crafts · decorating · house

World’s largest fan deck and inspiration.

We have our closing date (July 11th) and now we have scheduled our movers (July 12th) so it’s all seeming very real!  In just a little over 2 weeks we will be in our new home.  Meanwhile, I have become slightly obsessed with decorating.  It’s funny, when we were looking at houses we would occasionally see one that was newly remodeled and I would think “Oh, I don’t want that… I want to choose my own kitchen/bath/flooring and I would never choose that!”  We ended up just where I wanted – with a house that needs very little structural work (just the attic, and that’s Marc’s domain.)  I get the fun job of choosing colors and fixtures without having to do major work. It’s possible that I used to really want to be an interior decorator.

It’s also possible that I got a bunch of paint samples and painted big pieces of foamcore board, even though it will be 2 weeks before I can stick them up in the new house.  I have learned my lesson about not seeing colors under artificial lighting after our current kitchen.  The colors from Left to right are for: Kitchen, above the chair rail in the foyer, dining room, below stair rail in the foyer, piano room, bathroom, master bedroom, guest bedroom, and the three colors to be used in the upstairs hallway, foyer, and living room (these areas are all open and will require some creative ideas in order to make it look like they are separate from each other.)

The kitchen color is not quite right, it’s a bit too flat looking and too minty.  I was inspired for a kelly green kitchen by Domino magazine, so I’m going to use the color they used, Direct Green by Sherwin Williams.

I’ve actually gotten quite a few paint colors from Domino.  The first pitcture below is the color I’m using for the bathroom (BM Waterfall,) and the 2nd is for the living room (that room is kind of dark, so it needs light colors, and this shows 2 rooms next to each other like mine, although I am not using the same color brown, mine is more gray/taupe.)

I like all my choices, although I’m going to try a few more colors for the piano room to decide whether I want to go more purple or more blue with the color.  That room (and the foyer) have coffered ceilings (see a similar example here) so I really need to see the colors up against the wood.  This is in fact a concern throughout – because the woodwork is natural in all the rooms except the kitchen and bathrooms, the colors look very different from the way they look up against the white woodwork you always see in magazines.

Painting is my favorite bit of decorating, because it makes the biggest immediate difference.

Ah well – right now I’m just playing, who knows what will happen after we move in!  Some of the colors are bound to change. I had a dream last night that it all fell through at the last minute, so I need to distract myself.

I hope the next 2 weeks pass quickly!  Once we move in I will be able to tackle my lists for each room and the exterior.  How I love crossing things off my list!

I have also been crocheting on both my cardigan and my blanket.  I hope to finish the blanket by the time we get the guest room set up (not until the attic is finished, so not for awhile.)  It looks great up against the lilac paint!

crafts · house · knitting · Life · yarn


You know how it is… you finally get one stress off your back (buying the house) and the next thing you know there are 50 more piling up on top of you.  In this case it’s work stress, so I can’t be specific, but I will say… I never have dealt well with confrontation.  I used to be really bad to cry when confronted with an angry person, but over time I’ve learned to at least delay the onset of my tears… but that doesn’t mean I like it, or that it doesn’t ruin my whole day.

Yes, I’m sensitive, I know… trust me when I say that being sensitive is generally not regarded as an asset.

This is my “Stress?  What stress?” yarn.  It’s Dream in Color Classy (worsted weight) in Happy Forest for the February Lady sweater. See, it even has “Happy” in the name! I decided that I loved the original so much that only a saturated green would do, and besides I only needed 3 skeins for my size.  The one on the right is clearly a little lighter, so I may need to alternate skeins.

Yesterday we had our home inspection.  The inspector loved the house, and only found a few small problems, all of which the sellers are going to address.  We also have an offer in on our condo, accepted pending inspection tomorrow(it’s a first time home buyer, so you never know how that’s going to go… the house we are buying had an earlier offer fall through because of lead paint, which is clearly a little nuts in a 110 year old house.)

I took a few more photos of the house while we were there, and I am so very excited.  We will be closing 3 days before my birthday!  I’m sure you’re all going to get very tired of seeing the house, but I’m so excited to get to work on it!

This is the main staircase with the foyer fireplace in the back.  This fireplace is what sold me on the house – how can you not love that beautiful green tile and the carving?  There are also original push button lights in here – I love them!

Looking into the backyard from the dining room.  You can kind of see how the floor in this room has a rug line.  Someday all these floors are getting refinished, but for now I will get a rug of my own!  I don’t care for this light fixture (it’s brass and won’t match my things) but it’s one of the nicer in the house.

