twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

Gone Fishing… August 11, 2014

That's the biggest walleye I ever caught! Okay, it's also the only walleye I ever caught! ;)

That’s the biggest walleye I ever caught! Okay, it’s also the only walleye I’ve ever caught! ;)

Appalling, isnt’ it? Someone just up and leaves without even a “howdy-do?” I just hate that.

Guilty, sir.

I’ve been gone without a trace all because Bug and I have been off on our annual summer trip to Chicagoland, which this year included a wonderful trip to the Minnesota Boundary Waters for a relaxing fishing trip with Captain Romance.

Aww...I hate when they go to visit Momma and Poppa!

Aww…I hate when they go to visit Momma and Poppa!

Common sense would dictate that I break this post into several smaller ones. We’ll see about that.

Common sense would also suggest that I recount our trip in chronological order, and for the sake of my sanity, I will do that.

**warning** photo heavy blog follows. Just wanted to let you know.

As I said, we began our summer adventure with a trip back to the Chicago burbs for lots of family visiting, r&r, sleepovers aplenty, and even some knitting and writing time, a ladies luncheon, and the magnificent annual yarn crawl with my Darling Cuz!

Starting with a marvelous Ladies Only Luncheon hosted by my delightful Aunt Wheezy, mother of Darling Cuz. We met up at her beautiful new home where we all feasted, gabbed, laughed, and reminisced the day away. So much fun!

 

Left to right: Momma, Grandma Caroline, Aunt Wheezy

Left to right: Momma, Grandma Caroline, Aunt Wheezy

And because cameras are kryptonite to this bunch, I submit this great vintage shot of my Momma (age 20?), Grandma Caroline, and Aunt Wheezy (age 17?) brought to the luncheon by their younger sis, my lovely Aunt Nancy. Aren’t they cute?

After a couple of days recuperation, it was time for a day I wait for all year long: The 5th (6th?) Annual Yarn Crawl with my original BFF, Darling Cuz! We’ve been besties since we were wee nippers in diapers, and this trip is always a great way for the two of us have some uninterrupted “cousin time.”

 

 

 

 

 

We made it!

We made it!

This year, due to various time constraints, previous obligations, and a sick Bug, we only made one stop: The Fold in Marengo, IL. But this was no problem, for to me, The Fold is the Holy Grail of yarn stores. Yes, it is nearly a one hour drive through corn fields on single lane highways (which doesn’t bother me a bit ’cause I love the Illinois countryside beyond words…besides, DC was doing the driving), but it so totally worth going. Between the absolutely charming and friendly owner, Toni Neil, and her fabulous selection of yarns–walls of Blue Moon Fiber Arts and Mountain Colors to Madelinetosh and Malabrigo as well as indie dyers and spinners–we always leave, happy, laughing, and arms full of wool. I actually save up for this trip. No kidding, because I always find unique yarns. And if you’re a spinner…oh my stars. The selection of spinning fibers are to dye for–Toni has stocked some of the most unique spinning fiber I’ve ever seen. Go to The Fold. Go. It is a knitter’s (and fiber-lover’s) paradise.IMG_1848

A few days later CR joined us at my parent’s and after a couple of days of visiting and touring (hello Geneva with brother Davy), he whisked us away to the wilderness boundary waters of northern Minnesota.We landed in Duluth (what a pretty place on the shores of Lake Superior), rented a car, and drove for a few hours to Gunflint Lodge, just about an hour north of Grand Marais, MN. Captain Romance took a canoe trip with his own besties a couple of years ago and used these folks as his outfitter and loved them.

 

The Lodge

The Lodge

I, as you all know, am not a camper or backpacker, so Gunflint’s pretty Lodge and cabins right on the lake were perfect for me (a Super 8 motel is my idea of roughing it, as they say); the grounds were beautiful, and our cabin was even haunted. Yes, I said haunted. More on that another time, perhaps. (winkwink)

The entire place was so relaxing! With hardly any wifi to speak of (you could only get the wifi I you perched on a certain couch in the lodge, and then you were only allowed to read emails. period. No posting of any kind), and absolutely no cell service, you had no other choice but to relax.

A great spot just down a hill from the cottage for enjoying a cold one or a gin and tonic!

A great spot just down a hill from the cottage for enjoying a cold one or a gin and tonic!

