay it off.” Who do they think they are? The government?  This is legalized robbery, and I’m furious!

In addition, with a great amount of fanfare, it was also announced that there was a new due date for my bill. For the entire time I’ve had that account, the payment has been due on the 4th of the month, with occasional changes to the 5th when there was a holiday involved. The new date I was given was the 11th. The next month the bill was due on the 10th. This coming month is due on the 9th. This sort of messing around on the part of a credit card company easily results in people missing their payment date, meaning that the company then can levy more late fees. I asked the representative today to tell me what the earliest date will be that my bill will be due. He said he couldn’t give me a day, because there are a different number of days in each month, and that I’d just have to check each month. When for years, the due date had been a specific date, why the change to a constantly shifting date? And why when fees and  interest rates are being hiked dramatically? I think the answer is very obvious.

So, my measly savings account is now earning about 1% interest, and my credit card company is taking over 20% interest. If you’d have told me this would happen when I was 20, I’d have laughed until my sides ached. Now I just wonder how to cope – and how to get that blasted bill paid off before they decide to hike it to 30% interest.

Okay… I think I need to go knit and cool off a bit…

The Excitement Continues!

There is so much exciting stuff happening in my life right now, I can hardly keep up with it all even in my own mind! My high at the moment is a bit of serendipity that happened yesterday.

Last week, I “cheated” on the knitting I was supposed to be doing, and took the time to knit my first serious Fair Isle project. My only previous experience with Fair Isle had been a felted container, so I could get by with doing a lazy job. However, the moment I saw the new clock project from Knit Picks, I was enchanted with the concept of knitting myself a clock.

Clock

It was very disappointing that the only way to get the pattern was to buy the whole kit, and there was only one colorway. I find the choice of colors quite unappealing, and in my house, they would be downright appalling. However, I wanted to do this badly enough that I bought it anyway. The Caribbean corals, banana, and periwinkle shades can go into my stash and be used for doll knitting or other such things in the future. I added a heap of pinks, browns, and greens to my order, and when it all arrived, I knew I’d done the right thing. 🙂

I spent a lovely evening playing with the colors, using the black and white mode on my camera to compare the intensity of the colors. Fair Isle that doesn’t have gray scale contrast between colors used with each other appears muddy – a problem I noted in the kit colors, by the way.

Clock 004

I ended up with a selection of 10 colors that felt perfect to me, plus the bare, which is used for the ribbing that gathers behind the face to hold the knitting in place.

Clock 040

This is half again as many colors as is on the pattern, so I sat down with Knit Visualizer and redesigned the color layout. While I was at it, I just made a 12 repeat wide chart for myself so I didn’t have to risk going back and forth between the separate number charts and the main chart during the knitting.  I knew that was a recipe for trouble!

Once the planning was finished, the knitting seemed to go very smoothly, and it was terribly addictive!

Clock 005

I started in the wee hours of Sunday morning, and the actual knitting was done by Wednesday morning – just 3 days later!

Clock 008

I was so proud of how tidy my back looked, and my knitting is very smooth on the front – not lumpy in the least. I was amazed I’d managed so well, and had definitely not expected my first project to turn out so nicely.

Clock 010

A two hour marathon resulted in a couple million ends being sewn in (picture above showing only part of them), leaving me with nothing to do except be impatient to be able to have a finished  clock.

Clock 001

Here’s where things started getting a little bit more challenging, though… but I’ll get to that in a minute. First, a few comments about the pattern and instructions…

  • For some really odd reason, the instructions say to use a provisional cast on. I can’t for anything figure out why. I opted for a long tail, since that is not bulky, and it is just fine. My completed clock face is gathered smoothly and easily to the back by running a gathering strand up and down through the ribbing, and there’s more support for the gathering, because it’s not just through a single loop of fingering weight yarn.
  • I added several plain color rows between the ribbing and the beginning of the design, and I started knitting the design just a little lower on the chart. I wanted to have that band of little pink roses around the edge of my clock.
  • The decreases worked really nicely until the very end. There the designer has 8 rows knit on the remaining stitches, and for me, that funneled. It’s just too many rows of the same at that small of a diameter. (Think about the Pi Shawl concept and that will make sense.) I’ve already gone back and picked out one row, which made a definite improvement. I might remove one more, but I’m waiting to see what happens when I assemble my clock before I commit.
  • If I knit something like this again, I might try knitting from the center out instead of the outside in. I found it extremely difficult to work the last few rows. It was very tight quarters.
  • Instructions say to just tie the ends together and cut them off. I experimented with that, but I found it left a jog in my Fair Isle design, so I did take the time to darn each end into the work, easing the design back toward looking more seamless. I think it was worth the effort. I don’t notice the seam unless I look for it.
  • Instead of starting my rows at center top, I started somewhere less conspicuous, making the jog even less noticeable.
  • There is an admonition in the instructions that totally confuses me. If I’d followed it the way it reads to me, I’d have had my numbers going the wrong direction around the dial. It says to be sure to put the numbers on in descending order. However, when you knit, you actually have to knit them in ascending order, or you will have a backwards clock. Just take some time to be sure you are going to have what you want when you are finished – like the carpenter measuring twice and cutting once, it is worth checking and double checking this before you knit very far.

