twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

Weaving in Loose Ends August 27, 2013

Well, it’s been awhile, but I promise, I’ve been so busy I’m lucky to have clean clothes and a fed family most days. Thank God for the “quick cycle” and the CrockPot.

Since we’ve last met:

Only in San Francisco Airport. I mean, it's a good idea. Still, where else...

Only in San Francisco Airport. I mean, it’s a good idea. Still, where else…

Bug and I ran out to Chi-town for a lightning-quick summer trip.

There I happily spent time with my dear parents, my adorable Sista and kiddos, my Bro and darling SIL, and (squee!) a wee bit (never enough though!) of time together with my BFFs Darling Cuz, and Meggie, knitting and gabbing. Oh yes, and there was that super delightful “cousin road trip” my Darling Cuz and I take every summer to my all time favorite yarn store on the planet, The Fold in far off Marengo, Illinois. Toni is an absolute gem–the best purveyor of fiber-related goods on this planet. She carries a wonderful collection of Blue Moon Fiber, Madelintosh, and Mountain Colors, along with some of the usual yarny brands. And if you spin, then baby, this is the place for you! OMG, the lovely bags of roving, including many many unique and rare kinds of fleece. Fabulous. But it’s not just what she carries,  but it’s her delightful personality and winning customer service. While we were there, not only did she let us shop the Blue Moon she had in her garage ready to be loaded into her van for Stitches Midwest (which we weren’t going to go to), but she tracked down a new shawl knitting book for my mother, even though I didn’t recall the name. Like I said, she’s a doll. Well worth the trip to Marengo. And to me the drive out’s a special treat, since I love roaring down the road with fields of corn on either side of me.

Here's just a wee taste. I just love the instant gratification of buying BMF Socks that Rock at the Fold. If you order it from their website, it takes up to a month to get it. :(

Here’s just a wee taste. I just love the instant gratification of buying BMF Socks that Rock at the Fold. If you order it from their website, it takes up to a month to get it. 😦

Here’s a little peek at one of the souvenirs I picked up there.





The Jaunty Cowl, as modeled by Bug

The Jaunty Cowl, as modeled by Bug














I finished and entered my “jaunty cowl” to the Uncommon Goods winter accessory competition.

This is the hand-felted, "corsage" pin, removable so the cowl can be washed. Made of Dream in Color Yarn

This is the hand-felted, “corsage” pin, removable so the cowl can be washed. Made of Dream in Color Yarn


They didn’t want it, but I thought it was adorable anyway. Ah well. If I get ambitious, I may turn it into a free pattern for here and Ravelry. Here’s what they did like.






Standing in line to register...

Standing in line to register…





Bug started High School. I can say no more. Except that I whipped up this guy for the inside of her first-ever locker.

Meet LaLa McHappypants the Locker Pixie...

Meet LaLa McHappypants the Locker Pixie…

















I finished my second shawl for the “Through the Loops” Summer Shawl Knitalong. Meet Hecate. I am very happy with her, ‘specially since I used stash yarn, namely ElsaWool Cormo fingering for the darker oatmeal-grey bits, some scrumptious handspun alpaca silk from another delightful Illinois country LYS called “Esther’s Place” (:)), and some Madtosh Tosh merino light in a color called “grasshopper.” I have a love/hate thing going with this colorway. In this case I’m happy with it as a pop of color on this purposely rustic-looking shawl.

Hecate by Through the Loops Kirsten Kapur

Hecate by Through the Loops Kirsten KapurThe yarn I won arrived.











Malabrigo sock in "Aguas." Yum.

Malabrigo sock in “Aguas.” Yum.

The yarn I won arrived.





Oh yes, I started photographing (finally) some of my hand-dyed goodies for my new “Absinthe Yarn” Etsy website.

DSC_0039This is some lovely Blue-faced Leceister fingering. More to come on that.

Started another pair of socks…I had to hit the snooze button on that pair of Jaywalkers, especially a shame since I am one measly inch from the toe on the first sock. But I really abhor the pattern. There, I said it. Love the yarn, though. I was thinking of possibly finishing the first, then doing the second in a similar, yet different pattern: Broadripple. This one also has a stinkin’ heel flap, but they fit me better. I know I should just rip them both and try something else, but… 😦

To make up for that, though, and to have as airplane/road trip knitting, I started another pair of “lace panel” socks of my own design. Using Miss Babs 2ply fingering in the delicious, summery shade of “Frog Belly.”

Little Leafies socks. Cast on while waiting to board.

Little Leafies socks. Cast on while waiting to board.

I love saying that, even. This will be “purse knitting” for the upcoming month.

