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




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.


What would you knit? February 7, 2014

I mean, if time, cost, and availability of yarns needed were no object (I’m not including personal knitting ability as a factor, as I’m a firm believer that if you love something enough, you can learn the skills needed to knit it. Period.)…

What would you knit? What is your dream project that, once you wove all the ends in, you’d put it on and wear it just about everywhere you could possible think to wear it, fielding complements as you went along?

My Magnum Opus

My Magnum Opus

I don’t even have to pause to think of what I’d choose from my huge Raverly queue. For the last 22 years, I’ve dreamed of knitting Kaffe Fassett’s “Long Leaf Coat.”

It is my personal knitting magnum opus. Everything about it is a challenge, finding the pattern, tracking down the manymanymany different yarns needed, and because the entire coat is intarsia, weaving the ends in might take a week on their own.

And if I could look like this whilst wearing it, all the better. LOL.

And if I could look like this whilst wearing it, all the better. LOL.

Nonetheless, I decided 10 or so years ago, that I’d pull everything together and finally do it. So first, I had to get my hands on the pattern. Again.

The original Rowan magazine I’d purchased when it first was published in ’92 was destroyed by an overzealous vaporizer a few years after I purchased it. Even back then, I couldn’t track down a replacement copy. Then the internet was born. (Angelic chorus here) In ’02 I went on a mad eBay search to find another copy; after being outbid multiple times, I finally secured not just 1, but 2 copies at a cost of about $80. Yah, I know. It was an accident. But at least I relisted that extra copy and got $60 bucks back when it was all over. I find now that that Rowan has reprinted the pattern in a new book. 😐 Right.

Next came assembling the something like (this is a guestimate, mind you), 6000 yards of assorted (like 33 different yarns) DK and fingering weight yarns. And being Rowan, since they only name some of their yarns (huh?), even within a yarn line–most have numbers only so you have no clue what color you’re after. Let’s add an additional difficulty. All the yarns needed have been discontinued.

Back to eBay. I managed to pull together about 70% of the yarns needed, as well as a wonderfully helpful color card. And now with Ravelry, I think I might be able to fill in the blanks, or at least get a good idea of yarns I could substitute. 🙂 What did we do before Ravelry? (Angelic chorus again.)


Crazytown. That’s just the top half of the pattern

And then there’s that chart and all that intarsia. Hoo boy. With all due respect, what was Mr Fassett smoking when he designed this glorious sweater? Every row of each leaf is created by holding 2 strands of 2 different color yarns at a time. and the leaf veins are done with duplicate stitches/embroidery. Oh the headaches. Oh the yarn bobbins. Oh the ends to weave in. Oh what a work of art.

I think the only way around the endless ends issue is to weave some ends in each time you pick up the piece before you continue knitting. And I’m planning on bringing the charts to be enlarged so I’ll have a clue what I’m knitting. At least that’s what I’ll do when I finally start this someday. I have about 15 projects I’d really like to finish before I actually pick this up, and it might take me years to finish, however, I will make this sweater.

I think I'll lightly color in the leaves after enlarging the chart.

I think I’ll lightly color in the leaves after enlarging the chart.

What I want to know is, who knitted the sample for the pattern? That person(s) should be canonized. Seriously.



So, what would you knit? I’d really love to know!


What I wish I were doing instead of finishing this d**n sock December 26, 2013

D**n Sock

D**n Sock

1. Finishing my Ollalieberry Girl sweater

2. Starting a couple of knitted baby girl gifties

3. Eating (more) homemade fruitcake

4. Sorting through my manymanymany skeins of fingering weight yarn for 7 skeins to use on the Albers Cowl in my queue

5. Starting the Darling Emma I swatched for this past July

6. Tidying/organizing the pit of hell the studio/office, yet again

7. Taking a walk

8. Taking a nap

9. Laundry

10. Having a beer with the most interesting man in the world—wait I married him 😉

I know I said I’d never knit another sock for a size 13 foot, but what can I say, I love him. And this pattern from Tin Can Knits, Rye, is quick, fun, and free. Except for the d**m heel flap, but those are both done now, so even that’s a non-issue. So okay, that does it. Staying up until this sucker is finished. Period.

