twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

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…



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!


Ah, Fraternity July 7, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — kathy @ 12:55 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

IMG_1759Yes, those who know me well probably know that I have a thing about symmetry. Problem is, I’m fickle about which things I like to have sporting symmetry, and which things I’d like to have stand out because of the asymmetry. Like when I make jewelry, for instance…I like the necklaces and bracelets to have a random sort of feeling; there might be a little bit of a pattern on the sides that go around the neck, however, the center area of a necklace is nearly always very mixed. Earrings, on the other hand, really need to be symmetrical, unless of course you’re in a mood to channel the 80s. Been there, done that. On the other hand, maybe I should rethink that. Hmm.

Knitting, for me, is nearly the complete opposite of that reasoning. I like my sleeves to be the same length, thank you very much. I like my shawls to be balanced (sorry Stephen West–I just can’t pull off your brand of cool, though I admire it), and although I’m intrigued by the many pullovers I’ve seen lately with a longer tail in the back, socks must match. Until now.






Happy Feet!

Happy Feet!

I found these mismatched, fraternal socks to be an exercise in letting go. I am such a control freak sometimes (Yes, I admit it. Not proud of it, but there it is.) that I miss seeing the artistic freedom asymmetry creates. I really like them, though (here I go) I do wish I would’ve been able to get more red into the second sock. And also, I’m a little bummed that I read over the comments about the yarn’s yardage being misrepresented (not true in my case) on Ravelry. I was afraid I’d run out for the second sock so I skimped on length and have nearly an ounce of leftover yarn to show for it. Boobies. On the upside, they only took 7 days of actual knitting. Well, a few hours over each of 7 days, but you probably know what I mean.

I think I’ll use it up with 1/2 skein of plain black fingering I have floating around here to make a crazy stripety pair of mitts with little black antique buttons on the sides that’ve been floating about in my ole noggin’ for awhile.

Fraternity is a good thing, I think.

IMG_1760                                 Just ask the cats. 😉IMG_1761



I haven’t been abducted by aliens… July 16, 2012

The colors of this yarn are amazing! I can’t wait to finish this baby!

…although I feel like I have.

Where the heck has the summer break been going?

Every day since my last post (except for a migraine or two forcing me to shut down for the afternoon), every day has been jam-packed with something (or someone) or another to start, complete, improve, deliver, nurse, sort, tidy, plant, pick, preserve…you name the date, there is sure to be an action verb associated with it. Not that I mind, it’s just that I can’t seem to cram everything I want/need to do into every day (like I’m telling you anything new–surely you know exactly what I mean because you’re doing it all too).

Well, here’s just a few of the “productive” things I’ve been working on:

The Eyelet Puerperium Cardi #1

Puerperium Eyelet Cardi #2

Baby Sweaters! I just lovelovelove knitting baby sweaters. For one thing, they’re fast. For another, you can use lovely (nowadays, washable merino) yarns without breaking the bank, and best of all, babies look adorable in anything you put them in, no matter if the sleeves turned out a wee bit shorter/longer/skinnier than you expected. Ya know?

Case in point: The Puerperium Baby Cardigan. I made 2! And it’s such a simple raglan pattern that I decided to wing it a little and do eyelet edging in both versions just to make it a little more interesting.

Eyelets and vintage buttons, too.

I also made a pair of booties to go with the teal version: I called them “Goody Two-Shoes,” but the pattern name is “Forget-me-not Baby Shoes, by Julia Noskova.”

I’ve made booties before and let me tell you, while they were darling, the experience was not. All those pieces to stitch together.  Sheesh. These were brilliant, however, made in one piece with just one seam from the top of the heel, down the sole to the toe. You pick up stitches along the back edge to make the strap. Made them both in a day, even with daily tidying and dinner-making.

Besides those wooly tidbits, I’ve been working diligently on finishing the UFOs in my stash (actually those might be the aliens responsible for abducting me, in a sense, hahah), most especially I’ve been throwing myself into the amazing “Coat of Many Colors.”

The outside is done, working up the back and across the sleeves. Man, is it heavy, but what a cool, unusual design!

What a project. And at this point, with all the different skeins of yarn and the actual unwieldiness of the thing, hoo-boy. This is a piece that requires the living room couch and a good movie. Perhaps a cup of tea. And definitely Homemade Strawberry Shortcake.

Yes, Bug and I had such fun strawberry picking at Swanton Berry Farm last summer that we headed back there, picked a bunch, and made 3/4 into agave-sweetened jam. That meant we got to make strawberry shortcake with some of the rest. Used Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking and Pancake mix, swapped the milk with buttermilk, and made 6 drop biscuits instead of 8 traditional rolled and cut out biscuits (mainly because the dough was super wet). Also, I spread the top half of the biscuit with some homemade jam. CR, who doesn’t actually consider anything to be “dessert” unless it’s chocolate (or carrot cake, but that’s for another post), declared these to be amazing and the best strawberry shortcake he’d ever eaten.