I’ve finally picked up my version of Cinnamon Girl, “Ollalieberry Girl” with an eye toward finishing it sooooooon. I also have another cardi to finish, and then,  onto Darling Emma which has been waiting patiently for me to start on it.

And then…ah well…you know how I am about the beginning of the school year. My mind is swirling through ideas of things to start and finish.

Happy New (School) Year to you, too!


Ah, Progress! July 21, 2013

Hello, dear friends!

I am so happy to say I’ve been chugging along, finishing projects, while starting and finishing a few others. What a great feeling of accomplishment. Oh yes…I am happy of myself.

Here’s just a little of what I’ve been working on finishing recently…

The Punkinhead Thief (The Orchid Thief) Shawl. Finally. Finished. After all the drama, I honestly don’t know if I’d do another. Even so I love it; I can’t wait for it to get chilly here. The HandMaiden Swiss Cashmere and Silk is to.die.for. OMG.

I wish this was a better turned out so pretty.

I wish this was a better shot…it turned out so pretty.


Bug’s Apocalyptic Drop-stitch Sweater…I have to say I’m pretty proud of this one.

She's gonna fight the bad guys in this one!

She’s gonna fight the bad guys in this one!

Its genesis was a super cool sweater on Etsy that Bug found and fell in love with last sumer, and that I was just not going pay over $150 to buy. Come on. Looking at it I could see it was super simple. I just did some math and  figured it out. Then I shopped from the old stash-ola. TaDa!

Oh how I adore this pattern!

Oh how I adore this pattern!


My 2nd Cladonia Shawl for the Through The Loops Summer Shawl KAL (Knit-a-long).

Love this pattern. LOVE IT. It’s fairly mindless, and ends up with some totally kick dupa lace. Start to finish: 5 days of working (caveat: the knitted picot bind-off took a whole day to do, but was totally worth it; yes, I know some do crocheted picot bind offs, but I really like the big loops you get from the knitted version.

I used 2 of my favorite Madelinetosh colors: Cousteau and Filigree

I used 2 of my favorite Madelinetosh colors: Cousteau and Filigree's a secret. (Sorry for the crappy iphone pic!)

…it’s a secret.
(Sorry for the crappy iphone pic!)

A super secret design entry…here’s a peek at the work in progress, but I’ll have to fill you in on the details a little later when it’s finally finished…I’m still playing around with a few details.

There’s a 2nd design entry on the needles, but I don’t know if I’ll get it finished in time. More on both of those projects later.

Oh yes, and lookie here:

I won, I won!

I won, I won!

I won some YARN! Yep, I won some yarn from one of my favorite online yarn shops, Eat.Sleep.Knit in Smyrna, GA.

Hey, didya know that if you move the “a” in “Smyrna,” you get “Sm-yarn” LOL 😉

Well, I’d better keep moving. I feel like I’m on a roll here, for a change.



Mischief managed. July 3, 2013

Sometimes, you just gotta rip...

Sometimes, you just gotta rip…

Well, the lovely Orchid Thief Shawl has at last been finished, to my delight. Of course not before some harrowing Drama five rows before the end which involved 6 missing stitches four rows earlier, and my purposely dropping 30 live stitches. Yes, purposely. Surely many of you have seen this trick, even done it. Even so I must confess, this kind of fix is usually done with a cable pattern, not a lace pattern.

First though, let me say, Chart 4 of this project is about as buggery as I’ve ever seen; even the errata has errata. Sheesh. There are several ladies on Ravelry, like Mitchypoo, and ibecks, who’ve  brilliantly figured out how to tackle the problems, and then, bless them, were kind enough to post the fixes. Ysolda is a kickass designer, but the charts for this gorgeous design is just ass. But I digress.

So once I made it through the “dreaded row 86” and boogied my way through that last chart, every finished row came with a deep breath and a little celebration. And then I hit row 110.

You know how it happens: you’re toodling along on your chart and suddenly your pattern is off. You unknit back to where it’s obviously fine and then try again. In my case, no good; it just wasn’t going to happen. So I spread out the shawl, looked at another section to see what the pattern should look like, and realized, to my horror that I didn’t add four yarnovers and 2 twisted knitted stitches four rows back.

Oy. It must’ve been where I paused to take dinner out of the oven. That’s what I get for violating one of the cardinal rules of knitting: never stop in the middle of the row. Well, I took a deep breath, decided my plan of attack, and dropped a whole bunch of stitches. Then I slid two slightly smaller needles in their place and knit what should’ve been there, one row at a time using the long loops of yarn left hanging from when I dropped those stitches.

After a bunch of fiddling, I finally ended up with what I should’ve had in the first place.

