twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

A room with a view April 23, 2009

Filed under: writing — kathy @ 9:39 am
English rose, "Graham Thomas"

English rose, "Graham Thomas"

Ever since I was a young girl discovering a love of writing, I’ve dreamed of having a special little study (preferable sited somewhere in Scotland or England) where I’d be inspired to craft my tales of medieval lords and ladies.

It’d be properly gothic: dark and cozy, filled with deep shades of damask and velvet, aged wood, and riverstones all around the fireplace. And books. Shelves and shelves of books all around me.  My antique writing desk would sit against a long, tall window,  french doors would stand a bit over to the side of the desk; in temperate months, I’d leave the doors open a bit so I could hear and see and smell nature in my garden as I wrote, even treating myself to a walk through whenever I was blocked.garden_graham_thomas

And oh, what a garden I’d have. It’d be filled with all my most favorite perennials: lungwort, heliotrope, lavender, clematis, phlox, hostas…and my dear English Roses. How I love them, their form, their colors, and best of all, their fragrances.  These lovely roses are created by David Austin, known as the Father of the English Rose. I think he must be a god. http://www.davidaustinroses.com/ (Here’s a fabulous place to buy English roses: http://www.heirloomroses.com/ Check out their “about” pages to see why they’re so great–I bought mine from them as little bare roots 5 years ago, and they are huge and healthy now!)

English Rose "Abraham Darby"

English Rose "Abraham Darby"

Well, fast forward from that lovely dream to my real life. In California. I live in an extremely fun, funky, mid-century modern classic house: an Eichler. Most decidedly not a tudor with dark wood. I’m not complaining, mind you. It’s a lovely place. But it doesn’t exactly help transport me to realms of magick and sword-fighting faeries.

When we first moved in, I commandeered a tiny room in the back of the house.  Well, it was dark. The only window faced an old gray cedar fence about 7 feet from that window. Not very inspiring. No view there. But privacy.  And it was (mostly) my own space.  Even so, I found it difficult to write very much in that room, and over the years, however, it has become my jewelry studio and yarn repository (at least for half the stash…).  It’s still not conducive to creating anything though, as much as it is good for storage, and once I had saved enough money to buy my little laptop, the world opened wide. Like a flower, I guess you could say. I happily wandered from room to room to find my space in this house.

English Rose "Gertrude Jeykll" (my dearest favorite)

English Rose "Gertrude Jeykll" (my dearest favorite)

Now, as I write this, I can look up, through our tall windows and across to our back yard to where my three, huge, English roses and clematis are blooming,  nodding their fragrant heads at me as the wind blows. Wild and unkempt. I suppose a bit like me.

A bit of my view...

A bit of my view...

For little Rudy

For little Rudy

And finally, I have a place where I find myself inspired.

 

There’s no place like home. April 17, 2009

Filed under: knitting,writing — kathy @ 5:51 pm
A turquoise view through the sea grapes

A turquoise view through the sea grapes

Don’t get me wrong! I LOVE getting on a plane and going somewhere wonderful, especially my parents’s gorgeous condo in Florida.

Even though their place is “home,” it’s like a super lux hotel room, right on the beach. I love that here, the Atlantic is so warm and the sky is so blue; the Pacific is always freezing, and under gray skies, it makes going to the beach a chilling experience. And I love my morning coffee with my mom, where we whisper to keep everyone asleep while we solve the problems of the world and of our immediate family. It’s great fun yelling at the TV with my dad, and having beer, clam chowder, and ribs with them both at the Dune Dog Cafe until we feel like we’re gonna bust.

Anybody in there?

Anybody in there?

Best of all, I adore combing the beach with my chicklet the day after a storm, searching for shells (especially those other than the 317 assorted little ubiquitous lion’s paw and deep sea scallops, cockles, and clam shells that we’ve already put into our pail).  We found some really cool things: a little conch, a tiny cowry,  (what we think is) an alphabet cone shell, and a couple of moon snail shells. Pretty cool.

Chasing waves

Chasing waves

 

It was a lovely break from the everyday grind of school, car pool, cleaning and bill paying.

But I didn’t get a whole lot of knitting done. Mostly I worked on my Saucy Sock and sighed at the lovely green Miss Babs Frog Belly I brought along, wishing I could start transforming it into a shawl. I nearly finished my sock on the plane ride home, but didn’t, because I really didn’t feel like taking off my shoe to try it on to see if the length was right. I should finish it sometime today and start on the next one. I really like the pattern–complicated enough to keep your interest, yet not so much to make you crazy.

