Much better!

IMG_9144

The focus  in recent days has been continuing to unpack boxes – the china cabinet is now full – and bathroom improvements.

The bathroom in the master bedroom was clearly designed for someone who  didn’t share the room. While there was a door walling off the tub and toilet area, the sink area was open through an archway to the bedroom, as well as having an open space high in the wall, probably to let in some natural light.

The effect, however, was less light and airy, and more “Oh, let’s wake up the spouse trying to sleep in while the other one gets ready for work.”   I happen to be on summer vacation, so I don’t need to wake up very early most days. My husband on the other hand gets up around four in order to get to work on time.  The lights shining into the bedroom, not to mention the sound of the water running as he got ready . . . things had to change.

I think I’ve mentioned before that we are not handy people. I live in awe of my brother’s ability to remodel houses from the ground up. But we do want to improve our skills, and some things look doable even to us. So we decided that we could fill the upper wall hole ourselves, but that we probably needed a handyman to help install the door.

IMG_9155

Other than a fairly bad job taping the edges of the new wall board on one side so I have some extra sanding to do, it all went pretty well. We were even able to figure out how to solve the issue of two different thicknesses of wallboard being used in the original  construction.

I still need to do the sanding, and we need to put the trim on, but having the door on the other side of the sink is making all the difference! Eventually we are going to take away the wall that is now in the middle of our bathroom, but that will wait until we can get my brother into town to help.

Next up was completing the hall bathroom.  My younger son has claimed this one as his, so he got a lot of say in how it turned out. Originally this was a very metallic gold room. The wallpaper was really strange, torn into odd shapes and overlapped. When we stripped it all away, it was actually worse as we found dark turquoise paint and a black pink and turquoise border that screamed 1980s.

The left corner pic is from the house listing photos.  Not a hideous bathroom, but not the right style to make a 10-year-old boy happy.

IMG_9156

Who just papers over an electrical box?

Plus, this fixture had to go.

IMG_9157

Friends, who will probably no longer stop by to say hi, helped me strip off all the layers of wallpaper, and then my sister came and painted the room a nice blue that my son picked out. (Actually I had to talk him out of gray – not a good color choice in a windowless bathroom in the Pacific Northwest where we get enough gray six or seven months a year.)  He also picked out the more modern light fixture to go over the sink, and we put up the world map shower curtain he loves.  (We all now know the capital city of Mongolia.)

The last thing my son and I did was go towel hunting. This was more difficult than I had realized it would be. Forty-seven shades of blue, much pondering, and several stores later, we brought home a stack of bright white towels. Not sure white towels is smartest thing with the 10-year-old boy, but it stopped the apparently agonizing choice of which was the right blue.  Not great with decisions, that boy.

IMG_9154

Someday we want to change the vanity and the flooring, but for now I think it looks much better.

There was some sewing in between all the bathroom work.  I took down the practical but unattractive vertical blinds that covered most of one wall in the master bedroom and replaced them with purchased curtains. However, they were a little transparent, and that room gets some pretty intense sunshine in the afternoon. Since today it’s projected to be 103°,  more was needed. I got a three dollar cotton sheet at Goodwill and used it to line the curtains over the sliding glass door. Unfortunately Goodwill only had one white sheet, so the window curtains will wait until I get a chance to visit a different thrift store soon. But I can already feel the difference in keeping out the heat, and it looks much better than the vertical blinds did.

IMG_9159

We still don’t have any living room furniture, and there are more boxes waiting in the garage, but it is starting to feel like we are making real progress on the to-do list.

Advertisements

Sisters quilt festival

IMG_9027

I posted last week about our trip to Black Butte and some of the fused fiber wall hangings my cousin and I made, but I never wrote about our day at the Sisters quilt festival.

IMG_8999

I’ve heard about the festival for years but this was the first time I’ve ever been there on the day they put all the quilts up. It was spectacular!

IMG_9015

During the week many of the businesses put up quilts inside their stores, and we went in the town several times on errands and walked around the shops looking at the displays.

IMG_9042

Then, early in the morning on Saturday, quilts were put up everywhere outside around the main streets of town.   Crowds descended on the town to wander and admire. It was really rather overwhelming, and I know we didn’t see them all, but we did our best.

It was also extremely hot! But luckily there are a lot of places that sell ice cream and they had put up tents for some of the displays so there were shade opportunities.