 

I was able to get a whole bunch of writing and knitting time in, which just thrilled me to no end. Plus, CR spoiled me with their meal plan (and the food was fab), since he knows that cooking and dishwashing on any trip make it “not a vacation” to me. Wise man. Yet another reason we’ve been married 25 years. ;) We even tossed around the idea of buying a little place up there for our golden years.

 

A decent northern!

A decent northern!

We spent one morning on horseback, riding a trail with breathtaking view of Gunflint Lake. But probably the best part of our MN trip was the fishing! Yes, we really were “gone fishing.” CR treated us to a day’s fishing with a fantastic guide–Rodger–who not only had fish practically leaping into the boat for us, but was so much fun, that we laughed the entire time. I myself was lucky enough to catch one of each kind of sport fish in the huge lake we were on (Rodger said it was “21 miles long, with an island for every day of the year”): a big lake trout, a few big smallmouth bass, a decent size northern pike, and my trophy fish, a 26″ (?) walleye! And don’t worry; we only do catch and release. We never have reason to keep them, no matter how great they are.

Bug and CR got in on the great fishing action, too–Bug even got what I like to call “smallie thumb” which is when your thumb gets all scraped up and feels like velcro from holding your bass up for their pictures.

A smallmouth (one of many) for Bug

A smallmouth (one of many) for Bug

 

 

 

 

I wasn't kidding about that walleye!

I wasn’t kidding about that walleye!

At the end of the week on our way back to the airport, we stopped in the charming town of Grand Marais, a place just “packed to the gills” (okay, I couldn’t help myself) with cute little gift shops and the like. And frankly, where else could you find a shop that has a godzilla-size walleye sticking out of it? Well, okay…maybe in Wisconsin. Anyway, look what I found in one of the shops:IMG_1894

 

It’s a CD by a dear friend of ours, Andrea Carlson! So we bought it, of course! :) And it’s wonderful!

 

 

 

 

IMG_1895Oh yes, and I also found a yarn store there. Like a fishing guide finds fish, I find yarn. Too bad for them they were closed, though I certainly didn’t want or need yarn after my trip to The Fold. ;)

Believe me, they chose the wrong day for the late opening...

Believe me, they chose the wrong day for the late opening…

And then, even though there were 2 flights and lots of running to catch flights, we were home.

I miss it already.

(A few more fishing and lodge shots below)

A great smallie for CR!

A great smallie for CR!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pole's bending again!

The pole’s bending again!

Romantical

Romantical

 

View from our cabin

View from our cabin

DSCN0523

 

Have you any wool July 13, 2014

Lovely little piles of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock, Miss Babs Yummy, Cosmic, and Yet, Handmaiden Silk Sock, Sea Sock, and Posh Hannah

Lovely little piles of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock, Miss Babs Yummy, Cosmic, and Yet, Handmaiden Silk Sock, Sea Sock, and Posh Hannah

To me, there is little that is more satisfying than a stack of small cakes of merino (or if I’m very lucky, merino and silk blend, too) just waiting to become a shawl, or some mitts, or a pair of colorful socks. Sort of the equivalent of having a well-stocked pantry. So today, after the house was all tidy, I pulled out a bunch of skeins (some of which have been in my storage tubs for years), my yarn swift and ball winder (now, now), checked out what shows have been languishing on the DVR, and started winding.

After about two and a half hours I was finished; I had 15 lovely skeins of fingering weight and lace weight yarn all neatly wound with, miraculously, not a single tangling disaster. Even with the all the silk I was winding.

Anyway, here’s the result of my little party. Rather an embarrassment of riches, with an obvious penchant for pink. Especially Handmaiden’s Sangria, which I have in nearly every single fingering weight base they dye because I love the color so much. Well, I’ve never hidden the fact I have SABLE (StashAccumulationBeyondLifeExpectancy) issues. But now that these goodies are all wound, it’ll be easy to open a ziploc or a tub and pull one out to make something fabulous.

 

 

Ah, Fraternity July 7, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathy Guttosch @ 12:55 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

IMG_1759Yes, those who know me well probably know that I have a thing about symmetry. Problem is, I’m fickle about which things I like to have sporting symmetry, and which things I’d like to have stand out because of the asymmetry. Like when I make jewelry, for instance…I like the necklaces and bracelets to have a random sort of feeling; there might be a little bit of a pattern on the sides that go around the neck, however, the center area of a necklace is nearly always very mixed. Earrings, on the other hand, really need to be symmetrical, unless of course you’re in a mood to channel the 80s. Been there, done that. On the other hand, maybe I should rethink that. Hmm.

