Friday, December 31, 2010

We have wallpaper

The remodeling continues. DD JC and I have been wallpapering the bathroom this week. It was renovated 5-6 years ago and left with unfinished wallboard. She has been mudding and sanding, then priming for a couple of weeks. She works 3 days a week most weeks and 4-5 hours a day on this job. This is the same daughter who helped finish the 3rd floor, where my yarn room resides. She and her son also smashed the old laundry tubs, so a new one could be installed.

Because the little wood shelf divides one wall, the bottom of the room has different paper. We still need to add a border below the line of the shelf and at the ceiling. It will be cut from the stripe paper. There is lots of paper cut to a reasonable length, since I managed to miscut one section twice, by starting the repeat at the wrong spot. The shelf section doesn't need a border, but the rest of the room does, so it will all be bordered. The ceiling almost escaped getting a border, but there is a 1/2" gap at one section, so a border there too.

Later in the day - we are finished with the wallpaper. We have borders top and bottom, cut from the stripe paper. Borders are much easier to do that sheets of paper. After lunch, and the Home Depot run for caulk. The tub surround will be recaulked.

I bought a new wastebasket and bowl brush because the fish set I have doesn't go with the new room. I probably will make the new shower curtain. I use a fabric liner, so that will serve until we get the new curtain. A wallpaper sample will go to the store with me for color matching. I also need to replace the rug, x2, so I can wash one. At least the towels go with the new colors.Towel rods go up later today. One was up, but got knocked down in the sanding/mudding stage. The room is not done, but it looks better every day. This was one of the rooms that had not been fixed up since we bought the house. The plumbing/fixture part was done because of leaks.

Knitting News
I finished the Legacy socks. I'm not sure if I will write the pattern. The leg looks baggy at the ankle. They will be a January birthday gift.

Another pair of socks is on the needles
for a February birthday. The pattern is Drip Candles from the XRX book Think Outside the Sox. This is another leftovers pair. The pattern calls for 3 colors, but the prototype was done with 8. Colors are used 2 at a time, changing every 8 rows. It's a fair isle pattern with alternating stitches, no long floats, so not only is it easy to do, mistakes don't show.

Remember that stack of flannel? I have one more pair of pants to sew. They are cut out, so I have only about 1/2 hour of work left. Gift giving is Sunday. While my shop has been closed, I have continued the dry cleaner work. Every day I do the alterations and work on flannel pants. Total time in shop about 1 hour.

One pair of comfy pants was made and mailed before the photo. Two more pairs are going out today. Three pairs will be given on Sunday. It's been a relaxing holiday season with the gift part delayed so long. I've put in plenty of work on the house, so going back to the shop will be easier on the body.

Only one more thing on my vacation to do list, make Lasagna. It's one of DH's favorite dishes and hard to do when working. Of course, the left overs will go in the freezer with the stuffed peppers, stuffed cabbage, and many soups.

We had an easy soup today, Gift in a Jar Potato Soup. I made a kit yesterday, filling the jar with instant mashed potatoes, powdered creamer and a few other things. Today I made 8 cups of boiling water and poured in the mix. Five minutes or less and it's ready to eat. I may have to use that as a gift again this year. We all have days when it's nice to have an instant meal on the shelf, or in the freezer in my case. Just remember to get it out in time for thawing.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

My yarn room is still a mess

I keep finding more yarn. I'm off work until Jan. 3, so I should be able to make more progress. This room is part of out third floor, which has been in an uproar for about 2 1/2 years. It's along story! I've cleaned up the table by the window with the swift and ball winder on it, but it doesn't show in the photo. Many of the plastic drawers have space, but everything needs an inventory card so I can find it again.

Much of the extra yarn was in the house, but not in the inventories before the remodeling mess. Everything was so hard to access that no inventory updating was done. The computer spread sheet was kept up to date, but not the index cards with the yarn snippets. The cardboard boxes hold cone yarn. I need to clear the floor, so I can bring in one more table and two more knitting machines. The table you can see will hold one machine, which is hiding in the dormer.

