crafts · decorating · house · knitting · patterns

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.

crafts · knitting · yarn

Is it winter yet?

No… it’s pretty warm outside.  But it’s coming – and so I’m starting some winter accessory projects!  First up is my very own one row scarf.  I cast on 30 stitches for a nice snuggley scarf, but not as wide as the one I made for Marc last year.

Yarn is Malabrigo in Paris Night – so soft and lovely!  This pattern is a wee bit tedious, but it’s great purse knitting (if you have a giant purse like me!)

I’m also making Brooklyn Tweed’s Druide Mittens, from the Fall Vogue (I know, 2 projects from Vogue, crazy!)

Yarn is Harrisville New England Shetland.  I’m using size 1 needles – somehow glove and mitten patterns always call for size 3, and there is never any way that would work for me.  This is actually a little bigger than gauge, but I have giant pianist hands, so I need a bigger size (I have to buy men’s gloves…) The pattern is fun, but it looks involving… I’m planning to concentrate hard on these this week!

Finally, I started a new sweater.

This is the Minimalist Cardigan from last Fall’s IK in Valley Yarns Colrain.  I love the combo of color and texture, and so far the moss stitch is not bad.  I’m knitting at a tighter gauge to achieve a size 32″ bust, and I’m thinking about messing with the sleeve pattern a bit.  I’m not going to focus on this just yet – right now I am enamoured of my mittens!

I did swatch for a few things, for instance Tess in Cascade Revolution.

The ball band states 2 st/in, but I am not able to get that… this is 2.5 st/in on size 15 needles.  I will not make this sweater until I can get larger circular needles – I do not knit with straight needles anyway, and these are like tree trunks!

I tried to wind some Malabrigo Silky merino, but all my skeins are epically tangled in the skein.  Is this a common problem?  It’s going to take hours to fix, and right now I don’t have the patience.

Seriously, this is the worst yarn I’ve ever seen for tangles, and it’s all kinky as well.  I wonder if I got a bad batch?  The yarn is lovely, but it seems like a lot of trouble.

Thanks for all the compliments on Old Penny (Sarah Jane says thanks too for all the love!)  I really love the sweater, and I can’t wait for the weather to get cold enough to wear it!

crafts · finished objects · knitting

FO: Old Penny Cardigan

Pattern: Old Penny Cardigan, from Vogue Knitting Fall 08 by Veronik Avery

Yarn: Valley Yarns Williamstown, 10 balls

Needles: US 5 and 3

Notes: For something started on impulse it’s turned out very well!  I added 1″ in length to the body, and I opted not to add any sort of closure (the pattern calls for snaps, but I will not wear a cardigan fully closed that way.)

There were quite a few errors in this pattern.  The fronts have several problems, which are noted on my Ravelry entry for this cardigan.  The instructions for picking up the stitches for the edging are also a little vague, and I’m not sure that the numbers add up, but I’m not certain enough to call it an error.

I loved working with this yarn – it was tweedy but soft, and the acrylic content gives it a nice stretch.  It was also pretty easy to seam with, a big deal for a soft tweed (usually I find I have to seam with an alternate yarn when knitting with tweeds.)  The upper sleeves are a little roomy, at least in comparison with the tightness of the lower sleeve, so I might revise this if making it again.  In fact, since it is a raglan, I might consider making the whole thing in one piece.

The pattern didn’t specify, but I used the larger needles for the edging.   The small ones would have pulled in too much.  In fact, I would tend to use the same needles for the whole thing – the sleeve ribbing doesn’t need to be that small.

I love the outcome of this pattern, and I’m certain I will wear this constantly during the winter (and I may need a new, non purple, shawl pin to go with it!

