Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Arm knitting!

First up a big thank you to your encouraging words about our DIY!  I was surprised as many people kept with me on that as you did, and I love each and every comment :-)  Even peeps who didn't comment and read, that's cool because I know time is precious x

Arm knitting!

So back to some craftiness yes?  Now if you don't know what arm knitting is then you neeeeeed* to know!

K from our WI came to our January meeting wearing the most gorgeous snood and promised an arm knitting demo at craft club.  Now I'd heard of finger knitting but not arm knitting, and after it seemed to be everywhere!  I was getting emails about it, seeing it on other blogs...  Strange but cool, and I totally understand why!

After our demo (of which I was really rubbish and K's daughter kept having to help me) I took a lunch time trip to my LYS and bought something which looks like it had already been knitted into tubes, a bit like what you'd get using a knitting Jenny?  I'm not even sure that's the right term, or thing because I've never done it.  I've also misplaced the label so I hope this makes some sense The yarn is "The Ultimate Super Chunky" by King Cole (I found the label) and it's the Moorland colourway, although 'Ember' and 'Marine' look beautiful and I wish I'd seen them too!

I have to admit that even as a knitter I really struggled to get this at first, and several viewings of this video on YouTube later I finally got it!

Arm knitting!

This is not a terribly good photo but I took advantage of some proper day light, and I don't feel very much like scarf posing (being covered in paint) so this will have to do :-p

The colourway of this yarn is quite lovely for this time of year and I used two balls together to get a super chunky effect.  You have to think that your using your arms for needles, so I've no idea what size they'd be, so the chunkier the better/easier because your creation is going to be quite 'loopy'?

Arm knitting!

I think after getting to grips with tying myself in knots, this probably only took 30-45 minutes, amazing!!

The 'back' isn't quite as nice looking but hopefully you'll be able to see the garter stitch?  I'd thoroughly recommend giving arm knitting a go.  I know knitting can take a long time but it's also nice to make hand made gifts so this is perfect!

Arm knitting!

I have much more DIY to share, hopefully a finished room on the horizon...  I've spent a very lovely and busy few days with my mum, dad and J getting to the home stretch.  I cannot wait to be finished!

x x x x

*in my humble opinion ;-)

Sunday, 9 February 2014

DIY part 1

Warning!  This post is all about DIY, which I know isn't very interesting to a lot of people especially if you read my blog because you're a knitter, crocheter or you just like saying hello, so I don't mind if you skip past this one.

DIY is a BIG part of what I'm upto these days so it would be a bit odd not to talk about it.  When we bought the house it didn't look like anything needed to be done, other than cosmetic stuff, but I guess once you move in you start to properly notice all the little things.  Our main bedroom was a pale blue which we wanted to change for something a bit warmer.  I also wasn't mad on the wall paper.

DIY (our bedroom)

We noticed a small crack running between the two windows but we weren't too worried.  It looked like the top layer of plaster wasn't bonded to the wall very well, bits of it came off when we pulled off the paper, but no biggie; this could be re-skimmed.

And it was okay that when we pulled the dado rail off the plaster came off as well...

But it was not okay when we pulled away the wall paper here.  Er yes, this is brick.  Brick with absolutely NO plaster on it whatsoever.  Hello House!

So the first piece of advice I have for you, if you buy an old house do not pull the wallpaper off unless you're absolutely certain that you wouldn't rather put a picture over it because there's a good chance it's gluing the house together.

Luckily my Dad is a dab hand at DIY.  He built a climbing frame for me and my brother when we were kids, our garage, a conservatory and an extension to our house, but he never did put up my clock (thanks Mum!)

We decided to gut the room completely...  This was all the day after we moved in so I was pretty shattered but OH it was so much fun!   tool of the moment was the crowbar.

We found some beautiful wallpaper, which judging by how thin it was I think was pretty old.

My Dad got to work building a frame which we'd fill with insulation and cover in plasterboard.

Bye bye brick!

There's some green plastic in the wall to keep out moisture

Starting to look like a padded cell now...

We foolishly (I cannot emphasise this enough) thought it would be a good idea to take the ceiling down.  The original ceiling was quite springy and my Dad was having trouble finding the joists in the loft to drill the plasterboard into.