Knitting, for me, is nearly the complete opposite of that reasoning. I like my sleeves to be the same length, thank you very much. I like my shawls to be balanced (sorry Stephen West–I just can’t pull off your brand of cool, though I admire it), and although I’m intrigued by the many pullovers I’ve seen lately with a longer tail in the back, socks must match. Until now.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Feet!

Happy Feet!

I found these mismatched, fraternal socks to be an exercise in letting go. I am such a control freak sometimes (Yes, I admit it. Not proud of it, but there it is.) that I miss seeing the artistic freedom asymmetry creates. I really like them, though (here I go) I do wish I would’ve been able to get more red into the second sock. And also, I’m a little bummed that I read over the comments about the yarn’s yardage being misrepresented (not true in my case) on Ravelry. I was afraid I’d run out for the second sock so I skimped on length and have nearly an ounce of leftover yarn to show for it. Boobies. On the upside, they only took 7 days of actual knitting. Well, a few hours over each of 7 days, but you probably know what I mean.

I think I’ll use it up with 1/2 skein of plain black fingering I have floating around here to make a crazy stripety pair of mitts with little black antique buttons on the sides that’ve been floating about in my ole noggin’ for awhile.

Fraternity is a good thing, I think.

IMG_1760                                 Just ask the cats. ;)IMG_1761

 

 

Fruit Stripe June 27, 2014

Filed under: knitting,laughter,life — Kathy Guttosch @ 2:14 pm
Tags: , , , ,

So, unfortunately I had to let the cats post for me last time. I know, pretty silly. But what can I say…little more than I was waaay under the weather these past few days; nothing I’d really like to share, so instead, let me share something a little more fun than the specifics of a botched “routine procedure.”

DSCN0005Fruit Stripe Socks! Doing these plain old vanilla all stocking stitch socks has been so much fun. And fast as all get-out–I finished one in just 4 “days” worth of knitting. Truth be told, I haven’t even felt like knitting for the last 6 days or so. This sock, however, had a total of about 12 to 14 hours invested in it, and that includes screwing around with the short row heel, like 3 times (I will blame the splittiness of the yarn, my “super dark in the evening” living room, and my pointy ChiaGoos–love those needles, though.). So that meant I could knit about an inch or so an hour. Meanwhile, the shifting color changes really spurred me on. You know: “I’ll just knit until the color starts to change.” So much fun. I realize that most of you guys out there are saying, “Duh, Kathy.” (Head slap) But truly, this was–to me–a revelation. I always do socks that have some sort of fussiness somewhere. That’s great, but I really wanted to try something super easy that featured this crazypants yarn.

I mentioned before that the yarn is rather splitty and a little on the rough side, and that opinion didn’t change as I worked through this sock. I’m hoping that a nice wash will soften it up like it has for socks I’ve seen made of similar yarn blends.

Onto sock number 2, which you can already see will be completely different from the first. This is very interesting yarn…very interesting.

Well, thanks for dropping by! Hope you have a fabulous weekend! Whatchya doing, anyway?

 

Message from the cats June 22, 2014

Filed under: laughter,life — Kathy Guttosch @ 7:24 pm
Tags:
I luv mr.Sun

I luv mr.Sun

Pip, here…I not the best typer because my paws are so fluffy, but our person is feel like she got an ole hairball, so LaLa an I r gonna help her out to say hello to you all.

 Lucy’s the name, silly boy, not LaLa. And don’t be dramatic, our person will be better very soon. I’ve already seen her sorting through those tubs of wooly chewy string–you know, the stuff she knots into tubes to wear on her paws. 

Just relaxing...what else should I be doing?

Just relaxing…what else should I be doing?

Right. Look, La, here’s a trick…stare in my eyes…let me Pipnotize you…you will bring me a treat. and a toy…and another treat–

Oh bother…boys are so silly. I think it’s time we all take a little nap.

Okay, okay smartypants. Our person will see u tomorrow. Bye!DSCN0002

 

 

 

On the knitting front… June 18, 2014

Hello darling fiber-lovers and other dear friends!

So last time, I showed off my little veggie garden, and this time, I’d like to show you what knitterly things kept me from blogging the last month.

Finished!

Finished!