I still need to bring sock yarn upstairs, after I install the knitting machine on that wooden table. There are shelves in the dormer which will hold the sock yarn boxes. Sock yarn does not have inventory cards, but it has always been kept together in one area of the house. (maybe someday).

Here are my latest socks. They are my own design, to be made available soon. The impetus was a SKA challenge to use left over sock yarn. The base yarn is Plymouth Happy Feet left from 3 skeins I originally had. I made a pair of fair isle socks for the yarn company called Rows of Hearts. I had 60 gm left over, not enough for a pair of socks by itself. The blue is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Jeans color and the brown/gray is the same yarn in Mineshaft color.

I started with a Barbara Walker pattern from her second Treasury, called Paving Stones. (I just called that treasury the "sockend" one). I'm calling the pattern Legacy. It reminded me of engraved paving stones seen in many places. It's alsdo a legacy from socks past. This pair will be given as a January birthday present.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's almost Christmas

Luckily, I won't celebrate with family until a week later. Out of town presents are mailed, except for the one that the post office couldn't find to pick up. I've rescheduled and will call the post office early in the morning to complain.

The second pair of mittens is finished. No more Christmas knitting. I do have some sewing to do. Saturday was an 18th birthday party and I asked my DIL for gift ideas. She wants jammy pants. I had forgotten about that idea. Sunday saw me at the fabric store buying flannel for most of the rest of the giftees. Some young men are getting $$. This is the pile that I still need to sew up. One pair is finished and I should get a couple more done tomorrow. They take about 1 hour each.

I finished the Advent socks. they are knit from Knit Picks yarn. I'll see how they wear. They sure are soft and the yarn is not expensive. Even at noon, we don't have much sun these days. The detail shows if you embiggen the picture. The foot has decreases on the top and increases on the sole. the heel is very interesting too. I may make these socks again.

I finally started the December sock challenge. I chose the left overs option, designing my own socks. Unlike my previous left overs socks, these are very subtle. I should be able to finish the leg with the colors shown. I planned for the foot to be plain. These are for a January birthday, so I have plenty of time.

Friday, December 17, 2010

"Tis the knit before Christmas

The Advent socks are almost finished. I caught up yesterday, just in time for the last clue. They looked like this at the end of clue #1. The yarn is stuffed inside the leg. I gave up on two at a time after the heel. There was decreasing on the top of the foot and increasing on the bottom and it was too much trouble to move stitches. I had enough circulars to use two for each sock. I have really enjoyed the Advent calendar connected with the socks. Today's video was a Muppet clip about the Ghost of Christmas present, in German and English. I don't think you can lip read Muppets, so it worked very well in both languages. The voice sounded the same, singing the song.

Part of Christmas will be mittens for grandkids. In the process of organizing the third floor, I found a pair of mittens that I had test knit. They are purple with a pink design, perfect for a 6 yr old girl. Her older brother will get these mittens. Younger brother will get mittens with snow men on them. I have 1 1/2 mittens knit, so I'll probably embroider the snowmen tomorrow. All the mittens are worsted weight wool, my favorite mitten fiber.

Tonight we're going to hear Apollo's Fire play Handel's Messiah. That's my birthday present for this year. We've heard them before, and they are one of my customers.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I feel so dumb!

In the last post, I talked about a missing hank of yarn, that I had spent a good part of 2 weeks looking for. IT DOESN'T EXIST! Today, I checked my yarn inventory, and it isn't listed. It looked very much like the yarn I just finished knitting socks from, except it was a different brand. It doesn't exist in my house.

The socks look like this! This yarn is Hand Maiden Casbah Sock, knit mostly on US #1/2.5mm needles. The pattern is a mystery pattern by Lisa Stichweh.

