Loose Ends

Loose Ends

the creative impulse gone awry

Thursday, November 15, 2012

On and off the needles

What did I tell you about that look on Clara's face on her birthday?
I took approximately 10 pictures during her party - I was just too busy watching the kids have fun and chatting with our friends.  But that up there is what it was all about.  So. Much. Fun.

And how could I forget that there was also Halloween...the girls were fairy princesses thanks to some wings we found at one of the wonderful children's consignment shops around here and target's insane selection of tutus:

Zoë refused to wear her wings outside because she was afraid she would fly off.  Too cute!

So, amongst all of the crazy activities going on around here, I've also been doing a little knitting, and a little finishing.  Clara's Malabrigo twist sweater finally, finally, got buttons.  They are little gears from our steampunk button collection.  I love the way the copper looks with the ultra-vibrant green.  I also love that it stays on her when she wears it.  If you blow up the second picture you will see what I mean about this stuff pilling like crazy.  But it is so soft and cozy that we love it anyway.  Removing the pills is a small price to pay for how crazy soft this yarn is.

Also, I finished the knitting on that Baby Surprise Jacket.  Now to weave in the ends and put some buttons on.  I think I'll try to do that at class tonight.  By being cocky and not paying enough attention I had to rip this out at least 5 times, back to the beginning twice, and one major rip out as I knit it while watching the election results and, um, wasn't paying enough attention.  Normally a Baby Surprise Jacket is like my easy, quick, and fun knit.  This time, I'm *really* glad it's off my needles.

Zoë helped me figure out the striping at the beginning and she really does have better sense than I do about such things.  The last bit (by the button holes) is a little meh.  The good news is the yarn, Sirdar Speckle is an absolute joy to knit and didn't mind one bit being knit, and re-knit, and re-knit, and then, oh one more time for good measure.

I've picked up my February Lady sweater in cream cashmere again.  I actually didn't rip out the whole thing to fix the buttonhole placement... I just ripped out the buttonhole section.  I figured if it worked I had saved myself a whole lot of time and if it didn't... I was going to rip it out anyway.  I've never ripped back that way to fix buttonholes and I wasn't sure if the tension would work out well.  It turned out it was fine.  You can see the line of stitches I ripped back (it looks like a line of shadow just left of the buttonholes)  Luckily I know these things come out in blocking so I'm not worrying about it.  I just started the bottom edging.  I have to try it on standing up to see if I got the length just right, but I think it's going to be great.  Oh how I love it.

I'm wretched at self portraits, but the hat looks so blah, like an enormous mushroom just laying there on my couch (and believe me those few moments where I took it off my head to put it on the couch and take a photo of it were torture)  we've discussed my hat problem previously.  This one is done and I'm looking for my next.  We just got some new colors of Rios in that are a-MAY-zing and one or three may have to come home with me.  Or, I should be a good little business owner and let you buy those and search my stash.  I know that I found some grey cashmere (sister of the cashmere in my white sweater) and if I have a problem with hats, I have an absolute obsession with gray right now.  hm.  I may have to go spelunking in the stash after breakfast...

And did you really think I was kidding about ripping out my kitchen?  Right before Thanksgiving?  Ha, well, yes.  I wasn't.  Our plan with the kitchen is to do things piece by piece -- disrupting our lives as little as possible.  Part 1 of our plan is to tear up the linoleum floor in the hallway off of the kitchen and see what's under there.  Our guess: the hardwoods that are throughout the rest of the downstairs.  Were we right?  Yes!

There was linoleum, a 1/4 inch plywood subfloor and then the remnants of some 12" linoleum tile that had been glued to the wood floor.  The remnants came up with some elbow grease and water and now we just have to clean up the edges where the glue from the linoleum spread under the subfloor, then spend some time with my belt sander, and then a few coats of poly.  Our thought is that this is probably in the kitchen too, and even though it's a bit of a slog cleaning it all up, free hardwood flooring may loosen up our budget and allow for other things that are on our wishlist.  Next we have to get someone in to tell us with authority that we can remove this wall... (insert evil laugh) I've never taken down a wall before and I'm pretty excited.  I hope that we can slowly make some improvements to that section of the kitchen where the wall is and then when we have most of the kitchen under control to demo the original stuff.  We'll see if it all works out.  This is obviously a long term project!

