Sunday, February 24, 2013

Painting is Like Knitting, Only Not as Much Fun

We have a big house on the outskirts of Seattle, and have lived here since 1996.  Almost 17 years, three kids, and lots of storage space adds up to a nightmare to get ready to sell.  DH is running his business in California, so I am here trying to muddle through the job of getting rid of a bunch of stuff and then sprucing up what's left.

Which brings me to painting.  When this house was born in 1952, it apparently had dark, varnished, woodwork (maybe mahogany).  Sometime between then and when we moved in, some brilliant person painted it all with shiny, grey paint.  Ever since we've been here, we've been trying to cover that paint with white.  If you've ever tried this, you'd know it isn't easy.  Well, maybe if you're a professional painter it would be, but I certainly am not.  And painting trim usually gets to be my job.

At the moment, I'm trying again to cover a bunch of grey cabinets with white paint.  I painted some doors and touched up trim a few months ago and really wasn't happy with the way the flat doors came out.  YOU JUST CAN'T COVER THAT STINKIN' GRAY PAINT!  So this time I decided to be smart and watch U-Tube videos on painting trim.  They said you can paint a door in about 3 minutes.  That sounded good to me, since my average is probably an hour or so and then it usually looks crappy anyway.

The secret:  a little roller.  I went to the hardware store and bought one, some new paint, and a bunch of other stuff.  The doors I painted before look much better after getting the roller treatment.  The surfaces that haven't been painted white yet are being more stubborn.  They require multiple coats.  That's where we get to the painting is like knitting part.

I've painted for two days now, and I finally think I'm learning what works and what doesn't.  I have to do a lot of it over, but I finally seem to be on the right track.  This is what I do with knitting, too.  I usually have to rip out something in every project; I learn from that mistake and make a pretty nice finished object.  I guess this is just the way I do things.  It would be easier and much faster if I could do it right the first time.  Maybe someday!

Oh, and the painting makes my wrists hurt, too.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Madrona 2013!

I wasn't going to go this year.  No classes really thrilled me, I have more than enough yarn and fiber, and driving to Tacoma on a (likely) rainy day isn't the best thing in the world.  But then......

I looked at the vendor list again.  GothSocks wasn't going to be there, due to illness (so sorry), but I caught an update or two recently, so my stock was significantly replenished.  Most of the vendors are excellent, but I've visited their booths many times before.  What's that?  Jennie the potter, Jared Flood, Pygora goat fiber?  This changed everything!

I called my intrepid fiber-show friend and with barely any arm-twisting, she agreed to accompany me on a field trip.  We drove down on Thursday morning, and just spent a couple of hours at the marketplace.  So fun!

Our first stop was to see Jennie the Potter.  I had heard about her and seen photos of long lines of people waiting for her booth to open at places like Rhinebeck, but had somehow missed her at the last Sock Summit.  Since she was kind enough to travel from Minnesota to little old Tacoma, WA, I thought we should check out her booth.  I got a beautiful show mug that memorialized the  Pacific NW with the fish.  Even though the designs are similar, each mug, bowl, and glass are slightly different.  After pondering my choices, I  chose this cup and love it.  


Then we took off on a circuit of the room.  With only 35 or so vendors, it seems as if this could be done fairly quickly.  Not so!  Stopping to admire, pet, question, and visit takes time.  It is so nice to get to talk to the independent artisans who make such beautiful products.  And they are all happy to help, explain, and consult on products.  They spend most of their time in studios working alone and festivals are the times when they get to meet their customers.  Everyone we talked to was friendly, helpful, and happy to be there.  Of course, this was Thursday morning.  Don't know what the mood is on Sunday night!

I visited some of my favorite vendors.  The Artful Ewe is one booth that always rates some time.  They have beautiful fibers and yarns and make the most gorgeous, soft batts.  I bought two this time.  They sell these mixed-fiber batts by weight and the two together weighed 6.2 ounces.  They are a mixture of fibers including wool, angora, mohair locks, alpaca, cashmere.... Whatever they are, they're yummy.  I might ply these two together since they have some coordinating colors.  My buddy got some beautiful yarn there to make a beautiful cabled scarf that we saw displayed in the booth.  The power of suggestion works!

Rainbow Farms was there with small bags of Pygora goat fiber.  When I took this beautiful red roving out of the bag today, I could see that it's in very thin strips like pencil roving.  It should be wonderful to spin.  Since there are only 2.5 ounces, I might just get on that right away.  It should spin pretty fine and I should be able to get a little scarf or cowl out of the yarn.

I had to stop by woolgatherings, even though I'm in their fiber club.  I picked up this beautiful black alpaca and silk braid.  I couldn't pass up the dark jewel tones.  This was not a fiber that I'll get in my club, so all is good.

Slipped Stitch Studios had a booth and I couldn't resist the cute sheep bag (on sale!).  This one looked like a good size to me as I have some smaller and larger bags.  And I can never really pass up a cute project bag.

The lotion from Harmony Skin Care was my last purchase.  I've had this lotion before (they say you can put it on and knit immediately) and the scents are amazing.  The Vanilla Lavender is my favorite.  Now I just have to overcome my tendency to save it until it gets rancid.  (Ask me how I know that this will happen :)).

We stopped by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas to meet Jared Flood and check out his yarns.  My friend had her eye on a pullover sweater pattern that uses his Brooklyn Tweed Shelter yarn and he helped her pick out a good color combination.  Nothing like personalized service with a smile.  

I also stopped by to say hello to the Hansens.  I was lucky enough to get into the next spinning retreat here in Port Townsend where Judith Mackenzie and Kevin Hansen teach us how to get the most out of our miniSpinners.  Beth showed me a couple of accessories that I will probably end up buying over there.  Can't wait to go.

Our bags were full plus more, so we left the hotel and walked a couple of blocks in the misty rain for lunch.  After that, we drove back to Seattle early enough to avoid the brunt of the traffic.  All in all, and excellent Valentine's Day! I hope yours was as well!