First, I decided to tackle a couple of UFOs (unfinished objects), starting with my “Little Leafies” socks. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like feeling the bottoms of my current socks grow a bit thin to inspire me to finish the pair languishing on the needles (not to mention, remind me to darn any that are sitting in the mending basket). Once I determined to finish these and I focused on them alone, it took all of a week and a half to finish the first, then start and finish the second, which really makes me a little crazy. I mean, I am in no way a speed knitter, but look what happens when I focus on a single project. Makes me reconsider the “benefits” of multitasking, something I’ve been wondering about over the last year or so, but that’s another subject entirely.

Crazy Zauberball in "Rare Jewels"

Crazy Zauberball in “Rare Jewels”

So, those done, I decided I’d make the next pair plain old vanilla, but pulled out a wildly colored skein of Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball that Momma kindly bought for me last summer to make it more fun . Up until a week ago, it was sitting as a lovely decoration in my yarn bowl. I thought, however, it deserved a little more recognition than that, so I cast on for another pair of socks right away. Yowza. You may or may not know I like to put a panel of lace or cables down the fronts of my socks, but this time, I just wanted straightforward stockinette stitches. Bang, zoom! Seven inches and a heel turn in just 2.5 days of knitting while dinner was cooking and afterwards before bed. I may be jinxing myself by mentioning it, but it makes me very happy to see progress like that. Plus, there’s the added benefit that it’s very socially compatible knitting–no pattern to concentrate on.

The yarn, though…well let’s just say I have very mixed feelings about the stuff. I love the color changes which will ultimately yield some truly crazy fraternal (not matching) socks, however, this stuff is splitty as all get out. Further, the way the ball is wound by the manufacturer–cool, because it shows off the yarn colors–is insane to knit from since huge wraps of it fall off and tangle as you work, yarn bowl or not. And I don’t think it’s wise to pull it from the center. In fact a review of it on Ravelry warned against this very thing because it tangles so dreadfully. I believe that because the fiber is pretty fuzzy, it really clings together and nearly felts itself  into a knotty mess.

And then just a few days ago while cruising through my queue on Rav, I remembered I wanted to start Lichen to get a jump on my Christmas knitting. This is a delightfully fun and clever project I first saw made up in Elgin last summer when my Darling Cuz and I were on our annual Summer Yarn Crawl. So pretty it just took my breath away. The only problem is, as I make this, I think I should’ve gotten 3 skeins, instead of the 2 the nice lady at the yarn shop told me to get. Sigh.

Magnolia Yarn by Classic Elite--so squishy and pretty!

Magnolia Yarn by Classic Elite–so squishy and pretty!

Oh well, just another reason to by more yarn. ;)

What have you guys been knitting? I’d love to know!

 

Busy as a bee… June 16, 2014

Filed under: life — Kathy Guttosch @ 12:33 pm
Tags: , ,
Early morning in the garden...

Early morning in the garden…

Hi there, dear friends! I hope you are all finally enjoying a lovely, relaxing summer after a loooong winter. For my knitting friends, I know many didn’t terribly mind the long stretch of cold days, because that meant more time to knit large woolen objects. Still, I know enough is enough.

Here, for the last few weeks the weather was, and has continued to be, rather bipolar: 3 days hot as hell (90+ degrees high), followed rapidly by 2 or 3 relatively cool days (72 to 75 degree days). Highs normally average around 76 delightful degrees all summer long until we hit Labor Day. Then the heat kicks in for a few weeks of “I can’t take it anymore,” highs of 90 to 100+. Drives me crazy.

The good side of this warm weather, for me anyway, is that Captain Romance helped me put in a couple of Square Foot Garden beds in the back.DSCN0036

We had to have the evil dead tangerine tree, also know as the Black Squirrel’s Juice Bar, cut down. But at long last I think we finally might have a spot in the yard sunny enough for tomatoes and peppers and my favorite Roma beans. Oh my, have you ever tried Roma beans? They’re flat, meaty, and fresh from the garden, they’re a-freakin’-mazing lightly steamed with a drizzle of butter and a sprinkle of salt. I could live on them. Thanks to the warm weather last week they’re sprouting today, a couple of days earlier than I expected!

I also love how they grow on a bush, so they don’t need to have a support, and are super prolific. Luckily they freeze really well.

What do you guys like to grow in your neck of the woods? I’d love to hear.

 

 
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