twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

Check out my Stash! August 28, 2014

Pssst–c’mere! I got somethin’ to show ya…

IMG_1845So last time, I posted, I got a wonderful suggestion from one of my BFFITW to share what I snagged at The Fold. Unfortunately it was just days before the Bug went back to school (lordy, she’s a sophomore!), and with all the back to school shopping extras and parents’s back to school night to meet the teachers, giving the house a really good cleaning, and finishing my novel “Lore” (insert insane, happy dance here), I haven’t had a chance. So here it is: my wooly goodness from The Fold!

IMG_1936First up–2 heart-stoppingly soft skeins of an indie brand: Rovings, fingering weight in Polwarth and silk. This is slated for a shawl I’ve been craving for ages: Quill, which is a lovely square shawl by Jared Flood with feather and fan edges.IMG_1937

I’m not absolutely certain, however, that I will actually ever make this shawl, as my past experiences with Mr. Flood’s patterns have left me feeling dazed and confused, as well as incapable. I might instead create my own circular shawl pattern using skills I learned last spring at Stitches West and Myra Wood’s way cool class “Crazy as Pi.”

Whatever I do must do it justice, though, as Toni Neil tells me the lady who makes this yarn is not going to be doing so for much longer…sigh.


Second–So, I’ve jumped on the “gradient” bandwagon with this purchase, I suppose. IMG_1940Wonderland Yarns “Mad Hatter” (quite apropos colorway name for moi, I must say…)

But I truly couldn’t resist this package of my favorite shades…gorgeous lipstick and bloody magenta to bordeaux and rich cocoa. I think these There and back again socks might be interesting, or perhaps these lovely mitts. I love them except for the ribbed bottom. I generally despise ribbing. I think changing the ribs to seed stitch or a picot edge would have to be done. Anyone have any other suggestions?IMG_1941






IMG_1932Next bit of yarn love is this fuzzy, softy, heavenly blue Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Fingering in an amazing color blue–“The Winter Blues.” It told me it wanted to be Henslowe, and so it shall be.

The final two skeins of my stash pig out are quite simply Malabrigo Finito, which is the most fabulous, buttered kittens superfine merino I’ve ever touched. If you’ve ever rubbed this against your face, you understand. This color is “Mostaza,” and frankly I’ve been searching for it so I can shamelessly copy this: Heart of the Lotus–the “delicate” version. I know the color is unusual, however like the designer, this acid green is a neutral for me.IMG_1934

I think my knitting needles of mine will be busy this winter…;)

If anyone has any other ideas, or would like to share what they’re working on, please share…I’d love to know!


I’m loose. February 18, 2014

Gauge-wise, that is. Now, now. 😉

No matter what the project, after some 40 years (yes!) of knitting I know that whatever needle size the pattern calls for, I swatch one to two sizes smaller. Right off the bat, I do this.

By the way, anyone who popped onto this blog because of the heading who doesn’t knit or enjoy someone blathering on about knitting, is more than free to leave. Thanks for dropping by!

I named my project "Darling Byzantine" after my all time favorite Madelinetosh colorway, Byzantine

I named my project “Darling Byzantine” after my all time favorite Madelinetosh colorway, Byzantine

On to this knitting journey: Darling Emma, by Joji Locatelli, was no exception to my gauge swatch rule . The pattern calls for size 4 needles, so I pulled out a pair of US3s and swatched a reasonable 6 inch square of Tosh Merino Light (same yarn as called for in the pattern, BTW), soaked and blocked it (I always block my swatch–it really does make a difference.). Much to my surprise, I found I actually had more than the necessary stitches per inch. On the other hand, due in part to the yarn’s subtle thick/thin quality, in some places I didn’t have enough stitches per inch.  You know how it goes, you move that little metal gauge window  from one spot to another all over your knitting, counting those little “v’s” and trying to find several sections that clearly show you’ve hit the gauge’s sweet spot. In this case, it seemed like overall, I had more stitches per inch, which caused me to make the executive decision to go up to the size 4 needles. And to do it without swatching. There was the dicey move.

So dicey that, 4 repeats into this lovely sweater that I’ve been dying to make since last summer, I find my gauge has loosened to the point that (the sweater is a rather wonderfully easy knit, with an easy-to-memorize lace pattern, so I knit pretty fast) according to my calculations, if I continue to knit using US4 needles, the sweater will be at least 5 inches too big around. And while I like my sweaters on the drapey side…that’s just too much. Worse, I  could run out of yarn.

So I will have to rip. Waaaa. And it’s too early for a gin and tonic.

At least Stitches West starts this Thursday, and I still have Christmas money left over. 🙂


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! 


