June 30th, 2009 - Fence (No, not more house stuff)

Thanks everyone for your great comments on my studio. I have been working down there a lot lately, and I am much happier with where everything is.

After finishing off Rogue, I needed something quick and simple to boost the knitting mojo again. I figured that Fence would fit that bill, and indeed it did.

Sorry that there are no modeled shots. Truth is, I finished this on June 9th (10 days from start to finish) but it has either been too hot or too rainy to get outside with wool on. So displayed on Charlie will have to do.

Pattern: Fence by Maria Leigh
Yarn: Cestari Traditional 2-ply wool
Needles: Denise 7 and 8

There was a bit too much twist in this yarn, and that in combination with the eyelet pattern made the vest twist a little. I did some very aggressive blocking, and as a result I blocked the hip area out a little too far for my measurements. But that will be easily fixed when I do a little steam blocking with the iron.

I really like the little details on this piece, like the purl row right after the ribbing. Gives it just a little umf. There were some complaints on ravelry that the instructions in the pattern are confusing for the neck and armholes on the front. They are, but I think it is easily fixed if you go through the pattern before hand. I actually copied the whole thing into Pages and then rearranged it and removed instructions for the sizes I was not knitting. It worked out just fine.

I am looking forward to wearing this one in the fall. I might have to find a couple other shirts to go under it.


June 17th, 2009 - Studio Reorganization

I have mentioned a few times that I have been pretty frustrated with my studio and it's level of organization. As I have tried all kinds of different crafts, I have accumulated supplies and tools for each of them and they were in all manners of disarray in my studio. Friday morning when I went downstairs to make some cards, something snapped. I started ripping everything apart and suddenly 'saw' what needed to happen in there to fix the space. I'm warning you, this is a long one.

For those who haven't seen it, my studio is in my unfinished basement. There are plans to someday put walls in there, but for now it is concrete and studs. I was really trying to find a way to get the walls put up, but it just wasn't going to happen in the next little while. But you know what? I love it now the way it is. A tour perhaps?

Standing in the entry, this is what you see straight ahead,

and this is slightly to the right.

First, I framed the 180 year old print of a loom that I bought at MSWF (for $10! - I am sure it is not quite that old, but who cares).

This was the main bulk of my reorganization (this is just to the right as you walk in the door. I am standing where the sewing table is). None of this was here before Friday. T suggested that I needed a countertop to give me more workspace. I went to my favourite store, Habitat for Humanity, and picked up this huge counter for $30. It was even larger then this, but T helped me cut it down. We had the 4x4's for the legs already, and with T's excellent handyman skills I now have a standing height counter for making my cards.

We had a sheet of pegboard in the garage so we cut it in half and put it up as a backboard. The pack of pegboard clips were $5 at Target. The 2x10 shelf up above used to hold T's TV in university (along with the other two shelves you will see in a minute. So it was free. The light used to be in our old kitchen, so also free.

One of the biggest jobs was sorting all the little bits and bobs that I used to have in a giant box into the mason jars. All of them are sorted by colour and type. It is sooo much better already. I love being able to look up and see what I have.

The filing cabinet down below was another Habitat find at $40. All of my patterns are now sorted in there and labeled. There are two little shelves above it but below the counter which are reused hardboard that we had. T and his Mom found the lateral file, also at Habitat for I think $15. All my card papers and what not are now neatly filed in there. The shoe box style plastic boxes were $0.94 each and are all labeled with my card supplies. I bought two new totes for underneath, and sorted out the two I already had.

The rolling cart to the left I already had, but all the drawers were emptied, sorted and labeled. I hung my embosser up on the wall so it was neatly out of the way.

The view as we move counter clockwise around the room - my loom, cutting table with mat (in the bottom left corner) and more shelves:

I had all of these boxes and locker bins, but everything was pulled out, reorganized and labeled. All the fabric was sorted and folded.

All the ribbon was sorted on it's holder, and the ends were taped so they stop unrolling. My little table loom is now neatly stored under it's table.

The ironing board I had was a cheapy one that T had in school. The centre had sort of started to go concaved, so it was really hard to iron anything. This new fancy one was a delayed Christmas present from T. I love love love it! It makes ironing so much easier!

Everything was pulled off my easel and put back in a much more orderly manner. I framed the picture I bought at our sidewalk art show (the one with the coloured woven scarves).

I moved my wool shelve from where the counter is now to the other side of the room (still moving around counterclockwise). This is the last thing that I need to go through. I am planning on having a bit of a stash sale and also getting some things together for my guild auction in the fall. But that doesn't need to happen right away because it is still pretty orderly. All the mags up top were already sorted, but I did a bit of a clear out.

