Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Something New

One of the great joys of finishing a project is the anticipation of a new project. There are so many options! When I finished the socks, I set about starting another similar-sized carry-along project. It was not to be. Sitting on a shelf in my fiber room was 3 balls of intensely red cashmere-merino yarn. It has been there for years, quietly biding its time, not being the least bit intrusive into my creative process. Suddenly it has become pushy, crying for incorporation into something soft, cuddly, yet elegant. I tried to ignore it and launch into something sensibly portable and reasonably doable in distracting environments. Maybe another pair of socks, I thought. But still the red yarn wormed its way into my consciousness. And it had to be a lace something. So here it is in its embryonic form: the Kimono Shawl from "Folk Shawls" by Cheryl Oberle. I want it a bit bigger, so I have increased the width-wise pattern repeats by 50%. (Sorry about the poor picture.) I hope I have enough yarn!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

February FO (Finished Object)

Last night, while procrastinating other tasks, I finished the Anti-Gray Socks. I made them just a touch large, knowing that "superwash" will shrink slightly in the wash. Just to be safe, I washed a swatch to see what would happen. Although it didn't shrink, it did fade a touch and lose some stitch definition to increased fuzzyness. So today I am wearing the slightly large, yet-to-be-washed, socks in all their brilliant glory. Soon I will throw them in the wash, so I felt they should have at least one outing in full color. The fancy lace pattern does not show in the picture.

As is my custom, I now get to start another project. Hmm... so many options...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Stage 2 finished

The Great Front Hall Project continues. Stage one was to remove the vinyl top layer. Stage 2 (a particularly arduous stage) was to heat and scrape up the cardboard backing layer. I have finished this process, except for the bit under the metal threshold. I'll wait until it is a little warmer for the threshold operation, since I will have to work with the front door open. That leaves the residual glue mess you see in the picture. Miscellaneous advice on the internet recommends dissolving the glue with mineral spirits. Of course this advice is from the same optimistic folks who said the glue would easily scrape right off when heated. Still, worth a try. And since I am fresh out of mineral spirits, I can use this excuse to visit Home Depot - I have been thinking of buying a reciprocal saw... And maybe collecting paint chips for after the wallpaper is removed....

Sunday, February 03, 2008


Those who have visited my little 1956 house know that I am in a long-term war against 45 years of questionable decorating. When I bought the house a few years ago I made great inroads on the flooring front by removing the unusually blue carpeting that was smothering perfectly wonderful honey-oak hardwood, and replacing many of the ugly-puny light fixtures. I was victorious again when I successfully tiled the fireplace, banished all popcorn ceiling and replaced tired tan wallpaper with paint in the livingroom. Since then the war has been stalled. The greatest ongoing battle is being waged in the front hall. Years ago someone glued down faux flagstone sheet vinyl directly onto the beautiful hardwood floor. Who would do such an atrocity? And the walls were covered with 2 layers of wallpaper, then painted, then covered with 3 more layers of wallpaper; all of it ugly beyond belief. For at least 2 years now I have been scraping at both walls and floor, hoping to preserve what lies below. Considerable elbow grease has resulted in little progress. To add to the, um, scenic nature of this battle zone, Zach has decided that if I can scrape at the walls, so can he. He has designated one of the walls as a scratching zone. It was clearly time for an arms escalation.

I am now the proud owner of both a heat gun and a wallpaper steamer. You can rent either of these tools, but the number of hours needed would cost more than buying the equipment. I spent way too many hours yesterday wielding the scary heat gun. I know it was way too many hours because I can hardly move today. Encouraging instructions on the 'net say just heat the surface and the flooring and glue will easily scrape right off. Not exactly. Six hours of heating and scraping cleaned up about 4 square feet of flooring. Still, this is more progress than I have managed in 2 years.

Next weekend I'll try out the wallpaper steamer. War is Hell.