Ooo, scary. But not as scary if you use another set of needle tips and the back loops.

Ooo, scary. But not as scary if you use another set of needle tips and the back loops.

What about a lifeline, you may ask? Lifelines are for sissies.;) Seriously, I’m just actually rather foolhardy. Or perhaps, just foolish.

I think she might've melted. Old houses in NoCal don't usually have AC. Doh!

I think she might’ve melted. Old houses in NoCal don’t usually have AC. Doh!

And if it ever gets reasonably cool enough here, I’ll have some lovely pics of the finished shawl. It’s been between 85 and 101 the last few days. Don’t believe me? Ask Lucy…but I think she might of melted.

Since then, I also finished a really fun drop stitch sweater for the Bug. I started last summer after the Bug came across a great sweater on Etsy, but at $118 bucks, I don’t think so. It was easy to figure out what each row needed to be. But I forgot about it. So now it’s finished. With any luck, the sweater’ll be dry in the next day or so, and the temperature will cooperate so that I can take some “modeled” shots. It’s supposed to be cooler, but then, who knows…

Blocking. Soon modeling.

Blocking. Soon modeling.

These will be the colors of my new Cladonia!

These will be the colors of my new Cladonia!

Meanwhile, I’m going to do a Shawl KAL with Kirsten Kapur…I want another Cladonia…care to join me?

Anyway, have a great Independence Day, dear friends. Eat, drink (in moderation, of course), and knit!!

God bless our country.


Heel Flaps are Buggers May 22, 2013

Filed under: knitting — kathy @ 11:16 am
Tags: , ,

Yes, yes. I realize a statement like that is akin to saying “magic loop kicks double-pointed’s butt,” or, “Kitchener stinks…toe-up socks are the only way to go.” However IMO, from now on when the socks are for moi, short row heels will be my choice.

There it sits...

There it sits…

I think the columns of slipped stitches on flap heels look cool–especially the “eye of partridge” heel flap in which you adjust where you slip the stitches as you construct the heel flap, giving it a lattice-like appearance. Here’s a good example/explanation. And I know that people like heel flaps because they give the back of the sock some cushioning and help stop holes from forming.

My thing is, I never wear out the backs of my socks. Instead I wear out the heel and ball of foot areas on the soles of my socks. I’ve found that going down a needle size helps this problem a bit by firming up the stitches a bit and making a tighter fabric.

What gets to me, is 1) it seems to take longer for me to get all the way around the heels (why do the 3 steps of flap, turn, and gusset seem to take f-o-r-e-v-e-r for me?), and 2) heels with flaps always seem to bag on me. Indeed, currently the narrowest parts of this old body are my heels, which have been narrow for as long as I can remember. Short row heels fit my “curves” in all the right places.

Therefore, I’ll be placing the blame for my currently somewhat stalled pair of “Spring Break, Jaywalker” socks, also #3 in my 6 pairs in a year personal challenge, on the buggery old heel flaps. While the last 2 pairs of socks virtually flew off the needles (well, for me, anyway), this pair is just dragging.

Of course being behind in finishing my socks has nothing to do with that adorable “Cinnamon Girl” I just had to start making, does it? 😉

A true attention-grabber of a pattern.

A true attention-grabber of a pattern.

I’m such a naughty girl, sometimes…




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.


Hats off! February 25, 2013

I heard the most rotten thing the other day.

The friend of a dear friend (let me just call my dear friend “L”) of mine has stage 4 breast cancer. That in itself is rotten. But to make things over the top rotten, my friend L told me over coffee that her friend who has breast cancer was on her way to yet another chemo treatment with the intention of going for a wig afterwards, had her purse stolen. $700 cash was in that purse, and this poor sick woman–a single mom with a teenager and a couple of young kids–has no other way to pay for her wig.

I mean, how freakin’ rotten are people to steal from someone so obviously unwell. It makes me furious. 😦

I hope this pretty and soft merino feels like a hug.

I hope this pretty and soft merino feels like a hug.

But instead of simply getting angry, I decided to channel that anger into this lovely little chemo cap. A free, easy pattern, and a super terrific way to use up a lone skein of pretty Dream in Color Superwash Merino. This was a skein of Purple Paisley leftover from my Amelie sweater a couple of winters ago. It only took me a day or two. And I heard that the friend of my pal L, really liked the hat, that it fit her, and she loved the color. 🙂

Yeah, I gave her a little money toward her wig, but I’m just so happy I also made her something cuddly, something a little like a hug. I even got inspired to make a few more of these hats to give out to a cancer center–when I get my yarn a bit sorted out.

First, however, I needed to make the Bug a new hat.