There is more, there is a project that is in the car right now -- sorry, couldn't get pictures of that because it's chilly outside and I don't want to leave the house.  Also, Clara's closet redo, which turned out so well... but she's still asleep.  I'll see if I can get photos of that today and you'll get to see shortly.  It turned out so well, that now I'm thinking about installing shelving in all of our closets.  Really, it never ends!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

tap... tap... is this thing on?

I have to say, that the past couple of weeks have been nuts.  I apologize if you were concerned about how we all fared in the hurricane - we're fine.  Thankfully, we had minimal damage.  Our fence that was falling down fell all the way down, and we lost power for 2 hours.  Phew.  But we've been extraordinarily busy the past three weeks and blogging, as usual, fell off the list.

So what were we up to?  Well, Clara, light of my life - turned 5.  Seriously, wasn't I pregnant with her just a couple of weeks ago?  We had a great party for her with a Borrowers theme.  Having recently become obsessed with the movie - The secret world of Arrietty.  I did my best to really pull out the heavy artillery because my 5th birthday is one of my first memories.  My mom hired a group of high school aged girl scouts to entertain me and my little friends.  What did we do?  I have no idea, but I remember the absolute bliss of that party.  So I wanted it to be special for her and it totally worked.

For the first time ever she was more interested in the kids at the party than anything else.  It is such a wonderful thing to watch her develop friendships and connections.  Since she is naturally cautious about people, to see her just unabashed, smiling ear-to-ear -- I honestly tear up a little just remembering the expression on her face while we sang Happy Birthday to her.  I really do adore watching her evolve.

So the very next day Sandy blew through town and we had all of that madness to deal with.  And then the weekend after that was a bridal shower/bachelorette party that I attended, and then this past weekend a wedding for dear friends of ours.   And daylight savings?  Yeah, that completely ruined my getting up early in the morning and blogging.  But this morning, for the first time since the time change I woke up at 6.  I rolled over and went back to bed, but I have a feeling that tomorrow I'll be up again and that I'll be able to rally.

Oh, and one more exciting thing... after many trials and so much work, I've launched an e-commerce site for Bella.  If you are visiting this blog from bellayarns.com you already can tell that it's different, but for the rest of you who follow me through other sources... check it out!  I have, oh, maybe 15% of our products up on the site, and more (most) every day.  I really wanted to present a fully formed website for all of you with all of the bells and whistles and everything Just. So.  But, you know, our inventory is a moving target.  Things change daily, new things, things sold out, and at a certain point you have to admit that like all of us, it had to start out somewhere and evolve.  So especially if you want some self-ruffling yarns (our first department that is complete- except for descriptions, Naomi is working on that as we speak with a cat on her lap!) visit the site!

In other news, I appear to have a hat problem.  Having made two wurms:

(Louisa Harding Orielle -- 2 skeins)

(Juniper Moon Farms - Herriot 1 skein)

and then a rikke.  I can't seem to stop, or to pick up my other projects.  Sadly, only the last hat is mine for a while.  I had a hard time giving up the rikke...
(Malabrigo Rios - Playa 1 skein)
In fact, I had such a hard time giving it up that I'm making another in Tosh DK (french gray)  It's gorgeous, but I may love the first one I knit marginally more  But it is lovely, my first time knitting the Tosh DK and while the color is gorgeous I am struggling with some splitting issues.  It's so gently spun that it's easy to do.  But you know, we all suffer for our art, and I'm thrilled with the results even if I curse a stitch or two.  It will also make a lovely sample when we are left with nothing but single skeins of the Tosh DK.  I'm hoping that will take a while, because I'd like to have this hat for more than a few days.

I'm also thinking I need to do *another* wurm in tosh sport.  We'll see.  Obviously I have a problem.  I have so many other things to make, but I can't seem to stop myself.  It's telling that I built my outfit today around the Tosh DK hat and I haven't yet finished (but that should come soon...the decreases are swift and steep.)

Oh, I've been knitting other things, you know, I have to, it's my job... but my heart belongs to the hat right now.  I'll tell you more about those things soon (hopefully I'll wake up early tomorrow!)  I have to say it is so lovely to return to the quiet routine after a few weeks full of activity.  It's truly a gift that it's a gray rainy day so we can really appreciate being home today.  Of course I hope to start tearing out the kitchen today (ha!) so the quiet will last approximately 24 hours.  We're starting with the floor in the hallway to see what's there.  I love a good adventure, especially when I don't have to leave my house to have it!