Janice Issitt                    Life and Style

travel, interiors, photography, home, crafts, personal style

17 May 2013

Wool and wood

Wool and wood....and woods.....This week has seen me making quick trips down to the woods to check out the bluebells and back home to check out the new wood floor, in between the mud and sawdust I've been working on a fairisle knitted cushion for a book of knitting patterns.

My lovely friend Jane, who has the company Serendipity Reclamation http://serendipityreclamation.com/ is another one of us who likes the really old and interesting (hence why she likes me), and designs classic dressers and tables made from reclaimed pine. Jane walks her dogs in the Ashridge estate every day and was on 'bluebell' alert for me. We checked out a couple of woods and found the perfect spot for me to take some more photos for Gemma's portfolio. 

Like Jane, I  love reclaimed pine and decided to have it fixed as a floor to the dining hall and lounge. Paul at PM Carpentry (https://www.facebook.com/pmcarpentry.joinery?fref=ts) was the only person who 'got' what I wanted, a rough rustic floor that looks like its the floor boards to an old house. I wanted something I could play with, different finishes, maybe ending up being painted one day.  When choosing a professional for the job, don't be intimidated or bossed about by them, if they do that thing where they suck in a load of air when asked a question, my advice is to wait and find someone with a positive attitude. When I first looked at having wooden floors I saw a stream of chaps who told me all kinds of technical reasons as to why it would be a problem, trying to sell me expensive solutions with a finish that could easily have just been laminate.  Before I went ahead and bought the reclaimed pine, Paul just had a chat with the wood yard to give instructions about how he would like it cut and they proceeded to make our boards from a one hundred year old beam. If you need to chat to Paul you can contact him through his facebook page, where you can also see a picture of this floor being worked on.

I've decided to treat the wood with a new tinted OSMO oil, they have just started doing one with a hint of white in it.  Now all I've got to do is work out  how to keep the cats off the floor for 6 hours while it dries. The guys at http://www.osmouk.com/  were so helpful and lucky for me they are local. The hint of white doesn't actually make the wood look white but keeps it pale and natural in colour.

And then there's the knitting. Not socks this week but a fairisle cushion cover.  The wool had been chosen for me and in theory one should be able to knit a fairisle design in exactly the same wool and in exactly the same way as normal knitting, this can be a challenge with some wools though. I have a handy tip for knitting fairisle, particularly if you think the wool might be a bit too stretchy and the work is puckering up. Also if you have trouble keeping to the design when purling back, which for some reason I seem to make more mistakes on, then try this. Invest in a set of interchangeable cable knitting needles. They have liberated me. Because you have needles at either end of the cable you don't have to work the back of the work, you can cut the yarn, leaving a long tail and start again from the right side, thus only working the front of the work. This isn't a good idea for garments where you can see the inside as the edges will be raggedy.  

Generally I use http://www.knitrowan.com/yarns/felted-tweed-dk Rowans felted tweed, its quite robust and the best thing about it for knitting fairisle is that is doesn't stretch. The above scarf was a Rowan pattern designed by Kaffe Fassett from the book below. I've been a fan of Kaffe since the eighties, he is one of those people who has a way with colour combinations.  The socks above were knitted to match the scarf and I made up my own pattern for them but the felted tweed worked great. 

yes I actually gave birth to all these in Made by me by Janice Issitt
when my cats were first rescued from the wild as kittens.

Lots for me to do this weekend then, oiling the floor,cleaning up dust, painting the walls and moving all the furniture back. Expect to see the "big reveal" next week.

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