Again, I pulled a ton of stuff off this shelving unit and ended up using it for just these flat totes, which worked great. Everything in the bins was sorted and labeled. All my tall weaving tools are just off to the left there, neatly tucked away.

I cleaned up my inspiration board a bit too. I put a bunch of thank you cards and other handmade cards I have received in a black paged artist book so that I can use them for ideas.

And finally my sewing table. Just a clear off here (I finally did my mending!). I did do a tool organization though:

Threads are in one large letterpress drawer and tools are in the little one. Tiny bits of thread, fabric and stuffing go in the pail down below so that I can use it to stuff toys. No sense in throwing it out, right?

If you are still with me after all that, you're a trouper. The room doesn't have that pretty design look yet, but I actually really like it. Even with it's roughness it has a continuity that I like. And I keep walking down there to stand and look at everything, so that is a good thing. It is just so much more functional now.

Speaking of which - I should probably make those cards I was supposed to do on Friday....


June 8th, 2009 - Laundry Room Reno

A while back T and I did a reno to our little laundry room, which sits right off our kitchen. It has taken me until now to finish all the little details, but I am excited to finally show it off. Here are some before photos so you can see what it looked like to start.

Pretty basic. It doesn't look too bad from this angle, but from others there were some things that needed to be fixed.

Awkwardly hung dustbuster and lack of window coverings

Evidence of dog damage from the previous owners (they locked the dog up all day)

Badly rusted vent from the aforementioned dogs "moisture". Ick.

Also, because the laundry room is right off the kitchen, and right beside the entry that we use the most (off the garage) we wanted to do something to get more light in the hallway without having the laundry door open.

You can see the edge of our kitchen counter there on the left.

So! We pulled out the shelving and fixed up the walls. We built a little cabinet to go between the washer and dryer reusing a door from the kitchen in our old house. We built and laminated a counter top to go over top of all three items. I made a little curtain from some scrap fabric and painted the walls a pretty blue. I hung some hooks that we had from the old house, put up a hanging rod and put in some decorative items (remember me asking you which picture you liked better?) And finally we ordered a new door. Want to see the results?

New door

Close up of door print

Corner with new paint, hooks, and window covering

New vent! Whoppie!

Just a reminder of what it looked like before:

And now after:

Much better, yes? The large photo covers up the pipes, and the big containers hold my borax and some clothes pins. The cabinet in the middle holds all my cleaning supplies, and the countertop ended up being the same pattern as what was in our kitchen (which was actually completely by accident). I actually enjoy doing laundry so much more now. And we even got all of the major renovations done in three days. Thank you T again for all of your expertise. It's awesome having a handy husband.

Next up, pictures from the garage reno. But not yet though, I am still recovering from that one.


June 4th, 2009 - New Cards

Thanks everyone for your kind comments on my Rogue, both here and on Rav. It should be a well used knit.

I have posted some new cards over in my card gallery. I think this one is my recent favourites made with some cute paper I got on sale.

Heh heh. Birdies.


June 1st, 2009 - Rogue

Well, it has been a bit of a running joke amongst my friends on how long it has taken me to finish this, but it is finally done.

Pattern: Rogue, by Girl From Auntie
Yarn: Bartlett Yarns 2 ply in Lupine
Size: Small
Needles: US 6 and 7

I bought the yarn for this sweater on a trip to Maine in October of 2004. I think it was the oldest sweater quantity of yarn in my stash. I had started to knit this pattern about three times, but when I started last September (man that's sad) I finally had it looking how I liked.

This is one of the best and most detailed patterns that I have worked with at 19 pages long. It has incredibly detailed and error free charts. Especially when it comes to that awesome hood.

It's big, but it is so very pretty. I love how the cables flow up from the neck.

With this sweater I had wanted something as a replacement for some of my hooded sweatshirts. Something I would be even more warm and comfy wearing on those cold nights. This has definitely worked out that way. Big, but not too big, warm (very warm, it was 80F out when I was doing these shots) but not too scratchy, just right. It has enough little details to make it prettier then your average hoodie.

And unlike some of my sweater shirts, I was able to make the sleeves nice and long.

I had a bit of a panic at one point because I finished the knitting with just enough yarn to graft the hood together. Which meant there was nothing left to sew the sleeve seams and set them into the body. Jenn was kind enough to lend me some yarn from her current project that was close enough to the original colour that it worked out perfectly. Thanks Jenn!

I am quite happy with the results and it was worth all the work. Now I just need to wait about 6 months for it to be cold enough to wear it. (That is not a challenge mother nature, I will wait!)



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