In the meantime…

Wow – what a great response to my question about other crafts – I’m glad to be in such great company, and I hope my quest to learn to sew goes well!  I’m waiting on a part for my machine, though I do now have a copy of the manual, and I’ve been working on my knitting (of course!)

My next sweater is going to be Salina, from Rowan’s Vintage Knits.

Yes, I finally found a yarn.  I’m using Rowanspun 4-ply, double stranded.  I actually have 2 colors – Jade and a dark blue, and they look great together!

I also finished one of my tsunami socks.

Socks that rock lightweight is surprisingly not light.  It’s got to be on the heavy side of fingering, or maybe it’s just very dense.  I like knitting with it quite a bit!

I’m also giving serious thought to redoing our attic soon.  Marc uses it for his things, but I don’t like to be up there, and I would like a craft area.  It has central air and new windows (including skylights) as well as plumbing, but it lacks drywall and needs a new floor (currently a very old linoleum.

The stairs:

main area

Big new windows (at either end.)

What do you all think?  I think we can it mostly do ourselves, and I need a house project!

Bathroom photos, and knitting toe up

The bathroom, other than needing a new rug and a light fixture (coming Friday) is finished, so I thought I would let you all see what we’ve done!  Just for reference, here are photos from when we moved it.

The shower is nice, if a bit shoddily installed, but the rest needed to be updated.  I am keeping the mirror you see up there, I’m fond of it for some reason and use it for putting myself together.

Here it is today, after replacing the sink, medicine cabinet and lights, and painting the walls and the door (previously it was yellow like the walls.)

Oops… need to clean that shower wall!  The floor (pergo) is staying for now, but needs to be replaced eventually with tile.

The sink and medicine cabinet were inexpensive, but fit our needs (fit into the corner where the old sink was, and have storage underneath, as there is no closet.  We’ve also installed things like that hand towel ring – there were no towel rods of any kind in the bathroom when we moved in (maybe they took them with?)

As I said, we have no bathroom cl0set, so it’s important to find space.  This odd little corner probably exists because the previous owners removed the bathtub and put in a shower.  I was using plastic storage carts here, but they were ugly.  My Mom bought this on clearance at Linens and things going out of business sale, but it didn’t fit her bathroom – so we get a nice new cabinet!  This is pretty much going to be mine… I’ll hang the pretty old mirror back up there and use it as a dressing table.

I am so pleased with the bathroom – it no longer feels old and strange to me!  The color, for reference, is Martha Stewart Blue Agave, from Valspar at Lowes.  I am vaguely allergic to this paint (we used it in our condo all over) but I was able to handle one small room, and it was inexpensive.  We got good coverage in only one coat.

Now for the knitting content of my post… I have taught myself a new trick!

Not only is that sock toe up, but it’s knit on two circulars!  I always thought using two circs would be hard and annoying, but as it turns out I love it – no contorting of the cable, which is what I hate about magic loop, and I didn’t find myself grabbing the wrong end at all.  It’s also less fiddly than trying to start toe up on DPNs (which I hate, thought I love my DPNs.)  Unfortunately, I only have one size 0 circular, so I had to rip this back (since one side of the sock is always on the same needles, the sizes must be the same.)  I think I may run out and pick up another size 0 addi – I prefer knitpicks, but somehow I don’t think it would be cheaper after I threw in all the things I might need “just in case” to my order.

I’m so proud of me – I may restart this sock, widdershins from Knity for the January Sockdown… I like this yarn fairly well, and it’s nice and self striping!

Amelia is nearly finished, and here is a photo to prove it.

I am once again proving that one piece knits aren’t faster for me, as I avoid picking it up for the endless rows I’m on now.  But soon it will be done, and I can move on to something nice, knit in pieces (I’m leaning towards the Blooming Cardigan right now, but we will see!)

Finished Bedroom photos (and some knitting)

Both bedrooms (and thus all my painting except the bathroom) are finished!  I love my new room – it is so soothing to wake up in the pretty green, and it looks lovely with the woodwork!

