twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

Tagged–I’m it. October 20, 2010

Filed under: laughter,life,writing — kathy @ 12:34 pm

Well, well. In a million years I never thought I might be “tagged,” mainly because, who really wants me to know any of the odd minutia I’ve trapped in my ancient brain cells?

But tagged I have been by my cyber BFF Deb, of the wonderful (truly one of my favorites) blog,  Stop Her She’s Knitting , and a chick I wish I’d gotten to know better during our junior high (yes, it’s called “junior high,” not “middle school.” I hate that term.) and high school years back in Wheaton… you must read her blog! Wise and hilarious, together at last. Sometimes I even think she’s my twin sister from another mother. Just saying…

Anyway, here goes. Don’t know if it’ll reveal anything enlightening, or even interesting. But I’ll try to dig deep and tell you all the truth.

1. What is your favorite childhood memory?

Aren't we adorable? I lovelovelove my cousin!


Hmm. For some reason this was tough. I’m not sure if this is because we had lots of fun times back then (we did), or simply because it was so ridiculously long ago (it was). At any rate, I think my favorite memory has to be (and this was not a one time thing) Sunday  and holiday dinners with my cousins at Grandma and Grandpa Gradishar’s place, putting on “shows” for  the grown-ups. We were like 5 or 6. My very first BFF—my darling cuz Laurie—and I would borrow an LP from our Aunt Nancy, and sing a song or two. Too bad there was no karioke back then. I think my favorite performance was me doing Nancy Sinatra’s version of “These Boots are Made for Walkin’,”  and Laurie’s rendition of Nancy Sinatra’s duet with her dad…or as I introduced her: “Here’s my cousin Laurie, singing “Something Stupid.” This innocent comment still cracks up the grown-ups in my family. Oh wait, am I considered a grown-up now? Damn. Oh well.
2. What music makes your heart sing? Why?

Sheesh. I love so many kinds of music. But if I list it all here, you’ll fall asleep, so I shall edit. Hmmm. The music that makes my heart sing is…the soundtrack from “Braveheart.” It sort of trips some kind of past life memory in me, I think, though nothing ancestral. There’s not a lick of anything Gaelic in this Italian/Sloveninan/German chick. But I hear it and my heart just soars. In fact, it seems to stir something in my soul. It is my music of choice when I’m working on my Fantasy novels.
3. What place would you like to travel to the least )?

This is easy. Oh God, oh god, I would hate to go to anyplace super hot, humid, that grows giant bugs. Even Florida’s tough for me sometimes. Like I’m guessing Thailand, Bali, or perhaps Africa would be. Oh yes, and there’s a part B to this for me, since a choice of doing of the former will not likely ever present itself: I will never go camping anywhere (well, never again, anyway. Did it once for Bug to chaperone a school field trip, and nevernevernever again. It was like a 3 day, 2 night sleepover birthday party in the dirt.). Period. I find no joy in communing with nature overnight. Roughing it to me is going to a Super 8 Motel.
4. How do you relax? What hobby recharges you?

Here a picture is worth a thousand words.
5. What do you want people to remember you by?

I hope that by the end of my life, people  will recall that I was a person who was able to make them smile, either through my writing, my creative pursuits such as jewelry-making, drawing, yarn-dying, or just by listening, laughing, and hanging out with them. And that they could count on me to do that.
6. What do you like the most about blogging? What do you like the least?

Very clever question. I love the connections I’ve made with people across the country, old and new friends. And I love the exercise of writing. I don’t like that I screwed around in 7th grade typing class (because I thought I was going to be an artist and thus didn’t need to know how to type) and now suffer from not being able to type fast enough–that is, as fast I think–though I’m way better than I used to be. That makes a blog posting a several hour affair, otherwise I’d certainly post more often.

7. Dogs or cats?

Another easy one for me. I like dogs. They’re cute and goofy and fun. But around here, it’s cats. All cats, all the time. Lovelovelove Cats.

