twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

How do they do it? October 20, 2015

Beautiful Madelintosh Merino Light in Byzantine colorway. Sigh.

Beautiful Madelintosh Merino Light in Byzantine colorway. Sigh.

Seriously–how does a person knit a long, lacy sweater in just a couple of weeks?

C’mon, I know I’m not the only one who notices a fellow Ravelry knitter’s gorgeous project, and then trolls through all of their projects, flabbergasted to find that many of this person’s complicated sweater projects are done in a mere 2 or 3 weeks. Wha–?

Now I’m not going to call anyone out on that. But if you’re on Ravelry, you’ve surely seen folks who knit that fast and have hundreds of projects.

Actually I have to chuckle. Whenever I see something like “437 projects” in someone’s profile, they usually fit into one of four categories: Knits Like The Wind, Can’t Resist Casting On Another Project, Knits Accessories/Toys, and, Local Yarn Store Owner.

I could certainly put myself into that “Can’t Resist…Project” category (although I only have 150ish projects). I admit to having a short attention span when knitting a cardigan. I rationalize that a quick little shawl or pair of hand warmers will be easy to cart around and will make a little dent into the sock yarn stash (Oh that prodigious sock yarn stash). It doesn’t help that I enjoy making sweaters in one piece, top down or bottom up. At some point the thing is impossible to take around with me because it’s just too large. Though that in itself should be a good reason for me to stick to my diet, haha. So I cast on something new, something small fairly often.

I also can’t resist knitting gifts–some which don’t even make it into my Projects List because I finish it and give it before I remember to take a photo.

Still, this category always manages to make me smile, especially when the knitter has nearly as many WIPs (works in progress) as finished objects.

The “Knits Accessories/Toys” category is an interesting one. Even though I myself knit lots of accessories (mitts, shawls, and hats, mainly), I also knit many sweaters. But then there’s toy knitting. Don’t get me wrong–I love knitted toys! They’re adorable. But now that Bug’s nearly old enough to go to college, I don’t bother much with them, though frankly I have quite a few “I’ll knit these someday” toy patterns. Still, there are many knitters who mainly knit toys. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt that they have many little ones–kids or grandkids–who’ll enjoy them.

The LYS owner with their dozens of WIPs always makes me wonder if these poor folks ever have time to enjoy finishing a project. Of course I see lots of these projects around their shops, so they must finish them. Guess they’re just too busy to update their Project pages, which is, IMO a good thing. If my LYS is too busy, that means business is good, and that means I’ll have someplace to lurk and pet yarn. 😉

It’s those who Knit Like The Wind that make me feel both in awe and inadequate.

This is "Darling Emma" by a favorite designer, Joji Locatelli. Love this so much. So pretty on and well worth the wait and hard work.

This is “Darling Emma” by a favorite designer, Joji Locatelli. Love this so much. So pretty on and well worth the wait and hard work.

On the other hand, a few weeks ago, I decided to pick up an old WIP that I really loved and “finish the dang thing already.” There wasn’t anything wrong with it; I loved the pattern, adored the yarn, and had been steadily working on it–for about 2 years! I just couldn’t seem to find a chunk of uninterrupted time to make substantial progress. Seriously, sometimes slow and steady doesn’t win the race. You’re just slow. I think it requires steady focus to finish the race.

And because I wanted to wear the sweater to a wedding (two and a half weeks from then), and it was only 30 percent finished, I certainly had a reason to focus.

What I really needed was uninterrupted time. Ha. Ha.

I worked on that puppy every single chance I got, mostly ignoring the housework and barely feeding my family. And though at times I wondered if it actually would be possible to finish, I did it!

Which lead me to the very unscientific conclusion that someone who can knit a huge, and/or complicated sweater or shawl in just a couple of weeks has either a housekeeper and cook, or is just plain fast as hell. Mad Skills!

This little cutie shawl's been climbing up the list in my Queue, and finally just popped into my knitting bag...;)

This little cutie shawl’s been climbing up the list in my Queue, and finally just popped into my knitting bag…;)


On the knitting front… June 18, 2014

Hello darling fiber-lovers and other dear friends!

So last time, I showed off my little veggie garden, and this time, I’d like to show you what knitterly things kept me from blogging the last month.



First, I decided to tackle a couple of UFOs (unfinished objects), starting with my “Little Leafies” socks. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like feeling the bottoms of my current socks grow a bit thin to inspire me to finish the pair languishing on the needles (not to mention, remind me to darn any that are sitting in the mending basket). Once I determined to finish these and I focused on them alone, it took all of a week and a half to finish the first, then start and finish the second, which really makes me a little crazy. I mean, I am in no way a speed knitter, but look what happens when I focus on a single project. Makes me reconsider the “benefits” of multitasking, something I’ve been wondering about over the last year or so, but that’s another subject entirely.

Crazy Zauberball in "Rare Jewels"

Crazy Zauberball in “Rare Jewels”

So, those done, I decided I’d make the next pair plain old vanilla, but pulled out a wildly colored skein of Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball that Momma kindly bought for me last summer to make it more fun . Up until a week ago, it was sitting as a lovely decoration in my yarn bowl. I thought, however, it deserved a little more recognition than that, so I cast on for another pair of socks right away. Yowza. You may or may not know I like to put a panel of lace or cables down the fronts of my socks, but this time, I just wanted straightforward stockinette stitches. Bang, zoom! Seven inches and a heel turn in just 2.5 days of knitting while dinner was cooking and afterwards before bed. I may be jinxing myself by mentioning it, but it makes me very happy to see progress like that. Plus, there’s the added benefit that it’s very socially compatible knitting–no pattern to concentrate on.

The yarn, though…well let’s just say I have very mixed feelings about the stuff. I love the color changes which will ultimately yield some truly crazy fraternal (not matching) socks, however, this stuff is splitty as all get out. Further, the way the ball is wound by the manufacturer–cool, because it shows off the yarn colors–is insane to knit from since huge wraps of it fall off and tangle as you work, yarn bowl or not. And I don’t think it’s wise to pull it from the center. In fact a review of it on Ravelry warned against this very thing because it tangles so dreadfully. I believe that because the fiber is pretty fuzzy, it really clings together and nearly felts itself  into a knotty mess.

And then just a few days ago while cruising through my queue on Rav, I remembered I wanted to start Lichen to get a jump on my Christmas knitting. This is a delightfully fun and clever project I first saw made up in Elgin last summer when my Darling Cuz and I were on our annual Summer Yarn Crawl. So pretty it just took my breath away. The only problem is, as I make this, I think I should’ve gotten 3 skeins, instead of the 2 the nice lady at the yarn shop told me to get. Sigh.

Magnolia Yarn by Classic Elite--so squishy and pretty!

Magnolia Yarn by Classic Elite–so squishy and pretty!

Oh well, just another reason to by more yarn. 😉

What have you guys been knitting? I’d love to know!


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.


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