I’ve spent most of my free time sewing with Lori today. (the time that was not filled with making dinner, taking grey to a playdate, meeting with the contractor or the myriad fo other things that seem to happen over the course of a day) Anyway, I cut out my pattern after extensive alterations to said pattern by Lori. I happen to be very lucky as Lori is a fashion design and patterning instructor at a university in GA. So, she worked on a commercial pattern that I purchased because it was similar to one of my favorite summer shirts. I am very hot natured these days and I hate to wear unflattering things just because they are cooler. So, I thought I would make a few tops. Lori have really worked on this pattern to get it to fit me and look the way I want. Of course, i happen to like details…those little details that make sewing something an absolute crazy pain in the ass and I am an adventurous beginner at best. I made several error s this evening due to being tired and having a headache, so I have nothing to show you. In the morning I will rip part of the neckline out and sew in the facing. then I will hem tha shirt and I will be able to show you a beautiful finished object…………I hope.
On a totally different note, I started a pair of socks last night and they are going well. They are infinitely more portable than the shawl that has to grow beyond comfortable portability!!!!
I am determined to post tonight. In all honesty I have wanted to post a number of times over the last month and have just become too irritated with the Mac to do it. See, I have been a PC user until this past Christmas> I needed a new computer, so Henry bought me the one I wanted terribly… MacBook Pro. It is awesome, but I did not take a clas…I am not that kind of person, I like to figure things out on my own. Unfortunately, the thing that would have helped me the most is what I need to post easily. I need a simple explanation as to where to store things and how to access them easily so that I can load the photos into my post. Agggghhhhh, I will beat this!
Anyway, onto the blog. We are in the middle of renovation land at the moment. The new house has had much work done to her and will have much more work to come. Henry and I have painted the living room, the dining room, the guest room downstairs, and the girls playroom. Now, while this may sound like no big deal, let me explain…..our gal is tall! She has 12ft ceilings which required the purchase of a baker scaffold. We have not turned on the air as we want the house to air out both the paint fumes and the order that she has acquired before our purchase. Anyway, it is hot in TN. It takes me and Henry 2 days per room to lay on two coats of paint. The dining room took three days because we had to paint the poop-BROWN ceiling. We still have the girls room, our room, two bathrooms and the yet to be completed kitchen to paint.
In addition to the painting, we will be ripping out the master bath due to some hidden water damage and not hidden hideousness and the kitchen will be finished by the contractor and a library will be built in the other guest room downstairs. All of this is supposed to be complete by the end of July so that we can move in and get settled before the girls start school. We are crazy! We will make it. Here are a couple of pictures for your enjoyment>>>
That’s the kitchen before.
Above is the before of the dining room.
In news unrelated to the house, I have been doing a bit of sewing, knitting and hand sewing. I took a class with Lori at Textile Fabrics http://www.textilefabricstore.com/public_html/ . The class was on reverse applique and was with Natalie Chanin. http://alabamachanin.com/ It really got me excited about working on ANYTHING again. I have barely knit in the last couple of months because of the house and because I had gone back to work temping for my old company. I have been so busy and so tired, I have not felt like doing anything. It was great to get my hands busy making something again. The creating bug bit hard, so I took advantage of having Lori at hand and dug out two old unfinished sewing projects. Last summer I attempted a dress for each girl and made some fatal errors in the construction. This was before my week long sewing lesson with Lori. I sheepishly dug them out to show her. She said it was salvageable and we began to rip. We ripped out most of my sewing, ironed and repaired. Now, my girls each have the dresses I promised them last year. I also cut out another dress for Grey last night and sewed it. She was pretty pleased with it as well!
I would love to tell you more, but I will save it for later as this stupid post has taken an hour!!!!
I am entirely too tired to write some long descriptive post. So, you will have to deal with photos only. I am starting a shawl with some local alpaca because I get to go with Lori to the Alpaca convention here. She has several students who have placed well in their fashion design contest and I get to be her date for the tea! Oh, forgot to mention….it is at the farm where I bought the alpaca I am making the shawl with. It is a blend of 5 of their black alpacas.
Yes, folks…we have had a couple of real snow days. By real, I mean we got about 5 inches of snow. Now, I know for those friends of mine still in Iowa and now in MN, 5 inches is laughable……but in TN, 5 inches of snow makes the city stop, grown men and women turn into children and causes the grocery stores to run out of milk, bread AND toilet paper!
On Thursday evening, our school system called off school for Friday. I got up Friday morning to find the streets barely damp. We were very disappointed, but not surprised as this is par for the course in Nashville. At 9am it started snowing in a manner that seemed promising. It was not bad and I had to go to my Nanny’s because she had an ice maker line fail and I (being the busy body, ex-claims adjuster I am) had to make sure things were going as they should. I wound up spending about 2 and a half hours there calling insurance companies, condo association, er services, etc. By the time I was ready to leave, we had about an inch and a half. No problem, I learned a lot about snow in Iowa. While this is true, I failed to take into account that not everyone in Nashville went to Iowa with me. I got on Briley Parkway only to find it at a stand still because there were 4 accidents all within 1 mile of each other!
I finally made it home and spent the rest of the day watching the snow accumulate, doing science experiments with the girls, cooking and seeming up a baby sweater while the girls painted a bird house next to me in their craft/toy room. It was so cozy and lovely. We had a great time.
