Category: Twisted Yarns

Jun 11

Shibui Crete Scarf

In May, I started the Crete scarf in spite of a record number of WIPs. However, I decided that from now on, if I have needles free, and I’m compelled to cast on for something, I’m just going to do it. Why not cast on like it’s my job. It kind of is my job! By the way — you have my permission to do whatever you want too — if you want to cast on, then cast on! You’re only auditioning the yarn, after all.

I’m such a sucker for Shibui yarn and this project has brought me joy from the beginning (and it’s a great color, which helps). I love the combination of rustic and luxurious — and Twig has my heart now. I don’t think there’s another DK-weight yarn quite like it. It’s a combination of linen, recycled silk, and a little bit of wool. I’ve seen how it transforms with blocking and can’t wait to bind off this scarf give it a good soak. The best part of knitting the Crete is the addition of Lunar — 1 strand of Lunar and 1 strand of Twig makes a gorgeous fabric. And as I do with cotton, cotton blends, and linen, I always use interchangeable needles when I’m knitting a lot of stockinette. I use the needle size called for on my knit rows and a smaller needle on my purl rows. (I don’t swatch for scarves, if you’re wondering). It keeps the fabric looking smooth and consistent. Not every knitter has the issue I have (“rowing out“), but rather than adapt my knitting technique (it would slow me down initially and the payoff isn’t worth it if I have an easy fix), I’m happiest knitting with two different needle tips.

Shibui Crete

Crete Scarf – Shibui Lunar and Twig, in Apple Colorway

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Jun 09

I resolved in 2017 . . .

I resolved in 2017 to come back to my beloved blog and while it’s taken over half the year to do it, I’m back! I’ve been very active on Instagram (find me there as twistedknitter) and I try to post photos there often. I’ve also separated the business from the personal and the shop has its own Instagram (Twisted Yarns). I’d be honored if you followed both! I’ve missed blogging and writing, so I’m resolute about writing weekly again — even if I’m the only one reading. Writing has always been my way of transforming imagination into plans. Skipping the writing step has left me adrift.

For now, I’ll share one of my latest knitting WIPs along with a link in the caption so you can find read the details on Ravelry. I’m using three skeins of Silk Garden Sock and it’s nearly finished — just a few more rows! It’s an easy (and FREE), addicting pattern and will work with virtually any yarn. I’ve had it on the needles a while (started in March 2017) but life intervened before I could get back on track. So naturally, I did what I usually do and started new projects. What else would a yarn lover do when she’s surrounded by gorgeous yarns?! It’ll be satisfying to knit the last few rows and reward myself with another new start.

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Jun 30

Outline Shawl : Progress

My latest project: Outline Shawl, designed by Beata Jezek of Hedgehog Fibres. In spite of my legendary short attention span, this project is nearly complete. I’ve rushed downstairs every morning to squeeze in some knitting time before work. Those minutes have added up — only about a foot more to go. Color sequence is Villain, Teacup, Whisper, Cinder, and Pollen – more details on my Ravelry project page, linked above.


Outline Shawl

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Jun 29

Almost a year later . . .

Almost a year later, and every single day, you think about how much you miss blogging here in your little space. And yet. You haven’t carved out the time for it, which is what you do when there’s something you miss.

But. Deep breath.

Turn it around and think of all that you managed to accomplish while you silently acknowledged those things that you missed.

Ah. I have missed you.

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Jul 14

Focus on the GOOD

As of July 1, I am the new owner of Twisted Yarns in Spring, Texas. I’m thrilled to be working with my friends and spending time with customers I’ve known for years.

Twisted Yarns

Life threw a lot at me the past four months, but I’m learning that I can survive really hard things — and that I can choose what to focus on and celebrate and appreciate the things that give me hope. Over the years, Twisted Yarns has been haven, escape, and inspiration for me. It was the vision of the previous owners, Eve and Shelley, to create a welcoming community of fiber lovers. That will remain my core focus and goal, with the added imperative to have fun!

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Dec 05

Adiri Cowl

Mind of Winter Designs - Adiri Cowl

Adiri in Cascade Venezia

For the past several years, my fellow co-workers and I have each created handmade ornaments for the annual holiday gift exchange. This year, the focus was slightly different — we drew names for our secret “cowl pals” and each of us worked on a cowl based on the intended recipient’s favorite colors, stitch patterns, and/or techniques. When Julia at Mind of Winter Designs posted a new pattern set (pullover and cowl), I thought the design was perfect for Debbie G. — she loves cables and Adiri has an understated feminine design — the cables aren’t bulky. I had several great colors of Cascade Venezia to choose from but ultimately took the advice of a friend who chose the deep purple.

I reacquainted myself with knitting with Denise Needles and I was thrilled with how the yarn and needle combo worked well together. The Venezia would have been a bit too slippery for my Addi Clicks and a little too draggy for my Clover bamboo circulars.

While I have admired Julia’s designs for years, this might be the first time I’ve knit one — but it won’t be my last because I’m eyeing the Adiri pullover for myself (and definitely the slouchy Adiri hat)

Mind of Winter Designs - Adiri Cowl

Adiri Cowl – Stitch Pattern

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Aug 29

Clark Cable

Soakbox : Clark Cable

Soakbox

The Instagram shot doesn’t do justice to the red yarn, but it’s stunning (Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport – 200 yards). Included is a Fiona Ellis pattern for fingerless mitts in an interesting cable and diamond pattern. The nail color is “Poor Lil Rich Girl.” I can’t find a good swatch photo online, but it’s a classic plummy red.

