twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

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!

 

Drama Queen September 5, 2014

This colorway is "Artichoke" and is a lovely mossy leaf green. Photos just don't do it justice.

This colorway is “Artichoke” and is a lovely mossy leaf green. Photos just don’t do it justice.

Meet my latest finished object: the Haruni Shawl, a lovely top down triangle shawl by Emily Ross. Evidently “haruni” is the word for “grandmother” in Quenya, Tolkien’s elven language.

Hence, I named the project “Sweet Caroline” on my Ravelry projects page because my darling maternal grandmother’s name was “Caroline.” Now that the project is finished, however, I’m seriously considering renaming it “Drama Queen.”

Don’t get me wrong—this is a lovely pattern—free, no less! I’m thrilled with the finished piece. But I (re?)learned some valuable lessons about shawl/lace knitting and free patterns, heck, any knitting patterns. Let’s examine the harrowing evidence…

 

IMG_2005

Exhibit A:

Use Ravelry for the wonderful tool it is: check and double check the “helpful” project listings, as well as sample yarn yardage requirements and needle size used. And take a good sampling–not just one or two project listings. In my case, I used the required yardage estimate from the free pattern, as well as checked the listings for the yarn I used, the wonderful Handmaiden Sea Sock, and even though there were 6 or 7 projects that needed less than one skein, I still didn’t have enough yarn. This lead to a bit of a harrowing moment when I realized at row 17 of the second set of charts that there was no way on God’s green earth I was going to have yarn enough to finish. Luckily the Yarn Angels were smiling upon me as the LYS where I purchased the first skein months ago, still had another on the shelf. Whoosh.

I’m not certain what happened—I don’t believe the skein was short. I’m guessing it had something to do with the needle size I used. I love the soft, fluid fabric I got with the size 4 needles, however, that must’ve been the reason the shawl gobbled up so much yarn. Ah well.

Yes, I unravelled this on purpose.

Yes, I unravelled this on purpose.

Exhibit B1:

Don’t get cocky! So, at row 21 of the second set of charts, I noticed I shifted the eyelet patterns several rows below where I was working and even though the stitch count matched up, the pattern repeats didn’t. I should know by now that when there are lots of yarnovers in a row in a pattern, I should use stitch markers between the repeats or I am toast. Period.

Exhibit B2:

I repeat, don’t get cocky! And what do I do when I find this screw up? Well, since I don’t like “lifelines” in my lace (I know, I know, but they actually screw me up every time I try to use them), and there was no way I was going to tink back some 1200 stitches, I decided I’d just drop down the 7 stitches to the mistake and fix it the way I did here. Now technically, this should’ve been no problem, however I was in a not-so-ideal light situation, and had finished a glass of wine just minutes earlier. Well…needless to say, trouble was a stitch or two away.

I finally realized I had to stick all the live dropped stitches on stitch holders, take two Tylenol, and wait until morning.

And when I finally got to work on it, I spent a good 3 or 4 hours knitting and unknitting that sucker until I finally decided to be happy with a wee bit of imperfection. You know, I’m told that Persian rug makers always put an imperfection in the rug because it helps keep the Devil out. Well, that old Mr. Devil isn’t going anywhere near this shawl.

Cats and straight pins do not mix well.

Cats and straight pins do not mix well.

Exhibit C:

Always close the guest room door to keep the cats out when you are blocking anything. Especially when the thing you are blocking requires the use of around 130 straight pins. Enough said.

Anyway, lessons learned for this project. On to my next challenge.

What are you guys working on? I’d love to hear about it!

 

Silver September 3, 2014

Filed under: life — kathy @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
25 years ago...where did the time go?

25 years ago…where did the time go?

Captain Romance–

The first time I saw you, I thought you were hot.

The first time we talked, I still thought you were hot, but I also knew in a flash of understanding that only shows up in romance novels and old movies, that I would marry you.

Twenty-five years ago I did.DSCN0009

So, 2 years of dating, a year and a half of temporary insanity, plus 25 years later—years filled with adventure, joy, sorrow, more joy, laughter, far too much house painting, more laughter, driver’s licenses from multiple states, hugs, fishing trips, crazy song lyrics, learning together how to embarrass our child in public, and much, much more love—I still know I was meant to marry you.

And I would again.

Love you, my darling.

 

 

 

 

“If anyone should ask, say we’re mated;

for as long as this life lasts, we are mated.

Why else would you be here, right now,

And you know we’ll still be here tomorrow.”

Todd Rundgren, Mated

Captain Romance made this and sent it back to me just before the ceremony.  Clever Boy!

Captain Romance made this and sent it back to me just before the ceremony.
Clever Boy!

I will always be happy we didn't smash the cake all over each other.

I will always be happy we didn’t smash the cake all over each other.

DSCN0013

We always love a good laugh! The photographer actually didn’t want to take this picture and in the end we had to insist. Imagine. ;)

 

Check out my Stash! August 28, 2014

Pssst–c’mere! I got somethin’ to show ya…

IMG_1845So last time, I posted, I got a wonderful suggestion from one of my BFFITW to share what I snagged at The Fold. Unfortunately it was just days before the Bug went back to school (lordy, she’s a sophomore!), and with all the back to school shopping extras and parents’s back to school night to meet the teachers, giving the house a really good cleaning, and finishing my novel “Lore” (insert insane, happy dance here), I haven’t had a chance. So here it is: my wooly goodness from The Fold!

IMG_1936First up–2 heart-stoppingly soft skeins of an indie brand: Rovings, fingering weight in Polwarth and silk. This is slated for a shawl I’ve been craving for ages: Quill, which is a lovely square shawl by Jared Flood with feather and fan edges.IMG_1937

I’m not absolutely certain, however, that I will actually ever make this shawl, as my past experiences with Mr. Flood’s patterns have left me feeling dazed and confused, as well as incapable. I might instead create my own circular shawl pattern using skills I learned last spring at Stitches West and Myra Wood’s way cool class “Crazy as Pi.”

Whatever I do must do it justice, though, as Toni Neil tells me the lady who makes this yarn is not going to be doing so for much longer…sigh.

 

Second–So, I’ve jumped on the “gradient” bandwagon with this purchase, I suppose. IMG_1940Wonderland Yarns “Mad Hatter” (quite apropos colorway name for moi, I must say…)

But I truly couldn’t resist this package of my favorite shades…gorgeous lipstick and bloody magenta to bordeaux and rich cocoa. I think these There and back again socks might be interesting, or perhaps these lovely mitts. I love them except for the ribbed bottom. I generally despise ribbing. I think changing the ribs to seed stitch or a picot edge would have to be done. Anyone have any other suggestions?IMG_1941

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1932Next bit of yarn love is this fuzzy, softy, heavenly blue Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Fingering in an amazing color blue–“The Winter Blues.” It told me it wanted to be Henslowe, and so it shall be.

The final two skeins of my stash pig out are quite simply Malabrigo Finito, which is the most fabulous, buttered kittens superfine merino I’ve ever touched. If you’ve ever rubbed this against your face, you understand. This color is “Mostaza,” and frankly I’ve been searching for it so I can shamelessly copy this: Heart of the Lotus–the “delicate” version. I know the color is unusual, however like the designer, this acid green is a neutral for me.IMG_1934

I think my knitting needles of mine will be busy this winter…;)

If anyone has any other ideas, or would like to share what they’re working on, please share…I’d love to know!

 

 
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