I bought a new Duvet cover (Martha Stewart for Macys) and I painted my headboard.  Previously is was sort of oaky colored (my Dad made it for me, but he was ok with the paint – it was not nice wood.)  The trunk was refinished for me by my Dad also (he is an antique refinisher by trade, mostly old trunks.)  It’s a patterned tin trunk with green and copper… it goes so well in the room!

The fireplace screen I painted after determining that it was made of brass, not cast iron, so it was not black underneath the old paint.  The paint claimed to be matte, but clearly it is not, so I only applied one coat to keep it from looking too new.  It looks nicely old in person.

And my owls have a home at last!  I bought these for a dollar at a thrift store last year.

I also bought curtains for this room and the guest room at IKEA this weekend, but I have not gotten around to putting them up.  They’re just white sheers anyway, so use your imagination.  I’m not really much of a curtain person, but I am even less of a blind person and these windows face the very busy street!

The guest room is also finished!  The walls are slightly less bright than they look here, but they are very pretty.  I also painted this headboard (it was a giveaway item we took, and it was a bright shiny fake brass finish before.)  The wall to the left has several black and white photos, and I’m planning on adding a few more.  This room also has a dresser and a desk, and it is pretty crowded, thus the lack of photos.  It also gets the most light of any room in the house.

I hope you have all enjoyed my house painting pictures… there will be more when we do the bathroom (as soon as we sell the condo, which is taking forever… our real estate agent now wants us to paint parts of it, but I am not convinced that would make any difference.)

In knitting news…

I am knitting a parallelogram.

According to my swatch (and to others on ravelry with the same experience) this will blockout (perhaps it is a problem with the irish moss stitch?) even so… it is disconcerting, and it’s hard to measure my progress!

I am enjoying the stitch, which is nice and mindless.  Mine is coming out quite small, but that’s ok with me – it will stretch, and I don’t want mine to be too big the way it seems many have been.  Love the Colrain again… I had almost forgotten what a great knitting experience it is!

I bought the new Debbie Bliss knitting magazine this week.  Let me say that I am not the largest fan of her patterns.  She seems to believe that every pattern needs at least 2″ of positive ease, and I know this is not the case.  But I love these three patterns, so in spite of some slight resizing being needed I bought the magazine.

I especially like that cabled vest thing, and I plan to make it (but not out of cashmerino aran.)  I have wanted to make Juliet (the last sweater) but I could not bring myself to buy the book it’s in for one pattern.  And the fair isle dress is lovely, though I doubt I would make it.

Most of the patterns here are from older debbie bliss books, so if you have some of her books I would use caution before buying this.  Otherwise, at $7.99 I think it’s a good deal.  Just be aware if (like me) you are on the *ahem* less busty side that you will not find much under a 35″ bust.

Previews

First a knitting preview… the Old Penny Cardigan is finished!

As soon as it finishes drying and I can get my photographer during the daylight hours I will have a post about it with modeled photos.  I will say that I am much more pleased than I expected, and that the errata, such as it is, is really not that bad and is confined to the fronts only.

And now a house preview.  I am on the last room of my big painting project (the bathroom is going to wait until we can afford to redo it properly, I suspect it may be my Christmas present this year.)  I am still incredibly sick, so this room has been slow going, especially as I had to remove wallpaper.  Here is the room before painting (but after wallpaper removal)

And here it is this afternoon, before the final coat of paint.

I had to adjust the levels on this photo (it was looking very blue green on my monitor, and it isn’t at all) but it looks close on my screen now.  The color is “terrarium” by Martha Stewart paints.  Green is (obviously) my favorite color, but after painting many rooms in many houses green I have come to realize that it’s always best to choose the darker option, lest you end up with slimey looking walls (ask me how I know!) This color looked too dark on the card, but on the walls it is just what I wanted!  The tiles in the fireplace are a blend of green and rose, and I think this paint compliments the green better than the previous pale blue wallpaper.

