Monday, December 31, 2012

Historical Threads

Jeune Dame de la Nord-Hollande (No. 31)
We've lived in threads for a very long time!
And fashion always, ALWAYS, repeats itself.
Her sleeves are very much in fashion today, although if you
enter "arm sleeves" in a search engine, then click "images"
you will have to wade through a ton of tattooed appendages
to find the knit/crochet versions.

The photos here are being shared from the Flickr photostream
I double-dog dare you to head on over there and get lost for a couple of hours!
And y'all thought Pinterest was addicting ...

Paris. Tricoteuse. (28)
I got a kick out of this one ... knitting whilst standing.
Of course, with the way my lower back and tailbone have been feeling lately,
standing has been my position of choice lately.
(I fell off a horse a couple of weeks ago ... and that's all I'm going
to say about it!!)

Paris. Maitresse Lingére. (39)
Oooooooooooo ... lace!
I may have been born 200 years late.

Costume de Madrid (No. 66)
Ooooooooooooo ... more lace!

Hope everyone is having a marvelous day!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bathroom Makeover ... Work in Process

It's been a looooooooooooong time coming!
Our 1979 home is getting one of its circa 1979 bathrooms made over.
I wish I could say it's happening to the master bathroom.
It's not.
It's the upstairs bathroom that serves the two peeps living up there,
i.e. darling son #2 and darling daughter.

The choice was made by necessity. 
The upstairs shower was leaking, big time, on the downstairs ceiling
which happens to be the ceiling of the closet for the master bedroom.
Meaning, leaking all over MY clothes.
Not the dear husband's ... mine.

The fix required busting through tile.
So at the end of the year, with bonus in the bank
we knew the time had come to bring at least
one of our watery rooms into the 21st century.

The 1970's are not known for design and style sensibilities.

So without any further ado, and with a beg for tolerance
of blurry photos because I took them with my new phone ...
one that is supposed to be known for it's picture taking capabilities ...
I guess I need to work on my end of the capabilities ...
but I digress ...
here's the good, the bad, and the seriously ugly:

The entry ... and yes, I need to paint the landing too!

Frankly, I'm glad for the blur ... it's easier on the viewer's eyes!
The floor was something I did about 8 years ago, quick and easy.
But seriously ugly ... along with that sink.
Shell-shaped, solid surface, so 1979.

Not pretty.
The pink tape was over the corroded overflow metal thingee
that leaked the constant drip from the capped off tub spigot.
Needless to save, the temporary capping of the spigot
did not save my ceiling or clothing.
I needed to pull out the hot pink duct tape to save us
for a couple of weeks while awaiting for the bonus to land in the bank.

This actually made our day when the contractors got to this point.
First, we were worried about mold ... but there was none.
Secondly we were worried about the condition of the sub-floor
because the tub itself leaked around its drain.
The tub has been a source of trouble for a long time.
It couldn't be used as a tub because any time it held water
for a period of time
... like the time it takes to soak in a nice hot bath ...
water leaked onto my clothes.
But the sub-floor was in very good shape!

New tub installed with new plumbing fixtures
and the installation of the new tile in process.
The contractor had to stop at this point and let the listello set over night.

Tile completed. The shower head was raised an additional foot
which brought the shower into the 21st century.
I don't know why shower heads were installed so low during the 1970's.
It's not like we all grew exponentially in the past 35 years.

The other corner of the tub and tile.

The new granite sink top.
We got this on close out at Floor and Decor ... I think we paid $169 for it.
The vanity will be sanded and repainted, update with new
drawer pulls, handles and hinges to complement
the burnished bronze plumbing fixtures.

Here's a view with the plumbing fixtures installed.
I know it's not easy to see on account of the blur.
The next series of photos I take will be with my camera!

The floor tile is the same as the tub tile.
This bathroom is small so we needed to go with a light
color palette and some uniformity so the user's 
don't feel like they are literally in a water closet!

The toilet could not be saved, as much as I really wanted to save
our 1970's era toilet! Really. They were not "low flow" back then.
As much as I love being green and conservative about
the precious resources of our planet, 
I like a toilet the flushes waste away with NO problem.
But the toilet had a through-and-through crack in bad spot
so we had to let it go.
At the moment, we are without a toilet upstairs
because no one stocks a "biscuit"-colored round toilet.
Elongated, yes, but those are too big for our small space.
So hopefully the contractor has already ordered
our new biscuit-colored toilet (which matches the tub color) by now.

The work is not done.
Contractors are all done so now our work begins.
We have popcorn texture on the ceiling to scrape off
and walls and vanity need painting.

Lighting fixture and fan need to be replaced.
Needless to say ... I will be very busy for the next couple of weeks!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fixing a thread

As a newbie knitter, I make a lot of mistakes.
And I have spent countless minutes, perhaps hours, pulling
a piece apart in order to fix a mistake.
Thank goodness for a good teacher who taught her students
that pulling out hours of work can be prevented ... in most cases.