Every possible style seemed to be represented.  Very traditional blocks, free form, collages, representationsal, abstract, hand and machine stitched, mixed media . . . they ranged in size from small wall hangings to king size bedspreads.

So inspiring!

IMG_9099IMG_9096IMG_9097IMG_9098

This is just a tiny sampling – someone told me that there were over 1500 quilts in the show.  So much concentrated talent and creativity.

I must get my sewing set up very soon!

With a hook

I still haven’t unpacked enough to set up sewing, and I also am having trouble containing the yarn stash in my new craft-room-free house.  To solve my itchy fiber fingers, I dug out my largest crochet hooks, read up a little to remember how to use them, and gathered three big cones of cotton yarn with the aim of reducing my stash at least a bit.

First, a bath mat for one of the new bathrooms.  I love crochet for these, as it is dense and sturdy and easily laundered.  I held two blues and a white together with a 9 mm hook and it just ate up the yarn.  In fact, I had to stop when it was still square rather than rectangular because I ran out of the darkest blue.

IMG_9086

Next I made a little bowl/basket thing. Two strands this time, and a still large 6 mm hook.  Not sure what it will become . . . maybe I’ll roll up washcloths to stuff in it and put it on a shelf in the same bathroom?

IMG_9090

I used the single crochet stitch for both of them. About as simple as it gets with crochet. There was a little variety though. In the bathmat I hooked through just the front loop. With the bowl I hooked under both front and back loops. It makes a slightly different fabric as you can see in the pictures below. Hooking through just the front loop gives it a rather stripey effect. It creates lines across the surface. Hooking under both loops (right pic) makes a more pebbly surface on the fabric.

IMG_9095

And, as I said, it really went through the yarn quickly.  Of the three rather full cones, one is gone, and the other two are substantially reduced.  Maybe some dishcloths to finish them off?  And I don’t have to find room to store those cones at least – goal achieved!

The dog found the whole process very intriguing. Several times I had to track a string of yarn through the house to retrieve a cone he’d carried away.  And my son thought maybe I should make Theo a hat next time.  Theo and I are dubious about how successful that would be.

IMG_9089

(Post linked to Crazy Mom Quilts and Busy Hands Quilts)

East of the mountains

IMG_8948

The Italian cousins are visiting so we got to leave all the moving boxes behind and escape east of the mountains to Black Butte Ranch. My boys hadn’t seen their slightly younger cousins in three years – they all immediately picked up where they left off and have been inseparable.  Older and wiser cousin Amelia watchs over them all to keep things sane.

Lots of laughing, walking, games, swimming – and wine for the worn out adults.

IMG_8949

Patti – another cousin – and I have squeezed in crafting time as well.  I have my spinning wheel:

IMG_8952

And I dug out some bins of fabric so we could work on fused fabric wall hangings:

IMG_8943

The annual Sisters quilt festival is this weekend so we walked around the shops of Sisters where a lot of the quilts are hanging, then spent some time on Pinterest and got further inspired.  The fish and the trees are my two finishes – the fish was sparked by all the fish quilts hanging on the shop walls, and the trees and birds are a not-as-good copy of a paper card I saw on Pinterest.  Stitching later will add in the details.

Patti’s is a lot more complicated – she is still working to cut out more trees and figure out how to make fabric camp chairs:

IMG_8950

Isn’t it great?  I am so making a camping quilt of my own some day.  Though mine will have to have tents as that is how we camp.

it has been so wonderful to relax and not think about boxes needing to be filled or emptied, or walls painted, or IKEA furniture assembled.  Just the sun through the trees, scissors finally back in my hands, and the occasional visiting wildlife.

IMG_8945

Tomorrow Patti and I go back for the quilt festival.  I’m sure there will be a lot more pictures!

Squeezing in fiber

I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot, but there has been a real gap in my fiber time lately.  I haven’t touched the sewing machine in nearly a month, or the spinning wheel, and the knitting has been pretty sparse as well.

The time just seems to be racing by and there are too many tasks.  We’re making a big change in our lives – really, our location – and it is exciting but also a major time suck.

We bought a new house!

IMG_8029

We are moving back to Washington state.  Just a 30 minute shift north, but it will make a big difference in our commutes and put me a lot closer to my mom and sister.  So, very much looking forward to it, but also overwhelmed by all that needs to be done.

