twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

How do they do it? October 20, 2015

Beautiful Madelintosh Merino Light in Byzantine colorway. Sigh.

Beautiful Madelintosh Merino Light in Byzantine colorway. Sigh.

Seriously–how does a person knit a long, lacy sweater in just a couple of weeks?

C’mon, I know I’m not the only one who notices a fellow Ravelry knitter’s gorgeous project, and then trolls through all of their projects, flabbergasted to find that many of this person’s complicated sweater projects are done in a mere 2 or 3 weeks. Wha–?

Now I’m not going to call anyone out on that. But if you’re on Ravelry, you’ve surely seen folks who knit that fast and have hundreds of projects.

Actually I have to chuckle. Whenever I see something like “437 projects” in someone’s profile, they usually fit into one of four categories: Knits Like The Wind, Can’t Resist Casting On Another Project, Knits Accessories/Toys, and, Local Yarn Store Owner.

I could certainly put myself into that “Can’t Resist…Project” category (although I only have 150ish projects). I admit to having a short attention span when knitting a cardigan. I rationalize that a quick little shawl or pair of hand warmers will be easy to cart around and will make a little dent into the sock yarn stash (Oh that prodigious sock yarn stash). It doesn’t help that I enjoy making sweaters in one piece, top down or bottom up. At some point the thing is impossible to take around with me because it’s just too large. Though that in itself should be a good reason for me to stick to my diet, haha. So I cast on something new, something small fairly often.

I also can’t resist knitting gifts–some which don’t even make it into my Projects List because I finish it and give it before I remember to take a photo.

Still, this category always manages to make me smile, especially when the knitter has nearly as many WIPs (works in progress) as finished objects.

The “Knits Accessories/Toys” category is an interesting one. Even though I myself knit lots of accessories (mitts, shawls, and hats, mainly), I also knit many sweaters. But then there’s toy knitting. Don’t get me wrong–I love knitted toys! They’re adorable. But now that Bug’s nearly old enough to go to college, I don’t bother much with them, though frankly I have quite a few “I’ll knit these someday” toy patterns. Still, there are many knitters who mainly knit toys. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt that they have many little ones–kids or grandkids–who’ll enjoy them.

The LYS owner with their dozens of WIPs always makes me wonder if these poor folks ever have time to enjoy finishing a project. Of course I see lots of these projects around their shops, so they must finish them. Guess they’re just too busy to update their Project pages, which is, IMO a good thing. If my LYS is too busy, that means business is good, and that means I’ll have someplace to lurk and pet yarn. 😉

It’s those who Knit Like The Wind that make me feel both in awe and inadequate.

This is "Darling Emma" by a favorite designer, Joji Locatelli. Love this so much. So pretty on and well worth the wait and hard work.

This is “Darling Emma” by a favorite designer, Joji Locatelli. Love this so much. So pretty on and well worth the wait and hard work.

On the other hand, a few weeks ago, I decided to pick up an old WIP that I really loved and “finish the dang thing already.” There wasn’t anything wrong with it; I loved the pattern, adored the yarn, and had been steadily working on it–for about 2 years! I just couldn’t seem to find a chunk of uninterrupted time to make substantial progress. Seriously, sometimes slow and steady doesn’t win the race. You’re just slow. I think it requires steady focus to finish the race.

And because I wanted to wear the sweater to a wedding (two and a half weeks from then), and it was only 30 percent finished, I certainly had a reason to focus.

What I really needed was uninterrupted time. Ha. Ha.

I worked on that puppy every single chance I got, mostly ignoring the housework and barely feeding my family. And though at times I wondered if it actually would be possible to finish, I did it!

Which lead me to the very unscientific conclusion that someone who can knit a huge, and/or complicated sweater or shawl in just a couple of weeks has either a housekeeper and cook, or is just plain fast as hell. Mad Skills!

This little cutie shawl's been climbing up the list in my Queue, and finally just popped into my knitting bag...;)

This little cutie shawl’s been climbing up the list in my Queue, and finally just popped into my knitting bag…;)


Fruit Stripe June 27, 2014

Filed under: knitting,laughter,life — kathy @ 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 @ 7:24 pm
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




The Smile Experiment April 29, 2014

Filed under: laughter,life — kathy @ 1:09 pm
Tags: ,


One day last week, I set myself a little task: to look everyone I passed in the eye and smile at them, just to see the reaction. And that particular day was perfect because I had beaucoup errands to run, everyplace from the wee Post Office in the local Hallmark store, to the Salvation Army drop-off, Walgreens…you name it. I was busy. I passed a large sampling of people.