This is 1/4 of the kitchen.  It’s really large (and I love that exposed brick!) The cabinets are ok, as are the counters.  Secretly I kind of like the kitchen.  I’m picturing it with bright walls and a black/white checkerboard floor (the current floor is really ugly vinyl tile.)  Our kitchen table is a silver formica table from the 50s, and our stove is a 1940s Chambers, so all together I think it could be cute.  Someday we may remodel, but I’m pleased.

The enormously fancy shower.  The floor in here is some pretty water damaged laminate, and the sink needs reglazing or replacing (I hate to replace the original sink.)  Even so, for an old house bathroom it’s fabulous (if not terrible period approprate.)

That’s enough boring my readers – there are lots more photos (with commentary) on my flickr account.

crafts · Crochet · house · yarn

Crochet Vacation

Yesterday I got this lovely bag of yarn in the mail.

In love with its beautiful metalic sheen, I immedately swatched.

And before I knew it, I had begun another project.

This is the Ocean Pearls Cardigan from the new Interweave Crochet.  The yarn is Garnstudio Cotton Viscose, and I love it.  It does split like mad, but so long as you’re careful to use a pretty blunt hook (I’m using a 3.5mm Addi hook) it isn’t too bad.  The bobbles are fun.  I’m still not sure if the size I’m making is coming out correctly, but I should know pretty soon.  It’s nice to have a break from tiny needles after the Printed Silk cardi!

I have more exciting news… another offer came through on the house we are buying (not on our house, still no offers) so we had to go ahead and remove out contingency or else lose the house (not happening after how hard we looked!)… so we will be moving sooner than I thought – sometime within the next month!  Of course, carrying both properties at once is no fun, but we can afford it for a bit, and maybe our place will sell easier once it is vacant. I checked a huge stack of books about old houses out of the library tonight, and I’ve started making lists  – I love my lists for moving!

I’ve also started up on Babette again.  These are the squares I’ve crocheted since finding out about the house on Sunday, minus about a few that were hiding when I took the photo.  I’ve decided it will go in the guest room, where I hope it looks nice with dark lilac walls!  I’ve completed through section 6 now (out of 10) so I’m getting closer!  I can’t stitch any more together until I get my stored yarn back because I accidentally left the seaming yarn there, but I can complete squares!

crafts · finished objects · knitting

FO: Printed Silk Cardigan

Pattern: Printed Silk Cardigan, Interweave Knits Spring 2008

Yarn: Frog Tree Pima Silk, a little over 7 skeins

Needles: US 2 and 1

Notes: I think it’s official that the Spring IK was my favorite issue ever.  This is my fourth knit from that issue, including the ill-fated hexacomb, and I plan to make several more eventually.  When the preview came out this was immediately my favorite sweater.  It ended up fourth in line because I really wanted to find the perfect yarn.  I ended up using the same yarn that Lolly used, and it really was nearly perfect for the pattern.

I knit the sweater at a slightly tighter gauge to end up with a 32″ bust, with the idea that it would stretch out eventually.  I’m very pleased with the fit, which is perfect after my half hearted blocking job (my blocking board is in storage, so it’s still a bit wrinkly and that one edge wants to curl.)  I added a turned hem so that the bottom wouldn’t roll, and I think it goes nicely with the rest of the sweater.  Upon reflection, the plain edge might not have been bad, but I’m happy.  I did my first tubular cast on for the sleeves, and while it was a major pain I love how they look.

The twisted stitches nearly killed me – this yarn is pretty splitty, so it was slow going.  I love how they look, but all things considered I think I would rather work with lace.  I used a lot less yarn than the pattern called for, probably a little bit because of my gauge, but I don’t think knitting to gauge on the 34″ size would have used up that much yarn either.  Maybe it’s the substitution I used, but I ended up wtih almost 2 balls left over, and I bought less yarn than called for in the pattern to start with.

I love the finished sweater – it’s an unusual color for me, and out of all my handknits it may look the most like something you would get in a store.  The pattern itself has lots of little touches that really give it a professional appearance.  It’s lightweight and perfect for every season except the dead of winter.  I definitely recommend giving this knit a try!

cats · crafts · Crochet · knitting · patterns · yarn

Learning from your knitting

It’s safe to say that I’m a product knitter – I make things because I want to wear them, and I am not satisfied without a steady stream of FOs.  Even so, I won’t choose a project that contains elements that I know will drive me crazy – no stockinette sweaters in fingering weight for instance (at least not until Marc gets me the knitting machine I’ve asked for!)  Sometimes though… sometimes the love of a sweater will outweigh a technique I don’t enjoy.  I did not know before I started the Printed Silk cardigan that I don’t enjoy making twisted stitches.  I should have guessed, since I also don’t enjoy lots of small cables in a garment, and since I failed utterly making a pair of socks with twisted stitches (firestarter socks.)  But I didn’t, and I have now resorted to bribing myself with a new sweater’s worth of yarn in order to get it finished.

