August 29th, 2008 - Simple Knitted Bodice
It's fun when something turns out and makes you feel pretty when you wear it.
Pattern: Simple Knitted Bodice by Stitch Diva Studios
Yarn: Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK
Needles: US 7 and US 4 (magic loop on sleeves)
Beads: Leftovers from my wedding shawl
I think the beading in the middle lace section adds a nice amount of sparkle, without being too much.
I have actually worn this out already, and I think it will get just as much use as a casual "with jeans" sweater as it will with trousers or a skirt.
I had a bit of a panick when it was HUGE after blocking, but a quick trip through the dryer fixed that up lickety split.
I think I'll keep it.
August 27th, 2008 - Tiny Quilting
It was my sister's birthday a few weeks ago, and I wanted to make her something to go in her condo, which is still relatively new. As many know already, I am in love with Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts, so I decided to try out the coaster pattern.
I made 8 coasters total, out of some of the quilting fabric I had in my stash. I tried to pick colours from memory of my sister's place, as I have only been there once. It turns out the the taupe is exactly the colour my sister is in the midst of painting her living room. Who knew!
They were a fun little project to make, and I am thinking of doing some for myself, because I would imagine that they soak up the condensation from a cold drink well and they are washable. That and I have so many fabrics pieces to work with!
August 21st, 2008 - Guest Room Update
In continuing with the home improvement thread, I recently updated our guest room. When we moved into this house we discovered that we had a lot more room, but not really enough furniture. In the townhouse, our guest room also had to serve as the office, and in this house we have been able to separate the two. I have always wanted to have a guest room that had that hotel feel, so I have been working on that (while keeping on a very low budget).
First I found an ugly old end table for a few bucks on craigslist (I think it was $15).
I went to the Habitat for Humanity Restore and bought a gallon of Benjamin Moore paint for $5, and picked up two pewter coloured knobs for $0.50 each. I sanded the fake wood grain with the power sander, and replaced the old knobs.
Ah, much better.
Then I managed to find a solid wood dresser for $25 again on craigslist, with a bunch of water damage on the top.
I used the drill to remove the plugs that covered up the screws for the handles and then removed the handles.
Then I sanded the living daylights out of the dresser to remove the old finish. This took about two full days.
I patched the holes and dents where the handles were, as I knew I only wanted to have one handle on each drawer.
Using the same $5 gallon of paint, I repainted the wood surfaces. Then I waited until there was a 50% off sale at Lowes, and picked up the handles for $2 each on clearance.
The dresser had a bit of a musty smell to it, so I lined each drawer with craft paper, and then put a Bounce sheet under each piece of paper. Seems to have done the trick!
I needed some artwork for the walls, and I wanted something to display some of my photographs. Again off craigslist (can you tell I stalk that site?) I found some old windows for $1 a piece. I picked up three, cleaned them up a bit, printed 18 photos of mine in sepia, and used double sided tape to adhere them to the windows.
A few accessories from around the house, and a $20 lamp I found on sale, and I am pretty happy with the results!
I am still looking for a old floor mirror for the corner, as well as a small luggage rack, but I am pretty happy with how it has turned out. I hope all the guests I had over the month of July liked it ok!
August 14th, 2008 - Turning Bargains into Interior Design
When I met TJ way back in 2001, he had a bookshelf from Ikea that he had been using for several years already. There had been a flood in his basement apartment, so there was a lot of damage up the side of the particle board piece. But, when we finished school we didn't have any money, so we kept it and hoped it would just hold together ok.
When we moved into our first condo, it felt apart a little more. When we moved into our second condo, it was a little worse. When we moved into our house, we decided that had to be the last move it was going to make, because it was really in bad shape.
When the movers came to pack up our truck to come here, we didn't bother throwing it out, so it arrived in Roanoke. The one mover apologized as he unwrapped it in the house because he thought HE had made it fall apart. We laughed and said not to worry about it, and stuck in in the garage.
So what to do with a water damaged, cheap, falling apart bookshelf? We had two other bookshelves of the same type of material, so TJ hatched a plan.
This is one of the good bookshelves, before we started. TJ took the bad shelf, which was a little taller than the other two, and cut off most of the water damage. He also used a few scraps of wood he had in the garage to built it up a little stronger. I then spent several days with the power sander scuffing up the fake wood grain on all three pieces. Then started the first of three coats of chocolate brown paint.
