Archive for the ‘home’ Category

Bit by bit

This nicely sums up the progress we are making on the craft room. We’re doing it in small stages, as there’s lots we want to do to the house and garden all at once, so it’s very satisfying to suddenly see things start to come together as they are now.

So first of all we painted the room, then repainted Grace’s table. We still need to get the white furniture (desk and bookcases) that we are after, along with new baskets etc on a trip to Ikea that we need to make soon, but what feels like a major part has been completed.

As most of you know, I like to spin and I have a reasonable sized collection of spindles. Being as beautiful as they are, I want to show them off and have them easily available for use. I present to you, the spindle shelf:

Spindle Shelf

While I’ve been busy sewing and blogging (and sleeping) today, Trev has got my shelf put up! This particular shelf was previously installed in the kitchen, but we moved it, painted it white and stuck a load of hooks in it to hang spindles from. It lives above Grace:

Spindle Shelf

I may yet put some sort of noticeboard that I can stick swatches on, on the bit of wall underneath. Or storage for threads and bobbins to the side, or something. Got loads that we need to fit in the room, for both of us and it’s not the largest space.

In the interest of full disclosure, I feel I should post a photo of what the room looks like “normally”, i.e. with all my crap in place:

Spindle Shelf

You can see the two other Singers (Mary and Odetta) underneath Grace’s table. The two plastic tubs to the left will have their contents relocated to baskets in the bookcase when I get more. The other thing I desperately need is a chair! We need to get two, so Trev and I will see if we can find any vintage ones we like locally to refinish, or we may just get something from Ikea when we buy the rest of the furniture. I need to get a load of cheap fabric for Ikea to make basket linings (to protect all that yarn!) so we could always get something for curtains or chair covers or whatever while we’re there.

Hopefully I’ll have more room updates for you soon!


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A Permanent Set-Up

So Grace has finally made her way back from her service. We’ve managed to co-incide this with getting the room painted so that she’s now settled in what will more or less be her permanent place.

So before, the room looked like this:

Craft Room

So it was a rather uninspiring beigy colour with grubby white woodwork. A bit of paint later and we have this:

Craft Room - Newly Painted

Craft Room - Newly Painted

We’ve used some brilliant white satin paint on all of the woodwork to freshen things up, and used Farrow & Ball in Yellow Ground for the walls. It’s a lovely colour that’s warm, but bright – and actually looks lighter in the dark – so it will be a lovely place to work in winter.

So now Grace is back, all polished up and in her table, in her corner, it looks like this:

Grace Is Gorgeous!

Grace Is Gorgeous!

The repairman was really nice and had several nice things to say about Grace, including naming her as the best machine Singer ever made. He told me that we have a three month guarantee on repairs, not that we’ll need it on her as it won’t have any issues. Ironic, really, that the service cost me more than the machine! But I’m glad it was done – apparently the machine was so badly wired that it was pretty much live – so I was lucky to not be electrocuted while using it prior to the service.

I also bought some fabric from the market! I need to tour a couple of the other shops in Leeds, along with paying a visit to Ikea, but I’m slowly getting to know what I can get from where:

New fabrics

On the left we have 4 metres of muslin, to either act as a lining or a dry run for something. In the middle, we have 2 metres of cotton – which I’m hoping to use for a skirt or a dress or something. Finally on the right is some polyester satiny material – which I thought of using for a skirt, but it probably won’t work. So I’ll save it for lining a jacket or something further down the line.

I also cracked and bought another buttonholer! I’d already posted about my first one but have since cleaned it up so it works a bit smoother and just looks nicer:

Singer Buttonhole Attachment

So that’s the non-template kind. Then for the princely sum of £5, I managed to bag a Greist template buttonholer with the five original templates and eight extra:

Greist Template Buttonholer Attachment

They’re both pretty massive:

Greist & Singer Buttonhole Attachments

I haven’t tried out the Greist yet, but I think it will be pretty fun.

The only other thing I need for the machine is a cover (which I will make myself) and a zigzagger, as I think that will come in very handy for a few things.

Of course, I now need to build up my store of basic haberdashery items, like scissors. I’ve got a bit sidetracked with all the other things and kinda forgot about the basics. But that will soon be remedied 🙂

I’ve also bought a couple of sewing books, which I might try and review in another blog post when I get the chance. I’m off to London on Thursday for Knit Nation and won’t be back until Monday. Really looking forward to meeting up with everyone who is going to be there on Saturday!

