Wednesday, December 30, 2015

WIP Wednesday: December 30, 2015

Capping off the year with one final WIP Wednesday post!

Sekret Knitting:

  • Sweater #1: Finished sleeve #1 and started the body.  I'm going to try to get it finished up to the armhole shaping over the course of the next week.  It's kind of slow going as it's fingering weight and on size 2 needles, but I'm going to give it a shot!
  • Sweater #2: I won't start this one until I've got at least one of the other sweaters done and off the needles.
  • Sweater #3: I'm an inch away from finishing the body up to the armholes.  My plan is to get that up to the armholes and then cast on for sleeve #1.
Personal Knitting:
  • I'm still knitting up several self-striping colorways.  I'll have pictures of some of those next week.  I'm suffering badly from second-sock syndrome in that I want to have as many colorways knit up as I can, so I'm knitting sock #1 and then jumping ahead to another colorway.  Hopefully will have some time to get caught up on the mates to these over the next month or so. 
  • On New Year's Eve, I'll be casting on Jen Lucas's Hogmanay Shawl out of handspun as the first project in the 2016 Handspun KAL I'm hosting.   I'll be using the fingering-weight "Sari" 2-ply I spun up earlier this year for this one.  I'm looking forward to having an excuse to knit with my handspun in 2016!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

WIP Wednesday: December 23, 2015

Sekret Knitting:

  • Just finished up the 2-piece set that's my next deadline.  I need to finish the pattern draft and that can head off to my TE!
  • I started work on sweater 1 of 3 - that's on small needles, but I've started with the first sleeve (which I like to do to double-check my gauge before casting on the entire sweater) and am about halfway done that.  My plan is to finish sleeve #1 and cast on for the body of the sweater, which is knit in the round, and focus on that this week. 
  • I'm still working on the prototype/sample for the Sweater Club - I'm going to try to put in a bit of time on that as well this week. 
  • And finally, the yarn for sweater 3 of 3 arrived yesterday, so I've got that ready to go when I get one of the others done!
Personal Knitting:  I'm knitting a gazillion stripey socks right now to try out some new colorways.  I have a feeling I will have a fair number of lone socks until I get more colorways established and ready to go and I can knit the mates to them.  Otherwise, not much on the personal knitting front.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I'm happy to announce I've got a brand-new Wooly Wonka Podcast!  I'll be podcasting every other week or so, with news and updates from the shop on new products, new colorways, any KALs or SALs or other general news.  I'll also be sharing some of my personal projects at the end, plus my reading list and other tibdits from my daily life.  I hope you'll join me!

This week I'll be talking about my new self-striping sock yarn, the Rainbowalong colorway I'm doing in conjunction with Suburban Stitcher, and a pattern update on Ravelry that will happen on January 1st.

I'll also share my current personal spinning project, as well as some end-of-the-year thoughts on my reading list and resolutions.



Website: Wooly Wonka Fibers
Suburban Stitcher Website (For information on the Rainbowalong).
My Rainbowalong colorway: Rainbows in the Clouds

Crevasse Pattern Page on Ravelry

My handspun project page on Ravelry.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Spinning Friday: December 18, 2015

So happy to announce that I met my 2015 challenge goal of 7.5 pounds of fiber spun this past week.  (That's 120 oz for those of you keeping track that way).

I rounded out this last 2.5 oz with a 2-ply of superwash Targhee wool that's the companion colorway to 'Anna' from the FatCatKnits fiber club in November.  (So I'm also caught up with the current FCK club fibers as well!)


Yarn Specs:
Fiber:  Superwash Targhee from FatCatKnits.
Colorway:  Mr. Bates.
Ply: 2-ply.
Yardage: 204 yards/2.5 oz (fingering weight).

I think I've highlighted most of the yarns I've spun this year in individual posts, but here they all are in a mosiac - I spun just a tiny bit over the 120 oz I was shooting for, and that worked out to be 9331 yards of handspun! I know I've got a bit of time left in the month to keep spinning and I am currently working on some non-superwash Targhee from deep stash that I'm hoping to finish before the end of the year - but I'll report on that next week.


One of my goals for 2016 is to actually MAKE something with some of this gorgeous yarn I've now got sitting in a storage bin, but I am going to try to continue spinning my way through the stash as well!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

WIP Wednesday: December 16, 2015

Sekret Knitting:  And lots of it.

  • The first Heroines Club shawl is done, off the needles and through testing and tech editing.  That'll release on January 1, 2016.  
  • I've bumped a small DK-weight set up to the top of the list since it has a very short deadline.  That's for a fall 2016 publication.  I'm about 25% of the way through the knitting on that and hoping to be pretty close to having the samples done at this time next week.
  • Still plugging along on the large Fair Isle project - I've opted to push that date out a bit for the finalized sample as I've gotten enough knit to calculate out all my grading and get that ready to send for testing/tech editing.  I'm working on that as I have time.
  • I've gotten charting and preliminary numbers done for another Fair Isle project - I've wound yarn and that'll go on the needles today to double-check gauge and plot out any changes I need to make for that. 
Personal Knitting:  Believe it or not, I'm working on socks - I've got a secondary sneak colorway of my new Self-Striping Socks on the needles.  I've knit sock #1 to the point I'm ready to shape the toe. Once I get that one off the needles, I'll put the February Colors of New Mexico skein on and be sure I'm happy with the colorway progression.  I'm finding a sort of zen-like meditation in knitting stockinette stitch in the round watching the colors stripe.  It's a good way to rest my brain and not have to really think about my knitting and just enjoy it!  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

At Year's End

2015 has been a year of a LOT of great changes around here - I can hardly believe I actually have had The Book released out into the world to you all.  And finally finally! after many years of working towards not having to work yet another day job on top of everything else, it feels really good to be focused on my designing and shop things 100% of the time!

