Closets

Right then.. this post is mostly for my mother, who wanted to see pictures of the progress on the new closets in the bedrooms.

This is the main bedroom new closet:

(All pictures are clickable thumbnails.)

The doors still need to be stained, but I did the top trim board this morning. The stain is a smidge darker than the original varnish (and the trim board on the right is considerably lighter than the rest for some reason – will eventually have to strip it down and stain it to match), but I think once it’s dry and has a coat of poly on it, it will be close enough. The doors might get done this week, but more likely they’ll wait until later in August when I have another free weekend.

The guest bedroom closet, I have to admit, is sort of my favorite. Maybe because it makes that room really a bedroom now:

*

Not the greatest pictures – it’s a small room and we still need to figure out what to do with the bed and desk that were in there because we gave up some floor space to create the closet – and the trim wasn’t fully finished yet when I took them, but at the moment they’re the only ones I have with the doors on. Previously there was a truly horrid clearly slapped together for the sole purpose of being able to sell the house as a 3-bedroom box that was supposed to be a closet; it’s gone now:

Dad did the work to frame the closet and trim the wall out, but I still need to stain it all. He used reclaimed trim from the house – some from the bathroom (the uprights), which he had to sand down to remove all the nasty, icky, yucky green paint, and some from the other bedroom closet.

He also framed in a wall behind the center support – which we turned into a small bookshelf and is the perfect size for trade paperbacks:

And finally, I started staining the closet doors for this one last night:

I’m working on filling some gouges in the recovered trim, but hope to sand and get that trim stained this weekend so that at least the guest bedroom is finished. Except for the fact that we need to paint now since they apparently painted the room *after* putting in the excuse for a closet.. *sigh*

* Yes, that would be a home for my stash.. Exciting, no?!

Blue Jean Kool Aid

A week or so ago, I was wearing my fingerless gloves in my office and a friend and colleague expressed an interest in a pair of her own. Since she requested that they match blue jeans – which she wears almost exclusively – and I didn’t have any suitable blue yarn to hand, I decided to try my hand at getting the color I wanted with Kool Aid.

I had most of a skein of Jagger yarn left over from the largesse stocking project from about a year ago and decided that was about the right weight and would likely take up the dye well:

(As usual, all pictures are clickable thumbnails)

I skeined the yarn with my niddy-noddy and started it soaking in some hot water and got a pot starting to boil on the stove. I wanted to pre-mix the color rather than just dump the packets into the boiling water and hope it worked, so I started with 4 packets of Berry Blue in a pint glass of hot water. And quickly decided that it was a bit too.. vibrant. So I added in a couple packets of Grape to darken it up a bit. I dipped a snippet of of spare yarn in it to make sure it was about the right color, but forgot to pre-soak the snippet, so it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. But I determined that I was generally in the right ballpark.

Once the water in the pot boiled, I turned off the heat, added the dye mix to the water and then dunked the pre-soaked skein.

After about 45 minutes, the dye appears to be exhausted..

.. though somewhat spotty. A quick rinse confirmed that the dye had not been taken up evenly.

Since blue jeans are often various shades of blue, however, I decided it was fine and would pr’bly look really neat once knit up. I hung it up to dry overnight..

..and voila! In the morning I had yarn that is perfect for the recipient!

RSA*

Trekking XXL and Kaffe Fassett Regia sock yarns (As usual, all pictures are clickable thumbnails)
8 ounces of really soft and lovely merino roving
The same roving as above (the other picture is more color accurate) with the 2 pounds of Ashland Bay merino roving in Peacock that I got from Mary-Kay when she was moving a couple years ago. I’m thinking about possibly spinning some singles with each and plying them together, but I’m not decided yet.

Sorry all the pictures are a bit blurry, but the colors are pretty true so you get the idea.

Tomorrow I’ll pr’bly post an updated picture of the DNA scarf; it’s about 3.5 feet long now and I’m on the second to last skein of yarn I have for it, so it’s getting close!

* Recent Stash Acquisitions!

D’oh!

I *almost* did something really boneheaded. Almost.

I’m in Lawrence, KS at the moment on a bit of a consulting gig. I thought briefly before I left about checking out the town to see if there were any good yarn shops, but then figured I’d be pretty wrapped up in meetings most of the time anyway and wouldn’t get a chance to track any down so it would just be an exercise in frustration.

And then we finished our meetings yesterday by 3:30. Which left us all with a more or less free late afternoon (which I spent resting and getting rid of a headache) and morning before we had to leave for the airport. And I still didn’t check.

I am saved only because I got out to the lobby last night a few minutes before the rest of the group I was heading to dinner with and picked up and flipped through a tourist magazine where I found, a bit to my surprise and much to my delight, an ad for the famous Yarn Barn! And better still, it’s only three blocks from our hotel!

Of course, I had to venture out that way this morning and it was, as I’ve been promised and warned, Mecca. I don’t have my camera with me, so you’ll have to wait a bit to see pictures of what I got, but for those of you with big stashes or active imaginations, I got a couple skeins of the new Kaffe Fassett Regia sock yarn, a skein of Trekking XXL, and a reallyreallyreally gorgeous 8 ounces of merino roving. *squee!*

And to think I almost missed it (again)!

