twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

It’s Glittery! April 30, 2015

Filed under: life — kathy @ 10:21 am
Tags: , , , , ,
This is going to live in a lovely frame!! I don't need to return it to redeem it!

This is going to live in a lovely frame!! I don’t need to return it to redeem it!

Wow! Would you look at the beautiful certificate I got in the mail yesterday from Elizabeth and Forrest?! I will treasure it forever!!

It’s so special!! Pictures just don’t do it justice—it’s hand painted and glittered, and look: my name is on it! Joy! and smiles! and so much gratitude. And peace. So much peace. The fact that I was able to communicate my feelings and have them understood brings me personally so much peace and joy.

I am so filled with gratitude right now for all of you, my dear friends. Thank you one and all for your kind words and encouragement. The little girl deep inside feels very nurtured right now. Thank you.

Edited to add: I just found out that this lovely piece of art was created by Forrest! He is so very talented—you should see some of his beautiful photography, too! Oh, I am so excited to soon be able to spend time with so many dear and creative people at Squam!

See the sweet card, too?! Even the packaging was soooo pretty!

See the sweet card, too?!
Even the packaging was soooo pretty!

 

Spinster April 15, 2015

The Kromski Sonata-it folds so I can travel with it if I want!

The Kromski Sonata-it folds so I can travel with it if I want!

Make that a happy spinster. ;)

For years I’ve been wanting to learn how to spin. I tried a drop spindle, but it was just too annoying tedious for me (I’m rather impatient, I’m afraid) and the drop spindle went to Bug (she, BTW, totally took to it and became wonderful at it, so there was no loss there.).

A few years ago after a reasonably successful Holiday Open House, I decided to buy myself a lovely, handmade single-treadle folding spinning wheel from an artisan on Etsy who had a shop called “Overland Handcraft.” It was a lovely wheel (which I’d never sat down to treadle/try before I bought–mistake number 1), and after I received it I realized I needed some help from an expert, so I took a private 2 hour lesson with the delightful and knowledgable Sandi Luck of Purlescence Yarn, came home, and immediately welcomed houseguests for the week. That meant I didn’t spin for at least a week after my class and so forgot nearly everything I’d learned (mistake number 2). Worse, the lovely Overland folding/travel wheel I bought had a funny little glitch that made it try to fold up on itself every time I tried to use it (mistake number 3).

My lovely--but not quite right for me--Overland wheel.

My lovely–but not quite right for me–Overland wheel.

Enter Captain Romance, and after one of the best Christmas gifts ever–a gift certificate for a new wheel, six–yes, six–learn to spin classes, again with Sandi, trying 3 (or 5 if you count the ones I treadled but didn’t actually use) different wheels during those classes, and 3 or 8 gin and tonics, I now am the proud owner of this gorgeous walnut Kromski Sonata. I named him Gabriel. I am so full of gratitude.

Okay, plied it looks pretty cool, but as a single...embarrassing!

Okay, plied it looks pretty cool, but as a single…embarrassing!

For whatever reason, it took me a couple of classes to really understand what I needed to do to spin the way I was supposed to. To be fair, a bit of my trouble was due to the strokes I had when Bug was born. But I have to say that there were classmates who sat down and were at once spinning stuff that looked like kitchen twine or embroidery floss. Mine looked like crap novelty yarn. I was devastated, and truthfully, embarrassed. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as a remedial spinning class, but wished I could’ve slunk away to find one. I mean the teachers were very nice about it, but it was frustrating. I’m usually great with my hands. Sigh. You know, they say that you should enjoy this early “lumpy bumpy thick thin yarn” because you’ll never be able to do after you learn the right way to spin. Ha. They didn’t know about me. I don’t think I’ll ever have trouble doing thick and think yarn again if I want to. But I digress.