The next socks are started, by Stephanie van der Linden. These are advent socks, with the pattern being available in pieces, only on the weekends. I'm trying to knit them two at a time, being one of the techniques that I have not tried yet.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Advent Week #1

Well, I'm back at work, for better or worse. some days are really interesting, and some days I mostly baby sit the shop. I get more knitting done when babysitting. The wedding/cotillion dress is finished. I just had the hem to do. I did some pieces for a KISS tribute band that is redoing their costumes. I did a lot of boring hems. Saturday was a babysitting day. There were only 2 sales, resulting in me needing to sew on about 20 buttons.

The black socks are finished. I still need to do the pattern. The red mystery socks are almost finished. No new pictures at this point. Next up in the knitting queue are mittens for two of the smaller grandkids, and another mystery sock. Stephanie van der Linden had an Advent calender up on Ravelry. In addition to a u-tube video for each day, she started a mystery sock pattern on the first weekend of Advent. I had the perfect red yarn, which qualified under two categories in the Solid Socks group. It doesn't want to be those socks! It is hiding! I have been looking for about 2 weeks, and I cant find it. I got it out of storage, but didn't wind it into a ball. The socks will be knit from another red yarn.

Remodeling is moving slowly. Walls have been mudded and sanded again. The bathroom may be ready for priming. Today our son and one of his daughters came to plumb the new basement sink. Pipes for the washer were shortened. Pipes for the new faucet were shortened. It only took one trip to Home Depot for the new faucet with feed from the top. We have heat return pipes lower on the wall, seen just below the edge of the sink. Yes, the wall is still ugly. I've requested fixing and paint, but I'm not the one doing the work.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Time off from work

Thursday was fairly lazy. Dinner with the family, but not at my house. DD#5 is in town for a few days. It's great to see her and her husband. Friday started at Home Depot to buy the sink for the basement. After lunch I put in a couple of hours doing dry cleaner alterations.

Saturday was really lazy, nothing but knitting. I did repair two socks that had come home from Florida. You know socks are appreciated when holes are worn in the bottom of the foot. He'll get more socks, even though he has the largest feet in the family. I did finish sock #1 of the black socks for DH. I need to figure out how to isolate the pattern repeat on my chart, then I can write the pattern.

Today started with breakfast at a nice Jewish restaurant with DD#5 and husband. One of many things Tallahassee doesn't seem to have. Repaired socks were returned.

Oxtail stew was started by putting the oxtail pieces in a pot with about 3 cups of water and into the oven to cook for about 4 hours. A large head of cabbage was put in my pasta pot to steam so I could remove leaves for stuffed cabbage. That worked very well. Food shopping was done. I was able to pick up a couple of large green peppers for a good price. I made enough oft he ground beef rice mixture to stuff 7 meals of stuffed cabbage and 3 meals of stuffed peppers. The oxtail stew leftovers (mixed with noodles) yielded 2 more meals. With all the different soups I've made for the work crew, I'm stocking the freezer much faster than I'm using the meals.

Keep knitting on black sock #2. Back to work tomorrow.

Friday, November 26, 2010

They're Tearing the House Apart Again!

A pile of rubble, the work of Runner Girl and her strong son Ninja. The day started with 3 laundry tubs in bad condition, left over from the days of wringer washers. 90 years later, they were in bad shape. The tub nearest the washer was cracked and the drain was deteriorated.

Early in the day we went out and bought a new sink. Then the demolition commenced. There's nothing like calling in your kids and grandkids when you want something destroyed. They had a great time! Sledge hammers and a Sawz-All did the job. I made many trips up and down stairs getting enough boxes for the rubble, which was carted out to our front porch to await garbage day. They did a good job of cleaning up!

This is what it looks like tonight. The sink is in place and the washer moved to what is probably it final position. Our son will come soon to help with the plumbing. I think DH wants to move the pipes lower. The wall needs work. Shelves will be built. The gas line needs to be moved to put the dryer on the other side of the sink. We had a dryer vent installed when the glass block windows went in.

