Archive | May 2020

Oh heck I’m tired

The living room is done. I had to push myself to do it, but Tuesday was prep and yesterday was paint and now it’s done and I can stop painting for a while. I still love the results but my body needs a rest and my brain needs some knitting. Plus my book group is having a virtual meeting tomorrow so I need to skim the book (which I read a while back) to refresh my memory. It’s a little one, The Confession Club by Elizabeth Berg, so it’s a fast read. Lots of paint work meant no knitting, so I’ll just share my living room today.

It’s the same pale gray as my bedroom and I like the subtle contrast with the darker gray in the dining room. Now if we could just get the floors refinished!

Making it up as I go along

Many months ago, in the before-time when we were able to go places and look at things and buy them in person, I bought the neatest handmade oak cabinet for my pen accessories. Perhaps it was originally a jewelry case, as the top drawer is sectioned off and lined with red felt. The other drawers are unlined though, and recently I thought it would be fun to knit drawer liners with leftover sock yarn. There weren’t any patterns in Ravelry that were similar to what I had in mind, but there was a table runner in fingering weight with a width close to what I wanted. That gave me a starting point for how many stitches to cast on and what needle to start with.

After a couple of tries, I landed on a cast-on of 92 stitches with size 2 needles. I did a garter border but then as I started thinking about the body, I decided I wanted some kind of ridge to create valleys for pens to rest in. I did a few rows of k6, p2 / p6, k2 but that wasn’t creating a ridge on the stockinette side, so I switched to a garter ridge instead of a purl ridge. Nope, that didn’t work either, so I went back to the purl ridge. Though it created a dip on the smooth “right” side, it made a nice ridge on the purled “wrong” side, and I decided I just needed to adjust my thinking and switch right and wrong.

I kept knitting until I ran out of yarn and after blocking I ended up with a rectangle about 13″ by 4″. It’s a good length for the drawers but I want it deeper to fill the whole drawer, so I need about 40 grams to get a piece 13″ x 9″.

However, what I discovered is that 4″ is the perfect length for my Kaweco pens, and I happened to have exactly enough spots for all of them!

193A40E8-D799-4768-8C23-937BEF779B2FThis was a fun little weekend distraction, and I’m looking forward to making a full-size version soon!

Finished: Dowland Shawl

My Dowland shawl got blocked this weekend, and after the boy mowed the backyard I went out for a photo shoot. It posed beautifully, too. Prepare yourself for a photo-heavy post because it was hard to choose which ones to omit!

45957989-6B81-4A3B-BD04-6BAE994D1CBC_1_201_aI’ll start with the obvious: this is a huge shawl. I used all but 14 grams of my two skeins of Kitty Pride Fibers’ Ocicat Fingering in the color A Bonny Lass. The pattern says you can repeat section eight up to two times to use up more yarn, so I repeated it once. I didn’t want to risk running out of yarn, though I think I could have squeaked through just fine.

The last lace section gave me fits. I had to rip out thirty rows of lace the first time I knit it. The second time went better, but I still had three rows where I ended up off by one stitch, and I just fudged it. I couldn’t stand any more tinking or frogging. I did spot one of the errors when I was pinning it out, where the yarnovers didn’t line up just right, but no one will ever notice it while I’m wearing it, and it doesn’t detract from the overall beauty of the lace pattern.

After I had it all pinned out, I realized I did not pin the scallops correctly, so there are more scallops and they’re closer together than the designer intended. But by then, it was mostly dry and again, I wanted this shawl just to be done, so I’m calling it a design feature.

726BB99D-595F-4B7D-BBF6-78246BD7FF75_1_201_a

This was not an easy knit for me but it might be one of my proudest knitting moments. It turned out to be exactly what I wanted from my Bonny yarn, and I can’t wait to have somewhere to wear it to show it off!

Two Big Finishes

Painting the dining room didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would: I got it all done in one day! Two coats plus the edge by the ceiling on the six-foot ladder, which was definitely not my favorite part. Yesterday I pulled off tape, washed the trim, gave it a final vacuum, and called that room done.

We chose a slightly darker gray for this room and it’s really hard to photograph. There’s not enough sunlight and the hanging light gives off too much yellow. But I think this is a good approximation. Mostly I’m just delighted that it’s clean and patched and smooth. We’ll see how long it stays that way, what with three dogs and all.

My other big finish is the Dowland shawl! I bound off Friday night. I had three rows in the final section that were off by one stitch but by then I just couldn’t deal with any more tinking or frogging so I pushed through. I could see a couple of the spots as I was pinning it out, but they’re minor and I won’t notice them as I’m wearing it, for sure. I need to get outside to take some pretty photos, but here’s a preview of the finished, and massive, shawl. (Dog included for perspective. And because he wouldn’t move.)

