First of all, congratulations to Fran of Sun Valley, Idaho, the katazome giveaway winner! Thanks to all of you for putting your name in the hat by signing up for my updates and/or RSS feed!
This weekend I cleaned my basement workroom/studio, clearing clutter and hoping to find another square foot of space to use. (According to The Bard of Lake Woebegone, this frenzy of organizing is probably a form of temporary insanity, since it is January in Minnesota.) My goal this time was to find a way to stretch more than 2-1/2 yards of fabric across the space. Normally that's the maximum I can manage between the concrete wall and the 6"x6" post in the middle of the space. (there are 2 of these posts on either side of the chimney.) I found a way to extend this reach by almost a yard by using a D-ring on a clothesline.
To prevent the D-ring from slipping I've attached a clothespin on each side of it. You don't really need the D-ring but I like it because it allows me to move around more easily without untying the rope or doing the limbo. Normally the D-ring would be attached to the metal handle on the post. We also moved the freezer and a few other things to open up the space around this new adaptation.
Part two of this weekend of problem-solving was stretching the shinshi (bamboo fabric stretching sticks) across the back of the fabric, which seems like it would be easy, but frustrates me. It usually takes me 2 or 3 attempts to make it work. If I knew physics it might be easier! Ideally, you want the shinshi to be perpendicular to the edges of the stretched fabric, but when that isn't possible crisscrossing them is the alternative. The goal is to stretch the weave as evenly as possible, avoiding little tent-pole like protrusions and wrinkles. This is hard to do when the sticks are diagonal. Shinshi only come in a few sizes, and if you are working with Western fabrics and/or have custom requirements you adapt. Even with the frustrations that come with learning this, it's an elegant and flexible method. I find other fabric stretching equipment awkward. (I've tried making my own shinshi from dowels without success -- they are too brittle.)