TJ went out to the hardware store and picked up some crown molding and some baseboard. A few screws, some nails, more paint, and a couple of brackets to attach it securely to the wall later....
Ta da! I am so pleased with how it came out. It looks like a built in piece! (Well, actually it is, because we will never be able to get it out of our house without tearing it apart).
It is so much more sturdy now, and I don't feel like it is about to fall over at any moment. And of course in the process of putting it all together, I got to sift through and organize all of our books and magazines, as I didn't do it before we moved.
I think we worked out that it cost us about $30 to rebuild the entire thing, including the paint. I am so glad that TJ though of this one, and I am really glad that he is so handy.
August 13th, 2008 - Catch Up
I was looking through all my photos and I have realized that over the last few months I have taken pictures of things I have wanted to blog about, but I never got to them. So now I am.
Last year when TJ and I were in Chicago, we did the Frank Lloyd Wright tour, and bought a couple of prints. I didn't really notice at the time that one was cream or antiqued colour, and the other was white. When I framed the two of them and hung them, the white one really stuck out. Solution? Tea!
This is what I started with, for comparison.
I brewed up a lovely cuppa and used one of the old dinner plates we have with a lip.
You'll notice the mug on the side. Yup, can't brew tea without having one!
I dropped little pieces of card stock into the tea for various times to test the colour, until I found one that I liked.
I soaked the card for the allotted time..
Et volia! Much better!
I also upcycled the frame that the large print is in. I had taken it to a framing shop and nearly had a heart attack when they said it would be $400 to frame it (and that was 50% off!). So I checked out craigslist and there was someone selling off frames from an art business. It cost me $20 plus the little bit of paint to turn it from gold and silver fake leaf to the brown you see now. The matte I cut myself, and so it only cost me $3 after my 50% off coupon at AC Moore. I figure I saved $375, not too shabby!
Since I am on this catch up phase at the moment, I also went through my site and updated my FO page for this year and finally created a page for my card gallery too. I should really do a better job of keeping up, because then it wouldn't take so darned long to update!
August 11th, 2008 - Delicious
As promised, my newest FO.
Pattern: Delicious, by Sublime Yarns, book 603
Yarn: Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK, 8 balls (every last bit)
Date Started: July 17, 2008. Date Finished: August 6th, 2008.
Modifications: Even though my gauge was *exactly* correct, both row and stitch, I knew I was not going to have enough yarn for the sleeves. So I decided that 3/4 sleeves were the way to go. I have very long arms anyway, so I would have had to lengthen them to get them to sit at the right point anyway.
The pattern is well written and gives plenty of information as you go along that any beginner could do this. Right up to the point where you need to do the collar attachment. Here it doesn't give you any suggestions on method, so if you are a total beginner you might get confused as to the best way to stitch up.
I am super happy with how this sweater turned out, and it is definitely going to be something I wear a lot. The yarn is amazingly soft, and it doesn't seem to be too pilly. I will let you know how it is after I wear it a bit if it stretches or does anything weird.
The one thing about this yarn is that it does not give you much leeway for gauge changes. Because the yarn is so smooth, it really shows any changes in your stitches. Blocking helps, but it will still show any mistakes quite strongly.
With this one completed, I have quickly cast on another project in the same yarn, the Simple Knitted Bodice (Ravelry). I am at the waist shaping already (it's top down), but I am doing some beading, so it might be a slower going from here on in.
August 1st, 2008 - Squooshy Love
I have a new favourite pair of socks, even though it is hotter than I dunno what outside.
Yarn: Shelridge Farms Soft Touch Ultra Handpaints
Pattern: Generic Toe Up Socks
This yarn is SOO squooshy. They feel fantastic on my feet. I didn't think that anything would overtake my love for Trekking XXL, but this is coming close. I think I will call them both my favourites - one thin (XXL) and one thicker (Shelridge). And the colour of this pair is very me. And to think the yarn was only $5 in a sale bin.
Believe it or not I have now knit up every skein of sock yarn in my stash. Which is good, because I think I was using socks as default simple projects and it was keeping me from getting any larger projects started. Once I had a look at my Ravelry queue, I picked out a pattern called Delicious (Ravelry Link) using Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk (mine will have 3/4 sleeves though). I only have one sleeve to go and the assembly, so I should have a new sweater for you by the next post!