I tend to knit fast. Aided by the continental method and spending decades
of crocheting, I'm a bit of a speed demon.
Consequence of knitting speed is a periodic skipped stitch.

I used to rip out the row ... now I know what to do!!

First, isolate the stitch:

Next, grab a handy crochet hook and slip into loop:

Pull missed yarn through the loop:

Now I'm ready to slip fixed stitch onto working needle,
making sure the "twist" is right (counterclockwise):

And now the stitch is all better!

Sorry for the blur of the photos ... I used the automatic "close up" setting of my camera,
but it choose to focus on the background rather than the object.
Something to do with f-stop or some other photographic gobblety-gook.
I think I need a new camera!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Knitting has been keeping me busy ...

... other than my beginning to knit class project:

It's a shawl/scarf I found on Ravelry and downloaded the pattern from Knitty
where it was published a couple of years ago.

The comments on Ravelry gave me the courage to give it a try
as it was said to be easy enough for beginners.
And it is ... to some extent.

I found myself making numerous mistakes and ripping the thing out.
But at my class last week, our teacher gave us a great
tutorial on how to fix mistakes in the knit fabric without 
undoing hours and hours of work.

That tutorial is worth the class fee all by itself!

Here's a view of the flared bottom in need of some serious blocking!
(Link provided to explain "blocking" just in case.)

The flared bottom is created by gussets where I learned
how to knit "short rows."
I hope it will give me a boost when I tackle
my first knit sock project.

The main part of the shawl's fabric is a combination of
stockinette made with overly large needles
and garter stitch made with appropriately-sized needles.
I love the effect.
I'll love it even more after blocking! 

The yummy yarn!
Mini Mochi from Crystal Palace Yarns, color #323 - copper-turquoise.

Love that it's machine washable.
The Merino gives it a nice softness. I assume the nylon
is blended because this is meant to be a "sock yarn"
and nylon lends both stretch and memory to the yarn.

When I move on to knitting socks, I will definitely use this yarn.
It's a single ply but surprisingly strong, which I assume is also
because of the nylon blend.

I'm almost to the halfway point of the shawl.
Hopefully, I'll be posting pictures of the finished product
in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, we are re-doing our upstairs bathroom.
A complete much-needed renovation since the house
is almost 35 years old and the bathrooms
and kitchen need some serious updating.

So while it may not be totally "Tread" related,
I'll share the before, during and after of the ordeal.
Because of the plumbing issues involved,
we are using a contractor to do the lion's share of the job.
My tasks will be eliminating the popcorn texture off the ceiling
and all of the painting.

Oh joy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Coming Up for Air

Busy. Wow ... the past couple of weeks have been very, very busy!

Happy to report that I've been knitting every day,
but no time for picture-taking and processing, 
writing and everything else involved here in the blogosphere.
But things are settling down ... 
I'm getting my groove back.

For now, my progress on my "learning to knit" project:

The pocket is complete, well, almost complete.
It hasn't been cast off, hence the stitch holder.

The pocket was added to the lining and now I'm at the part of continuing the scarf
for a total of at least 38 running inches ... all in stockinette
with a border of 5 garter stitches on the edges.

At least 38 inches! Thankfully I can watch movies and knit at the same time.

I still have about 10 inches to go, maybe more.
Next lesson will be the start of the other pocket.

I'm using the other stitch holder to make measuring the stockinette run easier.
I set the stitch holder at 20" from the pocket.
It's much easier to measure shorter distances of knit when using a tape measure.
At least, I find it to be so.

Here's a close up of the yarn I'm using:

It's a very pretty color ... you can see the gold highlights in this picture.
It's 100% wool and not a bad hand although it's certainly not Merino.
And the price was a nice $4.99 a skein of 219 yards.
But unfortunately, it's not a consistent skein of yarn.
It has slubs, and I came across broken plies in a couple of places.
But for a first time project, it knits smoothly and this particular
one does not split, unlike some of the other Ella Rae yarns
I've practiced with.

One other note:

I found the perfect use for this carryall I was forced to make
back when I was working at the sewing machine shop.
And yes, forced is what it was!
It was the sample made for a sewing club meeting.
It was the hardest thing I ever put together.
The bottom was a bear to sew ... ugh.
But I loved the fabric, still do, and all those pockets
are just right for holding circular needles.
Anything else has a tendency to fall out of the pockets
because they are not very deep, but just right
for circular needles.

And it's a great place to store my Wooley Ewe Ravelry dog tags!

I've been working on another totally fun project (knitwise) that will
be the topic of my next post.
In the meantime, I'm off to spend some time I really do NOT have
over on crack for knitters
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