It’s going to be beautiful when it’s finished, but I still have one more piece with twisted stitches and one sleeve in 1×1 rib to go.  I’m a little worried about running out of yarn, since I can’t find one of the balls I bought… I hope it didn’t go into storage with my wintery yarns!

The current sweater of my obsession is the February Lady Sweater by Flint Knits.  Love this, and not just because it’s green!

I’m not sure what I want to knit it in… definitely a semi-solid I think, doesn’t garter stitch look fabulous in a semi-solid?  I’m trying to reign in the yarn budget right now, with the possibility of us having to carry 2 mortgages for a few months if our condo doesn’t sell soon… but then again, if we don’t move soon I’m going to use up the yarn I have here and have to buy more.  I’m thinking of using DIC Classy, although I think it is pricey.  I also thought of malabrigo, but to be honest I want something more durable – my malabrigo sweater is awfully fuzzy looking. Any other suggestions?

This sweater also reminded me of another that I wanted to make.. the Millie Cardigan from Vintage Crochet. There are a few cute finished sweaters on Ravelry, and they helped to revive my interest in this swing cardigan, which is another grown-up version of the baby sweater.

I would use ribbon instead of the fabric strips here, and I would downsize it significantly (it’s a 38″ in the small.)  It calls for Cashmerino Aran, but I’m not feeling that.  There’s a beautiful one done in Rowan Purelife on Ravelry.  I’m thinking of using a similar DK weight yarn to help with the downsizing – perhaps Blue Sky Skinny cotton?  There’s a soft blue color that I have been dying to use for something.  If I stick with an aran weight yarn I will go with a wool because cotton would be too heavy.

Continuing on the crochet vein, I got the Summer Interweave Crochet in the mail yesterday.  I am very pleased with this issue, which is great because the last 2 issues left me cold and I was thinking of dropping my subscription. It just proves again my theory… I love my winter and fall knits magazines and my spring/summer crochet.  There are some great projects here, many with an emphasis on filet crochet, something I have been interested in trying out.

I love the tiny row of buttons on the camisole, and the front is adorable as well.  I also love this stole, which solves one of my recent questions (“Why are crochet shawls always knit with chunky yarn when crochet makes a chunkier fabric to start with?”)  This is knit with 2 skeins of Helen’s Lace, but I would sub something cheaper (maybe gloss lace… wouldn’t that be lovely here in the nice mermaidy blue color?)  Although the size of the thing is intimidating, I have no idea how fast filet would go.

The pattern I’m most likely to start soon is this lovely cardigan.

It’s not the best photo, and I don’t think it looks good over that shirt, so here is a link to the designer wearing the sweater on Ravelry.  Yes, it is again that loose tied cardigan shape, although this one is not swingy.  I love the bobbles.  I secretly love crocheted bobbles, as long as there aren’t too many.  I think this is adorable.  It’s crocheted in GGH Mystik, a DK weight cotton/viscose blend that I think it stupid pricey for what it is.  I’m considering subbing either Garnstudio Cotton Viscose or Elann Luna.  Does anyone have any comment on either of those yarns?  I’m sure they will be splitty, as apparently GGH Mystik is, but I really want to keep the shine and drape of the viscose, so I can deal.

I wear my cardigans so much more than my pullovers – that’s why I make so many cardis.  I love to wear layers!

We had a showing this morning at 9 am, so I took Marc to work and brought Leon along for a ride.  Poor kitty… after being in the carrier at least once a day for 2 weeks he’s starting to look at me with deep suspicion.

He spends most of his time on the mantle, which for once is clear of stuff.  Perhaps he feels that he has a better chance of seeing me coming with the cage.  I had to take this photo because I thought he was so sweet with his tail hanging down!

crafts · knitting · Life

Holding patterns

I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again… knitting has not taught me patience the way that everyone assumes.  For instance, it seems as though the printed silk cardi is very slow to knit.

I’ve knit the left front, one sleeve, and half the back, so I’m about 50% done, although I’m just starting the diamond pattern on the back, and it seems like that’s going to be very slow.  I do really love the way it’s coming out though, so I will try to have more patience!  All that 1×1 rib on the sleeves really killed my wrists, although they are very nicely fitted!