So, now’s my turn to tag some pals:


Meg at someplace in between

Laurie at pomaw

Karen at

Monica at PassionKnit

Bonnie  at

Cyndy at

Andrea at

And here are my questions for you:

1. Which 5 items would you take with you in a fire (besides your family members and pet(s)?

2. What would your last meal be?

3. Who was your favorite teacher and why?

4. Coffee or tea?

5. Where is your happiest place on earth?

6.What’s been your favorite age (so far)?

7. Do you believe in ghosts? Why/why not?

Can’t wait to see what y’all come up with!


Gettin’ real busy ’round here…plus, a giveaway! October 11, 2010

Filed under: jewels,knitting — kathy @ 3:02 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Hello, dear friends!

It’s that time of year for me: Crazy Christmas Season. And even though I know it comes along the same time every year, I never find myself prepared well in advance. I actually did start making new goodies for my Holiday Trunk Show way back in July, but to be honest, I didn’t go too far. I mean, if it’s in the 90s outside, I don’t feel very Christmasy, at least not in this hemisphere anyway.

So I’m basically a “maker” this time of year. Kind of like an elf, although in about a month I turn into an evil elf! Anyway this year, I’m expanding my making into a slightly different area. I don’t want to go into too many details right now about what I’m working on, however, I could use your help and opinion on something I’m struggling with currently.

For years I’ve been struggling with the desire to get involved with fiber in a way that was more elementary than knitting. I tried spinning, but honestly, my drop spindle skills stink on ice. I’d lovelovelove to open a yarn store out here, but I’d be kidding myself big time. I mean, there are a glut of LYSs. Oh well.  Designing? If only I could finish the sweaters in my Ravelry queue, I might consider trying to design something on my own.


So after lots of playing and playing, I decided to try my hand at selling my hand-dyed yarns.

Right; I know there’s a glut of indie yarn dyers, too. But dadgumit, this is calling to me in a way I cannot deny. It’s even stronger than the clarion call of the Trader Joe’s dark chocolate-covered pretzels in the back of the pantry.

So here’s my question to all of you who are my knitting buddies:

When/if you buy yarn online from a photo, do you prefer seeing the yarn “reskeined” (this is yarn that is rewound after being handpainted which mimics how it will knit up, or do you prefer it “as it is directly after handpainting” so you can specifically see all the colors?

Here are a few examples:

Miss Babs, Blue Moon Fiber, and Madelintosh show their yarn reskeined:

Miss Babs

Madelintosh Sock










Malabrigo, HandMaiden, and Kangaroo Dyer show their yarn as is.

Kangaroo Dyer Sock

Mmmalabrigo Worsted

Which do you prefer? Do you care?

In case you’re wondering, it seems that there’s nearly an equal number of “reskeined” to “just as it is” among indie dyers. To reskein, I will need to buy a special yarn winder, thus I’m wondering what y’all think!

Please let me know your preference in a comment at the end of this post. One of you will win this lovely pair of oxidized sterling, tiger eye, and carnelian earrings. But you have to give me a preference in your comment to be considered to win some earrings, ‘kay?

you might win 'em...

So, I’m gonna have to skeedaddle, but thanks for your time and thoughts!

Her eyebrows are insane!

P.S. Just wanted to show you our not-so-little Lucy (she’s already 6.5 lbs! Yikes!! She’s only 5 months old!). A couple of weeks ago, she sprouted a couple of white eyebrow whiskers—just one over each eye—that gives her a perpetual look of surprise. Very funny. I think she’d make a great anime character…


Falling in love again October 3, 2010

Yes, friends. It’s happened again I’m afraid.

Oh dear no; of course this has nothing to do with CR.

No, this has everything to do with finding a new book full of knitting patterns I adore. Oh, the possibilities.

The Global Cable Coat--will use up my Cascade Ecological Wool!