I did do a lot of reading, however, which is something I love, but rarely get to do since my day is so crammed with stuff that when I finally get a chance to read, I fall asleep on the book. I read 2 books: Loving Frank, and The Glass Castle. Both books have been out a couple of years I think, so most people know about them; in any case, I found them both so well written and interesting that I couldn’t stop reading. Especially Loving Frank. The book is a historical work of fiction about Mamah Borthwick Cheney’s affair with Frank Lloyd Wright in the early 1900’s. Riveting. Beautifully written.  Here’s a link to the book’s website: http://www.randomhouse.com/rhpg/lovingfrank/

I already knew how story ended in real life (and I won’t be a spoiler, so I won’t say how it ends), even so, it still was a fabulous read. The main reason was, to me anyway, that it was written with such eloquence that I found myself truly enjoying the book, instead of my usual “editing while I read.” I can’t seem to keep myself from doing that sometimes, especially when I’m doing a lot of writing on my own stuff as I am right now. But I could tame that crazed editor in my soul this time. Great, great read.

Well, anyway, back to real life. Which is fine with me. I’m going to spend this morning working on Lore (my sword and sorcery genre novel), and with any luck, I’ll be typing the last pages some time in May.

I suppose I should be making jewelry. I suppose I should be using up my stash and knitting. And I will do those things soon. But writing has always been my dearest love, the kind of thing where hours pass as minutes. Where if I’m really gong at it, I forget to eat. Seriously. If I could actually keep myself awake for days at a time to write, I would…my writing might be a little whacky, but oh well. It could actually be great for my diet.

 

Decisions, Decisions… April 7, 2009

Filed under: knitting,laughter — kathy @ 6:56 pm
Delicious Miss Babs Yummy in grape color (but not Frog Belly)

Delicious Miss Babs Yummy in grape color (but not Frog Belly)

…what to carry along for knitting on our little getaway to Florida.

There’s something about planning for a trip that sets my mind agog. Deciding which clothes and accessories are going along is bad enough, but for knitters, well, we have an additional kind of befuddling to sort through.

What to bring to knit.

Heavens. Just looking into my so-called “queue” on Ravelry is mind-boggling.

But I’ve finally gotten into a system. I start by going through my UFOs, which thankfully isn’t too plentiful. My criteria include the 3 Ps: pattern difficulty, portability, and potential for airport confiscation. That security thing is enough to make me a downright ball of tension at the airport until I’ve successfully gotten through security, which has luckily been no problem for me yet, however…who knows. One thing’s certain, I don’t even think of heading to the airport without including a small padded self addressed and stamped envelope in my backpack, just in case. The needles, Knitpicks Options, are removed (ends screwed onto the cables) and put into a little ziplock bag with an assortment of pens and pencils (for a bit of camouflage). This slows me down a wee bit in getting started up again, but it makes me feel better, at least.

This trip will start with finishing some socks…

for the Saucy Socks

for the Saucy Socks

My big problem comes in deciding on the second project.

Of course this is assuming, optimist that I am, that I will actually finish the first  project, right?

So, do I bring something to start that I’m dying to make (which is usually a sweater, since I love clothes and I’m always on the lookout for the perfect sweater), or something, again, more portable that requires fewer skeins of yarn.

That’s one of the main problems about bringing a sweater to knit; luggage restrictions aside (because even though I refuse to carry on my luggage, I also refuse to chack more than one bag–blasted airlines–but that’s another topic entirely), I fear that if I bring a few skeins of yarn for a sweater, what if the ultimate nightmare occurs?

What if they misplace my luggage? What if–horror of horrors–they actually loose my luggage entirely? It happens. It just happened last summer to my cousin’s daughter’s boyfriend (didya follow that?) I mean what if some luggage handler covets my 3 skeins of Mmmmmalabrigo Worsted in Pagoda and decides to just appropriate it? This is serious because  (as all you Malabrigo lovers know) it’s not just that easy to go out and get more Mal in the dye lot you need. Sure, you can bring along your Lamb Pride, or Cascade (both lovely yarns, of course), have it disappear, and oh well. You should be able to get more of the same dyelot from somewhere.

Further, what if I change my mind about the one extra project I’m bringing? I mean, like that extra pair of shoes you brought, just doesn’t seem like the right thing to have brought once you arrive at your destination?

So, this trip, I decided to take one extra skein (some ultra-delish Miss Babs Yummy Sock and Baby in “frogbelly”) and 3 different patterns to use it with, with a variety of corresponding Knitpicks Options needles, so when I’m ready to go, I can still have choices. Genius, for me, anyway.

I brought 2 sock patterns, and one shawl pattern! Plus, with Ravelry, I could surely pick something else appropriate from my library and print it out.

So now I can’t wait to finish my Saucy Socks in Dream in Color “Ruby River” so I can play with my Frogbelly…I love having choices!

 

 
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