I have a bunch of other stuff I wanna tell you about, but instead of making this an e-n-d-le-s-s post, how about I save that for later in the week?

Snoozing in his “tunnel,” Pip has the right idea. Photo by Bug.

By-the way, I just want to thank all of you who’re reading “Legacy of  the Talisman.” I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your time and support, and I welcome your comments.


Knitting and wine…so divine! September 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — kathy @ 11:52 am

A little Pinot Grigio, a little Dream in Color, a bit of twisted rib stitch...bliss!

You’ll be proud of me; I’ve been working hard toward achieving my yearly list of goals. So hard, though, I’ve forgotten to post. However, I have been knitting on my Amelie Cardigan, playing with our little black Beanie Baby with teeth (lordy, she chews everything. Just the other day CR brought in the mouse from our dinosaur computer to show me the cord had been chewed nearly in half, its little wire guts sticking out everywhere.), and making new jewels for my holiday open house.

Oh yes, and I’ve also been a copycat, too:

Home baked bread makes the house smell so good!

Turned out reasonably well, but I’ve never been known for my baking ability–more like inability.  My sister, now there’s a baker. For a better, more complete idea of what I attempted to bake, see my  BFF Meggie’s blog post here:

She’s an amazing baker!

Think I’ll make this bread into awesome French Toast this weekend…

Well, gotta scram! Be in touch soon!


It’s a lovely holiday… August 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — kathy @ 10:02 am

Bug visiting with Grandma G

This summer has proved to be one of the most crazy, happy, miserable, nutty summers ever. On the one hand, my little family started out sick and wasted the first month of summer vacation eating chicken soup, cough drops, and antibiotics instead of swimming, grilling, gardening, going to the beach, and painting the outside of the house. (Okay, the last item, not so much fun, however the finished results are so satisfying, that I really wanted to include it in my little group of stuff there.)

Onto our trip to Chicago, where, truth be told, after arriving I needed one more week of prednisone (yuck) and antibiotics to become reasonably well enough to really do anything that required more activity than lifting my hand to my mouth. For the last couple of weeks we’ve been doing a small variety of visiting and sightseeing.

Bug in the John Hancock Plaza

We had filming for the Bug’s and her cousins’s drama, “Beautiful Blades,” by my darling cuz’s kiddo (young director–poor guy, I think all those girls made him a little nuts).

Finally, I’ve had a bit of time to make some new jewelry, finish a couple of knitting projects (both so-so in terms of how satisfactory I felt they turned out—my “Just enough Ruffles scarf  has been renamed “Hardly any Ruffles.” It was a limp and floppy disaster, and it will be ripped when it arrives back in CA…Enough said.). I also ripped another new project, and started a couple more. But nothing too major. It’s just been too hot, muggy, and rainy to do much outside.

Hardly Any Ruffles...a floppy disaster

But at least we had some thunderstorms. I lovelovelove thunderstorms!

Certainly, one of the things I’ve been anticipating most of all was the secret trip I mentioned a couple of posts ago…a trip I’ve been yearning for ( and I do mean yearning for) since I was about 5 years old: A trip to London. So it seems that since CR has a business meeting in London, and since we are currently kittenless, and since our intrepid housesitter can stay an extra week, we are winging our way to jolly old England in just a few days and I am overcome with excitement. Even better, Momma and Poppa will be joining us!  We’ll be staying in an old white rowhouse turned mod hotel in South Kensington—looks like it’s just around the corner from Mary Poppins and Wendy Darling. Those of you who’ve known me forever know that seeing the movie Mary Poppins as a wee kiddo got me started with my obsession with England.

A goofy memory: Can you imagine my excitement back in High School when during homecoming week one year, our class got to dress up as characters from Mary Poppins? I made myself a white lace dress like hers and spent a good part of the day I wore it  posing for my art teacher’s drawing classes.

Typically I plan our  vacation activities within an inch of their lives and this trip is no different. However, no one else in my clan seems to share my obsession with this planning of mine. So I decided instead of making everyone follow my schedule of things to do and see, I’ve made a list of stuff with necessary info (you know, like time sights are open and how much they cost), and figure that each day we can decide what we’re in the mood to do.

By the way, if there’s something you’ve done in London that you’d recommend doing, I’d love to know about it.

And as usual, I’ve been busy planning plane knitting for our trip. Item one, a Swallowtail shawl made from Malabrigo Silky in the Indecita colorway. I’m about a third finished and drooling over the color.

Yummy yarn!

It’s moving so fast, however, that I’m thinking I’d better bring a second project and am trying to decide between doing a “Traveling Lady” with this luscious HandMaiden Camel Spin in the Sangria colorway (scored as a giftie from Momma while on a trip to Knitche in Downers Grove), or this Liesl top thingy

(pattern purchased from CocoKnits at the last Stitches West) in the Louet Euroflax (ripped twice now–after my failed Jordan, I made a feeble attempt to design a lacy cardigan for myself out of this linen…just blah. Rip! Good thing this stuff is truly like string!)