Sarah Jane approves of this message (and the sweater)

crafts · decorating · home repairs · house · knitting


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!

crafts · Crochet · home repairs · house · knitting · Life

FO: Emerald & Storm update

Pattern: Gem, from Heartfelt by Kim Hargreaves

Yarn: Manos wool

Hook: Size H

Notes: I tried to use this yarn for a lacy scarf (Haven, from the same book) but the severely thick and thin quality of the yarn kept the pattern from standing out.  So I decided that I would make another Gem, a hat I made last year from Noro Kochoran.  I really love this pattern – it’ my favorite hat, flattering on most people, takes about an hour to crochet.  I left out one increase and one decrease round to make up for my thicker yarn.  It’s slightly slouchy, but not overly so.  By the way, I’m reading my copy of “Toilet Roll Covers,” that my friend Althea gave me.  I love this book (it’s the one with the pig on the cover.)  I’m definitely going to be making some of these for christmas gifts this year, silly though they are!

As you may (or may not) have heard, we in Louisville were among the victims of the wind storm on Sunday (or “Windstorm 08” as the local news has not so cleverly dubbed it.)  I live in a part of town that contains lots of old houses, and a corresponding amount of old growth trees ready to fall.  75% of the city was without power – I think we were the only street in our area not to lose power, so we do feel very lucky.  We lost a bunch of shingles off our roof, which will be replaced tomorrow.  I took some pictures of the damage (these are from a single block surrounding our house… I did not go looking for the most damage.)

The city is pretty shut down – I am off work for the week, and have been walking the places I need to go to avoid the many streets that are still blocked.  I have also finally gotten to the wallpaper in our bedroom.

Unfortunately, as you know, in an old house every room has a surprise.  The surprise in this room?

Why yes, that is mold underneath the wallpaper.  Apparently at some point in the past 25 years the roof leaked underneath the wallpaper by the window, although it would appear not recently.  Forunately it’s only that one small spot over the window, but still… icky.  I am very glad that we took the paper down – I would hate to keep sleeping in a room with that going on underneath!

I also have a cold this week, so I’m eating lots of soup, knitting on my tweedy cardigan (60% done!) and wearing a mask if I have to go into “the mold room” as I am now calling it.

Sorry if I haven’t responded to anyone’s emails this week – we haven’t had reliable internet service until today!

crafts · knitting · yarn

Yarn diet=broken

It was bound to happen, of course. My resolve to knit only out of stash was broken by all the fall knits.  I’m ok with that though, since it was more of an accidental diet brought on by moving, than it was some sort of philosophical position.

Before we get to new yarns, check out my coin cables!

This is the first time I’ve done a coin cable.  I’m enjoying it – sort of different from the standard crosses.  I would say this pattern definitely has some errors.  The back was fine (except that I knit it twice, thinking the first try was too small,) but the front has issues.  The setup row for the cables doesn’t line up, so I fixed that, and then one of the cables is missing its surrounding purl stitches (once I noticed that I dropped back to fix it, so it’s fixed here.)  So it would appear that they were right – Vogue patterns are error city  – but I’m enjoying this knit, so I won’t complain too much.  At least the errors are easily caught by looking at the pattern photo.

Now how about a few yarn pictures?

Malabrigo in Paris Night, to knit myself a One Row Scarf.  I keep stealing Marc’s, so when I saw that Sophie’s is now carrying Malabrigo I had to pick some up to make my own.  The color is pretty – a deep blend of grays, purples, and blues.

Harrisville New England Shetland, to make Brooklyn Tweed’s Druid Mittens from the Fall 08 vogue.  I have never made mittens, but these are so pretty – and maybe, unlike gloves, they might keep my hands warm?

More malabrigo, this time Silky Merino in Mint Frappe.  I bought this to make the Silken Scabbard, since I didn’t have any suitable DK weight yarn.  I’ve never knit with this before, and I am so looking forward to it!

Reynolds Odyssey, a new yarn this fall.  It’s a blend of merino and rayon, and has a nice drapey appearance, similar to a wool/silk blend.  I want to make Ingenue from Custom Knits using this – the pattern calls for Karabella Marble, a yarn that contains the dreaded alpaca, so I think a blend with rayon would sub nicely (it may be a little thinner, but I can just knit a size up.)

Cascade Bollicine revolution, super bulky yarn that was super duper cheap on closeout, to make Tess from Heartfelt.  I didn’t like any of the clearance colors of Big Wool I could find, so I hope I like this yarn!