We did not go sledding yesterday as I really wanted the snow to get to the point that it was deep enough to sled nicely. So, this morning we got up ready for some serious sledding. I planned to drive down to the park a mile from the house, but could not get the car out of the drive because I closed the gate last night and the gate must be dug out before we can open it. So, we sledded our street, then the green at Waverly-Belmont and then at the park. Henry and I pulled the girls most of the way there and back. We did not have sleds because we lost them in the Iowa flood, so I bought inner tubes. They worked pretty good after getting out technique down. On the way back home we stopped at the Frothy Monkeys for hot chocolate and a late lunch. It was a great time. Now we are in, warm and fed. I plan to do some knitting and bake some bread. The girls are enjoying taking it easy after playing so hard and Henry is playing WOW.
I LOVE snow days!
Here’s some pics of our two snow days.
On my way to France I chose to work on my second sock of the Nutkin socks by Beth LaPensee. I had finished the first one over a month ago and just couldn’t make any real progress on the second one. I had managed to cast on and make the fold down top, but that is all. I am seriously wondering if I will ever be a sock knitter, as the pair took over 4 months to complete and Wendy is on her third pair of socks after we started together. Anyway, I knit through a good portion of our flight to France and some on the TGV. By the time I got to Becca’s I was ready to turn the heel. I finished the socks after three days of being in France. I would have finished them sooner…but Christophe was busy making sure I did not miss anything of interest in the south of France.
The pattern is easy to remember and very intuitive, so I did not have t lug out the pattern when I knit. I only needed it to remind me of the number of repeats. I did change the heal to an eye of partridge as I had done the short row heel as suggested on the first sock and found it to be thin. I had to rip that out. I did not want a sock that I spent so much time on to crap out on the heel. I also did a standard toe rather than her toe. I like the look better. Of course, my Kitchener is less than spectacular, so the toe on the pattern would probably have looked better. I used ShibuiKnits Sock. Unfortunately I don’t remember the colorway. The bright sun in the south of France make the variegation really stand out. In person, the difference in the purples is much more subtle and not so distracting from the lace pattern. I have not washed these yet, but my girlfriend made her first pair with the same yarn in a different colorway and they faded terribly. The socks started out as vibrant as mine and after the first cold water handwash looked very dull. I hope that will not be the case with mine.
Here is the Ravelry link for those of you on Ravelry. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Slipping/nutkin
Here are the photos that Becca took in her back yard….doesn’t it look like I’m at a resort!
I wore my socks on the plane coming home. They are very, very warm! I had to take them off for the last flight as I was about to pass out. If I stick with knitting socks, I may have to find a lighter weight yarn!!!
I don’t think I have mentioned it on my blog yet…but who knows! I have started the Master Knitting Program offered through The Knitting Guild Association. Here’s the link in case ny of you are interested. http://www.tkga.com/mastersprogram.shtm
In short, one must knit numerous swatches demonstrating mastery of specified techniques, do research, answer technical questions and eventually design an Aran sweater and write the pattern. I am on the first level. There are three levels. I consider myself a good knitter….not the best, but reasonably good. I expected this to be somewhat challenging, but fun and informative. Wow! It has been challenging and I only have gotten through three swatches! individually, none of the techniques have been particularly hard as far as being able to do them. However, the level of perfection that I am finding myself in pursuit of is ridiculous. Two months ago I would have knit the swatches below and called them great. Now, I am wondering if they are even “good enough” to submit.
The 2by2 ribbing comprised the majority of my frustration and time. I am a continental knitter and due to the way I purl, my purl stitches are looser than my knit stitches. It really showed up in my first three tries at the 2by2 rib. The ribbing was rolling open where the stitches went from a knit to a purl. I found an article at the TKGA website about this very thing! Apparently I am not the only one to be cursed by this phenomenon. I think I have fixed it. The remedy is basically tugging on the working yarn right after the knit stitch and then again after the first purl. It sure does slow things down a bit….but it may be worth it if it keeps me from having to reknit them after being rejected by the committee.
The stockinette swatch with the 1by1 ribbing was much better in the ribbing section, but did cause me some problem again with the difference in tension between my knit and my purl stitches on the stockinette portion. When the tension between knit and purl in stockinette is different, the result is a fabric that has a slightly rippled appearance. I had to tackle this several times. I think I am now satisfied with that.
I am hesitant on my increases on both swathces, but especially on the garter stitch swatch. I think they show. The point of this exercise, was that you make increase that are invisible. I did a lot of research and found what I thought was going to be the most invisible increase for ribbing…the knit in front and back (vogue calls it the bar increase because of the bar that it leaves behind). This happens to be the increase I use most often, but now I am wondering.
I have not blocked these yet and I have finished the seed stitch swatch, but have no photos yet. I will block all three and repost. I would love feedback from anyone who has any ideas on how to make my knitting better, words of encouragement or anyone who wold like to commiserate with me! Hell, I’ll take any kind of feedback!
Anyway, here are the swatches.
And here is a picture Mycah drew of Henry on her Leapster game. Isn’t it the cutest!!!!
I forgot to post a photo of Emmy in the Calorimetry I made.