About the fireplace… the previous owners painted the entire thing, including the tiles, white.  Most of the paint is off the tiles and they look great, but I still need to paint the grate/screen thingy (what do you call it in old gas fireplaces like these?)  All the other screens in the house (which are identical to this one) are black.

I am unable to sleep when I’m sick, thus the late night posting.  I’m also doing a lot of thinking about what I want out of life… doing this work on the house has brought up old dreams that I forgot about.  I love old buildings and am passionate about their preservation and restoration.  I also love design, and for a long time wanted to be an interior designer.  I would love to find a way to combine those things in a job… or something.  Ah… who know, but thinking about it is fun!

Happy 2nd Blogiversary!

Ok, so it was a week ago… but I’ve been busy!  My second year of blogging has passed, and I love it as much as ever!  I thought I would try to turn last year’s feature into a tradition… one where I talk about how various yarns have held up in the sweaters I’ve made this year.

1.  Printed Silk Cardigan in Frog Tree Pima Silk – I get a lot of nice compliments on this sweater.  The yarn has stretched a bit, but nothing you wouldn’t expect for a cotton/silk blend.  It’s nice and cool and light.  I might not use this yarn again because of the splittiness (the memory has not yet faded) but so far it is holding up well!

2. Juliet in Cotton Fleece: One of my most favorite sweaters.  I love the swingy shape that’s so popular right now.  This color of cotton fleece has faded a bit – it’s more peach than terra cotta, but I still love it!

3.Green Gable in Knitpicks Comfy –  I don’t wear this so often, because even though I added 2.5 inches to the body it’s still way short.  The yarn itself is holding up ok – a little fuzzy maybe – but the real problem is that it catches every piece of lint in a room.  It was lovely to work with, but I have concerns about it long term, so I wouldn’t use it again.

4. Thermal in Knitpicks Gloss – Everything they say about Gloss is true – it stretches insanely upon washing.  I made my sweater too small, and now it’s a bit big, but it is lovely and warm, and I like to wear it on cold days.  The yarn otherwise is holding up great – no pilling, and the color has stayed true through washing.

5. Tree Jacket in Valley Yarns Colrain –  I love this sweater – it’s unusual but not crazy looking.  Colrain is one of my true yarn loves – soft and shiny, and it holds up great!  My sweater has no pilling, and I wore this all the time last winter.  It does attract lint thought, but not too bad.

6. Tuxedo top in Berroco Naturlin – Like knitting with twine, but the results are so worth it.  I don’t wear this much because I’m always cold, but whenever I do it makes me so happy!  The yarn gets softer with every wear, just like they say with linen.

7. Briar Rose in Moda Dea Fashionista – The only sweater here that I do not wear.  I cannot seem to figure out what to wear it with, and the yarn  is pilling badly after only a few outings.  It was strange to knit with, and I cannot recommend it for garments (but I bet it would make a lovely soft blanket!)

 

1. Something Red in Blue Sky cotton – Sometimes you have to learn for yourself – for instance, I had to learn that this yarn really does wear as badly as they say.  I have worn this a lot (I always get tons of compliments on it) and it’s stretched out and really worn looking.  I could live with the wear if only it would stop stretching – at this point it is far wider in the shoulders than I am.

2. Flutter Sleeve Cardigan in O Wool Balance –  I wanted to try this yarn forever.  It was a bit rustic to knit with – papery and full of twigs.  But the sweater is great – lightweight and soft, and it holds its shape well.  I find short sleeved cardigans hard to wear (as I said, I am a cold person!) but this is my favorite!

3.  Vest Evereste in Cascade 220 heather – I love vests, why don’t I knit more?  I will have to make one this winter (Victoria from the new Kim Hargreaves is first.)  This vest has held up wonderfully – it has not stretched, and the yarn looks like new.  I’m planning to knit Forecast with Cascade 220 this year, since this was such a success.

4.  Comfy Cardi in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino –  I didn’t love this when it was done, but to my surprise it is one of my favorite sweaters now.  I love Baby Cashmerino.  It’s more tightly twisted than the other cashmerinos, and it does not pill a bit.  I’m planning to knit Ripple, from Kim Hargreaves Nectar, from this yarn.