You know what? With the exception of  a couple grouchies who likely thought I was a loopy imbecile, everyone smiled back. And then it seemed that they smiled at the next person they passed (when I was in a position to be able to see them passing someone else, that is.).

It was a delightful experiment; I think I’ll keep it up.

BTW, You may have noticed I had a password protected post yesterday. It was a short story for a writing class I was taking, and am not ready to launch into the world yet. At any rate, no more passwords for now. Thanks! 🙂


Househole Duties April 7, 2014

Filed under: laughter,life — kathy @ 10:22 am
Tags: , ,

Hello, my darlings!

Been ages since I posted, and I must say how I’ve missed it.

Briefly, my sweet mother had some health problems and I was back home to help out for a bit, and when returned here, there was mucho catching up to do.

Funny how it all snowballs, though. While I caught up around here with the life stuff I needed to do, the house turned into a hell hole…well figuratively speaking, anyway. It’s always been amazing to me to see that a little neglect goes a long way. Let’s start at the nexus of the house: the kitchen desk. Oh evil bane of my pretend Donna Reed existence. What is it about this rectangle of engineered quartz that attracts crap from every being in this house? Yes, “beings.” I have found shed cat claws and whiskers on this desk. As long as mail is being delivered to this house, this surface will be covered in little piles of paper.



I took this “clutter quiz” once and found that I am a “stacker.” No kidding. (insert eye roll here) My other issue is that I tend to collect paper stuff, like carry out menus and business cards. I can’t tell you how many “frequent buyer cards” I have that are partially filled–many from the same establishment, although I think none of them are valid any longer. So it should be simple to clean this, right? Right.

Not  very welcoming guest room, if you ask me.

Not a very welcoming guest room, if you ask me.







The guest room is another problem area. When you have no basement, and no attic, where do you put the out of season stuff like winter coats and extra blankets? I do give oodles of clothes and bed linens away, but I must tell you that sometimes I wish I hadn’t given certain things away so quickly. You know, old worn out sheets make pretty decent drop cloths for painting. And on my recent trek to Chicago to help my folks out, I had to borrow a warm coat from my mother. Not complaining; just saying, is all. So when faced with the guest room…well, what the heck do I do with this stuff? Where do I put the portable air conditioner? The garage, right? Sorry, the garage is where we keep Christmas decorations, 3 litter boxes, large packages from Costco, my huge pots for dyeing yarn, and the rest of all that stupid garage stuff.

I do not want my life filled with crap stuff. But I want to be able to keep some of it. Or at least not be forced to give it all up because I can’t fit it. What about family history? That’s what basements and attics are for, and because most of the houses here have no basements and only tiny attics (we have neither), people have to park in the streets–their garages are full up of their family’s legacy.

But I digress, as usual.

The guest room is currently the home for old bed linens (World Market just had an amazing sale, and I needed to pout our 10 year old bedspread out to pasture) while I slowly detach myself from them. The thing is, what if I donate it and a few weeks later decide that the new bedspread isn’t working? Then what? Do I Goodwill hop in search of my old stuff? That doesn’t work anyway–

Words escape me...

Words escape me…

I think they scatter our donations far and wide. I accidentally donated 3 small plates to Goodwill during our epic renovation, and try as I might, I never found them. I hope they like their new home.

So that room needs a big ole cleaning.

I am skipping over the teenager’s room. Besides the fact I don’t want to invade her “privacy” or embarrass her, I decided that my numero uno New Year’s resolution was that I will not waste one more day of my already rapidly being spent life cleaning her room. So I will hold my nose and close that door.

But the room at the end of the hall, well that’s another story. If you have any sort of artistic pursuits, you understand “the office.” Actually, nowadays it’s more like “the cat bathroom.” Been trying for years to think of it as “the studio.” No such luck. Between the litter dust on nearly everything that’s exposed, all the chaos of stuff stacked everywhere, and having to share the room with other people, it’s my least favorite room in the house. If we had a basement, so much of this stuff would be there, all organized nicely on shelves. Shelves with doors. Ah yes, cabinets, even. I’d put in all the junk shoved in here: my sewing machine, my metal smithing and Precious Metal Clay (PMC) supplies, old paperwork, and old drawings.

