twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

Insane brain November 13, 2014

Just a tiny sample...

Just a tiny sample of rosary bracelets and chaplets…

And that’s putting it mildly.

This is my craziest time of year, with custom orders, and trunk shows and craft fairs, forget about Thanksgiving and Christmas, both of which will likely be spent here in pjs and slippers. As my teenaged Bug says, I just don’t have the spoons for it all. Sigh.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been focused on putting together new designs for my annual holiday trunk show and a craft boutique for my local parish church. I have been working on and off all year on sparkly new stuff for the trunk show, so it’s not like I’m only doing all this last minute. However there is definitely something in me that loves a bit of a challenge, not to mention the part that has a last minute inspiration for a design. And then there are last minute Christmas custom orders.

That said, I decided to take a little pressure off by allowing myself to do just the parish Christmas Boutique now, and do the trunk show at Valentine’s Day–oh wait, I think I mentioned that last week. See…insane brain.

My fingertips are twanging as I type this because I’ve been making chaplets and rosaries and rosary bracelets for days now. A completely wire-wrapped bronze or sterling gemstone rosary takes an entire day (give or take a quick vacuuming or a load of laundry). Thing is, I shouldn’t probably make so many pieces. Especially rosaries. I should know better than to make too many because invariably someone (or two) will come up to my display and wrinkle their noses or gasp at my prices. It makes me crazy, because my work isn’t the kind of “made in China” assembly line stuff you find in a Christian Book Store. It’s actually something made by hand of fine metals and gemstones, one-of-a-kind and meant to be an heirloom.

But I digress.

And I’d better get back to work so I might be able to squeak out some time to daydream…I have a story percolating in my head, all itching to get out and written. And a load of laundry. And dinner. Oh yes, and maybe some long neglected knitting (whaaaa). 😦 There’s just too much stuff in my head.

What I need is an hour spent at this amazing spa called Watercourse Way. Hmm. maybe I need to book an appointment for one the week after this boutique. I have a gift certificate, after all.

I hope I made some sense today. What gets you going this time of year? I’d love to know I’m not alone.

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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!

 

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

 

 

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?

 

Hat Trick March 26, 2012

Please forgive me. Once again, posts have been sidetracked by unavoidable responsibilities, peppered by lots of fun stuff, jewelry-making, and wool-related activities.

When I last checked in with all of you, both Darling Cuz and Stitches West were coming to my part of the world. It was so much fun, and met with so much excitement, that when they finally first opened the doors of the hallowed Market (Bug and I always go to the opening night of the Market as one of our special girlie activities…I head straight for Blue Moon Fiber, she goes for all the roving), a wild cheer went up through the crowd. If only I’d have been taking a video that evening. What a rush!

This is a very cool, wool-wrapped statue at the Lion Brand Yarn Booth!

Of course Cuz and I had a mahvelous time oogling wool, knitting, gabbing, and eating! I wish it’d never ended. But then we’ll always have our summer trek out to the Fold in Marengo, one of the most wonderful places to buy yarn, as well as the fact that we get a few hours of uninterrupted gabbing in on the way. Heaven! Miss you, Cuz!

OMG! This bag was a-dorable! But I couldn't justify the $260 price when I know I could find the materials and make something like it for $50 or so. Watch for details of that...

Then just the other day, I thought it’s be a blast to “surprise” my nephew who’s away at school with a little box of goodies, and what would be better in a box of goodies besides some yummy food treats, but a yummy Malabrigo Hat treat. So I popped over to one of my fab LYSs, Uncommon Threads, because they’re one of the local shops that carries Mmmmalabrigo.

I decided to make “A Hat Fit For a Boyfriend” using some Rios in Azul Profundo. CR said, “Hmm, that’s nice,” so I grabbed another skein of the exact same yarn, while the Bug became entranced by a skein in the “Candobe” colorway for what she wanted: a slouchy hat. Okay, who am I to argue? You want me to knit you guys hats with some Malabrigo? I guess I’ll have to forcemyself… 😉 After perusing all the wonderful slouchy hats on Rav, she picked the loads of fun “Knit Night Hat.”

A super fun pattern!

Not a great picture, but you get the idea...

At any rate, three hats flew off my needles in the past few weeks, along with a great squishy cowl made from (what else?) more Malabrigo: this time Rasta in Garden Gate and I used the LTYC Super Bulky Cowl.

So much fun, and only took one day…and was just the thing she needed for a class ski trip to Tahoe with CR.

!he LTYC Super Bulky Cowl. Super Freaky!

I love covering my loved ones in knitted love. Like Franklin Habit says (okay, I’m paraphrasing), it’s like saying I love you, 12,000 times. Crazytown.

Oh, the colors are magnificent!

And I’ve been trudging along on my beloved “Dreamcoat of Many Colors,” swirl coat by Sandra McIver. Fabulous idea, brain-bending instructions, gobs of purling. Gobs and gobs. But I invested in this project 100%, and intend on finishing it. I’ve finished the outer oval shaping that forms the collar and the lower body, but have spent a few hours stuck at “Welt 14” where (I think) you begin to build the back of the body and the upper sides of the coat, so I’m a little behind where I thought I’d be by now. There are 2, chock full of information, schematics in the book, but honestly, if you don’t understand what the knitting should look like, you’re a little lost. In fact, if the instructions for Welt 14 started with the phrase, “You will now begin to knit flat as you form the back and upper sides of the body,” I honestly believe that it would be a little easier to understand. Luckily, after pouring over all the Ravelry projects for the coat, I found one (in German) that had some great photos that helped make the light go on! Hoorah!

