Friday, January 20, 2012

Christmas knitting--all done! (Warning--some adult content)

As the saying goes, better late than never. When we went to the Dutchess County Sheep & Wool Festival (Rhinebeck) this fall, our son drove over from Connecticutt and spent the afternoon with us. Being surrounded by yarn and sheep and stuff, he finally began to understand what the frenzy is all about. He got caught up in the festival, bought a skein of sock yarn for me to knit socks for him (which will be finished in the future), and asked if I could make a vest for him because he's frequently chilly at work. Who can turn down a request like that? I'd taken his measurements earlier in the year, we corresponded for a few weeks about color and fit, I ordered the yarn and away I went. The first one didn't work out well (more on that in a future blog) and so, at the beginning of December I ordered more yarn and knitted frantically to make my Christmas deadline. It was finished up to the armholes on Christmas Day, he tried it on and approved of the color/fit. It took me another 2 weeks to finish the top half and knit the armhole and neck trim and ship it off to him--but it's DONE! Here he is on Jan. 11 wearing his new vest at work.

(Yes, son, you're on my blog!)

In the meantime, I seem to have established a pattern with DS#2 who is an avid snowboarder. He once asked me if I could duplicate a bearded toque he'd seen on the slopes. Thanks to a kind designer on Ravelry, I could oblige him. It's now turned into a tradition--I find a funky hat pattern and knit it up, he wears the hat for the snowboarding season. This year I decided to out-do myself and use the Fornicating Deer graph, plugged into the Danish Ear Flap Hat in Hats On!  The hat was also my way of working through the news that my brother's cancer had reappeared--with each stitch I sent a little message to the cancer. And here's the hat, fuzzy because none of us could stop laughing!

(And so are YOU, Little Bear!)

All the yarns used in these garments had to be machine-washable. Because my boys "don't DO hand washing". Ah well, at least they appreciate my skills.

So, that's the story of MY holiday knitting. How did the rest of you do? Did you finish in time? Did the recipient(s) love your work?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New studio for 2012

Facing south, July 2007
Above is the attic as I knew it while growing up here. Yep, that's coal dust all over every rafter and floorboard! Getting the Christmas decorations from the attic back then meant bundling up in warm clothes and washing the coal dust off when you left. We thought it was really cool when we got natural gas heat piped all the way back here to this old farmhouse.

During renovation, May 2008, with the original insulation.

October 2008, almost finished.

July 2009: All finished (you can see the collar ties near the ceiling) and in the middle of unpacking.
Well, it's not actually a new studio but a newly remodeled studio. The workman who originally finished the attic in 2008 left out a very important step, and the ceiling developed a black mold in the peak of the roof. Not the unhealthy dangerous kind, but a potentially damaging mold if we left it alone. So we had the ceiling ripped out, new foam insulation blown in, new dry wall put up, and then we painted it. The ceiling has been lowered to the collar ties, which will allow for air movement above the ties and serve as extra insurance against any mold ever forming again.

Nov. 2011: Everything clean & bright. Wheels, fiber & the rest of the weaving equipment now live there happily!
But the studio is now brighter with the lowered ceiling which allows the lighting to bounce downwards into my workspace instead of being absorbed by the high ceiling. I added a few more track lights to areas that needed it. When we moved here in 2009, all the boxes for the studio were dumped up there willy-nilly. It took me weeks to put things back together, decide how I wanted the room configured and unpack the boxes. Once I'd worked there for 2 years I began to realize that the layout could be improved so I could work more efficiently. In the process of moving back into the studio after the mold removal and remodeling, I had the opportunity to rearrange the work space, re-think my storage options, consolidate most of the stash, and give away those things I will never use again (my guild members were appreciative!). It's so much more efficient and livable now, I love it up there!