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…;)

 

Writer’s Block May 8, 2014

I always thought I wanted a "lap cat." Not so sure any more...

I always thought I wanted a “lap cat.” Not so sure any more…

I’m so excited! I’ve just finished an extraordinary online writing course called “The Magic of Myth” given by Elizabeth Duvivier founder of Squam Art Workshops. The course began with a three week analysis of the myth of Psyche and Eros, which is considered to be the genesis of all modern(ish) faery tales such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and the like. The second three weeks consisted of writing our own, original myth or faery tale, using different archetypes to craft the piece.

Wow. It was just what I needed to get my writer’s juices flowing again.

Over the past few years, I’ve been trying (and by that I mean, putting it on my calendar, but mostly ignoring it) to take a month to finish the last 2 chapters of my book, “Lore.” Ha. What’s been happening is that generally I try to get myself warmed up and in the flow by starting at the beginning of the novel, and editing the piece (all 562 pages so far) to where I last stopped, and try to finish from there. I think this is a mistake, however, I do it anyway.

One of the things I learned in Elizabeth’s class was that what I actually need to do to get the old brain box in gear is to move around, sing a little, dance a little in my private space here before I sit down to tackle the rest of that behemoth. And once I do, it’s amazing how when I start writing, time disappears. I know that even more than knitting, writing is my truest calling, because of that shift in time for me, that unconscious, effortless flow of heart to head to page…

That is, unless I have help. From someone fluffy, of course. He’s my personal “writer’s block.” Believe me, there’s no place for a laptop if he’s already on your lap.

Quick, he's in the chair, now! Write, write!

Quick, he’s in the chair, now! Write, write!

Anyway, even though it was part of the “class,” I was inspired to write  a really honest short story/faery tale that I feel like Elizabeth really found pleasing; and I was so happy with the piece, in fact, that I think I’m going to work on it a little more and submit it somewhere. You’d be surprised how many fairy tale pubs there are nowadays.

Darling Emma is so lovely!

Darling Emma is so lovely!

Sadly though, with a focus on writing, my knitting time has been pushed to after dinner. I’m slowly making progress with my “Darling Emma,” just doing a half dozen rows or so a night before I feel like I’m gonna pass out. It’s about 30% done now. Having to rip and restart 5 inches into the thing didn’t help, either. Oh well.

After this, I have a couple pairs of socks to finish, and then…I just don’t know. But I’ve got a feeling that the knitting might slow down even a little more, or shift entirely to sock mode since the weather gurus are predicting 5 days in a row of 90+ degree temps next week, and we have no AC. Sigh. What happened to spring?

Well, off to write some more on “Lore.” I see the light, it’s a pinpoint, but it’s there at the end of that tunnel.

 

The class inspired this new  Absinthe Yarn colorway called "Psyche and Eros!"

The class inspired this new Absinthe Yarn colorway called “Psyche and Eros!”

 

 

 

I’m loose. February 18, 2014

Gauge-wise, that is. Now, now. 😉

No matter what the project, after some 40 years (yes!) of knitting I know that whatever needle size the pattern calls for, I swatch one to two sizes smaller. Right off the bat, I do this.

By the way, anyone who popped onto this blog because of the heading who doesn’t knit or enjoy someone blathering on about knitting, is more than free to leave. Thanks for dropping by!

I named my project "Darling Byzantine" after my all time favorite Madelinetosh colorway, Byzantine

I named my project “Darling Byzantine” after my all time favorite Madelinetosh colorway, Byzantine

On to this knitting journey: Darling Emma, by Joji Locatelli, was no exception to my gauge swatch rule . The pattern calls for size 4 needles, so I pulled out a pair of US3s and swatched a reasonable 6 inch square of Tosh Merino Light (same yarn as called for in the pattern, BTW), soaked and blocked it (I always block my swatch–it really does make a difference.). Much to my surprise, I found I actually had more than the necessary stitches per inch. On the other hand, due in part to the yarn’s subtle thick/thin quality, in some places I didn’t have enough stitches per inch.  You know how it goes, you move that little metal gauge window  from one spot to another all over your knitting, counting those little “v’s” and trying to find several sections that clearly show you’ve hit the gauge’s sweet spot. In this case, it seemed like overall, I had more stitches per inch, which caused me to make the executive decision to go up to the size 4 needles. And to do it without swatching. There was the dicey move.