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Changing Rooms

As much as that programme used to annoy me, its title is somewhat relevant for this post! I was going to call it something like, “Extreme Make-Over – Craft Room Edition” but since the room hasn’t actually been made over yet, it feels like a bit of a cop-out.

So, as most of you know, we moved house at the start of the month and I now have a beautiful spare room which is going to become a crafting space. We debated turning it into a nice guest bedroom, but we don’t have guests that frequently and the rest of the time I’d probably begrudge the use of the space. (I know, I’m lovely.)

Anyway, before I get into specifics, here are pics of the room:

Craft Room

Craft Room

Craft Room

Craft Room

Craft Room

And a little mockup of the room in Google Sketchup (I know we’re missing the door):

Screenshot of Craft Room

So you can see that I currently have in my bookcase which houses most of my fibre and books and a number of plastic boxes. Two of these have stuff in them that needs to stay in here – most notably all of my “nice” yarn and other fibre. My biggest problem is trying to figure out what to do with the nice yarn since I don’t know if we have moths and I can’t stomach the idea of leaving my Wollmeise and other nice indie yarns exposed to the nasties.

Also, the room has a south-facing window – so it gets a lot of light, and throughout most of the day, a LOT of sun. This means I also need to consider what to do with the yarn as it’s likely that it may need to stay on the same wall as the window to avoid fading.

On top of allll of this, I’d like to be able to include certain other things in the room. Such as:

  • A desk
  • A sewing machine (most likely ON the desk)
  • A proper nice mannequin for dressmaking
  • Storage for fabrics
  • Yarn and fibre storage
  • Possibly some sort of windowseat/daybed so that I can sit in here and read on a nice day (plus maybe so a guest can sleep in here… sometimes)
  • Storage for all my spindles (preferably something hanging)
  • Storage for odds and ends, such as sewing equipment, threads etc
  • Shelves/storage for books
So there’s lots that I want to try and cram in here and most of it probably involves thinking of some clever storage solutions and thinking how to make optimum use of the wallspace.
I’m thinking that the whole room needs freshening up for a start – a new carpet and a fresh coat of paint – possibly even redoing the woodwork and radiator to make the room feel clean and shiny. I reckon that can all be done in plain colours while one wall (opposite the window?) could maybe be painted or wallpapered in something fabulous and vintagey.
I’ve been eyeing up the mannequins on a site called Corset Laced Mannequins – they are so gorgeous I’ve decided I have to have one (even though I need to lose a few pounds to make it actually match my figure) – and I think they would make an excellent basis for a colour theme for the room. Once I can actually decide what one I’d like.

To give me some inspiration (as I’m the most uncreative person I know), I’ve been pinning like a mad thing on Pinterest. You can see my Craft Room Inspiration board here and I’m getting some great ideas, the problem is just narrowing it down since I’d like to do all of it!

So what about you – have you got a dedicated craft space? Do you have any suggestions for clever storage? Or ideas for colour schemes? I will gladly welcome any ideas and suggestions 🙂

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Snow has finally reached Leeds. Most of the UK had suffered with snow earlier this week, including areas not fifty miles from here, but other than a small flurry a couple of days ago we hadn’t had any.

However we went to go to bed last night and it looked like this outside:


This will be our first winter in Leeds and I expect it to be quite eventful because we live in a valley. This means that everywhere we want to go, in any direction, we have to walk up a hill. So while things look quite pretty now, once the snow starts to melt and form ice, a trip to the shop over the road will mean risking my life. Added to the fact that the main road by our house is quite a busy one that people go far too fast down, I also expect to see several accidents!

