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

_MG_1371_MG_1373

 

 

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.

 

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…;)

 

Oh my Garters! June 22, 2015

Filed under: knitting — kathy @ 11:08 am
Tags: , , , , ,
Magnificent Oyster shawl by WeaverKnits in  Stonehedge Fiber's Crazy mill ends.

Magnificent Oyster shawl by WeaverKnits in
Stonehedge Fiber’s Crazy mill ends. The colors are really interesting and unusual. 

Recently, I find myself at work on two different shawls, both featuring the homey-looking garter stitch. For those readers who don’t dabble in fiber and string, garter stitch is when you knit every row back and forth on a piece of flat knitting, instead of stockinette, which is alternating knitting one row and purling the next. Overall it looks rather bumpy instead of smooth.

Garter stitch is fluid, relaxing. Some say boring, and though I partially agree with that, I also find garter stitch to be a bit like meditation practice. The chattering, annoying mind that won’t be still in meditation is to me similar to the nagging thought that garter stitch is tedious. Recognize it, but keep knitting. Once I accept that this repetitive stitch is so simple it can be uninspiring, it becomes a non-issue. Simply knit on.

I knit in the continental style which means I only need to make very small movements with my hands to produce a stitch. The yarn flows easily through my fingers. Knit, knit, knit, knit, knit…it becomes soothing, not really mindless, but rather, intuitive. Peaceful. It is a good break for my mind.

Many folks claim knitting is relaxing, however I must add that, in my opinion, the only time knitting is relaxing is when the project is working out the way you want it to.

To me, garter stitch is restful, and I’ve decided that if I’m wise, I’ll be certain to have some sort of garter stitch project on hand to work out the stresses of life (BTW, also it’s proven to be a good knitting choice for social knitting that includes wine, or for foreign film watching).

Shuffle shawl by Heather Claussen--Test knitting this clever design by a new Squam buddy.

Shuffle shawl by Heather Claussen–Test knitting this clever design by a new Squam buddy.

 

Write now…right now! November 5, 2014

Filed under: knitting,writing — kathy @ 11:56 am
Tags: , , , , ,
Ah, this would be my dream writing spot. Maybe someday...

Ah, this would be my dream writing spot. Maybe someday…

Hello dear friends!

Just the other day I had a nagging feeling I’d forgotten something…low and behold, I realized I hadn’t written a post here in nearly 2 months. For shame! I can only blame it on the fact that I’ve been busy writing other things, namely researching and writing a short story to submit for an upcoming fantasy anthology, and editing my novel, Lore. What wonderfully all-consuming projects. Whenever I write, no matter if I find myself blocked and agonizing over plot, or if I’m flying through the story with it flowing easily from my mind to my fingers, I find hours fly past. It is truly my deepest devotion, writing. To that end, I think I should focus more on writing here, as well.

 

Then there is knitting…T_MaryFrancesCover

I’ve been making good progress on my Clown Barf shoulder wrap, poncho-thingy. Just a few more “tiers” to go. And thank goodness; we’ve been waking to 40 degree temps–finally! Sweater weather at last. Though we have still had more than a typical number of over 80 degree days in the last month or so. Hmphf. I wish I could like hot weather. I just cannot take it. Even when I was a kid I wasn’t happy with heat and sweating. Ah well.

On the upside, though, it is easier to get yarn to dry when it’s warm outside, so I might just have to schedule some dyeing…;)

I’d really like to get underway with a couple of cardigans, and maybe even a last minute Christmas giftie. What’s Christmas without a frenzied race to finish a handmade gift, right?

And then there’s that Holiday Boutique I signed up to do. Many of you know I make jewelry, but I don’t know if you’ve heard I make rosaries and rosary bracelets, too. So the first weekend of December (in fact, about a month from now) I’ll be at our local church selling those items, as well as a few regular jewelry items, since I won’t be having a Christmas Trunk Show this year. I’ll be posting the address soon, in case any of you local readers might want to attend. I’d love to see you!

And instead of the Christmas Show, I’m planning on having a Valentine’s Day Trunk Show. Kind of a “buy something for your sweetie to give you Show”, or “give yourself some love this Valentine’s Day Show.”

Well, better skeedaddle…got lots going on!

What sorts of things are keeping you busy right now? Tell me–I’d love to know!

 

Clown Barf September 10, 2014

IMG_2105Yep. You read that right.

I myself read that description on Ravelry a few months ago while researching Noro Kureyon colorways for the new shoulder shrug/poncho/cowl thing I wanted to make for myself; it was a fellow Raveler’s perfect description, and it stuck. You see, as an alternative to t-shirts and jeans or sweats, I’ve found that the marvelous J.Jill Kimono Sleeve sweaters are the perfect thing for pulling on first thing in the morning to take the Bug to school, and then do a quick grocery shop or “meet the girls for coffee” mornings. I always feel pulled together when I wear one.

Problem is, with those big wide sleeves, it’s impossible to fit them comfortably in any jacket I own, or be able to bend my arms if I do manage to find a jacket to accommodate them. And dang—it’s cold in the mornings here in late fall and winter.

Solution? A poncho/cape/giant cowl thingy. I love entrelac—the Lady Eleanor Shawl is one of my most all-time favorite things I ever knit—so that would be the basis for the pattern. And because my kimono tops are pretty colorful, well, I needed a bold colorway. Enter Noro Kureyon #272. The plan is to knit enough “tiers” of entrelac to wrap fairly loosely around my shoulders without falling off, then connect it by adding a few bold buttons that secure with a shell crochet edge. Very simple (famous last words, right?).

I am having fun knitting it. It’s pretty brainless, once I get into the groove, and that has the added benefit of helping me meditate on the new short story I’m working on.

Wearing this puppy, however, may require a bit of bravery. What do you think?

p.s. Thanks to “A Little Fluff,” for posting this video earlier and reminding me how much I like it!

 

Have you any wool July 13, 2014

Lovely little piles of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock, Miss Babs Yummy, Cosmic, and Yet, Handmaiden Silk Sock, Sea Sock, and Posh Hannah

Lovely little piles of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock, Miss Babs Yummy, Cosmic, and Yet, Handmaiden Silk Sock, Sea Sock, and Posh Hannah

To me, there is little that is more satisfying than a stack of small cakes of merino (or if I’m very lucky, merino and silk blend, too) just waiting to become a shawl, or some mitts, or a pair of colorful socks. Sort of the equivalent of having a well-stocked pantry. So today, after the house was all tidy, I pulled out a bunch of skeins (some of which have been in my storage tubs for years), my yarn swift and ball winder (now, now), checked out what shows have been languishing on the DVR, and started winding.

After about two and a half hours I was finished; I had 15 lovely skeins of fingering weight and lace weight yarn all neatly wound with, miraculously, not a single tangling disaster. Even with the all the silk I was winding.

Anyway, here’s the result of my little party. Rather an embarrassment of riches, with an obvious penchant for pink. Especially Handmaiden’s Sangria, which I have in nearly every single fingering weight base they dye because I love the color so much. Well, I’ve never hidden the fact I have SABLE (StashAccumulationBeyondLifeExpectancy) issues. But now that these goodies are all wound, it’ll be easy to open a ziploc or a tub and pull one out to make something fabulous.

 

 

Ah, Fraternity July 7, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — kathy @ 12:55 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

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

 

 

 
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