5. Gathered Pullover in Naturespun Sport –  I love the color and the sleeves fit me perfectly, but I do wish I had made the body with a normal hem – I am always pulling at the rolled bottom.  Ah well – I wear it all the time.  It has not stretched or pilled, surprising for a cheap yarn knit at a loose gauge.

6. Emily in Venezia Worsted – This sweater is so luxurious – the silk yarn has a nice weight and drape and the color is beautiful!  It has not pilled, although I am careful with it because of the silk content.  It stretches a bit, to be expected with wool/silk blends, but it’s still one of my favorites.  I do love this yarn, and I thought the price was very good

7. Central ParkHoodie in Kathmandu Aran – My favorite sweater, hands down.  I must have worn this three times a week last winter.  I know some people think the yarn is too rustic, but I didn’t find it to be too bad – I thought it was quite soft, if not a smooth knitting experience.  It has not pilled, and it has not stretched.  I am planning two knits this winter out of this, one of my favorite yarns (28 Thirty and Bianca’s Jacket.)  I am all about a soft tweed!

 

This year I have tried more complicated techniques – twisted stitches, cables, and lace. I have two sweaters nearly finished now, to make up for my slowness during the move.  I hope the information on the yarn is useful to you all, I know I often wish I could know how a yarn does over time!

If you’ve read this far, here is a preview of the new color of our guest room (previously painted ceiling white everywhere with a hideous built in shelf.)

It’s a tad brighter in real life, a true french blue that I chose because it matches the french blue in my babette blanket (which will live in here as soon as I finish it!)

Oopsies

It was bound to happen.  There is no way I was going to get away with painting nine rooms (if you count the hall as a room) without making a fatal paint choice error.

I’m painting the living room this week (I’m on vacation, and we are having a housewarming party soon, so I’m anxious to get the public rooms finished.)  I had originally thought that I might paint this room yellow, but the room has a problem.  Problem #1 is that it is a sort of loft area, overlooking the stairwell and flowing into the upstairs hall, so whatever I use has to work in several areas.  Problem #2 is that when the previous owners opened up this room they built a new stairwell… out of yellow pine (the rest of the house is a mix of red oak and tiger oak.)  The yellow pine is crazy orangey, and any sort of warm shade tends to emphasize the orange, and the fact that it does not even match the rest of the stairwell.

I had decided on a sage green, which I thought would look nice with my red sofa and the blue fireplace, and which wouldn’t be overwhelming carried into the hall.  I only got as far as the window before I knew I hated it, but I continued on for another wall to make sure.  Yup… instead of the pretty sage on the card, this color looked like a gray-ish mint on the walls.

This picture actually just looks gray, but trust me that the mint was there.  It’s actually a nice color, but in my opinion it would look better with white trim.  It really gave the room a cold feel, which wasn’t what I wanted for our private living area.

I was sad because I really do love this color, but it isn’t for our home.

I decided to give the leftovers to my Mom, who is repainting her house to sell it, and started going through the huge pile of samples I have amassed, looking for a color that might work.

I threw a few up on the wall:

Yup, I still don’t like yellow.  But that blue… it had possibilities, although it looks a little bland in this photo.  It’s from the Sherwin Williams Arts and Crafts Collection.  The color is “Bunglehouse Blue.”  I decided to go with my instincts, so I went with the blue, which happens to go well with the fireplace.

Perfect!  The darker color makes the wood glow, and this blue contains enough green to avoid feeling cold with the northern light.  I need to learn to go with my instincts – I knew that light colors didn’t look great with our woodwork, but I was worried about the house being a cave.  Strangely enough, dark colors seem to work better with the dark trim.  I think it has to do with the amount of contrast.

While I was painting I discovered what color the room was painted before the owners painted to sell last year – ballerina pink.  Wow… I really cannot imagine thinking that was a good idea, but then these are the same people who repainted to sell using only mint green and butter yellow, and without using any drop cloths on the wood floors.

