twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

We all need a hug… November 13, 2015

Filed under: knitting,life — kathy @ 8:20 pm
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…Oh God. I’m watching the coverage of the terror attacks in Paris right now, and my heart is so very heavy. It’s like 9/11 all over again. I ask you, dear friends, to please pray for those poor innocent souls. God bless them and send their families comfort. My heart is aching for them.

I’m sorry to take my light-hearted knitting blog to this place, but I feel like I’m watching pure evil run loose in the world. And it’s not just in Paris. What about the Christians being slaughtered in the Middle East—and few are reporting about it because it’s not, well, politically correct. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before the terror comes here again. I’m not saying there aren’t problems in this country, but I am saying we need to stop dividing ourselves from one another and find reasons to unite. To love one another. Forget about opposing religious or political views. Some of my very best friends have different political views than I, and I love them dearly. They are unique and special to me in so many ways. We can all find reasons to unite if we open our eyes to them.

And hey, like Todd Rundgren says, “Love is the answer.”

There, that’s said.

And I do believe we all need a hug. A great big one. And if it’s a long distance hug you want to give, little is better than a shawl. And best of all is a shawl made with 3 skeins (or better would’ve been 3.5 skeins if I’d had them) of Malabrigo Worsted.

Soft billows of Malabrigo Worsted in colorway Lavanda

Soft billows of Malabrigo Worsted in colorway Lavanda

Recently, a dear, sweet friend of mine has been taking on more of life’s tough times than she can handle, and honestly, since she’s thousands of miles away, I felt that she needed a good long-distance hug. I pulled out one of my favorite patterns, Stephen West’s Glacial Sweep.

This is a much better representation of the color

This is a much better representation of the color


I started it last Saturday, and am just finishing the contrast I-cord bind off. I love this shawl for so many reasons, not the least of which is it features lots of garter stitch and clever short rows in those garter stitch sections. And even though I ran out of yarn halfway through the final section(I know, but I was using Stash, so, I’m not being hard on myself), it didn’t much matter. Not at all. This isn’t one of those lace shawls where stitch count isn’t critical. Plus, though the pattern is written for fingering weight or worsted/aran weight yarn, I am fairly certain that you could be successful with any weight yarn.

Another wonderful shawl I’ve made for sending long-distance love is also a Stephen West shawl (just love his inventive, architectural constructions), and also a terrific shawl for giving to men, and that is his Boneyard Shawl.

Yet another fun shawl to work up for a hug is one designed by my Squam cabin mate Heather Classen called “Shuffle.” It’s lots of fun to knit. You have to check it out.

All of these work up relatively quickly, and all are wonderful hugs to send to well-loved friends. Especially now.

Knit some love, friends.


Ah, Fraternity July 7, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — kathy @ 12:55 pm
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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



Slogging through the trenches October 18, 2013

“Holy My Gosh,” my dear grandpa used to say whenever things appeared to be rather overwhelming. And at this moment, after a two hundred and ninety-two picot bind-off of Stephen West’s Craving Color Shawl, in my mind, there’s nothing more appropriate to be said.

Just 1/3 of the way through the bind-off...this took nearly two days

Just 1/3 of the way through the bind-off…this took nearly two days

Whoa. What a project.  I mean, what. a. project. It’s different. It’s cool-looking and certainly nothing anyone on this planet has thought of before. But then, Mr. West may not be of this planet. And I mean that in a completely good way. His designs are always innovative, and personally, he’s simply adorable. I’m telling you, take his shawl class on Craftsy, and then try not to tell me that he’s not someone you’d totally want to have mojitos with some night. He’s adorable, and funny as all get out.

But this shawl…

Finished, finally. Ready for the blocking

Finished, finally. Ready for the blocking

This was my first mystery knit-along, and having knit many shawls in the past, I figured this one would be about the same level of commitment (time and concentration both) as the shawls of my past. In fact since it was all garter stitch and the only “lace” in the pattern was represented by long lines of yarnovers, it’d be easy peasy, right? Boy, was I wrong.

The first 20 rows into this pattern I realized I was in deep; I actually considered blowing the whole thing off. Still, I wanted to use up some of the old stashola…moreover, I was intrigued by what the heck this shawl was going to end up looking like.

I must admit it took nearly my entire concentration over the last month to finish, and I seriously considered—more than once—frogging this piece.

However, I didn’t realize was that the thing that would take the most perseverance of all was the freakin’ bind off.  To be fair, there were 3 options for the bind-off: Picot bind-off, I-cord bind-off, and the quick and easy K2tog TBL (knit 2 together through the back loop).  And like any good Raveler, I consulted the designer’s project, as well as all the finished projects to see how the finished bind-offs looked.