However, that aside, there are a few nice things about snowy days – such as wearing handknit socks! Today I am wearing these for pretty much the first time, which are my only pair of handknit socks:

Knit Love Club 2010 #1 - Rumpled FO

Bizarrely I have knitted several other pairs but these have all been for other people. I am attempting to rectify this by knitting the Sin Miedo socks I blogged about in my last post – and since I blogged, they’re going really well! I have now finished the heel flap, turned the heel and am now decreasing gusset. Here’s a pic after I finished picking up the gusset stitches:

Sin Miedo - WIP

I decreased my 4 extra stitches on the final row 6 before starting the transition chart, to put me back on the “normal” stitch count. They’re much easier than I anticipated and I’m really enjoying knitting these. Going very quickly despite limited time to work on them. I don’t know why cuff-down socks seem to knit up quicker for me than toe-up. It may be because the cuff takes longer as it’s patterned on the front and back, so once you’ve done that, the foot portion goes comparatively quickly. In any case, I can’t wait to have these finished and ready to wear.

Once I’m done I’ll be able to get back to my Melomelo scarf – which I’m about 30% done on. It’s looking lovely, but I’ll need to figure out what to do with it when it’s finished. Give it away? Try and dye the FO to a colour I can wear? Decisions!

Melomelo - WIP

And before I go I’ll just share some pics of Trev’s finished Knucks. Brilliant that I finished these when I did, as they’ve come in very handy already:

Knucks - FO

Knucks - FO

Back to the socks!

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Some House TLC

I promised an update on housey bits so here it is!

It’s been a busy few days and a productive weekend. Taken all the pics I wanted to and now sitting down to the Formula 1 and some well deserved knitting. Just finished an FO, and about to cast on something else, but I’ll save those bits for another post.

So, you know that bathroom floor I mentioned in my last post? We started to clean it yesterday and probably did about a quarter of the floor. I took a great pic that shows you before and after:

Floor in progress

Yummy, eh? Of course I now don’t want to tread on the rest of the floor, but we’ll get it clean over the next few days.

We’ve also been cleaning up one of the lovely little bits we like about the house. We’ve got this huge great big cupboard in the kitchen that goes from the floor to the ceiling:


You’ll notice the nice ornate fingerplates on the doors. Check out this close-up:


So, lovely, but covered with over 100 years of grime! We reckoned that these would be brass underneath, but you can see as we start going at it with the Brasso, that they’re actually copper. Here they are now:

Cleaning Fingerplates - 3

So we’ve managed to get to the copper on the left-hand one, but there’s so much patina and grime build-up that it might take a while to totally uncover them. In any case, we think we might put them back up as they are now, as they look MUCH better and we kinda like the worn look that they have now.

I also mentioned that we bought a few bits and pieces for the house. First thing we bought was a massive candle for the living room. It contains 4 layers of smells, so it changes as it burns.

Funky candle


We also bought one of those old-fashioned metal signs – this one for the bathroom. It is reproduction, rather than antique, but the style is exactly what we are after:

Vintage-Style Washroom sign

At the moment it is in the bathroom rather than on the bathroom door – not sure if we’ll move it or not. Tempted to get one that says “Laundry” for our little utility room, or a couple of larger ones for the kitchen. What I really want for the kitchen are some of those old adverts for Kit-Kat or Cadburys from the Victorian era, and get them framed as posters in the kitchen. I think they’d look amazing.

The final thing we bought was for the kitchen. It’s got a nice country-kitchen feel to it, which is exactly what we wanted.

To-Do Chalkboard

It’s more of a cream colour than in the picture, and we now have it up on the wall – it looks amazing. We haven’t bought any chalk for it yet, so it will be a while before I can write Trev to-do lists on it, but it’s a start 🙂

The main things now to think about are curtains – particularly for the front door which is VERY draughty. Carpet for the wood in the hallway is also a must – as there’s no radiator there and it will get very cold. But for the main rooms we’re also going to think about secondary glazing. There are places which sell acrylic panels which act as second panes of glass that provide insulation, both from cold and noise and we think these are going to be essential in the run-up to winter. The house is cold, even at the moment in May (although in fairness it hasn’t been that warm), so unless I want to spend a fortune on heating, it’s going to be a necessity.

As it more knitting and stashing. After all, I can use fibre as insulation, right?

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How time flies…

I can’t believe how fast the last couple of weeks have gone. I’m writing this post from our new living room – we moved house on Saturday and are now the proud renters of a lovely Victorian terrace house in Leeds. Next to a bakery no less, which is run by our landlords who are the most amazing lovely people.

We’re still in the process of trying to get straight and sorted – we had my parents come up to stay from Saturday until yesterday, which was great in terms of getting everything moved, but not so good for getting unpacked and sorted.

