Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Great Room Exchange.....

This is the title I've given to my latest home project. It started out when I looked at my yarn stash and realized that I had no more space to add to my collection (it can't very well be called anything else, but a collection at this point, there is far too much to actually knit it all in any reasonable time frame.) I was also quite concerned about all of that yarn in my basement.... living in the dark closet all alone with no room to breathe and only the occasional visit from me when I either added to it, or chose something from it..... And so, an idea was born. I decided to try convince Eli to move downstairs so that my yarn could have his bedroom upstairs. My convincing argument was masterful. I sold him on the idea that we would make the basement a "Boy Zone". All of the video games would be down there and eventually we would buy either an air hockey table or some other game table to put down there. He would also have his very own bathroom and lots of privacy from his sister. He wasn't sure about the idea at first (he's rather attached to me at the moment and I think the idea of him being so far away at night was a bit scary), but slowly came around to the idea....

Here is a picture of my poor, lonely, crammed stash:





Once Eli was convinced, step 1 of the GREAT ROOM EXCHANGE could begin..... Eli told me what he wanted his room to look like (I braced for a disagreement regarding a Pokemon themed room... I think he's getting too old for themes and I didn't want to re-paint in a year or so) and was pleasantly surprised when he told me his design... wavy, horizontal stripes with dark blue on the bottom, turquoise blue in the middle and light blue on the top. I then started dismantling the room (it was my office/throw-all-the-crap-lying-around-the-house room) to prepare.... This took forever as I didn't realize I had so much crap in there and I hadn't really thought about where it was going...... I was going to post a picture, but I don't have one.... I've never taken a picture of that room....... that should tell you something... I then began to paint. The room was painted a dark brown and Eli wanted medium to light blues. This required three coats of primer and three coats each of the darker colours and 2 coats of the lightest colour to completely cover the brown. It took me 4 whole days to finish! But it turned out beautifully and he really likes his new room.




Step 2 consisted of painting his old room and turning it into my yarn's boudoir....Officially this room is the Guest Room, but let's be honest... it only has guests a couple times a year, so it really IS my yarn's boudoir.... This room took took 4 coats of primer and 2 top coats (just look at the picture below and you'll see why), but WOW... I did gooooood and my yarn is much happier.....There is yarn in the closet, yarn in the plastic organizers and roving/top in the cedar chest and the acrylic/novelty yarn is under the bed... in vacuum bags.... The best part?? There is LOTS of room for more.....

Before:



And now (and I'll say that it's about one million times prettier in real life...)




I'd still like a headboard and maybe a screen for the plastic bins and notice the glass bowl full of my favorite special yarns in tones of blue:

Step 3 and 4 consist of turning our fifth bedroom into Chey's "den" and the basement in the aforementioned "Boy Zone" Pictures of those as they are finished... no more painting though... I.can't.do.it.

PS.... please be advised that I didn't really convince Eli to move downstairs so that I could move my yarn upstairs... this was actually a wonderful side benefit to the "Great Room Exchange"... but I like the above version better... I felt I should explain... just in case someone thought I'd actually force my son to live in the basement so that my yarn could live upstairs.....

PPS.... I'm currently taking bets as to how long Eli will last in the basement... He is only 7 (turning 8 in a little over a month) and scared of the dark.... so I am fully prepared to move him back upstairs if need be...... but I won't be repainting if that happens......

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Barnacles, beaches and lots of driving

video

This is a little slide show of our trip to Vancouver Island. We left early Sunday Morning and arrived to find that my Dad and Caren's car (which they kindly lent to us for our stay) would not start.... Dead battery. We looked on this small issue with a rather good sense of humour, mostly because it was early in the morning and the weather was Super Fantastic!. After a short-ish wait, the tow truck arrived and we were finally on our way. Our first day of exploration took us out past Sooke to Port Renfrew and then over a very winding (but lovely) road over the mountains towards Duncan. We did take a wrong turn somewhere and ended up coming out at Cowichan Lake rather than Shawnigan Lake, but it was still a lovely trip.