Stitches is coming, Stitches is coming! February 22, 2012

Filed under: knitting — kathy @ 2:59 pm
Tags: ,

Yes, indeed! The annual tornado of fiber that sends stash diet resolutions flying out the window, and lays ruin to credit card balances, has nearly arrived.

But I shall batten down the hatches and resist. Or at least do a dang good job trying not to add to my stash!

Like last year, I’ll keep acquisitions to a minimum, with a focus on a unique roving or sock yarn. Because now, when I look at a sock yarn, I have to say to myself: “Self, put the skein down and walk away. You can dye that yourself.”

Here's my stash of my hand dyed goodies...the sheen in most of these yarns is silk...yum.

Instead, I’ll enjoy the excitement of the single class I’m taking, How to Design a Triangular Lace Shawl—something I’ve been futzing with for ages, but just can’t seem to figure out. I understand how to “build” a shawl, but I’ll be darned if I can figure out where to start building the lace repeats. I might find that halfway through the class I’ll stop and say, “Duh, why didn’t I get that before?” On the other hand, I’m betting I’ll have more of an “aha,” moment.

At any rate, the whole point of doing this class is so that I’ll be able to put some of the shawls I have fluttering around my head on paper and offer them on my Absinthe Yarn Etsy site. (No, still not up yet. camera issues, but working on it.)

But best of all, this year, darlingest Darling Cuz will be navigating the aisles of the show with me, increasing the sheer FUN of the event a trillion-fold ( number which we all now know is hard to fathom, but represents “alot”). We’ll walk the show, knit, cook, hang out on the coast (the weather should be glorious this weekend—65 to 70 degrees and sunny!)

I've been working on my "Coat of many colors," a great pattern to hang with someone and knit---very little concentration required.

Lulu's at the watch

Bug, CR, and I are barely waiting for her arrival. Even Lucy has taken up her post atop the wall in the front hall, waiting to say “Meow.” Which means, “Welcome; let me make you sneeze.”


By the sea, part II March 10, 2011

The weather was extraordinary...

Okay, this is the life. And yes, I admit to being spoiled. Just back from gorgeous Jupiter, Florida, and my wonderful parents’s even more gorgeous condo on the Atlantic. Right on the beach. Yes, I’ll say it again…I’m spoiled.

What could be better than a day at the beach?

Honestly though, it was a perfect break from the rat race out here in the valley; the Bug had been sick for weeks with something or other that even her uber-smart doctor couldn’t figure out. Two blood tests (one even for mono) and still nothing. Final conclusion was that she started with one thing and every time we went to the doctor, she picked up something else. Makes me think I should just avoid the doctor. Funny, that. At least she’s all better now, though I have a suspicion she caught a cold on the plane ride home…sigh.

Lots of other things have been going on in the meantime.

Stitches West, for one thing. And it was okay, this year. But just okay. I’d show you all what I snagged, but really all I picked up were a couple skeins of Blue Moon Socks That Rock sock yarn, and a skein of Blue Moon Geisha in an okay color that Bug talked me into. I had a great class with Sandi Rosner. Very enjoyable except for the cranky women who complained about the lace chart she had us work. Hey, it’s a class–you’re supposed to try new stuff here.

Oh yes, and I did snag a couple of silk “mawatas” from a SF store called Carolina Homespun. They sell a rockin’ assortment of spinning wheels, but I must say that sitting behind the wheel for about a half an hour and trying to get the hang of it (and the dear woman who helped me was soooo patient), cured me of wanting my own spinning wheel. At least for now.

No, I couldn’t tell you if Stitches West was just okay this year because Madrona Fibre Festival was the same weekend (yes, I realize it was in Tacoma, but the big name teachers (Cat Bordhi, Stephanie Pearl-McFee, Franklin Habit, Jared Flood, Sally Melville, Nancy Bush, Evelyn Clark…you get the idea) were all there, including many of my favorite sellers who are usually at Stitches West); perhaps I wasn’t overly impressed this time because I have like, 60 skeins of fabulous undyed yarn waiting for me to make them into pretty colors. I can’t wait to dye the BFL/silk blend fingering weight, and this other amazing baby alpaca/silk/cashmere lace weight along with the merino cashmere, and plain ole merino fingering weights…hopefully later this month or early next month. I have some “studio” logistics to work out. Better get a move on! This stuff is gor-ge-ous!

Not even halfway, yet.

But while I was in Florida I was happy to get started on my Luscious Herringbone Cowl. It’s going slowly because I’ve been so busy since we got back that I can barely churn out a couple of rows at night before I’m too pooped to go on.