First a lot of spare time was taken up with house hunting, particularly weekends which were prime crafting time before.  Then all the mortgage paperwork gathering ate up most of our evenings.  And now we are getting the current house ready for renters while getting the new one ready to move in.  Walls are getting painted, fuse boxes replaced, decks fixed up.  We’ve had a tile floor redone, and popcorn is getting scraped from ceilings.  During all of this, some unexpected problems have erupted.  Plumbers have been here at the current house often enough that we’ve got a frequent flyer discount on Tuesday’s visit.

But it is coming together slowly and we plan to move at the end of June when the boys and I are done with our school years.

IMG_8499

The new living room, without the grungy graying popcorn ceilings. So much better!

This all means, on the crafting side of things, that after weeks of blog silence the only thing I’ve finished is a brioche stitch cowl.  I’m just relieved I have one accomplishment I can point to!

IMG_8496

The cowl is long wide enough to wrap around twice.  I paired two commercial yarns, one a multicolor sock yarn and one a single ply that I kettle dyed blue.  The edging is a simple stockinette roll, and the whole pattern was easy peasy.  Increasing the number of stitches cast on was the only real change I made to the pattern.

IMG_8489

My first brioche stitch project but definitely not the last.  I really like how the two sides have different dominate colors, and it is a very squishy, stretchy result.  The actual brioche stitch turns out to be just as easy as slip stitch, another of my favorite stitches, so this one is definitely going to happen again.

IMG_8497

In the meantime, with everything else going on, I needed another very simple project to putter with in odd moments, so I’m finally making my brother the hooded scarf he asked for, using baby alpaca yarn that a friend brought me back after a trip to Peru.  Absolutely yummy soft.  And while it is rather odd to be making such a warm project as we head into summer, it will be perfect for a bitter East Coast winter next year.

IMG_8503

 

 

 

Spinning with friends

I spent a lot of time on my spinning wheels over the past days, starting with the weekend.  My friends from Seattle were back in town and four of us went to the Aurora Handspinning Guild’s spin-in day.

IMG_8369

There were a lot of people, most industriously spinning, some more focused on the fiber shopping possibilities.  It made me excited to rejoin a spinning guild.  I used to belong to the Snohomish guild before we moved to Oregon, and now that we are moving again I hope to join a guild near the new house.  I spin so much more when I’m with other people – on my own I tend to turn to sewing instead.

The next day we got together at Leslie 2’s house.  You couldn’t ask for a more relaxing spinning setting.

IMG_8339

The weather was PNW spring crazy, sunny on one side of the house and hailing on the other.

IMG_8340

The Leslies spent much of the day organizing fiber.  Leslie 2 hauled out every bin and bag of raw and processed fiber she had, and she and Leslie 1 went through every bit of it. There were piles to take to the processor, to donate, to process herself, and to dye.

They also washed some of the fleece to see whether it was going to be worth keeping.  The sun came out long enough to put some out to dry at least a bit.

IMG_8354

The bins were sorted logically and repacked and we were all very impressed with both her progress and the size of her stash!  She loves to buy fleeces, some of which she cleans and cards on her own, and some of which she sends to small mills to be made into spin ready fiber.

IMG_8366

I had my finish for the week, this bobbin of a very spring green merino.  I’m not sure what I will ply it with – something will come along.

IMG_8374

 

I’m now working on some subdued rainbow humbug BFL fiber I dyed in January.  Its plying partner is also up in the air.

IMG_8367

I don’t know why I don’t spin more on my own.  I used to do it constantly.  Somehow I need to get back to the regular habit if I’m going to meet my six pounds goal in 2017.

 

 

A little more progress

I’m slowly adding the borders/sashing to join the Ocean quilt blocks together.  I was able to pick up the additional blue batik fabrics earlier in the week.  The idea is to have deep blues at the bottom for the depths of the sea and then get lighter as the “water” gets shallower up near the beach blocks.

IMG_8332

I’m planning on quilting this in pieces so I can really maneuver around the creatures to highlight their details.  So the shark is now one big block with its borders, for example, and the manta ray and angel fish are another rectangular piece.  There will be seven separate rectangles to quilt – much easier than wrestling the whole thing at once.  I’ll add pieces of batting, quilt them, and then seam them together into one big top.

I would be further along if the puppy would stop racing in, grabbing scraps, and racing back out again to chew them to bits in the living room. Puppy sitting and sewing don’t go together well, especially with a not entirely housetrained puppy.

IMG_8254We also took some frisbee tossing breaks.  Every rare moment without rain is cherished by dog and human alike!