twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

Time Bandits January 27, 2016

Captain Romance's Iain sweater kept me busier than heck the last few weeks before Christmas.

Captain Romance’s Iain sweater kept me busier than heck the last few weeks before Christmas.

Yup. You know how it goes: you get going on a project and the next thing you know, bang–it’s time to pick up the kid, start dinner, do the dishes, and lay your head down for another day.

Been like that around here for days and weeks and months.

And it generally starts innocently at the beginning of the school year with the idea that I’ll  knit a couple of gifts for Christmas, or dye some yarn and list it in the Etsy shop, or perhaps make a whole new line of necklaces to sell or give as gifts. Sew myself a couple of tops with that cool new Double Gauze I’m seeing everywhere. And spend a week cleaning out the closets. Love doing that. Oh yes, and there’s the writing, too. Oh, the writing.

The writing is the thing that my Time Bandits love most. Once I get going, everything but the story, the laptop, and the music coming from my earbuds disappear around me. Time disappears. Literally.

I read somewhere that that means one is working “in the zone.” All I know, is when I finally surface after hours of writing, I’m drained. But drained in a good way. Like the way you feel after a good yoga class. Like I accomplished something.

I hope you have something that makes you feel that way. Now if I could only figure out a way to keep those dang Time Bandits at bay.

Here are a few of the two dozen new yarns I just added to my Etsy yarn shop

Here are a few of the two dozen new yarns I just added to my Etsy yarn shop

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Here are my new Stagger Mitts (there's also a headband)--a new pattern I wrote up to be used with my new yarns.

Here are my new Stagger Mitts (there’s also a headband)–a new pattern I wrote up to be used with my new yarns.

Here they are modeled by a darling friend of Bug.

Here they are modeled by a darling friend of Bug’s.

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Where do I begin? September 12, 2015

Filed under: knitting,life — kathy @ 1:33 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Yep, it’s been a while. A long while. I know this hasn’t been the first time, but it was the first time I considered stopping the blog altogether.

I don’t know what to say other than in the past few months, my life feels like that spare room/closet/out of the way corner/basement/attic in everyone’s house…you know, the one where you open the door and pitch stuff inside and tell yourself that you’ll get to it later. That’s about the best way I can describe it all.

At the start of the summer, I was just back from Squam, refreshed and filled with ideas. Then the reality of the everyday forced its unwelcome self into my life, while the practical part of me insisted I need to finish every last thing I’d started in the past year.

There were stories that needed editing. Those were high on the list. Then came the knitting UFOs (unfinished objects) I was itching to finish. Next, there was a test knit to finish, yarn to dye, rosaries and jewelry to finish, photograph, and list on Etsy. There were new knitting patterns I was anxious to start. Gift knitting for new babies and brides, and friends who’re not feeling well filled that space. I wanted to use my dang PMC kiln already. A course in the “The Artist’s Way” was repeatedly started and put on hiatus. I was going to teach myself screenplay writing. I wanted to sew project bags and learn how to use my new serger. There was berry-picking with Bug and making jam. I wanted to start to look through college guidebooks for Bug (I know, right?). The bedroom and bathrooms needed painting. The roses needed work, and one of these days I was going to finish transcribing all my recipes written on scraps of paper into the new recipe binder I bought when Borders was going out of business.

Phew. That was just the stuff I’d written down at the beginning of June. I know,  I have that “eyes bigger than my stomach” syndrome. But also, I feel that part of my problem is I feel life passing so fast, now. It’s a blur. And in considering what I want to do each day, I become nearly paralyzed with the choices that I end up doing something mindless like cleaning out the medicine cabinet. It’s so frustrating.

And then there was blogging.

Let me start by saying, though little of what I have to say is of much consequence, I do love it. I especially love the connection it provides with people I might never have the chance to meet otherwise. It’s a sharing space, a place of reflection and community.

That said, this past summer, every time I pulled up the “New Post” page, I admit I was just stuck. I felt pulled in so many directions, I couldn’t seem to make a coherent string of words come out of my head. Some of it made it to Instagram, but mostly it just swirled around in my head.

Sorry.

So, here’s a quick recap of summer stuff that actually happened (the photos have jumbled themselves all up, but I think you’ll be able to figure out what’s what. Sorry):

 

IMG_3394Berry-picking with Bug and jam-makingIMG_3400

I finished a number of UFOs and about 5 gift-knitting things (here are just a few)IMG_3414IMG_3737

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Yarn-dyeing! (Oh yes, and a pattern for mitts to make with some of the yarn, too!)

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A girlie road trip with my sis, niece, and Bug to check out Grinnell College.

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A new short story was finished and many recipes written into new binder, too.

So, there’s still a lot to accomplish…just gonna chip away at it all a little at a time. Makes me feel a little like Sisyphus, though.

 

Perhaps if I hijack one of these bad boys, I’ll get it done. Eventually

 

 

Oh my Garters! June 22, 2015

Filed under: knitting — kathy @ 11:08 am
Tags: , , , , ,
Magnificent Oyster shawl by WeaverKnits in  Stonehedge Fiber's Crazy mill ends.

Magnificent Oyster shawl by WeaverKnits in
Stonehedge Fiber’s Crazy mill ends. The colors are really interesting and unusual. 

Recently, I find myself at work on two different shawls, both featuring the homey-looking garter stitch. For those readers who don’t dabble in fiber and string, garter stitch is when you knit every row back and forth on a piece of flat knitting, instead of stockinette, which is alternating knitting one row and purling the next. Overall it looks rather bumpy instead of smooth.