Anyway, I refused to give up, and after changing the wheel I was using, and watching lots of YouTube videos for moral support, I was making kitchen twine, too! Yippity! This is so much fun that I spent nearly all day Sunday spinning, and could barely walk the next day because I’d overwhelmed my ankles. Well, they didn’t hurt while I was spinning.

It's a little hard to tell with this dark shot, but it's really pretty thin and even.

It’s a little hard to tell with this dark shot, but it’s really pretty thin and even.

Yup, you can call me spinster, now and I certainly won’t be offended. ;)

 

Here goes… April 2, 2015

My entry, "the epiphany box"

My entry, “the epiphany box”

So last time I was here I posted a snippet of a VIP (Very Important Project) I’d sunk my teeth into. I didn’t mean to be a tease or anything, I just didn’t want to reveal anything until it was finished and winging its way to the contest I was entering. And believe me, this project took up nearly every moment since I first showed you. Everything–well nearly everything–in my life got sidelined. It was exhilarating to be so immeshed in a thing so creative. It’s been ages since I felt that way. In a nutshell, the contest challenge was to take an old Squam Art Workshop tote and repurpose it into…well something else. The prize is a scholarship to any 2015 or 2016 session of Squam the winner chooses. How could I resist the challenge? And though the concept/idea of what I wanted to express was quite clear in my mind, for the better part of the last couple of months I’ve been experimenting with exactly how to turn it into art. The only thing I knew was that I’d be cutting apart and embroidering the tote for a cover of some sort. At first I thought I’d make a lovely handcrafted journal and fill it with writing and drawings. I set out at once to teach myself to make a book with an exposed coptic stitch spine. Ha. Easier said than done. Plus, I kept wanting to incorporate three dimensional items into the journal, and wasn’t able to figure out how to do that and make it work the way I wanted. The only answer was to toss my control freak self out the window and, as Elsa would say, “Let it go.What I came up with was this: the epiphany box. Here’s the idea: Everything you need is within you: the moment I read the sentiment on the tote, the idea for my entry was clear. I wanted to illustrate how, after taking Elizabeth Duvivier’s (the creator/founder of Squam and all around amazing goddess-woman) “The Magic of Myth” course last spring, I realized that the way I wanted to live my life was inside me all along. I wanted to show how my heart had opened I was inspired to listen and jump back onto my creative path. IMG_2675Holding that memory, I took a deep breath and began to reconstruct the lovely tote into a suitcase which would represent the beginning of that journey–the epiphany I had a year ago. To more deeply illustrate “Everything you need is within you,” I hand-embroidered and reverse appliqued the poppy so that it reveals itself from behind a “window” in the linen. It scatters its seeds (antique French glass beads), planting ideas and spreading its joy wherever its seeds land. I then applied the hand-embroidered piece to the case which I’d painted with scenes of poppy fields all around the sides and on the back. I sewed seven giant “poppy seeds” of black felt and placed them inside the bottom of the case; tucked within each felt seed I placed a little glass bottle to represent a gift or skill that I feel I possess or have reclaimed.

The little bottles that'll go inside the felt "poppy seeds."

The little bottles that’ll go inside the felt “poppy seeds.”

Examples of a few bottles--"Writer," "Fiber Addict," and  "Jeweler."

Examples of a few bottles–“Writer,” “Fiber Addict,” and “Jeweler.”

The "Lover" bottle next to a  filled "poppy seed."

The “Lover” bottle next to a filled “poppy seed.”

Beneath the poppy seeds in the bottom of the box I put a drawing of where my heart felt stuck before The Magic of Myth class. The drawing I made inside the top lid illustrates the release of creativity and love I felt bursting back into my world during the class, much like the poppy’s release of seeds.

The drawings...I'm so happy with them. Why has it been so long since I drew anything?

The drawings…I’m so happy with them. Why has it been so long since I drew anything?

Even though I love to write more than just about anything, the exercise of drawing again filled me with a mixture of thrill and terror. Could I still draw? Would I be able to draw what I saw in my mind’s eye? You be the judge if it’s effective, but I ended up happy with the result. What I found was that the process of drawing was so exhilarating that all I wanted to do for nearly a week was draw. Sigh.