Now, about the rest of this project… The finishing instructions say to wrap your hat around a paper plate, punch a hole in the middle for a craft store clockwork, and hang it on the wall. I’m really proud of my knitting, and I have a Victorian style home with antique clocks. The paper plate thing was going to look seriously tacky – or at least very out of place here, no two ways about it! I’ve probably spent more hours working on finding a way to finish this and have something that looked fantastic than I’ve spent on the knitting to this point. However, I’ve finally had a serendipity happening that has resolved the challenge. Yesterday I dropped into the clock shop while I was in the city to teach lace knitting classes.

Clock 002

While conducting my other business, I mentioned my knitted clock and my needs. It turned out that they happened to have a gutted case in the shop, and believe it or not, it was not only just the right size, but the style was appealing, and the case was from the 1980’s , so no guilt about messing up an antique. It’s an antique style case, but of modern manufacture, with solid, heavy wood. I don’t know wood well, but I think I’m guessing it is oak.

Clock 003

And the back is wide open, which is going to make it much easier for me to make any modifications I need to do. A closed back, antique case would have made it more challenging to use an electronic movement. This set up is perfect, as it’s designed to use exactly what I was hoping to install.

Clock 004

Best of all, they let me have it for just $25! There is no way I’d have been able to create any sort of a case for that price with my limited woodworking skills, let alone a fancy case like this one. Today I called Klockit for the umpteenth time, finally placing an order with them. All the inner workings are on the way, along with a glass bezel, arriving hopefully early next week. (I have to put in a gold star rating for this company, by the way. I’ve spoken and/or emailed multiple clock related companies in the past week, and the service I got from Klockit has been so far above and beyond anything I got elsewhere that I doubt I’ll look to the right or the left again. They are fantastic people, and so helpful that it’s a delight to work with them, even if you don’t quite know what you are doing.)

A little bit of Un-du (I love this stuff!) has already removed the presentation plaque from the front of the case, leaving not a trace of residue. So, now my only problem is to find something other than my dinner plate to use as a dial disk. It has to be thin enough for the clockwork shaft, strong enough to not buckle from the knitting being stretched around it, and I have to have a way to get it cut in a perfectly smooth, 10.25″ disk. I’ll be puzzling over that problem and Briwaxing my clock case while I wait with eager anticipation for my Klockit package to arrive.

I know… Patience is a virtue and all that… 😉 Besides, it’s not like I don’t have anything else to do here, right?

One Leap Forward!

I’m  currently on a bit of a high! I just now finished grinding the fireplace tiles for my mantle project in the sewing room, and I’m so, so, so, SO glad to be done with it! It was a noisy, dusty, boring job that just went on and on and on. Hubby and I have to share the outdoor workspace, and I have been deferring to him because what he’s been doing is more critical over all to our  projects. With so much rain this summer, me not being able to work outside when people are mowing, and the numerous other things that have been claiming my time, I just hadn’t been squeezing in time for more than a tile here and there. Now that it’s October, the weather is reminding me that it won’t be long until we have to shut down all the outdoor projects until next spring, and I really don’t want that to happen before I finish this one big outdoor project I still have to do right now. Today’s sunny mid 50’s temperatures coincided with Hubby being away from home for the day. I have a lot of work to do before I teach knitting classes on Monday, but I decided I would take a “few minutes” to go grind more tiles. Once I got going, I started thinking about a whole winter waiting to finish, and before long, I convinced myself that I just might be able to get through all the rest. Now my back and head ache from the racket and standing so long in one position, but I’m ecstatic to be done!

Next step will be to transfer the tiles to another surface and thoroughly clean them and the backer board. Then I get the nerve wracking project of gluing them in place, and the easy project of grouting. I’m looking forward to sharing a finished project, hopefully very soon!

Now I shall go dancing through the rest of my evening with a big grin on my face! 😀

Published in: on October 10, 2009 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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