A lovely old ornament from my BFF Meggie, on my vintage tinsel tree

A lovely old ornament from my BFF Meggie, on my vintage tinsel tree

Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful and Merry Christmas!

And if I could please ask also, for a prayer or healing thought for a friend who’s suffering through some heavy duty cancer treatments. The cancer, which was serious to begin with, has spread from his brain through to his lungs and lymph nodes, and although I know the doctors are doing all they can, any extra prayers or healing thoughts wouldn’t hurt…at least in my mind. I’m sure his wife and two boys would be grateful as well.


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.


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!):

Here I go again September 5, 2011

Filed under: life — kathy @ 3:18 pm
Tags: , , ,

Those friends who’ve been kind enough to follow me over the past few years know that this time of year heralds new beginnings. My personal New Year begins with the start of the new school year.

Bug's getting so grown up! 7th grade!

This year, as Bug heads off to 7th grade (!!), I must reassess my resolutions of last September, and refresh, renew, resolve for the year ahead. So, before starting this post, I peeked at that last one, and here’s what I think. The list just won’t change all that much. Here’s what I was supposed to do last year:

5.  Workout 4x/week

4. Restock my Talisman Rocks Etsy Shop

3. Open my Twist and Shout Etsy Shop

2. Blog 2x or more per week (provided I have something worth saying…LOL)

1. Get that novel finished!

The thing is, these things, for the most part, are ongoing projects. To that end, let me edit this list in the following way…

2011-2012 updated resolutions:

6.  Workout 3x/week (Yes, those of you with eagle eyes will note this is one day less than last year, however, I must be realistic)

5. Restock my Talisman Rocks Etsy Shop (always the bane of my list! I hate taking pictures of jewelry! It never turns out the way I want it to…when I’m rich, I’ll pay to have someone do it for me. Until then, I must try to accomplish this.)

4. Open my Twist and Shout Etsy Shop (will now be called “Absinthe Yarn” and will include stitch markers, knitting jewelry, and some patterns) (still perfect my yarn dyeing…oh, how I wish I had a free studio space with a sink where I could go work without worry or having to drag it all in and then out before having to cook dinner.)

3. Blog 2x or more per week (still provided I have something worth saying)

2. Get that novel finished! (and start the next one! Have some great ideas and can’t wait to get on with it!)

And here’s the new number one thing I need to accomplish this year…

1. Be a little kinder to myself.

What I mean is, I think I really expect a hellavuh lot from my old self. Instead, of celebrating the stuff I do get done, I ignore my accomplishments, and frankly, that’s not healthy. At least that’s what I’ve concluded after lots of meditating on where I’ve been and what I’ve done since last September.

Sure, I procrastinate. I could’ve gotten a bachelor’s in procrastination if that’d been offered at Drake. On the other hand, since turning 50 I think the one thing I’ve focused on in the last year is accomplishing one “major” thing a day. Okay, some days it’s just getting laundry (though that can be major around here sometimes) and dinner on the table. Other days it’s making a couple dozen pairs of earrings, or taking the Bug out for a “girls’s shopping day.”

So over this past year, especially this past summer, I’ve done some major things not on that list above. Stuff like sewing those couch cushion slipcovers…planted a veggie garden…putting up some strawberry jam…finishing some old knitting projects and making progress on some new ones…losing 10 pounds…sewing a tote and a couple of fun project bags…just being a pal to someone dear who needs a little extra help right now. These things were not on last year’s list, but I daresay, these all were important things to take note of each night as I meditated on what needed doing in my life, and what actually got done.

Got 40% of this "Talamh" cardigan done. Just need to keep up the momentum. Sleeves ahead!

These are things I’m thankful for, things that give me a feeling of accomplishment each and every day. Even on those days where I barely make it out of my comfy pj bottoms by dinnertime because that morning I decided I needed a day to finish knitting a gift or something.

Now I can’t have too many of those days or I really wouldn’t get anything done. But like I said, as long as I can count one truly meaningful thing in each day’s accomplishments, I can go to sleep looking forward to the possibilities of the next day without any lingering guilt about what I didn’t get done the day before.

If this is the wisdom that comes with age, cool.

Hopefully it’s not just me justifying any procrastination.