And some more Colrain, to make a minimalist cardigan.  My first choice yarn for this pattern turned out to be too thin, and I couldn’t turn down this beautiful chestnut color!

Ok, yarn buying is over for awhile now again, but wasn’t it fun?

crafts · Crochet · knitting · patterns · yarn

And the winners are…

Yes, I couldn’t decide on just one, so I cast on for two sweaters!

Old Penny

and Bianca’s jacket.

Old Penny will be a quick knit – it has no cables on the back.  Unfortunately, I think it’s coming out rather small, so I’m going to restart using a size larger needle, and without using such small needles for the ribbing (the pattern calls for using 3 sizes down for the ribbing, but I don’t like how much that pulls in.  One or two smaller would be plenty.)  I’m also probably going to add an inch or so in length – as written it’s only 13.5″ to the armholes, and I like mine closer to 15″.  I love the yarn, way more than I thought I would – it’s a very smooth knitting experience, but it still has some visual texture.

Bianca’s jacket is looking to work out, sizing wise.  It’s 2″ smaller than the pattern size small, which is what I want, but who can tell when I’ve just started?  I’m also planning on adding length to this sweater.  It’s written as a short jacket, but I think it would be more flattering a bit longer (although not too much – I like the swinginess.)

Other knitting news today: the Fall Knitty is live (but I bet you knew that already!)  I am not generally a huge fan of knitty – I often don’t “get” their sweater patterns, and there are a lot of socks.  I think this is a really solid issue though.  I like Hermia and Anne Shirley, although I don’t know if I will actually make either.

If I were to make Hermia I would have to do some modifications, but I think that it could be cute with some mods for my short waist and skinny arms.  I love the yarn the sample is knit in, which is probably a lot of my attraction, since I usually don’t like things that require lots of mods. I really have to get over my scarf problem  – I love to wear them, but I get so incredibly bored making them that I can only seem to get through easy stitch patterns with big yarns.  It’s the same sort of issue I have with socks – I love wearing them, but I feel like I’m stealing time away from my sweaters when I make them, so it takes me ages to make a pair anymore.  Maybe I could make this scarf from a bigger yarn?  It would have a different look, but I bet it would still be nice!

And finally, we have the preview for the Fall Interweave Crochet.  I have not been a fan of the last few issues, but this one is fab (surprising since I think of crochet as a summer sort of craft!)  I’m a big fan of the stitch pattern on this jacket.

I am trying to think of a yarn sub from my stash.  I also love this pullover.

The only reason I didn’t immediately hoard the yarn for this one is that I can’t think of a great sub for the alpaca offhand (boo for being allergic to alpaca!)

Also cute:

But I’m not doing short sleeves anymore (I don’t wear them) and I look like a little girl wearing big sweatercoats, as much as I love them!

crafts · Crochet · knitting · patterns · yarn

It’s been too long!

Since I last picked up my swatching needles.  I’ve spent my time since Saturday trying to decide what to start next.  My current WIPs are Babette, which cannot be my main focus or I go crazy, and Tuscany, which… well, let’s not talk about that.  It may be getting frogged soon, as I cannot imagine where I would wear a magenta shawl, but would make a lovely scarf of some sort.

So I went through my queue, and pulled one ball of yarn for each project that I actually own yarn for, and actually want to make soon (this prompted some reorganization, as I realized that I’m unlikely to make about half the things I had there, so I did lots of deleting.)

Let’s get started, shall we?  Lots of photos ahead!

Yarn: Valley Yarns Williamstown

Gauge: 4.75 st/in on US 6

Swatched for: Old Penny by Veronik Avery, from the Fall 08 Vogue

Notes: I need 5 st/in, and this yarn did bloom with blocking, so I will need to go down a needle size for the project.  This is a soft yarn, although it is not a traditional tweed.  It is very similar to the yarn called for in the pattern.  I really enjoyed making the swatch, and this is a big contender for my next project (besides, maybe it’s time to actually make something from Vogue?)