My first day of school went well yesterday — only a mild amount of stress and difficulty (confusion regarding which of the published classroom numbers was correct). I had a great non-Starbucks latte (read: less expensive) and had time to enjoy it. Last week, I was feeling a little cowardly for having taken just one class last semester and only two this semester. But I’m now convinced that it was a wise move to continue with the slow transition. It will be challenging to keep up with all the writing requirements in both classes and keep up with my non-collegiate life.

Creative Writing (Speculative Fiction & Screenwriting) will definitely be my more challenging class. It’s been years since I’ve practiced writing fiction with any regularity or purpose and we’ll be writing (and sharing – eeep!) in class every time we meet. While I love speculative fiction as a reader, I’m a little timid about sharing what I write. Among other learning outcomes, we are expected to produce, share, and revise a body of original work and demonstrate an ability to prepare and format work for publication. (3 short stories, 1 screenplay adaptation, 1 original screenplay).

Texas Historya survey of political, social, economic, cultural, and intellectual history of Texas from the pre-Columbian era to the present. I’m very excited about this class and have completed some of the required reading already (Empire of the Summer Moon, Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History). It’s a brilliant book. There’s a LOT more to Texas than this former Oklahoman realized, and Quanah Parker figures prominently in the history of both states.

Knitting-wise, I’m trying to finish (or frog) some lingering WIPs. I have at least four projects close to completion and that will be my weekend focus for the next couple of months. I’ll also reward myself with knitting during my self-imposed study breaks.

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Jun 26

Let’s Speculate

Off the loom early

Warped backwards

For a July baby

Firefly Fringed Scarf

For my Speculative Fiction class beginning in August

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May 31

Balanced

Weaving . . .

I am so thrilled with my first woven scarf and I’m planning to start another one soon — in shades of purple and blue. I want to try to achieve a more even selvedge and a more balanced fabric. While I still have a lot to learn, I love that the process of weaving yields a wearable object fairly quickly! If you’re intrigued and you’ve been considering giving weaving a try, I highly recommend it. While an in-person class is ideal, Craftsy now has a Rigid Heddle Weaving class that looks really comprehensive and complete. She uses both the 10″ Cricket Loom (which is what I learned with — this loom costs less than a set of Addi Clicks) and also a larger 24″ loom. If you’re like me, however, and you prefer to read extensively about a new skill before trying it, the best weaving books to get are:

Weaving Made Easy: 17 Projects Using a Simple Loom and
The Weaver’s Idea Book: Creative Cloth on a Rigid Heddle Loom

(My local library had both books in circulation — yours might too!)

If you like to read about the history of your favorite fiber arts, weaving is one of the most ancient of skills. It’s part of many diverse cultures — look for it in your own ancestral beginnings.

Of course, I had all the reasons that you do for not starting yet ANOTHER hobby, but in the end, I just said “yes” to myself. I said “yes” to trying it because I felt that there was something about weaving that I needed. I’m still in that process of discovery, but I know enough to want to keep doing it. And a rigid heddle loom is definitely in my future.

Perhaps these Georgia O’Keefe quotes will give you the inspiration to say “yes” to yourself too:

I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life — and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.

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May 29

Warped

Weaving on a Cricket 10" Loom

Cricket Loom and scarf in progress

Warp Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Worsted, 50% Alpaca, 50% Wool, “Grapefruit Mix”
Weft Yarn: Plymouth Gina, 100% wool, Color No. 5

For several weeks, I’ve had the idea that I’d love to learn how to weave, and had placed it on my mental list of things to try in the future. But I couldn’t stop noticing weaving being mentioned everywhere — and seeing beautiful projects on blogs and Ravelry. I was in the shop this past Friday, and checked to see when the next weaving class would be. There was one scheduled for the next day and nobody had signed up yet. (A sign?) Naturally, I had to take the class. I had heard so many people say how they were discouraged by how tedious it was to warp a loom, but I actually liked that part. I enjoyed the actual weaving too! The hallmark of a successful weaving project is planning — and then planning some more. Each row of weaving requires mindfulness and attention. I’d definitely call it meditative.

One of the supposed positive features of weaving (for knitters) is “stashbusting” — but I know myself. If I had a loom, I’d want to experiment with fibers that aren’t already in my stash. I certainly don’t want to be limited — and I don’t want to fool myself by saying that I’ll commit myself only to weaving from my stash! So that was the first hurdle — being honest with myself about how I’d use a loom and planning accordingly. I haven’t fully committed to buying my first loom yet, and I’m not in a hurry. My focus right now is on finishing what I started on the shop’s 10″ Cricket and then tackling the rest of my knitting projects. Advice and suggestions from weavers is appreciated!

And in the vein of learning and trying new things, SoKnitPicky and I got our hands dirty and tried this too:

It was a lot of fun and required a lot more upper body strength than I expected. I’d definitely do it again now that I know what to expect; I also want to try throwing a bowl that doesn’t have such an “interesting” design. I can’t wait to see what it looks like after it’s glazed!

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