Day 2 was our "explore Victoria" day. We took the Mill Bay ferry to Brentwood Bay and stopped at the Butterfly Gardens. After this we drove across the Saanich Peninsula and drove along the ocean to Victoria. It was along this drive that we discovered something interesting about Eli...... He is afraid of Barnacles...... There are an AWFUL lot of Barnacles near the Ocean and our patience was sorely tested (OK... I'll admit it... I had NO patience... I mean, come-on.... BARNACLES????.... not giant man eating squid or evil man eating sharks or even just creepy crawly spiders...... but BARNACLES) He was afraid they would leap off their perches and attach to him and suck out his blood or something.... and although he normally trusts me when I explain how things work (this is the child that helped me calculate how many years it would take for Christmas to be in mid-July if we didn't have leap year)... he did NOT trust my explanation about barnacles... we even READ about barnacles and that didn't help......

Day 3 we drove out to Ucluelet (stopping many, many times along the way) and Long Beach were we played in the sand and in the waves and hiked along the beach to touch anemones and try to overcome the "FEAR" (which was semi-successful, hopefully his week on the boat with Opa and Cary will take care of the rest). We spent the night there and started to drive back.

Day 4 consisted of driving back to Duncan from Ucluelet, but along the drive we had some trouble... Chey started whining and saying that she felt "coughy"..... We soon discovered that "coughy" meant "pukey" as she vomited all over Opa and Cary's car. We stopped in Port Alberni to buy cleaning supplies and a clean outfit and then when to one of the harbour Quay's to clean up and let the kids play... We loved it down there. There were lots of cute little shops and a nice play area for the kids... Pukey-girl actually ended up making our day....

Day 5 was leaving day and we spent the morning touring around Duncan before heading for another tour of the Saanich Peninsula and home...... we did leave Eli behind to spend his first "alone" week with Opa and Cary on their boat..... I was a bit nervous and sad to leave him, but I know he's going to have a blast.....

It was an exhausting trip, but very enjoyable..... if I could sleep for a week... it'd be great......

Thursday, July 9, 2009

That's how it was supposed to look...

I gave the sweater to Christina..... it's looks amazing on her, whereas it looked like a sack on me (regardless of my attempt in photos to make it look otherwise)

See....



That is how it is SUPPOSED to look.... when it fits properly... :)

And now I'm knitting a scarf, a very simple 1x1 rib scarf... I want to knit something that I know, without a doubt, will turn out.... It will be knit out of my handspun. (3ply yarn, approx 8-9 WPI, out of Superwash Merino roving/top from Zen Yarn Garden's "Spin Art Fibre Club"). It's very soft and sproingy.... It'll be a short scarf (I've only got about 200m), but it will be my first "real" knitting item of my own handspun.....





and it won't matter if it stretches in the wash......

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My Love/Hate relationship with silk.....

I love/hate silk. It is one of my most favorite/feared yarns to work with. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the colours and sheen of silk, the drapiness (not a word, apparently) of the fabric, the summer wearability factor, the feel of the yarn as I knit it.... I even like the smell (although I have recently discovered, and maybe it's just me, that wet sea silk smells like decomposing seaweed (probably because that's what it's derived from)..... which is kinda gross, but does remind me of the ocean, so I kind of like it anyway)...... What I don't like about silk is the unpredictability of the finished product. Maybe it's just me, but I can't seem to get the "growth" factor straight in my head. Take this, recently finished item.






It's made from Tilli Thomas Pure and Simple and crocheted.... It washed beautifully and has wonderful drape and feels GREAT on... I LOVE it! It sucked me right in to the gloriousness that CAN be silk....

Then I knit this. It is also made from Tilli Thomas Pure and Simple. The first picture is pre-wash, the second is post-wash. Notice the change in length and width in the second picture... although I do like the ruffle much better now, I wish I hadn't added length when I knit it... and I feel like it's too big for me now... but I wear it anyway.