Yarn: Queensland Collection Kathmandu Aran

Gauge: 4.5 St/in on US 8

Swatched for: 28thirty from Zephyrstyle

Notes: I need 4 st/in for this pattern. I may go up a needle size, or I may see if I have enough yarn to knit a size up in the pattern.  I like this yarn knit to this gauge, but it’s bulky enough to go up to 4 st/in.  I love the teal bits in this yarn.  This color is softer feeling than the other colorway I swatched, although both are soft.  This one has better stitch definition.

Yarn: Rowan Kid Classic

Gauge: 5 st/in on US 6

Swatched for: Either Victoria from Kim Hargreaves: Thrown Together or the Grable Tunic from the new Rowan.

Notes: I’ve never used this yarn before, and I just wanted an idea of how it knits up.  Both patterns call for smaller gauges (21 st/4in for Victoria and 22 for Grable, which I think I’m more likely to make.)  I will need to go down a needle size or maybe even two.  It did not change size with washing.  It’s nice and soft for a mohair, a little easy to catch with the needles, but nothing too bad.  I really like the fuzziness, and so far at least I don’t think I’m allergic to mohair, unlike every other furry fiber.

Yarn: Malabrigo Merino in Azul Bolita

Gauge: 19 st/4 in on US 7

Swatched for: Opulent Raglan by Wendy Bernard from Knitscene Fall/Winter 08

Notes: I’ve never made a whole sweater out of malabrigo.  I love this color, which is deeper and more intense than it appears (my camera lies!)  It will pill insanely of course, and trap every piece of lint in the whole world, but I don’t care… I love knitting with this yarn so much!  Gauge is spot on for my needs, with no blooming on washing.

Yarn: Reynolds Whiskey

Gauge: 24 st/4 in on US 4

Swatched for: Olivia from Kim Hargreaves: Thrown Together

Notes: I need a slightly larger gauge, so I will go up to US 5 for this project, should it get made.  I don’t think I’m in the mood for a swingy jacket at a tiny gauge right now.  To tell the truth, I’m not a huge fan of knitting with sport or fingering weights, although I have slogged through plenty of sweaters knit from them.  I love this jacket and want to own it, so sooner or later I will bite the bullet… just not yet.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino

Gauge: 22 st/4 in on US 4

Swatched for: Ripple from Nectar

Notes: I do love this yarn.  It’s so smooth to knit with.  I need 23 st/4 inches, so I will go down to US 3 needles.  I’m going to need to adjust this pattern a bit – it is knit for Bamboo soft, which stretches.  I also want to make it a bit smaller in the bust.  Again, I’m not sure I feel like sport weight yarn right now, but this one is more likely.

Yarn: Kathmandu Aran

Gauge: 16.75 st/4 in on US 7 needles

Swatched for: Bianca’s jacket

Notes: This colorway is very different from the first swatch above.  It doesn’t really contain different colored flecks, and it has a much more felted appearance.  It also managed to swatch bigger, even though I used smaller needles.  I will go down to US 6 for the sweater – although I achieved the pattern gauge, I actually want this to be a tad smaller, and I don’t want to do math.  I love this color, which is somewhere between blue and purple.

I also swatched for the Bordeaux jacket from Knitscene, but I hated the yarn I was using (Laines du Nord Giunco, which has been in my stash for ages, and which I am only now realizing I don’t actually like.)  I’m going to try it again later with a nicer yarn.  I swatched for Lamour from Rowan 44, but I am apparently not in the mood for lace… I did not feel like even knitting enough to finish my swatch!