You see, around here we love our books. There are stacks of them everywhere. And even though I try to make regular donations of them to friends, the retirement home, and the local library, they just seem to multiply. It’s as if we see a bit of space on the bookshelves (or the floor beside the bed of couch) and think, “Hey, there something missing there—oh yes, a book!” And then the spot gets filled up.

It’s okay when the book comes off the bookshelves in the office. The trouble is, however, the place where my love of books intersects with my love of yarn and all things knitting. Sigh. Big problem.

To that end I decided a few years ago, that I would not buy any knitting books unless there were at the very least 3 patterns I adored and was planning to knit. And I’ve done really well in keeping that promise to myself. It’s easy especially since I have pals who often share their books, and I can go to the library to find patterns, and also because Ravelry allows many patterns to be purchased individually, which is in itself a great help in keeping the stash of books down.

But recently while perusing Amazon, I came across this:

Brave New Knits by Julie Turjoman

Okay, to me, not the best title. It’s the subtitle that actually told me that the book featured patterns that came from some of my favorite knitting bloggers. And while I was unfamiliar with the author, Julie Turjoman, I was excited to see that all the lovely photography was by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed (love him, even though that soul-eating yet lovely Koolhaas Hat was the fruit of his evil ingenuity), and that there was a foreword by Jess Forbes of Ravelry.

The Silke Jacket--Be still my heart!

Flipping (virtually) through the pages, I felt my heart begin to race but firmly reminded myself that there had to be at least 3 patterns I Loved. Firmly because the last book I bought on Amazon, Modern Top-Down Knitting,

was more than disappointing. I ordered it in a moment of weakness after a rather pissy day to cheer myself up, after all, it was top-down knitting—my favorite way to construct a sweater bar none. But after I went through that book several times, page by page, I must say that only one design piqued my interest, and I even was forcing it at that, so I am returning that book.

No, I had to find 3 designs I Loved.

To my surprise dear friends, there were not just 3, but at least 5 designs in this book I not only loved, but had to actually make come hell or high water. I “One-Clicked” and it was done.

And when the book finally arrived and I tore open the box, finally able to look at all the patterns and read their yarn and gauge requirements, my infatuation became a deep and abiding sort of love. Not just 5 designs spoke to me, but rather, at least 12 designs screamed my name. Further, it seems that I have yarn in my stash that would suffice to make each of the required sweaters. (alright, no snarky comments about my stash here. I am well aware that the stash is excessive. And frankly, I know there are those who have far more than I. At least I’m looking for ways to use it up)

Simply, this book is a intoxicating collection of  tempting ways to keep myself busy, use up my stash, and with any luck be sporting some swanky new sweaters over the next season or two. Sure there are a few I wouldn’t be caught dead in, or at the very least, caught spending $$ on for yarn. Still, this book’s going to see a lot of use from me.

The Milk Maiden Pullover!

In fact I can tell you that Brave New Knits (gee, I wish it had a better name) is going on my list of “Top Ten Knitting Books to Rescue in a Fire. That’s a companion list to my “Top Ten Cookbooks to Rescue in a Fire.”

Helix Socks How fun are these?

What about those WIPs and UFOs I mentioned over the last blog or two, you may ask? Well, Amelia’s coming along nicely. Halfway done with the first sleeve; the second sleeve should take just a few days, and then on to the yoke. If I keep at it, perhaps a week and a half of knitting. Oh I wish I could knit faster. The other two UFOs, the Lion Collar Cardigan, and the Composed Mitts are sitting patiently waiting for me to finish Amelia. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll be putting a new cardigan on the needles before I finish them or not. I suppose I shouldn’t, they’ve been waiting there in the studio closet so patiently and all…

Why do I have this feeling I’m about to commit knitting adultery?

Yet another lovely shawl from Ysolda Teague... the Orchid Thief Shawlette

Foxgloves...the yarn is gorgeous!


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