So obviously I picked the picot bind-off because not only did I love how it turned out whenever I did it on my Kirsten Kaipur shawls (Cladonia and Hecate), and despite a Raveler’s comment that it took her hours to do on her shawl.

Hours? Mama, this sucker took d-a-y-s. Days, I tell you. Of course, all the usual little interruptions: the litter boxes needed cleaning and the linens needed changing, 26 more picots, then time to start dinner and bring in the mail. You know how it goes.

Air Force One at the Reagan Library!

Air Force One at the Reagan Library!

Oh yes, thank goodness there was a long weekend interruption (huzzah for Columbus Day!) when I could not drag this thing along on our car trip to The Reagan Museum, Santa Barbara, and Solvang (the cute little Danish town that was featured in the movie Sideways).  A much neglected pair of socks joined me for our sunshiney break.

This was a deeelicious Danish liver pate sandwich with crispy bacon, shreds of homemade sweet pickle, and pickled beets. OMG

This was a deeelicious Danish liver pate sandwich with crispy bacon, shreds of homemade sweet pickle, and pickled beets. OMG

Sing it with me: Wonderful, wonderful Solvang...Honestly, it was lots of fun.

Sing it with me: Wonderful, wonderful Solvang…Honestly, it was lots of fun

Then back home to continue to slog through the damn bind-off. The way you do a do a picot bind off is to cast three more stitches onto the first stitch you want to bind off (he said use a cable cast on; I used a knitted cast on), then K2togTBL 6 times, and repeat. Just over two thousand stitches until you can stop.

Here is the designer with his shawl

Here is the designer with his shawl…

Well, I’ll stop kvetching and moaning about it now. After 5 days worth of actual binding off ( I actually fell asleep an hour into day 4’s knitting), it’s finished! And miracle of miracles, I really did end up liking the finished piece, although I haven’t figured out how to wear it yet.

...obviously he hasn't figured out how to wear it yet, either.

…obviously he hasn’t figured out how to wear it yet, either.

But I must say that what I’m most proud of is that I stuck with it. Sometimes, you just have to stick through to the end of  a project.

Now, back to the rest of life and all my other projects.


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?


Come on Along! September 18, 2013

Filed under: knitting — kathy @ 11:43 am
Tags: , , , , ,
It's called the "Color Craving" shawl...that's Stephen West.

It’s called the “Color Craving” shawl…that’s Stephen West.

So, last post, I mentioned I’d be doing this Mystery Shawl KAL (KnitALong) designed by the inimitable Stephen West. The first clue was sent out on Friday morning, but because it’s a mystery knit, I’ve promised not to post any work-in-progress until after the KAL is over.

Meanwhile I can show you the yarn I’m using, and I’m proud to say it’s all from the Stash! Huzzah! The blue and red are Malabrigo sock, and the gold is a light fingering merino I picked up from Knitting Notions at StitchesWest a way back. It’s a really unusual knit, and I can’t wait until the KAL is over so I can show you the finished shawl. On the other hand, you can join me…it’s not too late. 😉

From the bottom up: Malabrigo Sock in Aquas; Knitting Notions Classic Merino in French Marigold; Malabrigo Sock in Tiziano Red

From the bottom up:
Malabrigo Sock in Aquas;
Knitting Notions Classic Merino in French Marigold; Malabrigo Sock in Tiziano Red

After a tidying frenzy earlier last week, I discovered a tote in the back of the office/studio closet where I stash my sewing projects, as well as my snoozing knitting WIPs. To my delight, I found that this particular bag held my collection of sock yarn scraps that I’ve been saving to make a “Beekeeper’s Quilt.” I decided that it was about time to finally pull together a little kit I can keep in my purse so I can make a “hexapuff” a day, since the finished quilt needs at least 350 or so puffs. It’ll be a project without a deadline, so I can just work on it whenever I wait someplace and over time, I’ll  accumulate a little passle of puffs. You just need some leftover sock yarn, needles, batting (I’m using some made of bamboo that I have on hand), and a spare tapestry needle. Oh yes, and I’m putting a little bag of dried lavender buds in my project bag, too.

Here are my first 2 in Shibui Sock. I tucked a little lavender inside with the bamboo batting.

Here are my first 2 in Shibui Sock. I tucked a little lavender inside with the bamboo batting.

Each puff is a quick little project that just tickles me silly, since I enjoy the feeling of casting off so much…don’t you?




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