Ah well, goin’ in. I just need a shovel, a bunch of garbage bags, and one of those psychologists from “Hoarders.” Wish me luck. LOL 😉

Do you have one of those rooms?

Ah, the wisdom of the sign makers at JoAnns Fabrics... ironically, they are trying to sell you more crap to cram into your life.

Ah, the wisdom of the sign makers at JoAnns Fabrics…
ironically, they are trying to sell you more crap to cram into your life.



Left Behind October 4, 2013

As usual, I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

I mentioned I’d joined Stephen West’s new Mystery Shawl Knit-a-Long. I’ve knit a few of his designs and find his style and methods quite unique and spirited. His Craftsy class, which I recently treated myself to during one of their big sales, was terrific fun—I mean, how often do you get to see an over 6-foot-tall knitwear designer stand on his head atop his “freshly soaked and wrapped in a towel” shawl just to get the water out for blocking? Anyway, I don’t believe I realized when I signed on to this mystery knit, that in order to keep up with the weekly posting of each new clue, I should (ideally) be keeping in step with the group. Well maybe I realized that, but I guess I didn’t realize how quickly one Friday would arrive on my doorstep following the previous one.

Right. What was I thinking?

The recipe for these Amazing sausages came from CR's grandfather!

The recipe for these Amazing sausages came from CR’s grandfather!

Although I wish I could spend all my time knitting, and to be fair, I do find more time to knit than some of my pals, I still seem to encounter all sorts of distractions. Like what, you may ask? Like how about spending a Saturday helping Captain Romance make 10 pounds of fresh Hungarian sausage?

Oh yes, and there was that delightful surprise of a custom order for a wire-wrapped sterling and turquoise rosary that I had to do. And a couple of 36″ strands of hand-knotted pearls that were also a custom order for someone else.









Top secret knitting!

Top secret knitting!

There also was a bit of stealth knitting I had to finish for a special occasion coming up.

A day spent taking photos of my hand-dyed yarn so I can finish listing them and finally open my etsy shop sapped some time away.

And I nearly forgot about the day I spent cleaning out the garage. Joy.









Sometimes doing errands can be fun. Like when I see a sticker like this...LOL

Sometimes doing errands can be fun. Like when I see a silly sticker like this…LOL Do you suppose this guy gets tired of people taking pictures of his back window?

Like you, I also have that typical daily routine of cleaning, then doing sundry errands like cleaners, groceries, post office, office supply store, pet food…you know, all that exciting stuff.

And let’s not forget the ultimate pain in the tookas, making dinner. I used to love cooking but now it’s become just an interruption that leads to a sinkful of dirty dishes in the end. Except for my delightful Crockpot (with which I’m considering having an affair), dinner just drives me mad. There’s nothing better than popping an inexpensive cut of meat into the crockpot (and oh, have you discovered those wondrous crockpot liners? Makes cleaning up a snap! Fab, I tell you!!) with veggies, some wine, broth, or bbq sauce, first thing in the morning, and after I get to run around, clean, pick up the Bug, and spend a few hours knitting on the couch, there’s dinner! All I have to do is set the table. Love. I thank God weekly for my crockpot. Check out this cookbook: Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker. Genius.

So…no great surprise I’m behind most of the other 2000 other knitters who working on this shawl. Heck, as of this writing, 6 knitters have already finished their shawls. Sigh. So I decided to really put some effort into it yesterday and make some solid progress.







You're not allowed to see all of this. Let's just say it's really different. :)

You’re not allowed to see all of this. Let’s just say it’s really different. 😀

Indeed, early this morning…say, 1 AM, I received Clue #4, just in time for me to begin Clue #3. Now I’m only one week behind.

I guess I need to learn to manage my time better.

What do you do (or not do) to fit some knitting time into your day?


Those hazy crazy days of summer… August 22, 2011

I know, I know! It’s been an age since I posted anything—a whole month, in fact. My face is Red. I don’t think I’ve ever let that much time go by before. But I promise, it’s only ’cause I’ve been so busy, that every time I tried to sit down and write, something else came up that needed my attention.