I’m sorry to sound like I’m whining. I’m not. I just wish I could sit and knit and knit. I want to finish my UFOs before it gets too warm to wear ’em!

Meanwhile, I think I’ll just sit back and try to remember how great it was to hang out by the sea and let the world go by for just a little while. I few more pictures below…

A balcony view...where's Romeo when you need him?


By the pool. Up the stairs and across the road to the beach!

That is not a big blue condom. Yes, I said condom. It is a jellyfish and one of about a bizillion that'd washed up on shore.

Even the lizards like Worth Avenue

I could get used to this...




Stitches West…5 days to go! February 12, 2011

Yep, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when I spend a day or two struggling with my inner wooly demons. The very same tiny demons that say (think Gollum from Lord of the Rings), “Yessss, Kathy’s a goodie girl, all year, knitting from her precious stash, she’s been. But stashy is hungry hungry…time to feed it up, feed it up…”


Aw what the heck? What’s a skein or two of something special?  I’ve been dying to get my fingers entwined in some qivuit. Ah, qivuit, your siren song always captures me at Stitches West. But at $90 for 248 yards? At the last moment, I never submit. That price makes me feel that I will remain a qivuit virgin yet another year.

Oh well, I do have a plan of attack for that Market floor, however. Just like when I go to a gem show. Seriously, don’t laugh, I always go with a plan. That’s the control freak in me after all. I list what I need (though lord and lady know I need nothing in either the fiber or gemstone department), and then see what else moves me, setting a strict spending limit.

So this year, after I hightail it to the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Booth to have first crack at some delicious mawatas (gotta see what all this is about) and Tina’s LSS (that’s Luscious Single Silk), I’m going to hit Webs to see if I can get a deal on several skeins of this unbelievably scrumptious new (to me, anyway) Malabrigo Twist. I am making a special Valentine’s Day Cowl for a special someone out of it, and let me tell you, (borrowing a description from a fellow Raveler) it is like knitting with buttered kittens.

Valentine's Day Cowl in Malabrigo Twist

Indeed. I believe it is baby merino, but frankly it feels like cashmere. Better than cashmere. It’s kind of more fluffy and I can’t stop petting it and rubbing it over my face, and I want to sleep in it and roll around in it nekked and—ahem. At any rate, gonna make something for me me me out of it!

Now some of you will look at my day count above and say, “Hey, Stitches doesn’t start until the 18th, that’s 6 days.” And I would have to say you are correct. However, I am taking a class on Friday morning, and the delightful people at XRX who put this event together realized that all the knitters in classes weren’t getting a chance to peruse the yarn/fibery goodness until after the folks who got in first did. So if you are taking a class, the market is open to you on…Thursday! I wonder how many people sign up for a class or two just to be able to slip in a bit early. 😉

I myself am happy to be taking a class on designing with lace. I have a couple of ideas for shawls rolling around my brain and somehow, it just makes me feel a little more comfortable taking a class where I can ask my wacky questions. I realize I could very easily figure this stuff out on my own, but still. It’s also nice to sit in a class with other knitters (aka other people in love with knitting).

The other thing I love about an event like Stitches is that it brings out all the local yarn celebrities. Very fun. Fun to chat with Joan McGowan-Michael, author of Knitting Lingerie Style,  and Jennifer Hansen from Stitch Diva Studios. Just so much fun! I know that there are a dozen or so local podcasters who are very popular, but I must say I’m not a podcast listener, so I wouldn’t know who they were anyway. Except that you see people interviewing other folks all over the hall, and you just know that they’re doing interviews for their podcasts and would love it if you noticed them. Whatever.

She's coming along...

Because I took a break from my Global Cables Jacket to work on the cowl, I’m kinda stalled at the waist, but perhaps more next week on that. Really enjoying knitting it, and I must say I am really enjoying the Cascade Eco. In the skein it seems very rough, like something you’d use for a real fisherman’s aran sweater, and actually I think it’d be perfect for that. But it feels nice in the hand, and I also know that it gets really soft when it’s soaked and blocked (I know this because I was a good girl and did a nice big swatch). I will use this yarn again, I think. I think I love it.

Bug’s mitt is almost done. I thought I could get them both done in time for V day. Actually, I might be able to do it. The problem is, that the poor kiddo has been home with a fever since she went to the dance a few weeks ago (no, that’s not a “love fever”) and I can’t knit in secret with her around. We thought she might have mono, but a call from the doctor confirmed that the blood test she had did not show mono. That’s good. I hope she gets better soon, though. She’s missing scads of school. Ah well, she may get one with the promise of the second soon…

one little Bug mitt

Well I’d better get a few more things accomplished around here. I’ll report back from the yarn front as soon as I get back!


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