Suitcase with seeds piled inside.

Suitcase with seeds piled inside.

The box is on its way to Rhode Island now for judging and I can’t wait to find out the verdict. But I feel, in my own heart, with the reconnection I’ve made with drawing and embroidery, I’ve already won something, you know? What do you think? I’d love to hear…

IMG_2671

 

Mea Culpa March 13, 2015

Filed under: life — kathy @ 1:38 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Darling friends!

Where does the time go? My last post was exactly 4 months ago. Exactly.

I love to visit on my blog, so why haven’t I done so in 4 long months? I guess the only reason I can point to is life–life in general. It’s been a tough winter for nearly every single dear personal friend and family member, so I know you understand. Illness, work, weather, it all sort of conspired to keep me from sitting and writing to let you all know what was up.

Lots of custom rosary work kept my hands busy, as well as nursing us through some awful mystery cold that we passed around. Heck, I think even the cats got sick. I made a record number of pots of chicken soup and many many little dumplings. It was the strangest cold, for if I’d overdo anything–tidying, cooking, errand-running–I’d feel like I’d gotten run over by a truck, and then would have to spend the next day in bed. Crazy. I barely had the energy to pick up any knitting. By the time we were all well, there was so much catching up to do I almost didn’t know where to start. I literally had to make a cup of Earl Grey and sit and make a list.

One of the things high on that list of “to do’s” was this…

To Be Explained...

To Be Explained…

It will be my entry for a “scholarship” to Squam Art Workshops–yes, I’m soooo excited I’m finally going to go to Squam this June! Are any of you going? I’d love to know if you were going. I will be explaining and showing you all more of what this little thing will be in my next post.

Until then, Happy Friday. Great to see you again.goingtosquam

 

 

Insane brain November 13, 2014

Just a tiny sample...

Just a tiny sample of rosary bracelets and chaplets…

And that’s putting it mildly.

This is my craziest time of year, with custom orders, and trunk shows and craft fairs, forget about Thanksgiving and Christmas, both of which will likely be spent here in pjs and slippers. As my teenaged Bug says, I just don’t have the spoons for it all. Sigh.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been focused on putting together new designs for my annual holiday trunk show and a craft boutique for my local parish church. I have been working on and off all year on sparkly new stuff for the trunk show, so it’s not like I’m only doing all this last minute. However there is definitely something in me that loves a bit of a challenge, not to mention the part that has a last minute inspiration for a design. And then there are last minute Christmas custom orders.

That said, I decided to take a little pressure off by allowing myself to do just the parish Christmas Boutique now, and do the trunk show at Valentine’s Day–oh wait, I think I mentioned that last week. See…insane brain.

My fingertips are twanging as I type this because I’ve been making chaplets and rosaries and rosary bracelets for days now. A completely wire-wrapped bronze or sterling gemstone rosary takes an entire day (give or take a quick vacuuming or a load of laundry). Thing is, I shouldn’t probably make so many pieces. Especially rosaries. I should know better than to make too many because invariably someone (or two) will come up to my display and wrinkle their noses or gasp at my prices. It makes me crazy, because my work isn’t the kind of “made in China” assembly line stuff you find in a Christian Book Store. It’s actually something made by hand of fine metals and gemstones, one-of-a-kind and meant to be an heirloom.

But I digress.

And I’d better get back to work so I might be able to squeak out some time to daydream…I have a story percolating in my head, all itching to get out and written. And a load of laundry. And dinner. Oh yes, and maybe some long neglected knitting (whaaaa). :( There’s just too much stuff in my head.

What I need is an hour spent at this amazing spa called Watercourse Way. Hmm. maybe I need to book an appointment for one the week after this boutique. I have a gift certificate, after all.

I hope I made some sense today. What gets you going this time of year? I’d love to know I’m not alone.