So dicey that, 4 repeats into this lovely sweater that I’ve been dying to make since last summer, I find my gauge has loosened to the point that (the sweater is a rather wonderfully easy knit, with an easy-to-memorize lace pattern, so I knit pretty fast) according to my calculations, if I continue to knit using US4 needles, the sweater will be at least 5 inches too big around. And while I like my sweaters on the drapey side…that’s just too much. Worse, I  could run out of yarn.

So I will have to rip. Waaaa. And it’s too early for a gin and tonic.

At least Stitches West starts this Thursday, and I still have Christmas money left over. 🙂

 

Torn. May 6, 2013

Filed under: knitting,life — kathy @ 1:50 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,
It's the Bug as "Fiona"

It’s the Bug as “Fiona”

I know, I know. I just haven’t kept up with my blog, and honestly, I’ve really missed writing it.

The problem is (this time, anyway) that I over-extended myself in the “helping out at school ” department this past spring.

When I said I’d help with the costumes for the Bug’s 8th grade musical, “Brigadoon,” I didn’t realize that I was offering to be responsible for the costumes. You see, in this case, helping meant that not only would I have to determine the look of the costumes with her teacher (who was also directing) based on the 1955 Lerner and Lowe movie production starring Gene Kelly (be still my heart) and Cyd Charisse, but that I was going to have to sew all those costumes as well. In 8 weeks. Well, actually in 7 weeks because there was a school break in there and I’d already made plans to be out of town that week.

So in just 7 weeks, I had to come up with 12 kilts, ghillie shirts, and tam-o-shanters, as well as 14 skirts with overskirts, puffy-sleeved blouses, and bodices, plus 20-some tartan sashes. And this doesn’t include organizing the costumes the kids were supposed put together and bring in for the “1950s NYC bar scene.” And there were 2 different casts so that more kids would have a chance to be a lead. Unfortunately, the kids were all different sizes, so there was little costume sharing. Ah well. So complicated, it required a spread sheet to keep it all straight.

Luckily I had a couple of dear friends help with the cutting, some sewing, and finishing, as well an unbelievable superhero-like rescue from my wonderful, gorgeous, and amazing BFF Meggie and her darling pal Wendy, who graciously lent me their precious bodices so I didn’t have to sew any of those suckers.

And thanks to the internet, I found an amazing website that sold remarkable authentic kilts and ghillie shirts; that truly saved my tookas. (sorry, can’t spell Yiddish, but I think you get my drift.)

I don’t mean to complain, mind you. I was happy to do it for the kids. But it was overwhelming. At least 7 weeks non-stop sewing, and not a bit of knitting during that entire time. Sigh. At least the kids were thrilled with the results.

Here are just a couple of pictures:

Just a few of the lovely lassies...

Just a few of the lovely lassies…

A scene of the Faire...that's the Bug in the white dress

A scene of the Faire…that’s the Bug in the white dress

And by the way, the Bug had the lead role of “Fiona” in the first cast.

If I can figure out how to do it, I might even download a video of one of the numbers. Sorry about the sound; the kids weren’t miked. Don’t get me started.

So, now with all that excitement over, I’m torn over what creative thingy to work on now: writing, knitting, yarn-dyeing, weaving, spinning, even a little more sewing.

I got so excited to have all these options, that with an eye for starting with a clean slate, over the last couple of weeks, I finished a couple of knitting projects. And then earlier today, I wound up a bunch of yummy Madelintosh yarn and started swatching for 2, yes 2, new cardigans: Cinnamon Girl, and Darling Emma. And I’m still working on my second pair of socks under my “6 pair in a year” personal challenge.

Yummy Madtosh DK in Alizarin colorway for "Cinnamon Girl"

Yummy Madtosh DK in Alizarin colorway for “Cinnamon Girl”

Oh right…I also got a wild hair to recreate my all-time favorite A-line pullover, which I’ve actually been considering for awhile. Finally got up the courage to figure out what I needed to do. So, I think I’ll stay busy for a while. But that’s just how I like it, I guess.

Now I have to knit fast. Very very fast.

 

Edited to add:

After posting this, I finally had a chance to catch up on reading a few of my fav blogs, including Yarn Harlot. LOL. She has a post from a few days ago titled “Torn” What a laugh, since I started working on this blog a week ago before I had time to finish it and post.

 

 
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