My shop was closed today, giving me time to shop for the sink. I also made a German Potato soup for lunch, potatos, carrots, cabbage and 1 # of bacon. Seasoning is pepper, caraway seed and nutmeg, with sour cream added added with the bacon at the end. I have made so many varieties of soup to feed the work crew, that I'm definitely running out of room in the freezer. I put the soup in the Crock Pot before I leave for work, and it's ready when they are. Also, it feeds whoever shows up, especially when they are young men with large appetites.

Last post, I said something about wrestling with a wedding dress. It looks something like this, a small part is under the presser foot and the rest is all over the place.

One of the other jobs I do is to replace elastic in pants. This pair has had the elastic removed. I will edge the top, sew in new elastic, fold it to the inside and top stitch about 1" from the fold.

Knitting Progress
I finally finished the fair isle socks for DH. Seven weeks is a long time for a sock project, although I did finish other socks in that time.

I have one sock finished from the SKA November Mystery Sock pattern. I'm trying to finish the black cable socks first.

I am getting a little tired of knitting almost nothing but socks. This next year I hope to spend more time on other projects, but the new sock patterns are so tempting. I just found an Advent Calendar mystery sock. The pattern clues are available each weekend, for 3 days only for each clue. Yes, I downloaded the first clue.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I hab a cold...

and my brain is working slowly. Drugs only help so much. Some weeks my work load is light and I can knit at work. This was not one of those weeks! It's good to have work to do, but I'd rather knit than wrestle with a poufy wedding dress to alter the bust , shorten the straps, and redo the hem.

The weather today was beautiful, but I had no energy to work in the yard. I'm hoping that its mild over the holiday weekend, so I can finish pulling out dead stuff. Dinner is not at my house, and I'm not working. I need to deal with more boxes in the remodeled area. Garbage day is early Tuesday morning. I am trying to get one extra bag out of the house each week. Stuff breeds when you ignore it.

The mystery sock #1 is finished through clue #3. The next clue will be out by tomorrow morning.

The fancy sock for DH is 85% finished. It's still a love/hate relationship. I'll soon be finished. I like the yarn, Verve dyed by the Unique Sheep. I should actually have enough yarn to finish the socks without changing yarn. Only another day or so. These started as a SKA under-appreciated challenge, but didn't qualify. It was a club pattern, not released to the public by the deadline.

In the meantime, I have started a cabled sock for DH. The theme for the Ravelry Solid Socks group is "air" and the SKA theme is cables. These socks fit both themes. The color looks like night air, and there are cables. I need to finish them by Nov. 30 if I'm in the running for Solid Socks prizes. That may not happen. For SKA, I have until Dec. 31. There are over 10,000 knitters in that group, and I've already won a prize this year. I still like a challenge.

BTW, Ravelry has over 1,000,000,000 knitters registered, and most of them have only registered once. A certain daughter of mine forgot her name and password, so registered again. I'm sure she's not the only one. They won an award in London for being the best social network, beating out Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Love/Hate Relationship

That's how I've been feeling about the socks I'm knitting for DH. It started as a Ram Club selection from last year, a fair isle pattern and two colors of variegated yarn, a dark color and a light color.

The socks were started for SKA on Ravelry, with the idea that they fit in the under-appreciated category. Because the pattern was not released tot he public before July 1, they didn't qualify. Oh well, knit them anyway. They're toe up and when the heel was started I tried them on the target foot. Too tight! And too short! Riiip.

Back to the toe to increase up to the next size. I matched the gauge in the pattern, but the larger sizes were too wide. The error came in lack of stretch in fair isle knitting. The socks are now size S in width and size XL in length.

There have been doubts about how the pattern shows up. I would have been happier with one solid yarn and one variegated. There also have been concerns about having enough yarn. This package did have more yarn than the other two from the club. I measured around each ball. The light color was larger, so I used that to finish the cuff. When I was home and had access to the kitchen scale, I weighed each ball. They each started with 75 gm of yarn. The light had 46 gm and the dark had 44 gm after one sock. Cheers were heard!!! There is enough yarn for the second sock, and yes, this sock has been tried on when the heel was started, and it fits nicely. I think I mentioned this in the last post, but it bears repeating for these socks.