I cannot work on the diamond pattern at work (too busy) so I started a pair of socks in plain stockinette.

This is Yarn Pirate sock in the Neopolitan colorway.  I bought it ages ago, but I was convinced that it would pool.  Fortunately it’s striping nicely, so I should have pretty ice cream colored socks!

This morning I sat with Leon for an hour at the coffee shop (we were outside) while the house was being shown.  There is another showing tonight, but I will be at work, so that’s Marc’s responsibility!   I’m trying to ignore negative feedback that isn’t helpful.  Our condo is laid out like a shotgun house, (I love the most of the photos on the wiki article are from Louisville!) which means that one of the bedrooms is a walkthrough from the front door.  This is a challenge, but it isn’t something we can change.

Patience again… I need some.  I know I’m a little crazy here, but if I am anything it’s a worrier!

Thanks for the feedback on my color choices!  I want to be clear that there are neutrals in the house, grays and various browns that you can see in the big fan of colors, I just didn’t photo them because they aren’t as interesting!  I’m still undecided on the chairs, but I’m waiting because I want to refinish the table they go with (it has multiple white spots, I think the finish was not so good.)

crafts · decorating · knitting · Life · yarn


If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed my obsession with color. And not just any colors – bright saturated colors. I generally only like neutrals insofar as they make the brights pop (chocolate brown is the exception, and lately I do like gray a bit.) Forced out of my house yesterday by a house showing, I went to the knit nook and spent the yarn credit I had saved up.

This is Mountain Colors bearfoot to make Tempest from Knitty.  The colors in real life (magenta and lupine) are less vibrant, but I turned up the contrast to show the pretty olive greens in with the purple.  I love bearfoot, but I don’t like it as much for socks (too fuzzy.)  It’s a little heavier than the yarn called for, but it should work out – I won’t be getting to this til close to fall anyway, so I’d like a warmer version.  Lupine will be the main color with magenta as the contrast.  I hope it looks nice and not insane!

Today, driven again by my love of color, I went to the paint store and picked up sample cards for the new house (the house is pretty much entirely pink right now, and that is going to have to go.)

Colors are all by Benjamin Moore, because I love their aura paint.

I love the kitchen color (the bottom color here.)  I wanted a bright kelly green, and I think this will work!

The entryway and dining room will share these colors – gray in the dining room and one of the two teals below the chair rail in the entry.

I want a dramatic color for the music room, so I thought about dark raspberry.  This room also has a chair rail, and it will be painted white on the bottom.  I am torn between the two top colors on the left card, and the middle color on the middle card.

One of these colors will be the bathroom and one the bedroom.  The rooms are not attached, I just like blue-greens.  I’m leaning towards the aqua for the bedroom and waterfall in the bath, but I’m not sure.  I have a friend who painted her bedroom the aqua shade and it’s gorgeous!

I want purple in my craft room (which is also the guest room.)  My favorite is the dark lilac, the top shade on the far right.  I prefer my purples with some gray mixed in to make them less grapey.

The living room (which is upstairs) and hallways upstairs will be nice neutral chocolatey browns, so that you aren’t going straight from one color to another.  Fortunately, in addition to loving color I love to paint, so I will take this one room at a time.  Anyway, we won’t be in the house for at least a month, probably a bit longer, so I have time to plan (and I love to plan, it keeps me from going crazy with worry!)

In the name of avoiding the “what if something happens” worry I am also planning on recovering my dining room chairs.

I like the table set well enough, but this fabric is deadly dull.  I’ve wanted to change it since we bought it (2 years ago!) but I didn’t want it to clash with our next house.  Our current dining room has red walls, which I have slowly grown to dislike (you have really decorate around the red, and it makes the pretty cherry table look bland.)  I’m going to go with gray in the new house.  That rug is also going, since it’s nearly completely worn out, so I don’t have to worry about matching it.

I love Amy Butler fabric, and I’m thinking about using this pattern for the chairs, although I’m undecided about color as yet.

What do you think?

crafts · knitting · Life

Mega post: Thoughts on being green and a book review

I’ve completed the left front of my Printed Silk Cardigan. I love this pattern! The diamond pattern took longer than I thought, but it’s really an enjoyable knit so far!