Nonetheless, I will keep going with this project and with any luck, finish it while it’s still cool enough to wear it! Even if I don’t, it’ll be a major accomplishment I’ll be thrilled to wear. The colors of the yarn are amazing.

Well, plenty of other stuff going on, so I’d better get a move on over here. Hope to have a good bit of progress made on the sweater over the next few days.

As always, please feel free to add a comment or two! I love to know what’s happening out there with all of you! 

 

Blessings January 1, 2012

Filed under: life — kathy @ 3:21 pm
Tags: , , , ,

It's Lucy! She's a stuffie I made for the Bug for Christmas. Great pattern!

I suppose it’d be an understatement to say it’s been a while since I posted anything here. The end of 2011 was one of the busiest year-ends ever, and at one point I realized I had to just put my head down and power through it all. In fact this year I did so much jewelry-making and gift knitting that a few nights I thought I might be having a heart attack because my right arm ached so much!  Unfortunately focusing on getting stuff finished for the holidays also meant I had to let some other things things slip, like making our traditional plum pudding and gingerbread cookies, and sadly, writing my blog.

A shot of just a few of the pieces from my Talisman Rocks Holiday Trunk Show. More photos at the end of this blog.

So let me start this brief post by saying, “Happy New Year” to one and all. I wish each of you a coming year that’s full of happiness, and experiences that are rich and fulfilling.

For myself, I must question “Where will I start this new year?”

I tend to compartmentalize when I think. I’m great at multi-tasking only when it comes to taking care of our home: cooking dinner while doing a load of laundry, helping with homework, and answering emails.

When it comes to my “creative work,” however, I’m happiest with the outcomes when I focus on one creative thing at a time, whether it’s writing, knitting, jewelry, dyeing yarn…whatever.

So over the next few days, I’m puttin’ on my sorting hat, figuring out which one of my “things” to start with, and then hitting it. Hard.

One thing’s certain; I’ll continue to practice something I started doing full time at the beginning of this past autumn: I give thanks and count my blessings as I fall asleep every night. I find that despite the inevitable difficulties that crop up in my life and slow me down, I have more blessings in my life than I can count, and invariably I go to sleep with a smile on my face instead staying awake worrying.

Here’s to you my friends–please know you are counted in my blessings, and I’ll strive to keep in touch with you here far better than I have in the past year.

 Here are a few pictures from the many things I did the past two months:
Talisman Rocks Holiday Trunk Show:
Some knitted giftes (there are several more I forgot to take pictures of!):
 

What’s up? October 8, 2011

Well, once again, I’ve found myself mired in the quicksand of life…so much is going on that I haven’t had a chance to post anything lately. Even though day after day post ideas pop into my head; it’s just that I haven’t had a spare moment to write. You see, I’m missing one very important skill: supersonic fast typing skills.

I mentioned once that way back in 8th grade at Edison Jr. High, when we were forced to take a typing class, I silently revolted against the teacher, thinking, “I’m not going to be a secretary. Why the heck should I learn to type? I’ll look at the keys if I feel like it…” Result? my top speed on any typing test in that class was 39 words per minute. Mostly because I’d look at the keys, as well as correct my mistakes as I went along.

Fast forward to now. Hmm. Didn’t need to learn how to type, eh? Well, all the angels in heaven had a mighty good laugh at me. Over 17 years writing full time in advertising…my dearest dream of being a published fantasy writer (thousands of pages written/edited/deleted/saved by now), this blog…just general correspondence…the list goes on and on.

With all that writing, I have to admit that my typing skills have improved. Vastly. But I still look at the keys on occasion. This causes me to take a good 2 to 3 hours to create a post here.

All this is my way of explaining why I haven’t posted in an age, and to say I’m sorry. I really enjoy writing here, visiting and letting you know what’s happening.

That’s the other part of it, though. This is my super-de-duper busiest time of the year. My annual Talisman Rocks Holiday Trunk Show is coming up in a month (November 18th and 19th), and I’ve been at it full time. Really inspired this year to create some new things. Here’s a wee “amuse bouche” of the goods:

Gorgeous Karen Thai sterling pendants, luscious pearls and gemstones knotted on irish linen and silk lay softly over one's clavicle...

Long earrings! So much fun and so "now!"

Also had a day by myself last Saturday, and really finally figured out what I was doing wrong dyeing yarn. Came up with some glorious goodies that I really think I would sell, though I might have to send out a few to some intrepid knitting pals to test knit with…more on that another time.

Here’s a look at some of what I worked up: Merino, merino with cashmere, Blue-faced Leicester with silk, and Alpaca with merino and silk. Yummy stuff. If I had a studio to work in, I’d do this 3 or 4 days a week.

from left, BFL silk fingering, Merino cashmere fingering, Merino fingering

The camera just isn't getting the luscious wines and cinnamons here...better in the picture of the yarn drying at the bottom of this post.

And, I’ve had a couple of design ideas bouncing around in my old noggin so I’ve been playing with that, too.

More on what I'm up to here later...yes, that's yarn I dyed! Super soft merino in a cinnamon candy red.

Busy, busy.

Well, that’s nothing new, I suppose.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Hugs to you all!

Here the reds are closer to what they look like in real life...

A fun, sort of firey autumn leaves/hogwarts hand painted merino.

 

 
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