We’re Having A Heat Wave

Yeah, it’s hot and humid here in the Burgh, and yesterday evening our house got noticeably hotter, even though the AC was running. Uh-oh! Now is not a good time for the AC to go on the fritz. The DH called the repair place this morning and they sent someone over right away. The outside unit, which is ancient, needed freon, and now it is working fine. I guess we’ll find out soon enough whether the unit has a slow leak or a fast one. If it’s a fast one, replacement will be necessary. If it’s a slow one, we can kick that can down the road a bit. I’d rather not replace the HVAC during the middle of the kitchen remodel.

Speaking of the kitchen remodel, things are still pretty slow, but we do have paint on the walls.

The breakfast nook is looking good.

The breakfast nook is looking good.

And so is the kitchen area.

And so is the kitchen area.

I also have some spinning to share. Remember when I showed you the first skein of yarn I spun from Spunky Eclectic Verdigris? I told you I spun and plied the second bump of yarn differently, and that I would show you the two skeins side by side so that you could see how different they look. So here goes.

Both skeins started with the same fiber.

But the final results look quite different.

But the final results look quite different.

The skein on the left was spun and chain plied using a new-to-me fractal technique. As you can see, the different colors are separate. The skein on the right is a 2-ply. I split the fiber in half lengthwise, spun each half end to end onto a separate bobbin, then plied the two singles together. This mixed the colors up a good bit, which muted them some, and it also created some barber-poling. It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it, how different a look you can get by dividing up the fiber in different ways and/or plying the singles differently. Is it any wonder that spinning fascinates me?

FO Happy Dance!

It’s been a while since I did a Finished Object Friday blog entry. Is it like riding a bike?

Let’s start with this lovely skein of chain-plied Falkland from Bee Mice Elf. The colorway is Winter 2015 from the fiber club.

Spun in double drive, chain plied in Irish tension on my Ladybug.

I spun this using a technique I learned from Felicia Lo’s Craftsy class, Spinning Dyed Fibers. I split the braid lengthwise repeatedly into thin strips, then spun them end to end, keeping the colors in the same sequence, and then I chain plied the singles. This creates a striping yarn with shorter color repeats. As you can see from the picture, there is a little more color mixing than you normally see in chain-plied handspun. This yarn is destined to become fingerless mitts. I have another bump of this colorway, which I spun using a different technique, and which will become a matching hat, but the skein isn’t quite finished yet, so no picture yet. Sorry.

My other FO is a skein spun from Masham, dyed by Spunky Eclectic in a colorway called Verdigris.

Another chain-plied yarn spun in double drive and plied in Irish tension on my Ladybug.

I spun this using a “fractal” technique described by Benjamin Krudwig on the Schacht Spindle Blog. It’s quite different from the standard fractal spin because it keeps the colors separate but causes the color repeats to become progressively shorter. With the standard fractal spin, which is a 2-ply, the colors are blended in a way that results in a subtle striping effect.

I think of all the colorways I’ve spun since I first picked up a spindle in June of 2012, Verdigris is my very favorite. I also enjoyed spinning the Masham wool. I had never spun it before, but I will most certainly spin it again. It’s very similar to Shetland and would not be next-to-skin soft for many people. But I think to would make a great cowl or fingerless mitts or socks.

I also have another bump of Verdigris which has also been spun and plied, but quite differently from Skein #1. When it’s finished, I’ll photograph the two skeins side by side so that you can see just how different they look. You might find it hard to believe they were spun from the same colorway.

Week Five Comes To An End

It was a pretty productive week for the kitchen remodel. The drywall finishing is complete, except for a few touch-ups, and the walls and ceiling are ready for primer. Unfortunately, the man who will be doing the painting is ill and won’t be able to work until Monday, so we are losing another day. But it cannot be helped, and it is important that he get well. He is a very hard worker, and very meticulous, too, and he wouldn’t be taking sick days if he were able to work. I hope he feels better soon, and not just because I want my kitchen finished.