That, of course, is because I’ve just spent the last 3 weeks in Illinois! My most favorite place (besides England) in the world, packed full of family, friends, fun, and drama. My neighbor across the street always harangues me about going to Chicago in the summer, it being all hot and humid. And it was exactly that this time. Really hot and humid. But that’s where I wanna be most, with my family. Besides, everyone there I know has AC. It gets hot here in Northern CA, too, and we don’t have AC.

At any rate…

So, where to start? I suppose, first, after an ungodly early morning flight out, we arrived and went (almost) straight to a graduation party for one of our nephews. Why I have no photos of this, I cannot say. Must’ve had something to do with the effects of the Dramamine on my sleep-deprived brain. It was great though…lots of laughs with family, beer, delicious food…the works. What was strange to CR and me was that as the evening progressed, the 4 or 5 teenagers watching TV in the family room quietly multiplied to somewhere in the neighborhood of 37 by the time we left. I suppose you out there with teens understand how this phenom occurs, but it was surprising to us.

Next, CR and I took the Bug on the train to Wiggly Field—I mean Wrigley Field—to see the Cubbies trounce the Reds. Was so great—haven’t been to WF in at least 23 years or so, and that in itself brought back great memories.

Ah, the ivy-covered walls...

We had decent covered seats, and there was a lovely breeze coming in from the lake. I, of course took the opportunity to “Stitch and Pitch”—a term which totally cracked up CR—while enjoying a beer. Chose to work on my “Orchid Thief” shawl because any spilled beer or wayward mustard blob wouldn’t be so noticeable. Luckily didn’t have to worry about that since I was very careful not to jump around during the exciting bits.

The 2 must-haves for watching a game: knitting and a beer.

Best of all, the final score was Cubs 4, Reds 2. We even got to see a home run made off a line drive. Amazing. Once-in-a-lifetime, according to Captain Romance. And we did the whole commuter thing: the train, the el, walking, walking, walking (that’s my kind of hike). The Bug loved it. I love the City.

Cocktails in the Rose Garden of the Baker Hotel...reminded me a bit of Hampton Court---the castle, not the motel!

The very next day was the delightful wedding of my Darlin’Cuz’s beautiful daughter to her adorable husband. My camera was acting up, so I don’t have the greatest pictures, but here are a few of my gorgeous sis, her equally gorgeous kiddos (those at the end of this post), and my personal favorite, Bug dancing with her dad. Aww. The venue, the historic Baker Hotel, was gorgeousgorgeous! The food was delish, the dancing a riot, and frankly it was a fabulous time!

Still more knitting…was supposed to make Talamh as a KAL with my Darling Cuz, so I cast on to get a jump. That girl knits faaast! You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve seen her cast on a couple hundred stitches or so, and do 2 full inches of knitting, all in a couple of hours of hanging at Starbucks. Anyway, I cast on just so I could keep up with her, and have slogged through this pattern nearly to the point of putting the sleeves on stitch holders.

At this point, it just looks like a pile of yarn the cat spat up, but it's actually pretty.

It’s a top down pattern. The “waffle-stitch” pattern is pretty, but kinda endless. I think the only thing getting me through this is that I desperately need the sweater. Hope I like it!

There seemed to be lots more visiting this year than others: dinner with my bro and sis-in-law, off to see my Aunt Wheezy, a road trip in a thunderstorm with Darling Cuz to my favorite yarn shop ever, The Fold in Marengo, Illinois, a way, way-too-short visit with my Anam Cara Meggie (oooh, you’d better check her blog, Somewhere In Between—makes my mouth water every time I read it!), and finally, an insanely special meet-up with an amazing woman who was my very best friend in grammar school and junior high. It was tough to believe we were together again after 37 years…

Can't even put into words how much I missed her!

That’s right…the gorgeous and talented, amazing Peach Carr. Yes, Peach of Project Runway, season 8 (oh yes, you have to check out her Project Runway blog, too!). More on that wonderful reunion another time. 🙂

Thank you, FaceBook.

All this was sprinkled with shopping, and cooking, and thunderstorms, and eating, and sleep-overs, and watching the beginning of The House of Elliot while knitting with Momma. Not to mention my daily coffee with Momma where we try to solve the problems of the world as we wake up. Anyway, it was sad to leave, but oh the fun we’ll have planning our next trip.

Sledding, anyone?

A few wedding pics below, in case you’re at all curious…

So many cuties!


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