Life feels a bit more normal this week. We had an open house on Sunday, and it went well, although I do find some of the feedback we heard (through our agent) strange. I get the impression that some people want to live in this area for the convenience of being near everything, but aren’t aware of what it’s really like to live in an historic building. Plaster walls aren’t perfectly flat, you know? Everything isn’t square, and yes the bathroom is old (but with new sink and vanity,) but look at the original hex tiles and the subway tile! Someone also complained that our baseboards didn’t look clean enough, which… first of all, I have done nothing but clean for weeks, and second – aren’t you ever going to clean them yourself? Why do you care? Ah well… it could be worse. The house we are buying had a previous offer that fell through because the buyers were scared of the lead paint addendum and insisted that all the lead paint be removed. Like, seriously? Every house in this part of town has lead paint somewhere, that’s the nature of old buildings!

Since I don’t work during the day I am frequently having to exit for house showings. There are 2 today. During the first I went to the natural foods store down the street – I wanted to walk, but I had Leon the cat with me. I don’t like him to be there for showings because he is so super friendly – anyone who is not a cat person might be freaked out.

I considered the green cleaning products while I was there. Since I have been having to keep the house so clean I have really started to be concerned about using chemicals to clean. I no longer use commercial floor cleaners, and I long ago switched from 409 type sprays to Method Brand. I’m interested in making the switch to almost totally natural cleaners. I bought a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s because I love the smell and it can be used for so many purposes. I’m going to dilute it and see how it does as a general purpose cleaner. It’s also a peace offering to Marc, because when I cleaned out the cabinets I threw away lots of old scary chemical cleaners, including his bottle of Spic & Span. Apparently the housekeeper in his house growing up used Spic & Span for everything, and he is very enamored of the idea of using it. Does anyone else have this sort of argument with their significant other? He’s a hoarder and I’m someone who is trying to live a more minimalistic lifestyle. He gets really upset when I throw anything away, and I get upset when there is too much “stuff” around. I want everything put away, he is happy when things are out where he can see them etc. How to resolve this conflict?

I’ve been on a bit of a craft book buying spree. I bought Abode A La Mode (love the projects, highly recommended – I’m making the domino backsplash!) The Big Ass Book of Crafts (not as recommended, lots of things which are not to my taste at all,) and Retro Knits (again, not so much recommended, I have lots of the patterns in their original form, and most of the resizings here will not fit me at all.)

But my favorite purchase was a last minute impulse buy: The Complete Book of Retro Crafts.

I love this book because it celebrates the kinds of crafts we did as kids, and somehow manages to make them all look fresh (and yes, a bit kitschy.) There is talk about setting up your craft space and discussion of materials, as well as a look at how to live a crafty lifestyle that I enjoyed. But of course we’re all in it for the projects… and they do not disappoint!

Whether you will like this book or not probably depends on how likely you are to decorate your house with something called “Reinbeers.”  I, of course, love the unexpected, and so I will be making some for next Christmas.  I’ve also always wanted a starburst clock, as well as one of these Christmas tree centerpieces (my grandma had one.)

On the downside, some of the projects are a little bit too much like crafts I made in girl scouts.  The biggest success comes from projects with a 1950s vibe.  I’m planning on my kitchen in the new house being very retro (working with, rather than against the old cabinets, and staving off a remodel.)   I’ve seen some lovely retro kitchen treatments with cabinets of this sort (1940s/50s, plain white with copper handles.)  We have a formica kitchen table (white and silver) and a working Chambers stove from the 1950s, both of which I love but we don’t have room for them in the condo.  They will go in the kitchen, along with a new retro floor which I will install myself (it has yucky beige vinyl tile now) and I think I will be very happy with the results.

I have also become obsessed with paint colors, since I love to paint.  I’ve been stalking my local Benjamin Moore store, planning what colors I will use to cover the icky pink walls.  That will be for a later post, when I get less scared of jinxing myself (although we do have a back-up plan in the even that our condo does not sell quickly or the house gets another offer without a contingency, that is not ideal and I’m hoping we don’t have to go there!)

crafts · knitting · Life

Oops, I lied!

I was going to start the Dayflower Camisole, but I realized that my size 4 needles are tied up with Joy. I could have worked on that, but I decided I wanted some nice stockinette, so I started the Printed Silk Cardigan instead.

I decided on a turned hem, and I’m happy with how it’s coming out.  My gauge is slightly small, so I should get the 32″ bust I wanted!

Other than that I have cleaned… and then cleaned some more.  We had our open house today, and I wasn’t here (of course) but when I left I saw three cars waiting for the open house 15 minutes early – that has to be a good sign, right?  Patience was never my strong suit, but I guess I’ll have to try it out here!

There’s lots more, but I’m exhausted – I’ve gotten up super early all week (my week off) and I’m ready for a rest and lots of knitting!