Speaking of painting, our contractor brought a floor tile and some trim pieces for the cabinets so that I could finalize the paint color. I was happy that the color I had tentatively picked looked great with both the cabinets and the floor tile. Next week, the painting will be done, the cabinets hung, and the floor prepared for the tile. If the tile arrives in time, it might be set before the week ends, but that probably won’t actually happen until the following week.

Also, once the painting is done and the cabinets are in, the electricians can finish up the recessed and under-cabinet lighting, hang the pendant light, and install all the wall switches and electrical outlets. We will soon have a somewhat functional kitchen with a temporary countertop and sink to use, and a stove.

After this, all that will be left is the countertop, which will take a couple of weeks to get, the backsplash, which cannot go in until the countertop is installed, and the new windows and trim. I’m looking forward to having a dishwasher and garbage disposal again.

Here for you viewing pleasure, the week in pictures. As you will see, the drywall finishers were extremely messy, so there was drywall mud not only all over the kitchen floor, which fortunately was covered with kraft paper, but on the basement stairs, the entry hall, the front porch, and the front steps. And to make matters worse, when they started sanding, they didn’t bother to put up plastic on the door openings, so we had a thick layer of drywall dust throughout the downstairs. Fortunately, our contractor came with them yesterday for the final sanding, put up plastic, and then cleaned up after them. Drywall is the messiest part of the remodel, so I’m happy that part is over with.

Things don't look too messy after the first day of drywall finishing.

Things don’t look too messy after the first day of drywall finishing.

The first day of finishing held no clue as to the horrors to come. :-)

The first day of finishing held no clue as to the horrors to come. :-)

Drywall finishing is messy.

Things start getting down and dirty. Drywall finishing is messy.

This is why our contractor took the time to cover the floor with kraft paper.

This is why our contractor took the time to cover the floor with kraft paper.

Dust from the drywall finishing coated everything.

Dust from the drywall finishing coated everything.

After the first day of drywall finishing, the plaster around the doorway still looks pretty bad.

After the first day of drywall finishing, the plaster around the doorway still looks pretty bad.

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At the end of the third day, the transition between the drywall and the plaster around the archway looks pretty smooth.

The ceilings have a textured finished called a knocked-down stipple. I think it will look really nice once it's covered with primer and a couple of coats of ceiling paint.

The ceilings have a textured finished called a knocked-down stipple. I think it will look really nice once it’s covered with primer and a couple of coats of ceiling paint.

The paper on the floor really saved the contractor a lot of clean-up time.

The paper on the floor really saved the contractor a lot of clean-up time.

 

 

Four Weeks In

So, the kitchen remodel has been ongoing for four weeks now with no end in sight. Yes, we had more delays this week, but we still made progress.

The drywall is hung, and the finishing has commenced. The dishwasher is ordered, the pendant light was purchased, and the measurements and configuration for the windows have been confirmed, so they will be ordered and ready for installation in ten days or so. A tentative paint color has been selected, but before finalizing the choice, we need to see how it looks with samples from the floor tile and cabinets.

All in all, not a bad week, but the delays are frustrating. I think we are still looking at another four weeks, at the very least.

We have drywall!

We have drywall!

Drywall on the interior wall where the stove will be

Drywall on the interior wall where the stove will be

Drywall behind the stove, partially finished

Drywall behind the stove, partially finished

Drywall on the exterior wall, where the sink will be

Drywall on the exterior wall, where the sink will be

Drywall behind the sink, partially finished

Drywall behind the sink, partially finished

Drywall butting against plaster in the doorway

Drywall butting against plaster in the doorway

Drywall  where it butts the plaster partially finished

Drywall where it butts the plaster partially finished

 

More Handspun

I’m not much of a joiner, unless it’s a fiber club. I signed up for the into the whirled fiber club, and, of course, I went whole hog and doubled it. That means that every month, I get 8 ounces of gorgeous handdyed spinning fiber delivered right to my door. Correction. Every month I get 24 ounces of gorgeous handdyed spinning fiber delivered right to my door, but only 8 ounces is from into the whirled. The rest comes from two other fiber clubs.