Yesterday, I finished this..... I really wish I had taken pictures of it first because... HOLY CRAP! did this sucker grow! It was a bit long even when I finished it, but before I washed it 'cause my sH** A** (excuse my language) gauge swatches LIED and not a little lie either... I did several swatches (meaning 3) because my gauge was way too loose... I finally went down from a 3.25mm to a 2.5 mm needle... The finished gauge (which I just measured) on my sweater is 25 stitches/4" on the 2.5mm needle, not 26 stitches/4" as per the pattern instructions..... I didn't even bother to measure the height gauge because I fear the answer.... hence the HUGENESS of the resulting sweater.... It's not supposed to be a tunic damn it! The sleeves are supposed to be shorter, a 3/4 length, not a cropped length AND the V-neck was only supposed to be 1 inch lower than the original pattern, not 72 inches lower like in the pictures..... I am glad that I eliminated the hood in the original pattern...because it probably would have hung so low that I could have carried several children in it.....





and yes, I realize that the pictures aren't that bad... even kinda good... but you'll have to trust me... I don't think it's flattering on me at all... I may give it to my friend Christina, unless I decide that I actually do like it... we shall see....

I think silk and I need a break.... perhaps Linen and I will be a better match??

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Very Merry Pre-Birthday to me!

My Birthday is on Monday and because Dale left for work yesterday, he and the kids decided to celebrate my bday before he left. They brought up a few cards and a couple of gifts and sang me Happy Birthday in Bed (Eli also sang it in French). Apparently, Eli insisted I get yarn for my birthday (in spite of the fact that I asked him to tell Daddy that I wanted earrings) and Dale complied (they are both rather well trained, aren't they... ) and took the kids out to Shuttleworks where they purchased a gift certificate (I see a few new spinning accessories in my future). My Mom gave me some lovely candles (they smell YUMMY!) and my MIL gave me some money which I used to buy the yarn I posted about the other day. Later in the day (after Dale had gone) a parcel arrived on my doorstep from my Dad. I was going to leave it to open on Monday, but the kids begged (they didn't have to beg too hard), so I opened it. Inside were 3, very pretty, teacups and saucers. The "extra special" kind and a new tea to try. Eli really wanted a tea party and so......




Aren't the teacups lovely?! I want the rest of the set now..... even though they aren't my "normal" style... they are just so PRETTY......

So a very exuberant Thank YOU! to Dad and Caren, Mom and Elizabeth and of course..... Dale, Eli and Chey...... you made my day.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

a Trip and a half.....

Visiting family is a necessary evil when you live in a different province (or a different town, city or country). Something I "try" to do at least once per year (and hope that the other family members reciprocate so I actually get to see them twice per year). We returned from such a trip last night..... late, late last night. Now, I don't want to sound like I don't LIKE visiting my family, I do. I love my family. But, and that's a big BUT, traveling to visit is a lot of work and very tiring (especially when you have limited time and lots of family to visit). I'm exhausted from all the driving and socializing and more driving and not sleeping and not eating properly and the driving and the not sleeping. We had originally planned to stop in Revelstoke or somewhere to spend the night and drive the rest of the way this morning, but somewhere in our fog ridden brains we decided to push on through and we made it home at about 1:30am.

Here are a few highlights of the trip (I can't figure out how to add notes, so you'll have to guess what we're doing and where we are in each shot):

video

You'll notice that I did manage to get in some knitting. I started a pair of cashmere gloves(Ravelry link). I also managed some yarn shopping at a nice yarn store in Kelowna called The Art of Yarn (Thank you for the early Bday gift Elizabeth!), it's a very nice store with a great selection of yarn (although only a very small amount of spinning fibre, mostly some Louet Northern Lights and a little bit of Fleece Artist).

Now that I'm home, I'm hoping to finally finish the sweater I was working on before we left. All I have left is to sew in the sleeves and finish the collar......