The mystery sock is finished through clue #2. Time to start a cabled sock for DH. It's cable month at SKA. I wanted to finish one sock before starting more for him.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Everything has been moved off the first floor. After over 2 years, I have my living room and dining room back. DD even cleaned them for me. Strange things happen when I am at work. This pile is what's left to organize/put away/throw out. I'll tackle the Christmas storage when the season comes.

I have too much yarn. When it's all in one room, it is a little overwhelming. I also have fabric storage in that room. I'll be purging that slowly.

I have been using some of it. These mitts are a birthday gift. I have the pattern written, It is available on Ravelry and Patternfish. The yarn is Regia 6-ply sock yarn, so they're machine washable. I also have knit another family Christmas stocking, It's #28 in the ongoing series.

Right now, I'm working on some fair isle socks for DH. They're toe up and when I was half way through the heel I tried them on him. They were too tight and too short. We are now past that point and the fit is good. Combining fair isle and large feet does not make for fast sock knitting.

There is also a mystery sock on the needles. Clue #1 is finished for the first sock. Clue #2 comes out tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Now to move in

The remodeling is finished on my third floor. DD Jan nicely took pictures for the rooms empty of tools and before boxes and shelves moved in. Now I have to arrange everything and purge what I can. She blogged about it here. This part of the house must be storage as well as working space. It's the storage part that still has me scared. What can I get rid of????

This is the most finished view I have of the bedroom. Tuesday morning it looked like this! On one side are boxes of cone yarn, on the other, drawers of skein yarn. The tables have been moved around. The white one will hold my swift, ball winder and who knows what else. The one in back is for one of my knitting machines. Right now it has battered boxes of fabric, which need to be reboxed.

The main room is more empty now! But those empty shelves will be put to use. How do we get all this stuff? Why do we hold on to it? Don't answer! We get it slowly and put it aside because we might need it. Right now it weighs me down! I have already purged a lot of yarn and many boxes of fabric went to the fashion department at a local college.

Best solution for the moment, go to work and deal with some of it tomorrow, when I have a day off.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stocking Surgery

Over the years, I have knit Christmas stockings for a few customers. "Grandma knit this, can you copy it?" Some of them were old Bernat patterns. I don't know the original source of this year's batch.

The customer now lives in N. Carolina, so she sent me a box of stockings. Two of them needed the name changed. Original people no longer in the family. These are stockings knit by me in the past, so I had matching yarn left in my stash from a house sale.

Separate stocking into 2 parts, ravel back, knit new name, graft back to stocking. Fair Isle is easier to ravel than intarsia.

A new stocking was also needed this year. I had designed this a few years ago, a couple of changes were requested for this year. It looks like this. The top is knit flat on 2 needles, and then continued in the round. When flat, it looks like this.

The stockings are back in the box. I just need to send it back to its owner. Yes, I did get paid for this!

I've knit a couple of other things, but they are gifts and the donee may be reading this blog. Here's a Christmas gift. I'm not sure who it will go to. It was a mystery sock, meaning that I got a clue a week and didn't know what the sock would look like until the end.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Too Little Time...

And too much to do. The green socks are finished. They are for a December birthday. The Mystery socks are stalled. There still are 2 Christmas stockings to be knit. I realized that there is a family birthday on Tuesday 10/26 and I had no gift. Although I won't see her until later, I should be finished by then.

The pattern is being written. There was great frustration with the chart making program I've been using for ages. I have a couple of other options, but they either wouldn't handle a 6 stitch cable or mis-behaved in other ways. Credit card was pulled out and a new program was purchased. I've been thinking about this one for quite a while and finally caved. It makes nice charts and automatically has the legend for the symbols. There are a couple of things I don't like about the printed images, but I think that's part of the learning curve.

The remodelers have finished one room and boxes of cone yarn are being moved in. I'm not in a hurry for the other 2 rooms, as long as progress continues.