Hello, I’m Pinko Knitter, and I am a fiberholic.

Let’s start with some lovely English Shetland wool.

Then take one of the bumps and split it in half lengthwise.

Next, we’ll spin each length end to end onto a separate bobbin, using our beautiful Schacht Ladybug spinning wheel in double drive. (I love using the royal “we.” It makes me feel so aristocratic.)

Each bobbin of singles is then chain plied in Scotch tension (flyer lead) to make a beautiful, self-striping 3-ply yarn.

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When the yarn came off the niddy noddy, it looked to be way overplied. Yikes!

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But not to worry. A nice long soak in hot water and a little Eucalan will help the yarn relax.

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See? This is what that overplied skein looked like when it came out of its bath.

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And here’s what that same skein looks like after it dried.

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And here are the finished skeins. They are destined to become fingerless mitts.

Stash Attack

A spinner simply cannot have too much fiber. It’s impossible. I just added two new braids to my fiber stash. They are from Spunky Eclectic, and are part of the Club Remix, which celebrates the tenth year of the Spunky Fiber Club.

One braid has gorgeous coppery browns, dark browns, and hints of gold.

This color way is called Kitsune, but I think it should be called Calico Kitty.  :-)

The fiber is mixed BFL (Bluefaced Leicester–pronounced “lester”). Mixed BFL, aka Swirl BFL, is a (usually 75/25) mixture of natural white (actually cream) BFL with natural black (actually brown) BFL, which adds a lot of depth to the dyed colors when the fiber is spun. BFL (say “biffle”) is a gorgeous fiber, a fine longwool that combines softness and luster. It’s fun to spin, and it makes a yarn that is wonderful to knit with and that produces next-to-the-skin soft garments.

The other braid is Shetland wool, which is one of my favorite fibers to spin.

State Park is the name of this color way.

It gives me a lot of peace of mind to know that I’m not in danger of running out of spinning fiber. :-)

 

 

Three Weeks In

Today was a busy and productive day for our kitchen remodelers. They tore up the old hardwood floor in the kitchen and then screwed down the original subfloor to the floor joists. Then they glued and screwed down a new plywood subfloor.

No. More. Squeaks.

No. More. Squeaks.

They also installed the outside part of the vent for the range hood,

The bricks still need to be mortared, but I'm happy that my range hood will be vented outside

The bricks still need to be mortared, but I’m happy that my range hood will be vented outside

as well as part of the inside vent.

There is sufficient room in the ceiling for the vent pipe.

There is sufficient room in the ceiling for the vent pipe.

When this project started, I was hoping that it would progress more quickly than it has, but on a job like this, there are always bumps along the way. At least things have been progressing, even if a little slower than I would like. I’m not going to complain. I’m just happy the work is getting done, and getting done right.

Here’s a recap of what has been done so far:

  • removal of wallpaper in breakfast room
  • removal of old plaster walls and ceiling in kitchen
  • removal of old light fixtures
  • removal of old flooring in breakfast room and kitchen
  • removal of old hardwood floor in kitchen
  • new electrical, including: wiring for all the new switches, outlets, lights, and appliance receptacles; 9 new recessed lights; box for a pendant light over the sink; wiring for the LED under-cabinet lights; new electrical panel
  • new plumbing for the sink
  • replacement of old cast iron pipe from the bathroom to the stack
  • new plywood subfloor in kitchen
  • partial installation of the vent for the range hood

There’s still a lot to be done:

  • mortaring the brick around the outside vent
  • insulation
  • drywall
  • painting
  • tile floor
  • cabinets
  • range hood
  • countertop, sink, and faucet
  • backsplash
  • dishwasher and garbage disposal
  • LED lights
  • finishing touches on the electrical
  • new windows and trim

and a few other odds and ends. But I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I cannot wait to start cooking in my new kick-ass kitchen. :-)

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