I still can’t believe that it’s exactly a month since we moved to Leeds (or it was on Sunday) and we’ve already moved house again – but at least this is a much more permanent move and we should be here for a long time. The previous tenants were a bit disgusting and messy (to put it politely) and we’ve got our work cut out to get everywhere totally clean. Case in point, we were just cleaning the bathroom floor which looked semi clean, after the cat had messed on it, only to see the sheet after sheet of dirt which was coming up as we wiped. Trev knows what he’s doing tomorrow!

Because it’s a lovely period property, there’s lot of little features and things that just make a place like this. We’ve got a beautiful fireplace in the lounge, high ceilings everywhere and gorgeous wooden floors. But we also have single glazing, which means it’s very cold – so the run-up to winter is going to involve lots of handknits and curtains and possibly some DIY-double glazing. Watch this space for more housey-related posts.

It’s so strange going from a one bed-flat to this massive house – once we’re a bit more sorted I will definitely do a picture tour. We went out today and bought a few little bits and started to polish up some of the accents the house has. Will definitely post pics of these at the weekend as I’m back to work tomorrow. Such a nice feeling to give a beautiful house like this some of the TLC it deserves. And I’ve got more space for craft stuff, which can only be a good thing 🙂

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A New Home

Well, it’s been 4 days since we moved house and I think we’re pretty much settled in now. A lot of our stuff is in storage, but what we need on a day-to-day basis has moved with us to our house-share.

Our housemate has very kindly given us the largest bedroom for all of our stuff, so I’ve got space for my craft bits and to have some private space to ourselves, which is great. All in all, should be brilliant until the lease ends in a few months and we all go our separate ways. We’ve got a few areas we are thinking of to move onto, so will be fun to do some exploring and see where we want to go.

Been doing our best to keep active, the last few days – it’s very strange going from an area that is totally flat, so a place built on hills – my legs certainly need the exercise and I’ve probably dropped a couple of pounds already – between the walking and cooking proper food again (last 2 weeks was spent living off junk food!). Overall we’re really happy. As mentioned in my last post, there’s a few things I’m unsure about in terms of my new job, but it’s been so long since I started anywhere new, I’m sure most of it is just nerves.

So, since we don’t use a dishwasher any more (although we’ve brought it with us and it’s in storage), I’ve been working on a few things to make washing up by hand more fun, more hygienic and easier.

Enter the tawashi.

Tawashi can be knitted or crocheted – it’s basically the Japanese word for “scrubbing brush”. Some tawashis can be used ta-washi-the-dishes, some can be used as face or body cloths. They’re great because they’re washable – so can be better cleaned than sponges or normal cloths. Plus they just look so cool!

My first attempt didn’t come out too well. It’s 100% aran weight cotton, but Trev’s already earmarked it as a face scrubbie, despite it being wonky. It was made from a Japanese pattern, using charts.

Semi-Circular Tawashi

My next few were a pattern called Scrubbie Dots (check out Rav) made with doubled DK yarn, again using a 5mm hook. Made them in a few different colours of acrylic I had lying around. I have since crocheted the edges of two together using slip stitch, so I have a thicker double sided-scrubbie, but these have come out pretty good:

Scrubbie Dots

Scrubbie Dots

The third pattern is also a Japanese one for a spiral tawashi. My first attempt was rubbish, as I forgot to sc through the back loops only (so the piece has no texture) and then I couldn’t figure out the finishing instructions. So instead of a spiral, I got this:

First attempt at Spiral Tawashi

Um, yeah. Second attempt was a bit better. Thanks to some useful photos on Rav, I was able to work out how to put them together. And I ended up with this little cutie:

Spiral Tawashi

I also added a little loop so we can hang it up:

Spiral Tawashi

Will definitely be making more of these spiral ones. Need to work out a way to make them even bigger for better scrubbage. Tried them out on the washing up this morning and they did really well. Want to get some very bright funky coloured yarn to make super interesting ones.

Also trying to finish off a few more projects this week before I start work. Got a few more bits and pieces to do too, like adjusting addresses and sorting out insurance etc. All takes time… and I already don’t know where the time has gone since Friday! Scary.

Another update hopefully later this week 🙂

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