Monday, May 23, 2011

Rainbow Whatsit All Aboard Carry Case

While I was busy doing laundry, cleaning our room and reorganizing my desk area this weekend I was ruminating on a problem I hoped to solve before I was done. Since the big weekend project was to get my work area clean and organized this problem was directly related. I needed a better solution for holding my rainbow whatsit crochet project. Because there were sixteen colors to be repeated three to four times each that meant sixteen balls of size 10 thread.

I didn't really hope to find a way to have them all in one bag but I hoped to find a better solution than the two medium sized bags I was using. Those two bags were the third attempt to consolidate. I'd begun with using a couple gift bags that held three to four balls each and keeping the rest in the drawer where the live but constantly having to switch them out was a pain. Especially when the next colors I needed were in the drawer behind my desk and it was several hours before my husband would be awake and getting to them without disturbing him was nigh impossible.

That was why I'd stuffed them in the two craft bags which, though the best solution yet, still created issues. It was a snug fit for one. Which kept the balls from turning freely when in use Of course I could always rotate the top three to the bottom and the bottom three to the middle and the middle two or three to the top as I progressed through the color changes. But that was tedious and made me long for the gift bags again which allowed the two to four balls to spin free whether they were top middle or bottom and I could keep the ends of the threads in waiting clipped to the top edge of the bag.

The other major issue was their size. There was no where to keep them close at hand when not in use except on the bed and there were times that wasn't an option.

While reorganizing the area around my desk I found the case that our fleece sheet set came in. It is shaped like a suitcase with a lid that zippers shut with two zippers and is made of clear pliable plastic and has a carry handle made of flat webbing like you see used in bags and belts. For several weeks after Christmas (when we got the sheets) I'd been using it to store the newest threads until I was able to get the thread drawers reorganized to make room for them.

I saw its potential immediately after pulling it out from between my desk legs and the hamper on Saturday afternoon. But I wasn't able to test my theory until late Sunday evening after the second reorganizing of my desk area in two days.

The second time was precipitated by me spilling a tray of sewing misc that rained and fluttered and trickled and dropped all over an area about one by two yards. The items didn't just land on top of things where I could just pick them up and put them back. No. They fell between and behind and under and in everywhere. I had to take the whole desk area apart down to the floor again.

What things? needles, crochet hooks, seam ripper, thread snippets off the baby afghan and thread lengths cut for the fringe that fizzled--those never put in and those removed--ink pen and clicker pencil, fray check and snag repair latch hook, straight pens and needle threaders, paper clips and paper scraps. Oh what a mess. I had to pile printer, netbook, books, sewing misc and office misc onto the bed. Again! While checking carefully in every crack and crevice and open container from the size of a pill bottle to the size of a craft bag. I'm still not sure I found them all though I think I accounted for everything larger than paper clips and thread snips. And I think I found all the needles and straight pens. Let's hope.

Anyway it was late last evening when I was able to try out my idea for the rainbow whatsit project. By then I was expecting Ed to need the bed any second so I was rushed. And yet or maybe because I was under that pressure I found an excellent solution. The most excellent one was after the first attempt to organize the thread in the case ended in a colossal fail. I had got all sixteen in and was excited to find they fit and left plenty of room for the balls to spin. So I got all the thread ends clipped to the handle and zipped the two zippers around from the back to the front leaving a four inch gap above the handle. And then...

I picked it up by the handle...

And all the pretty columns of thread fell in a jumble to the bottom and all the sixteen threads tangled.

Now what!

Then my eyes fell on a beat up cardboard box I'd finally given up for dead during the room cleanup and left setting on top of the waste basket. It's flaps and sides look just about the right size for the brain-flash image that had just come to me. An image of those nice columns of three balls separated by walls.

In a flash I had that box cut along every edge and had the four strips of cardboard I needed. I didn't even have to trim them to size. Later I used one of the smaller flaps on the box to create the wedge to wrap the fabric around so I could push it into the pocket on the lid without curling up the corners and edges.

I was so pleased with myself.

The case is currently serving as a lap desk to hold my netbook as I type which was one of the things that defunct cardboard box had served as and one of the reasons it became too decrepit to continue to serve that way or any way at all.

As for the rainbow whatsit (still not divulging my current plan for it) I've just begun the third iteration of the sixteen stripes or 32 rows. I'll decide after its complete if there will be a forth iteration. Meanwhile I've only been doing two to four rows per day since Thursday otherwise I'd probably have finished the third iteration and more.

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