My House


my virtual reorganization last week bled over into the weekend. on sunday, inspired by some ideas i got from the latest issue of readymade, i tackled the daunting task of cleaning out our “office”. we have this little, doorless room attached to our living room, that we call the “office” for lack of a better word. it’s almost a closet i guess, but since it doesn’t have a door, it does have a window, and you can fully walk in and a take a few steps, it doesn’t seem so much like a closet. anyway, we have most of our massive book collection in there, which is somewhat organized on a cheap ikea shelving unit. we also have…all of the other crap that doesn’t have a place. it really got bad a few weeks ago when james put his fermenting beer in there, and then we took a suitcase and a box of my sister’s junk to store for the summer. you had to trip over all that new stuff in order to (maybe) find something in the rest of the mess. so sunday evening while i was home alone, i dove in.

once i got everything out and threw away a lot of junk, i was able to formulate a plan for organizing. cleaning up the office somehow turned into repurposing of furniture, which led to bedroom improvements and more organizing. so last night we went to ikea (!) and bought ourselves an actual chest of drawers, made from real wood and everything, along with some other fun stuff. tonight we need to assemble that, and my next phase can begin. by the end of the week, i will have: 1) an office/storage area that is useful, 2) a bedroom that is more enjoyable to be in, and 3) a more organized and effective way of storing my craft stuff. i’m so excited! perhaps this will motivate me to get back to making those curtains, too.

one project that has been revived is the hot lava cardigan. i started this right before my trip to san diego in april with great enthusiasm (and probably never blogged about it), but after completing half the shrug portion, my enthusiasm died off. last week i picked it up again, to break up the monotony of plain, slowly progressing stockinette on wicked. i’m just rows away from finishing the second cuff, and then it’s onto picking up stitches for the actual body of the thing. part of my renewed interest is sudden flashes when i’m looking through my warddrobe of, “hey, this shirt would look cute with hot lava…if it were finished…”. and with the way the weather’s been around here (less than summery), this is going to be an awesome year-round piece in the bay area. especially in noro silver thaw. bright fuzzy angora bits. and i love seed stitch more and more everyday. pretty!

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i certainly did not mean to go so long without posting, but i guess i’ve been busy. i had a friend staying on my couch for three weeks, my sister visited, i finally rewrote my resume, and i’ve been slowly cleaning and reorganizing my apartment. and, of course, knitting.i’m in the middle of several things, as usual. a red zissou hat for james, which is temporarily on hold, because it turns out that one skein of swish superwash is NOT enough, as i had hoped. then there’s the random dishcloths i would like to have done already. i am making slow but steady progress on the drop stitch portion of “victorian ruby”. during the superbowl i powered through over 10 repeats. i finally got my scale a few weeks ago, so i figured out that i used a little under 10 grams for the lacy end. at a total of 50 grams of yarn, that gives me a maximum of 30 gram to use for the body of the scarf. i don’t know if i’ll need that much, but maybe i’ll just make it extra long.

and then, there’s this. i’ve gone and started my first sweater! the pattern is stitch diva’s simple knitted bodice, and the yarn is classic elite classic silk. grumperina has been raving about and it looked great for this pattern so i decided to give it a try. i completed the yoke two nights ago, and i have a few more body rows before i start the lace paneling. however, before i am allowed to start the lace, i have to make another swatch to figure out what size needle i need for that section. the recommended needle sizes are not working out for me (i’m knitting the main part on 6s instead of 7s). whether i use 2s or 3s for the lace section, i’m going to need to buy some 24″ circs in that size, but i figured i could swatch on what i already have.

in other crafty news, i just redid our dining chairs. last month at the big IKEA sale we got these plain, light wood, white cushioned chairs for cheap. we really needed new chairs, and i knew i could spruce them up. so with some shiny chinese-inspired fabric (in my favourite color, of course), a staple gun, and some gold spraypaint, we have a huge improvement. i love them!

i have been on a big home improvement/redecorating stint. i bought some fabric to create some curtain/shade things for our living room windows. i’m going to base them on these simple blinds. after my very few adventures in sewing, i’m feeling like i can do anything. and anyway, all i have to do is sew some straight lines. really long straight lines.

after probably a month of sitting in the bottom of my knitting basket, i have resumed work on the ‘we call them pirates’ hat. it actually goes pretty quickly despite my non-pro fair isle methods. this being my first fair isle project, i was using the most basic technique possible – dropping and picking up each strand. this being very slow, yesterday i tried looking up some other techniques. the basic two-hand wasn’t working so well, because i haven’t done english style knitting at all. so over the past 24 hours i’ve sort of evolved my own method which is finally to the point where i can put it down and pick it up and remember how i’m doing it. basically i hold both strands in the same hand, wrap one around my pinky like i usually would and wrap the other around my ring finger in the same manner. this keeps the strands separate and makes it easy to untangle them as i go. i still drop each one and pick it up with my index finger to make the stitches, but this goes much quicker because i am not reorienting the yarn every time i change colors. i will probably adopt a better method someday for fair isle, but for now this works.

lately it has been pretty cold at night, especially for someone who rides a bike home from work at 10:30 most nights. i was cursing all of the gift projects i’m in the middle of because it means i don’t have time to make myself a decent scarf for riding in. but on friday night it was just so fucking cold that when i got home i busted out a random skein of jo sharp silkroad aran tweed and started making a neckwarmer. i was using the neck gaiter pattern from one skein as a guide, but i was using 7 needles instead of 6s, so i needed to adjust the number of stitches. i also decided i wanted more cables than the pattern has. so i was tweaking the stitches and fucked up on my math somewhere and it came out a little funky, but no big deal, there’s just a few extra ribs on one part. however, i was in such a hurry that of course i didn’t check my gauge. i cast on less stitches because i knew my gauge would be bigger, but now that it’s done, i find it’s still a bit bigger than i would have preferred. it looks all right on me in the picture, but it gets kind of bunchy when i wear it with my coat. however, after devoting two days of knitting time to it, i don’t really have the time right now to redo it. so for now i have to live with it until all this other stuff is done.

also last week my knit picks order came. in the back are four skeins of sierra in “leaf” – a chunky weight yarn to make amy’s cabled purse. in the front are four skeins of essential, two in ‘navy’ and two in ‘dusk’. these will become socks after xmas – probably the red herring socks from knitty. and, to get my total high enough for free shipping, i got the knitting answer book, which was basically free. but no more yarn for awhile now. really. unless i get some for xmas…

also, you may be wondering, is that part of an xmas tree in that yarny picture? why yes it is.