Resolutions September 9, 2010

Filed under: knitting,laughter,life — kathy @ 2:19 pm
Tags: , , ,

The completed Shetland Triangle, modeled by Bug

Recently after reviewing last year’s list of 10 things I’d hoped to accomplish, I must admit I felt a bit defeated. What had I accomplished? Well, if I look closely at those pie-in-the-sky dreams of mine, very little. You might think so, too. Let’s examine that list, shall we?

(From August 30, 2009)

10. Sew a bunch of aprons and hobo bags in vintagey fabrics

September ’10 update: Hahaha–Sewing machine and fabric completely inaccessible due to being packed away for renovation. Result? Many t-shirts ruined due to cooking-related disasters.

9. Take new pictures of jewelry for Etsy and my website

September ’10 update: Yeah, right. Need to make jewelry to photograph it.

8. Lose 20 pounds…again (yarn diet does not count)

September ’10 update: I can’t even begin to address this one.

7. Work out at least 4x per week

September ’10 update: This one either. And by the way, purging, packing, and moving at least 50 boxes of crapola (2 or 3 times, mind you) does not count as I didn’t see the scale change a bit despite that extra exercise. Painting doesn’t count either.

6.  Meditate daily (but not while working out)

September ’10 update: Did manage this for 15 minutes most evenings before bedtime. Might have done more, but passed out after 15 minutes nearly every time.

5. Plan and start mini renovation on this old house

September ’10 update: Okay–this one, success! But I think I might have been insane considering it to be a “mini renovation.” It really ended up being the whole thing and then some. Not to mention it really dominated every second of my life once it was started. And even though we still have to paint the outside and work on our landscaping, I’m happy.

4. Open new TalismanKnits shop on Etsy to sell knitterly jewelry and stitch markers

September ’10 update: Still working on this and planning on adding hand-dyed yarn. Working on name and logo–will probably be called Twist and Shout Studio. By the way, if you have any other thoughts regarding name ideas, I would love to hear it! You all are a clever bunch.

Here's my latest WIP: The "Amelia" Sweater. Quick project---already up to the waist shaping!

3. Finish 1 knitting project per month (2 if small) (utilizing stash only)

September ’10 update: I did finish 11 projects this past year, so I did okay on that count. Unfortunately, I frogged 2 of them, so I guess I only did 9. And I did—once—break my “stash only” rule by buying yarn for the Bug’s February Lady sweater—I let her pick it out.

2. Blog at least 2x per week

September ’10 update: Okay, started out pretty well on accomplishing that one. However, this being the year of the Swine Flu and The Cough That Wouldn’t Quit, I fell down a bit there. The computer crashing twice screwed me up, too.

1. Finish novel and send out queries

September ’10 update: This one breaks my heart. Lost my most recent chapters due to those computer crashes ((Big sucking sound here)) and found it nearly impossible to continue due to extreme grieving. On the up side, I learned about external hard drives.

Well, needless to say, I over-reached last year, and for those of you who know me well, not a surprise since my arms are long and I do it all the time.

But recently after pouring my heart to a dear, and I might add, extremely wise BFF, she took a long drink of her latte and recommended that perhaps I should consider cutting my list in half. Why didn’t I think of that?

So to that end, my new and improved list of resolutions for the upcoming year are:

5.  Workout 4x/week

4. Restock my Talisman Rocks Etsy Shop

3. Open my Twist and Shout Etsy Shop

2. Blog 2x or more per week (provided I have something worth saying…LOL)

1. Get that novel finished!

Of course the knitting, sewing, and dieting will be ongoing, and occasionally all resolutions may be overshadowed by a pressing and unavoidable project (such as taxes or house-painting). But I am certainly not the kind of person who believes resolutions (or promises, for that matter) are made to be broken.

Wish me luck.

p.s. For those of you who asked, Little Miss Lucy is just a darling bundle of energy. Here’s a little video to remind you of what having a kitten is like. I must say that it’s been 19 years since we had anything resembling a kitten around here. Eye-opening, let me tell you! She’s the busiest kitty I ever had the pleasure of inviting into our household. Nothing earth-shattering to watch, it’s just we are amazed at how much she likes to play, even with herself! Have a chuckle! she comes through her little tunnel!

p.p.s. Sorry for all the italics! Just feeling emphatic, I guess. 😉


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