This my second piece of advice if you buy an old house.  Do not take the ceiling down because you and everything you own will quickly become covered in a layer of 100 year old dust, dirt and soot.  As soon as we realised it was getting everywhere (I mean everywhere) we stopped and decided to try again with finding the joists...  I looked like a chimney sweep and I had to visit B&Q like that for more screws.

Upon abandoning out quest we started to get cracking.  My Mum did an amazing job helping get the plasterboard onto the ceiling with my Dad, the car jack and a wooden contraption that my Dad built.

Over Christmas we couldn't really do much work until the room was plastered.  My Cousin who is a decorator / plasterer offered to come and do the whole thing for us, which was amazing and saved us a fortune.

They came up bright and early (8.30am!) from London one Saturday morning and did the whole thing, with a bit of help from coffee, Red Bull and Radio 1.  My neighbour who is amazing said she didn't hear a thing but I don't believe her :-(

And then we let it dry!

My Mum and Dad put up the coving while I was at work.

I cut some skirting board and it was the straightest cut you'd ever seen, no word of a lie!

Although it was the only cut I did ;-)  I was recovering from a teeny tiny operation, which is all good and I'm fine but lots of rest was in order, particularly annoying as there was so much left to do.

J and I painted the rest of the room and got covered in it.  You have to do a watered down mix onto plaster so it soaks in (otherwise it just flakes off) and believe me it's messy!

I got to work stripping the poor door frame, which I think was covered in about 20 layers of paint so had barely any shape left to it.  This is another project of it's own!   tool of the moment was a shave hook

I finally got to put on the new skirting.  We toyed with keeping the old stuff and stripping it but after the doorframe I couldn't face it.  We've kept it though so it may do another room.  While I slightly regret not using it here, I know it would have been too much work.

A glimpse of our lovely floorboards and stone flooring where the original fireplace would have been.  We want carpetas it's a bedroom but it seems such a shame to hide these beauties.

And that's it for now!  We are very lucky that my Mum and Dad are coming back next week, because we cleverly kept their tools and they need them back ;-)  We should get the new dado rail cut and then we can start painting properly.  It's going to be well worth it but it's been a lot of work for one room and we're both hoping to get in there soon!

x x x x

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Sun, stripes & silicone

Bye bye January, what a lovely start to February!  The sun is shining and we have beautiful blue skies

I'm feeling pretty upbeat today, last night I re-grouted all the tiles in our bathroom so it looks sort of shiney and new (even though it isn't), redid the silicone behind the bath taps which I'd messed up the weekend before and I put paint stripper on our bedroom door frame which looked like it had been painted about 20 times.  Huzzah!  I then celebrated with a mug of mulled wine

Knitted baby blanket

I've been making good progress on my knitted blanket, I just needed a day like today to photograph it.  If anyone can think of a good 'name' for this project please let me know

Knitted baby blanket

I'm really pleased with how this is turning out because it's the first completely random item I've knitted or crocheted.  I've tried in the past to use colours at random but I've always ended up with a repeating pattern.  This is very much out of my comfort zone but I am loving it!

Knitted baby blanket

When I took this photo I thought I'd straightened out all the rows, how wrong I was!

Knitted baby blanket

I wanted to make a start on all of those pesky ends because I know it's going to be really boring doing them at the end, but unlike crocheting where I'd just weave the end into something like a treble cluster, these garter stripes are very stretchy and the ends just kept coming out!  

I decided to rip of that Mama's and Papa's blanket (I'm not going to link to it, but I'm sure you'll easily find it!) and sew on a fleecy border which I can tuck the ends into nice and securely.  It should be nicer for the baby to use and will be a lot less tedious for me!

I bought 1/2 a meter of an off white fleece, it cost me less than £3 and there should be plenty so I really can't wait to get the knitting finished.  It looks like I'm going to miss my friends baby shower because we're busy that weekend, but I'm trying to plan in a trip soon after his arrival


The rest of my plans for this weekend consist of a lot of DIY!  Painting and paint removing, putting up blinds and skirting and maybe visiting some DIY stores.  Oh how grown up (boring?) we are now haha!  Hope you have some lovely plans for today

x x x x