 

Write now…right now! November 5, 2014

Filed under: knitting,writing — kathy @ 11:56 am
Tags: , , , , ,
Ah, this would be my dream writing spot. Maybe someday...

Ah, this would be my dream writing spot. Maybe someday…

Hello dear friends!

Just the other day I had a nagging feeling I’d forgotten something…low and behold, I realized I hadn’t written a post here in nearly 2 months. For shame! I can only blame it on the fact that I’ve been busy writing other things, namely researching and writing a short story to submit for an upcoming fantasy anthology, and editing my novel, Lore. What wonderfully all-consuming projects. Whenever I write, no matter if I find myself blocked and agonizing over plot, or if I’m flying through the story with it flowing easily from my mind to my fingers, I find hours fly past. It is truly my deepest devotion, writing. To that end, I think I should focus more on writing here, as well.

 

Then there is knitting…T_MaryFrancesCover

I’ve been making good progress on my Clown Barf shoulder wrap, poncho-thingy. Just a few more “tiers” to go. And thank goodness; we’ve been waking to 40 degree temps–finally! Sweater weather at last. Though we have still had more than a typical number of over 80 degree days in the last month or so. Hmphf. I wish I could like hot weather. I just cannot take it. Even when I was a kid I wasn’t happy with heat and sweating. Ah well.

On the upside, though, it is easier to get yarn to dry when it’s warm outside, so I might just have to schedule some dyeing…;)

I’d really like to get underway with a couple of cardigans, and maybe even a last minute Christmas giftie. What’s Christmas without a frenzied race to finish a handmade gift, right?

And then there’s that Holiday Boutique I signed up to do. Many of you know I make jewelry, but I don’t know if you’ve heard I make rosaries and rosary bracelets, too. So the first weekend of December (in fact, about a month from now) I’ll be at our local church selling those items, as well as a few regular jewelry items, since I won’t be having a Christmas Trunk Show this year. I’ll be posting the address soon, in case any of you local readers might want to attend. I’d love to see you!

And instead of the Christmas Show, I’m planning on having a Valentine’s Day Trunk Show. Kind of a “buy something for your sweetie to give you Show”, or “give yourself some love this Valentine’s Day Show.”

Well, better skeedaddle…got lots going on!

What sorts of things are keeping you busy right now? Tell me–I’d love to know!

 

Clown Barf September 10, 2014

IMG_2105Yep. You read that right.

I myself read that description on Ravelry a few months ago while researching Noro Kureyon colorways for the new shoulder shrug/poncho/cowl thing I wanted to make for myself; it was a fellow Raveler’s perfect description, and it stuck. You see, as an alternative to t-shirts and jeans or sweats, I’ve found that the marvelous J.Jill Kimono Sleeve sweaters are the perfect thing for pulling on first thing in the morning to take the Bug to school, and then do a quick grocery shop or “meet the girls for coffee” mornings. I always feel pulled together when I wear one.

Problem is, with those big wide sleeves, it’s impossible to fit them comfortably in any jacket I own, or be able to bend my arms if I do manage to find a jacket to accommodate them. And dang—it’s cold in the mornings here in late fall and winter.

Solution? A poncho/cape/giant cowl thingy. I love entrelac—the Lady Eleanor Shawl is one of my most all-time favorite things I ever knit—so that would be the basis for the pattern. And because my kimono tops are pretty colorful, well, I needed a bold colorway. Enter Noro Kureyon #272. The plan is to knit enough “tiers” of entrelac to wrap fairly loosely around my shoulders without falling off, then connect it by adding a few bold buttons that secure with a shell crochet edge. Very simple (famous last words, right?).

I am having fun knitting it. It’s pretty brainless, once I get into the groove, and that has the added benefit of helping me meditate on the new short story I’m working on.

Wearing this puppy, however, may require a bit of bravery. What do you think?

p.s. Thanks to “A Little Fluff,” for posting this video earlier and reminding me how much I like it!

 

 
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