Garter stitch is fluid, relaxing. Some say boring, and though I partially agree with that, I also find garter stitch to be a bit like meditation practice. The chattering, annoying mind that won’t be still in meditation is to me similar to the nagging thought that garter stitch is tedious. Recognize it, but keep knitting. Once I accept that this repetitive stitch is so simple it can be uninspiring, it becomes a non-issue. Simply knit on.

I knit in the continental style which means I only need to make very small movements with my hands to produce a stitch. The yarn flows easily through my fingers. Knit, knit, knit, knit, knit…it becomes soothing, not really mindless, but rather, intuitive. Peaceful. It is a good break for my mind.

Many folks claim knitting is relaxing, however I must add that, in my opinion, the only time knitting is relaxing is when the project is working out the way you want it to.

To me, garter stitch is restful, and I’ve decided that if I’m wise, I’ll be certain to have some sort of garter stitch project on hand to work out the stresses of life (BTW, also it’s proven to be a good knitting choice for social knitting that includes wine, or for foreign film watching).

Shuffle shawl by Heather Claussen--Test knitting this clever design by a new Squam buddy.

Shuffle shawl by Heather Claussen–Test knitting this clever design by a new Squam buddy.

 

Write now…right now! November 5, 2014

Filed under: knitting,writing — kathy @ 11:56 am
Tags: , , , , ,
Ah, this would be my dream writing spot. Maybe someday...

Ah, this would be my dream writing spot. Maybe someday…

Hello dear friends!

Just the other day I had a nagging feeling I’d forgotten something…low and behold, I realized I hadn’t written a post here in nearly 2 months. For shame! I can only blame it on the fact that I’ve been busy writing other things, namely researching and writing a short story to submit for an upcoming fantasy anthology, and editing my novel, Lore. What wonderfully all-consuming projects. Whenever I write, no matter if I find myself blocked and agonizing over plot, or if I’m flying through the story with it flowing easily from my mind to my fingers, I find hours fly past. It is truly my deepest devotion, writing. To that end, I think I should focus more on writing here, as well.

 

Then there is knitting…T_MaryFrancesCover

I’ve been making good progress on my Clown Barf shoulder wrap, poncho-thingy. Just a few more “tiers” to go. And thank goodness; we’ve been waking to 40 degree temps–finally! Sweater weather at last. Though we have still had more than a typical number of over 80 degree days in the last month or so. Hmphf. I wish I could like hot weather. I just cannot take it. Even when I was a kid I wasn’t happy with heat and sweating. Ah well.

On the upside, though, it is easier to get yarn to dry when it’s warm outside, so I might just have to schedule some dyeing…;)

I’d really like to get underway with a couple of cardigans, and maybe even a last minute Christmas giftie. What’s Christmas without a frenzied race to finish a handmade gift, right?

And then there’s that Holiday Boutique I signed up to do. Many of you know I make jewelry, but I don’t know if you’ve heard I make rosaries and rosary bracelets, too. So the first weekend of December (in fact, about a month from now) I’ll be at our local church selling those items, as well as a few regular jewelry items, since I won’t be having a Christmas Trunk Show this year. I’ll be posting the address soon, in case any of you local readers might want to attend. I’d love to see you!

And instead of the Christmas Show, I’m planning on having a Valentine’s Day Trunk Show. Kind of a “buy something for your sweetie to give you Show”, or “give yourself some love this Valentine’s Day Show.”

Well, better skeedaddle…got lots going on!

What sorts of things are keeping you busy right now? Tell me–I’d love to know!

 

Have you any wool July 13, 2014

Lovely little piles of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock, Miss Babs Yummy, Cosmic, and Yet, Handmaiden Silk Sock, Sea Sock, and Posh Hannah

Lovely little piles of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock, Miss Babs Yummy, Cosmic, and Yet, Handmaiden Silk Sock, Sea Sock, and Posh Hannah

To me, there is little that is more satisfying than a stack of small cakes of merino (or if I’m very lucky, merino and silk blend, too) just waiting to become a shawl, or some mitts, or a pair of colorful socks. Sort of the equivalent of having a well-stocked pantry. So today, after the house was all tidy, I pulled out a bunch of skeins (some of which have been in my storage tubs for years), my yarn swift and ball winder (now, now), checked out what shows have been languishing on the DVR, and started winding.

After about two and a half hours I was finished; I had 15 lovely skeins of fingering weight and lace weight yarn all neatly wound with, miraculously, not a single tangling disaster. Even with the all the silk I was winding.

Anyway, here’s the result of my little party. Rather an embarrassment of riches, with an obvious penchant for pink. Especially Handmaiden’s Sangria, which I have in nearly every single fingering weight base they dye because I love the color so much. Well, I’ve never hidden the fact I have SABLE (StashAccumulationBeyondLifeExpectancy) issues. But now that these goodies are all wound, it’ll be easy to open a ziploc or a tub and pull one out to make something fabulous.

 

 

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!”

 

 

 

And It’s Live! December 5, 2013

Filed under: knitting — kathy @ 7:18 pm
Tags: , , ,

So after manymanymany attempts at photographing my yarn to get the colors to match (this included trying 3 or 4 different cameras–who knew it could be so tough to get turquoise to look like turquoise?), keeping my fuzzy photography  assistant out of the shots, spending hours on copy, and even more hours listing them on Etsy’s fab site, I am proud and excited to announce the opening of my new undertaking, Absinthe Yarn.

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Thanks so much to those friends who’ve already taken a peek, “favorited,” and one dear pal who has even purchased a couple of skeins. And as a grand opening surprise, I will be added a special little gift to the first 5 purchases. Well, since I’ve had one sale already 🙂 there are 4 gifties left.

My assistant likes to help

My assistant likes to help…he really really likes to help. Oy.

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Here I go! Yippee!

 

 
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