The actual color is a bit richer in person.

The actual color is a bit richer in person.

She’d outgrown the Wolf Hat I made her a couple of years ago (not to mention it got lost in the Pit of Despair, but whatever), so she picked out the Seedling pattern by Alana Dakos. A pretty hat, to be sure. But it was all purling in the round. Not a good combo for me, let me say.

So typical me, I changed the pattern: I knitted it inside out! Yes! And it worked amazingly.

First I swatched a lovely filigree colorway of Madtosh Worsted and found I had to go down 2 sizes to get gauge. Good thing I took the time to swatch, Haha.

And after reading all the different projects (thank God for Rav and everyone who actually posts comments), it confirmed to me that all that dang purling would make this an endless project, so I decided to follow my gut and knit this puppy “inside out.”

By that I mean I “reversed” all the pattern stitch directions: instead of P2 K1 ribbing, I’m doing K2 P1 rib. And when I increased stitches after the ribbing, I did all the increases knitwise. I took special care there to space the pattern setup area in reverse as well, counting to make sure I had 12 stitches on each side of the “stems.”

When I reached the “leaves” chart, I read it all in reverse and made sure I started from the lower left corner and read left to right.
It got a little dicey around the double decrease in the pattern, but there were only 3, so I didn’t get terribly worried; I simply took my time there.

The ssp (instead of ssk) required a look online at Knitting Help, but it was a good thing to learn, and I only needed to make a dozen or so anyway. I think the best thing about doing the pattern chart in reverse was that it was a good stretch for my brain cells…I loved it!!

Have turned the heel and am racing toward the toe!

Have turned the heel and am racing toward the toe!

Oh yes, and I’m chugging away on my 6 pair of socks in one year. Maybe I’ll even end up doing bonus socks. Yippee.


Sock it to me! January 24, 2013

The pair I just finished

The pair I just finished

Since this is the time of year I find myself doing lots of introspection and investigation (in my home, this is more commonly known  as sorting, cleaning and mumbling to myself over the ridiculous amount of yarn I have collected over the years), a couple of things keep popping up on my radar: I have oodles of sock yarn, and I need socks.

However, I also have to admit to also having a few UFO knitting projects to complete, as well as some  writing UFOs, and a few other creative UFOs I want/need to finish that I’ll be focusing on this year. I want a clean slate.

So I decided, starting with the yarn excesses, it would be fun to copy something the brilliant Yarn Harlot has done in past years; specifically, go through her stash and pair 12 skeins of yarn with 12 patterns for a pair a month. Genius. I’d like to say I’m gonna do the same thing, however since I cannot knit as fast as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee  can, I’m gonna plan of 6 pairs for myself (1 pair every 2 months), which allows me to also do some work finishing the UFO sweater, shawl, 2 pair mitts, and 2 scarves–all which are more than 1/2 finished, except for the sweater–and add in the occasional giftie project or extra pair of socks along the way.

Oh yes, and don’t let me forget the new hat I’m making Bug that she “absolutely needs right now,” since she cannot find her wolf hat which is lost in the Pit of Despair (her room). This project is going super fast, however, so I should have it finished by the end of the weekend.

The "Seedling" Hat in lovely Madelintosh Vintage worsted, Filigree

The “Seedling” Hat in lovely Madelintosh Vintage worsted, Filigree

Anyway, back to the socks.

The other thing I’ll do differently for my bi-monthly sock project is that for sock the patterns, I’m will do what I did for the pair of socks I just finished. Specifically, I used a basic top down, short row heel, wedge toe sock pattern, and put a single lace repeat on the front/top of the sock, and plain stockinette on the bottom.DSCN0019

I did this because I was playing around with a sweater design and wanted to see if I’d like doing this lace pattern on the sweater, so I tried it out on the sock. Kind of like a swatch on steroids. making the swatch useful.

Many of my knitting pals and I hate doing swatches. We don’t wanna waste precious time on something that, while extremely useful in determining fit, is something that has no other use, unless you’re gonna save them up and make a blanket. Not to mention, how many times have you had to unravel your swatch to have enough yarn to finish your project? In my case, too many to count. So socks are, for me, a great way to test a pattern stitch and get something useful to boot. Besides, the top side is the side most everyone sees anyway, and it’s way easier to darn stockinette. Seriously.

But I digress.

So my plan is, I’m gonna go through my stitch guides, mark the patterns I want to try out, sift through my yarns and put them in a big bag to get them ready to go. It’s kinda exciting…but then most of you know, making lists makes me hot! 😉

Here's the proposed lineup of fiber...

Here’s the proposed lineup of fiber…

Watch out, sock drawer.


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