DC6299FE-C771-49C4-8C01-33D6FC9BBB03After finishing the dining room yesterday morning, I really thought I was done painting for a while. It’s been hard on my back, elbows, wrists, hands — everything, really. But the work and the final products are really good for my mind, so by last night I was pulling pictures off the walls in the living room and starting to dust and spackle. I’m going to take it slow, though. I’ll do bursts of prep in between spurts of knitting today, and take my time. The boy asked me last night what I was going to do when I ran out of rooms to paint, and I had no answer. After the living room, I have a stairwell to paint, and that’s it for painting. I could be done by the end of the week. Then what?

Oh well. That’s a problem for future Bonny!

New Sock, New Room

My two days of rest were exactly what I needed. I worked on my Dowland shawl and even got past the point where I had to frog last time. I’ve only got eight rows left before the bind-off, I believe, and I’m so ready to be done with this one. For some reason, the lace in this last section is giving me so much trouble. I want to get back to the easier lace of my Penny sweater but am just stubborn enough to make myself finish Dowland first.

I also cast on a new sock, as predicted. I pulled out one of my new brightly-colored sock yarn skeins, Orange Jellyfish in Intergalatic Planetary, and cast on for a Vanilla Latte sock. It’s growing quickly.

It’s knitting up differently than I expected but I do love the bright colors. And the dog! 😉

But for now, the knitting is paused again while I resume my painting activities. I’m tackling the dining room now. Yesterday I patched and taped and dusted and sanded and vacuumed and patched and sanded and vacuumed. (There were some pretty serious cracks in the biggest wall.) The husband picked up the paint last night and today I’m ready to do the fun part: getting the paint on the walls! This is the biggest room I’ve done so far; it might take me a few days just for the painting.

Happy Friday, friends. Hope you have something fun planned for the weekend!

Well, THAT took forever

It feels like I have completed very few projects during this stay-at-home time. Ravelry says I have, a whopping six projects: two simple cowls, three pairs of socks, and several masks (which I guess could count for more than one project). But anyway, I finished a pair of socks last night and it felt like I’d just finished a marathon! I looked back and discovered I’d started these on March 16, the first day I started working from home. That’s almost two months ago, friends! Does it seem crazy that we’ve been doing this for so long? Sometimes it does to me, and sometimes it just feels like normal now. I’m so glad to have these off my needles finally.

The yarn is Leading Men Fiber Arts Showstopper in Complete Imagination and the pattern is Vestigial. I love the colors of the yarn and the gentle stripes. I carried the pattern down to the end of the gusset and after that I just wanted plain stockinette feet. And now I get to pick out a new sock yarn and cast on something fun…as soon as I clean off my craft room table of all the stuff it accumulated while I was painting!

I like cables now?

What the heck, who am I? I always thought I didn’t want to knit fingering weight, now I love it. I didn’t want to knit socks, now I’m addicted. I knew I’d hate cables — they’re fiddly and slow — and yet I chose to knit another hat with cables. And it didn’t even seem that fiddly!

img_7731It probably helped that this is worsted weight yarn and wool, so it’s sticky enough that the stitches don’t slip out easily when you’re doing the cables. And I’d say it helped that I’ve done this pattern before except I got to the cable bit and had no memory of how exactly to work it and had to look up the comments on the Ravelry pattern page. It’s Winter Walk, by the way, and knits up quickly. And next, I think I’m going to do some cabled mittens for my nephew. Clearly the shelter-in-place stuff has addled my brain.

Or maybe it’s paint fumes? After my bedroom, I tackled our upstairs hallway. It was a dirty tan with woodwork that had been painted a flat reddish-brown. I’m sure they did it to make it look like “wood” but I hated it, so the hall got the same gray/white paint as my bedroom.

It’s so bright and clean! I love it. There are SIX doorways in this area, though, so I got to paint a lot more trim than I would have preferred. The good news is that I’m now quite good at painting edges cleanly, but still, I’m so glad the next room to be done has beautiful natural wood trim! I’m taking a couple of days to rest before starting the next project; my hands and shoulder and elbow are feeling a bit of strain. Plus I was starting to miss knitting a little bit. I’ll get to the dining room soon though. It occurred to me that before I was furloughed, our plan had always been to hire someone to paint all these rooms, so I’m saving us a ton of money, probably a couple thousand by the time I’m done, as big as the bedroom and dining room are. That’s a pretty good feeling, and once you add on getting to enjoy the new paint, so far it’s worth the sore muscles!

Oh, and Mother’s Day was lovely too! We had a family breakfast, and went by to say hello to the mother (keeping a safe distance, of course) and I got plenty of knitting time before our delicious steak dinner, complete with mashed potatoes, and chocolate cake for dessert. The boy picked out a great t-shirt for me, and the husband ordered the most gorgeous blue Franklin Christoph fountain pen.

img_7719The girl’s gift was running late, so I’ll get a bonus Mother’s Day once it arrives. Hope all my fellow American moms had a good Mother’s Day too!