I had been considering using more muted colors for the bedrooms upstairs (I hope to get to those labor day weekend) but I have changed my mind based on this experience.

These are the colors I picked up today to think about for our bedroom (yes, I know I’m indecisive, you are all thinking “Didn’t she already go through this?”)  I like the two on the far left, Martha Stewart Terrarium and Ralph Lauren Alpine Pool.

The guest room will actually be next, and I am deciding between a Martha color called “chalkboard green” and an eddie bauer color called “bordeaux.”  We will not talk about how many swatches are currently on the walls.  I clearly have a paint problem.

Tomorrow this room will get a second coat (I am so pleased with the coverage of this paint, Sherwin Williams Cashmere) and then I will have a living room again.  I have hardly been able to knit, and I am so close to being finished with Honey.  Last summer I took over a month to complete the Nantucket Jacket because of the wedding, and this summer I am taking ages to finish anything because of the house – it must be something about july and august!  I cannot wait for colder weather…

Kitchen painting, and yes I’m still thinking about fall!

My excitement of the day is that I set up an appointment with the piano movers, and my piano is coming to our house on next Thursday!  It’s been a good eight years since I was able to have a piano in my house, and I’m so excited I could cry (um… that’s what I do when I’m excited, apparently.)

We also got the kitchen painted.  It took three coats, and I did not prime, since the previous owners painted right before we moved in.  I didn’t think it made a difference in terms of coverage, which I thought was pretty good for a dark red!

We went from this…

To this:

I love the color so much, it’s really helped with my perception of the kitchen (of course, the kitchen is still awful if you open any of the cabinets, but it looks great from the outside!)

The job was not without it’s “why did they do that” moments, as is the case with every room in an old house.  In this case, we wondered why the owners left their telephone on the wall when they moved.

The answer became apparent when the wall was viewed from behind (this is inside a closet.)

Yes, a big old hole in the wall for the phone line, and not one, not two, but three anchor screws for the phone, which Marc and I now refer to as “the wold’s heaviest telephone.” We were lucky to be able to get at the screws from the back, I suppose, but there was plenty of patching going on after we took the phone down.  I solved the problem of a patch in a visible place by hanging my first picture in the new house!

Please ignore the wavy edging… this house has no straight lines, and this trim has many layers of paint and caulk.

Our condo had plaster walls.  I was amazed at how easy it was to hang a picture in the drywall!  This room has a large empty wall by the stairs (if we were eating in the kitchen I suppose we would put a table there, but we aren’t.)  I’ve decided to take photos of some local landmarks in black and white, and hang them all together in similar frames.  This will go with the photo above, which is of a tiny little park near our house.

And… with this room all the painting in the downstairs is finished!  It took us about a month to paint four rooms, two of which were wallpapered, and one that included a stairwell.  We are having a house warming party at the end of next week, and I hope to have the living room painted by then.  The bedrooms and the big bathroom will happen shortly after that is over.  I am on vacation until September 8th, so I’m really hoping to be mostly done by the time I start teaching again.

As a reward for finishing the first floor, I went ahead and ordered the new Kim Hargreaves book.  There are several sweaters and a hat I want to make.  I love her designs – she even makes chunky knits look elegant!

I have been obsessed with that first sweater for awhile.  I plan to use Reynolds Whiskey, which I already own.  I have kid classic in a light gray for the vest, and enough light blue 4-ply soft to make the hat.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I have been on a yarn buying hiatus for quite awhile, waiting to sell the condo, so I am trying not to buy.  I do love those coats though, in big wool and cashsoft chunky.

I also bought the new Rowan Mag, because I am not on a pattern buying hiatus, and I’m going to make the lamour slipover out of wool cotton from stash, and possibly the grable tunic, although I don’t know that I have a yarn for that…

(I think the styling on both these sweaters is awful, and neither looks the correct size for the model (isn’t she lovely?) but I like them anyway!)

I may allow myself yarn for grable, but we will see… it is expensive to move a grand piano, let me tell you!