Blue Puppy models the insanely gorgeous Hand Maiden Camelspin in Sangria

Also, Momma is having me teach her how to knit a sock on the plane. Joy. She really wants to do it—I mean, she asked me to show her  how—but she also keeps telling me she doesn’t think she can do it. I know better, however. She’s really a good knitter. We’re starting with a worsted weight, even though she told me she wants to make a fingering weight sock because I know my dear mother sometimes has the attention span of a 7-year-old when it comes to knitting and it’ll take too long for her; she’s the Queen of UFOs. Poppa just rolls his eyes when he sees her casting on for a new project.

Well, I’m off upstairs to pack a bit.

Mary Poppins, here I come! Wish I had her carpetbag…


Been a long time… November 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — kathy @ 10:57 am

Well, not all that long, but you all know I like to post at least once or twice a week.

I’ve been wanting to post for days now, and although I’d like to blame all the work I”ve been doing for my jewelry open house tomorrow, I had a worse reason not to be able to post.

My laptop got smacked by a rogue program—specifically “Active Security.” What a pain. Totally wiped out my computer! Thankfully, Captain Romance is my hero when it comes to computer ills. So even after I spent on the phone with a very nice lady from McAfee trying to fix this mess (she gave up and said this was a problem for her supervisor), CR leaped into the fray and slayed the evil dragon churning inside my computer. Yipee.

Except at this moment I’m having a horrifying revelation that all my pictures are missing. Oh. my. God.

I wish I could sue those jerks at Active Security. What the heck is wrong with people  that makes them think that it’s okay for them to do **** like that to other people?!

Oh well, on the knitting front, the very fun, very cool Broadripple sock (yes, it’s still the first one; I’ve been making jewelry and meeting with contractors!) are up to the toe and I plan to finish it on this Sunday morning.

Hope you can make it to my show!!

With any luck, a nice looong post on Monday!


My heart is breaking… August 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — kathy @ 9:18 am

I should be excited about the wedding shower I’m going to today. I should be thrilled that in a few days the Bug and I will be heading to Chicago to spend time with family and friends. I had planned on writing a big ole post today about my Jewelry Open House.

Instead, my heart is breaking.

My dearest fuzzy friend and companion of 19 years is dying.  Her liver is sick, she’s refusing to take the meds, and she’s stopped eating. The measures I’d have to take to keep her alive would be so invasive and painful, that even the vet is not pushing for me to go that route.

My beloved Foozle

My beloved Foozle

Here’s the part of loving a pet that’s painful. Here’s the part that you don’t think of when you pick up that mewling bundle of fur from the cage at the shelter and fall in love at first sight.

Through the years, when a friend has a pet pass, you stop and think a moment that that’s down the road for you; but that’s not something to dwell on and instead, you continue to enjoy the love and antics of your furry friend.

For the last day or so, my eyes have been so wet so often, that now they are swollen. And then there’s that lump in my throat and knotted sick stomach that never seems to go away.

I’m finding that thinking of the happy memories and love she’s given me is the only way to keep myself from being so selfish as to prolong her misery.

She is 19 after all. and though I know she’s sick, it’s tough to believe because she doesn’t look 19. Her eyes, until now, have been bright, and her fur silky and full.

Foozle in her little Eichler cat house on a warm spring day

Foozle in her little Eichler cat house on a warm spring day

Now is the time I must put all my selfish feelings aside and let her go.

What I have been trying to do is remember our good times together, the funny things she used to do. She would’ve been a wonderful mother, I’m sure, because whenever anyone cried, she always came running to that person’s side. Whenever I was actually sick enough to be in bed, she’d be my little nurse, snuggling next to me like a little hot water bottle.

Yes, we’ve had plenty of tough times. Just read my first post. That’s because she’s a smarty. I suppose that’s why she’s been so much fun. She could be quite the character.

And one of the toughest things of all is watching Bug go through all this. These two have been best buds. Fooz is like a sister for Bug. They snuggle together every night and the Bug sings to her, and tells her all about what she did that day until the cat falls asleep.

She’s inconsolable. She understands there’s nothing to be done and that Foozle is likely suffering. I know after some time passes, she’ll get through it; I just wish I could make it all better for her now.

Oh yes, Bug would like me to add that she loves Foozle with all her heart, and doesn’t want her to suffer, even though she can’t bear to part with her.

I apologize for such a sad post; my mind simply cannot get past this. I promise the next one will be much happier.

And I will get through all this myself in time. Remembering is bittersweet, but it will keep her close in my heart. For instance, the thought of how she’d join me in the living room every morning, stretched out on the rug under Grandma’s chair, just her toes poked into the sunny patch, sleeping. That will always be her place. There and in my heart.


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