The End, Part II

The obligatory pre-blocking pictures:

.. and several shots while blocking:

I blocked it on a queen-sized futon which was not quite big enough, so it’s a bit crooked and one tip didn’t actually get pinned out, just stretched. It came out great, though, and was folded up and delivered to the person who requested it, who will hopefully present it in a day or two to his lovely and charming wife of 13 years.

And, because I *had* to shop for things to send to Julie, I picked up a few things for me, too:

The pattern is from Wendy of Wendy Knits and is for the L-Bee Socks. The black and blue yarn is Claudia Handpaint in Argyle 2; the small black skeins are Panda Cotton (because Cate* raved about it so much I *had* to try it, especially since my sweetie would really really *love* handknit socks but is sensitive to every animal fiber used in yarn); and the Regia is from a recent destash from Ravelry and will likely be socks for me, but not until after the holiday knitting is done.

* And you really should go check out the Wedding Pi shawl that Cate just finished, too! She overdyed the yarn for it and designed it herself and it’s truly spectacular!

Odds and ends..

As promised, photos of some projects I’ve finished this week, as well as some new ones started and planned..

9-to-5 socks:
(All pictures are clickable thumbnails; click them to load a larger version)

I really love this sock pattern – the “fake” cabling is very easy and looks great and I really love the detail on the heel with the combination of the cable down the side of the heel flap and picking up the stitches so the selvedge stitches show on the outside. These were knit as a gift for a friend and co-worker, but I suspect I’ll make a pair for myself at some point, too. They were knit with KnitPicks Gloss in Woodland Sage on US1 needles.

White Lies DesignsEasy Lace Jacket:
Finished Jacket, with an attempt to make it look interesting..
Sleeve detail
Collar detail

This was definitely easy – knit with Cascade 220 on US 8 needles – and it looks nifty, but I think if I were to do it again, I would try to add shaping to the sleeves. They are the same width the whole length of the sleeve, so they’re baggier than I’d like at the wrists and the points don’t bell out as much as I think they should. I’m also trying to decide if I would want the sleeves to be longer so that the lace really covers my hands.. I think that would annoy me more than not, though, but as it is now, the seam where the lace joins the sleeve is about mid-forearm and it’s a little odd. I’ll pr’bly try to do some steam ironing of the cuffs to see if I can get them to bell a bit more, and I need to either tack down the back of the collar or steam block it out a bit more.

Peacock Feathers Shawl from Fiddlesticks Knitting:
Pattern and yarn – Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk in Marine Blue
Half-way through the first chart

This one will be a gift for a friend’s wife for their anniversary. It’s really gorgeous yarn and the pattern is well written if a little futzy-seeming after the Easy Lace Jacket! I have a little over a month to finish this one, which is making me a little nervous given how busy things have been lately.

And this is the big box o’ yarn that I have for other gift knitting.. there’s a couple sweater’s worth of Galway in there.

DNA snippets..

Awhile back, a wonderfully ambitious friend offered to make some garb for Jack. A few months later, she mentioned coveting the DNA scarf, but didn’t think she could add learning to knit to her increasing list of fiber arts. Since she was already working on something for Jack, though, it made perfect sense for me to make her a DNA scarf in (partial) exchange.

She really only had one “want” for the scarf: it should be black. This initially caused me some consternation – black yarn and cables normally don’t play nice; cables like yarn and colors that let them “pop” and “popping” is a function of how the light and shadows play off the different surfaces created by the cable. Black yarn doesn’t show much in the way of shadows. So, I told her to let me dig around for some suitable black yarns and knit up some swatches to send to her.

There’s another difficulty with black, though I didn’t know it until I started looking for some. It seems that finding solid black yarn in DK weight is something of a challenge, or at least it was at all the yarn stores I could manage to make it into. I really wanted to go into a store to buy this yarn so I could *feel* it before buying it – it’s going to be a scarf after all, and the skin on someone’s throat is usually some of the most sensitive on the body. I didn’t want a scratchy wool, but I also didn’t want something so soft it wouldn’t hold the shape of the cables.

In the end, I ordered three skeins of black DK yarn from KnitPicks – one in Elegance (Coal), one in Swish DK (Coal), and one in Telemark (Black).

DNA Elegance Swatch Elegance (Pictures are clickable thumbnails; click to get to a larger version)

DNA Swish DK Swatch Swish DK

DNA Telemark Swatch Telemark

The Elegance is (not surprisingly; it’s 70% baby alpaca and 30% silk) the softest, but that also means it’s the one that is most likely to lose the shape of the cables. Surprisingly, the Swish DK is also quite soft, and it has the benefit of being a superwash. The Telemark is pretty rough, even after washing, but produced a swatch that is slightly larger than the other two. The silk in the Elegance gives it a bit of a sheen that I think might help the cables pop a bit better, but I also think they look just fine in the Swish DK. *shrug*

At this point, these three swatches are on their way to the future owner of the scarf so she can look at them and feel them herself. If she likes one of these three, I’ll go with her preference; if none of these three is what she wants, I’ll look for other alternatives.