going home dec: recovering dining room chairs

In another last-minute burst of nesting activity, I realized I'd better complete a project that will be near impossible to do while balancing a newborn and an active toddler. Especially since the toddler no longer naps! These are my dining room chairs. I fell in love with the vertical stripe, but didn't consider the durability of this fabric choice when making my purchase. The orangey-red and green stripes have a velvety texture, whereas the tan and gold stripes are a smooth polyester. In a frustratingly short amount of time, the weakness of this combination became evident (see below).

Nice warped stripes, huh? You can't tell in this photo, but the other major problem with the original upholstery is how easily it stained--combined with an inability to clean it! All my attempts to clean stains created lovely water marks that made my chairs very unappealing (to put it nicely!). So I knew I needed to correct this situation with a more durable upholstery fabric. I can handle re-covering a chair seat ... the seat back? Not so much. So I knew I needed a fabric that complemented the stripes, as I had no intention of replacing the seat back.

It took a little patience to find the right combination of orange and red, but I think I found the perfect fit! It's a much more formal and traditional style than I normally would decorate with, but I love it when combined with the stripe. And the dining room is my most formal room in my house, so it works. Six side chairs was a lot of work with my friend, the staple gun--but I love the end result! 

fair isle frenzy

Remember the many hearts baby blanket I posted about during the Knitting and Crochet Blogging Week? It's become my go-to project during these last few days of anxious waiting for the arrival of baby. It doesn't take much concentration now that I've pretty much memorized the chart, each square is small (and thus super portable), doesn't fill my lap with warm knitting (what lap I have left, ha!), and is easy to pick up after putting down (which suits my easily distracted brain right now). My husband would say that the project is aptly named, as many hearts are starting to pile up around the house!

I've made a few changes since my original post about the project. First, I've settled on my color choices. I've narrowed my focus to the following colorways of Knit Picks Swish Worsted: Bordeaux (deep purple), Gulfstream (blue), Parrot (lime green), Carrot (orange), and Lotus (hot pink).

I've also learned an important lesson when it comes to stranded knitting: it helps to weave in (or tack down) your longer floats. Let me elaborate. Notice the difference between these two blanket squares below? Notice how in the top square, the heart lays nice and flat, whereas in the bottom square it pulls in on the sides?

That, my friends, is the difference between tacking down your longer floats on the back. When I say "tacking down" I mean picking up your non-working yarn and laying it on top of your working yarn so that on the next stitch, your working yarn catches the non-working yarn and "tacks it down." Here is a great blog post that discusses the process with better detail. Basically, it forces you to have longer, much more even floats---thus allowing your colorwork to lay flat! It makes such a difference that each blanket square appears at least two inches wider. In fact, I'm guessing that my initial estimates of the number of squares needed to finish this project will end up being off quite a bit due to this difference!


just in time for the kentucky derby ...

This week has marked the return of a long-lost project for me. I have worked on this needlepoint project on and off throughout middle school and high school, doing a section here and there until I got intimidated by the sheer size of the project, and then eventually it was abandoned in a closet when I left for college. Many years later, my Mom found it when doing some spring cleaning and asked me if I wanted to finish it. Of course! It actually comes at perfect timing--I have been long craving some mindless, peaceful needlepoint. And my daughter is already really into horses, so this will be perfect for her "big girl" room! I'm especially motivated since it really is pretty close to finished at this point ... just the sky and the mare to go!

2021 year in review

  Who would have thought that the second year of a pandemic would be worst than the first, in terms of crafting mojo? Not I. But this chart ...