I did wind up yarn for one small project.  History has shown that if I want a scarf by the time winter is over I had better start now.  I want to make Haven from Heartfelt, using some Manos I bought ages ago.  We’ll see how that goes… last winter’s scarves all ended up as gifts!

crafts · finished objects · knitting · patterns

FO: February Lady Sweater

Pattern: February Lady Sweater

Yarn: Dream in Color Classy in Happy Forest, 3 skeins

Needles: US 6

Notes: I knit this while I was waiting on my yarn for honey to arrive from England.  It was a very quick knit, though the garter yoke seemed eternal (especially since I started it three times!)  My gauge was 20 st/4 inches rather than the 18 called for in the pattern.  Assuming that this yarn, which is superwash, would stretch, I cast on for the smallest size.  I did 2 extra increases and knit about 6 garter ridges after the eyelet row, for a total raglan depth of 6″ preblocking, 7″ after blocking (measured along the diagonal line.)  I knit 22 repeats of the pattern on both the body and the sleeves.

My buttonholes are 2 inches apart rather than 2.5″.  Plus – pirate buttons!  (As an aside, has anyone ever read The_Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists? I highly recommend it – very funny!)

The sweater was too small, especially in the armholes, when it was finished.  I was counting on blocking to fix that, and indeed it did – this sweater grew considerably.  It’s also much lighter and drapier now.  Total growth was 1.5″ in length and 2″ in the bust.

I love the color of this yarn, but I’m not sure I loved knitting with it.  Am I the only one who feels that superwash wools have a strange plasticky feel to them?  I do not usually enjoy knitting with them, though they are lovely and soft when washed.  This yarn, due to its springiness, seemed especially tight to me.  The colors, though, are gorgeous, and because of that I would use it again.  I can think of nothing that compares.  I didn’t even alternate skeins here, and you can’t tell a bit!

Now begins the difficult task of choosing my next knit.  I’ve spent tonight on ravelry, considering my queue and my yarn stash.  There are a million things I want to make for fall, including a bunch of Kim Hargreaves knits, the new Silken Scabbard pattern from Stitch Diva, the Lamour Slipover from the new Rowan mag, several knits from Custom Knits, the new book by Wendy Bernard, Petersburg from last winter’s Rowan… well, you get the idea.  I am very indecisive.  This week we are also removing the wallpaper in our bedroom (at last!  No more wallpaper!) so I’m probably going to be pretty busy with that, as well as a ton of work related activities this week (I have been on vacation the last few weeks, working on my house.)  We have a few falling leaves here already – it may be hot, but fall is on its way!

crafts · finished objects · knitting

FO: Honey

Pattern: Honey, from the book Nectar by Kim Hargreaves

Yarn: Rowan All Seasons Cotton in Melange, 11 balls

Needles: US 3 and 4

Notes: This was one of the patterns that caused me to buy Nectar (although I’m sure I would have anyway, because I adore Kim Hargreaves’ whole aesthetic.)  I wasn’t sure, though, how the jacket style would look on me.  I kept waiting for FOs on Ravelry, but that didn’t materialize (as of right now, there are only two projects for this pattern, and one of them is mine.)

I made no modifications to this pattern.  As written it is shorter than I usually make my sweaters, but if it were any longer it would no longer button where my waist is.  This pattern is sort of similar to the Nantucket jacket, but unlike that pattern, this sweater is actually flattering.  I like the way the cables provide shaping, and the way she includes decreases in the front to shape the buttonbands even though they are knit with the fronts.

This yarn was just lovely.  I used one more ball than the pattern called for, although I can’t say whether it’s because I was using frogged yarn.  At any rate, it definitely would take the full 10 balls in the smallest size, so I would have an extra handy.  Those cables really eat up yarn, as does the textured stitch pattern.  The stitch definition is excellent.  I would use this yarn again in a heartbeat, as it is not too heavy, and it’s a great sub for those allergic to wool.

One thing which was not apparent from the pattern photos was that this pattern has puffy sleeves.  I’m not complaining – I think it really adds to the overall retro look of the jacket.  I suspect the jacket in the book was too big for the model.  I have not blocked this sweater yet  – I’m a little afraid of it growing, so it only got a blast of steam.  My swatch didn’t really grow, but who knows?

If you can’t tell, I love this sweater!  Everything about it – the color, the style, the puffy sleeves, are exactly perfect for my wardrobe.  I would really recommend this one, as the pattern was clear and error free, and even had a nice chart, unlike some rowan patterns.