So as 2015 winds to a close in the next couple of weeks, I have some fun announcements for things in the works for 2016 - the first of several in the next months.

To begin, look for a brand-new podcast from me sometime around the first of the year.  I wanted to have a way to share all the things I'm working on with y'all on a more one-on-one basis, and I've been thinking about podcasting for a while now.  More details on that closer to the launch, but I'm going to shoot for an every-other-week, maybe 30-minute or so podcast to keep you up-to-date on shop things, KAL's, sales, and other bits and bobs going on in my life.  There will definitely be some knitting, probably some spinning, and likely some other personal things like my reading list choices.  I'll hope to see some of you there!

Next up, I wanted to announce a new item for the shop - Self-Striping Sock Yarns!  Yep, I've taken the plunge there and will be posting rotating colorways all during 2016, as well as having an informal KAL in my Ravelry group.  The main theme this year will be Colors of New Mexico - I'm so fortunate to live in a state where the light is gorgeous, the scenery is spectacular and the colors are so vibrant and vivid.  I'll be posting an inspiration photo or two with each of the colorways - and that'll happen once a month.  Each colorway will be available for 3 months, and then will rotate out of stock, but I'll have a new colorway update each month around the 15th.  (There may also be some other sneak update colorways outside this theme, but those will be on a more random basis.)

The first colorway I've chosen is "Santa Fe".  Themed on these 2 great photos, the colorway has adobe brown, chili red, turquoise and purple in varying-width stripes.


You get to pick the sock yarn base and you've got 4 to choose from.  You can see all your options here on the website. All skeins are dyed to order, so please be aware it'll be a couple of weeks or so before you see yours in your mailbox if you choose to order.


My sample was knit on the Aerten Sock base (which is 80/10/10 superwash merino/cashmere/nylon), with 435 yards/100 grams per skein.  I knit these on US size 1 (2.25 mm) needles, with an afterthought heel on 64 sts. Your stripes will look similar to this, depending on what size needle and/or sock pattern stitch number you choose.

I hope you'll enjoy this journey through the state this year with me!

Monday, December 14, 2015

From the Bookshelf: December 2015

I am entertaining myself on the reading front with some random titles before the 2016 challenge starts.  I've been delighted my local library has a decent selection of audiobooks for free to download and an app that makes it easy to do just that.

I downloaded and VERY much enjoyed The Ghost of the Mary Celeste.  With a story spanning a century, working forwards and backwards to tie the threads together of what might have happened to the Mary Celeste, an American merchant vessel that was found drifting off the coast of Spain with all crew missing in 1972.  Well-written, well-narrated, I highly recommend this one.  I was particularly happy that the author suggested a mysterious ending and didn't try to solve this mystery that will likely remain unsolved forever.  Just enough final details and tying up of loose ends to make me continue to think about this one for a long time after I had finished it.


I am currently working my way through Edward Rutherfurd's epic, Paris.  His books are not for the faint-hearted - they are long and in-depth with a lot of characters to keep track of, but I'm enjoying this one to keep me company in the dye studio while I'm skeining.  I'm perhaps 30% of the way through it and will have to renew it to actually finish it, but I plan to do that this week when my download expires.



Wednesday, December 9, 2015

WIP Wednesday and Travel Tales

Mostly reporting in that we are back from our wonderful vacation in Northern California!  D and I decided we'd go visit the beach when no one else was there, and we spent most of our time in the town of Mendocino - which is fun and artsy and just about the right size.  We rented the upper floor of a house overlooking Mendocino Bay with a porch, and other than one really drizzly and cold day (Sunday), we had an evening glass of wine before walking down the main street to find a place for dinner.  Very fun, very relaxing - just what we needed.

So while I do have some knitterly things to report in on, I'll save those for later in the week and into next week and just share some vacation photos with you for now.

Mendocino Bay at Sunrise (the view from our porch):

Fort Cabrillo Lighthouse:

The view of Mendocino from one of the rock outcroppings:

Dew on a spiderweb in the redwood grove:

Point Arena Light:

And a foggy morning on the bay:

We took several driving tours, did some wine tastings, ate seafood, and had a great tour of the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse and buildings.  Loved the area, and I suspect we'll venture back for other vacations in the future!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

2016 Clubs!

Since I apparently needed a LOT more caffeiene when I posted my last WIP post not on a Wednesday and not even on the right day, I'm bypassing that category this Wednesday to talk about Wooly Wonka clubs for 2016!  Note that all club sign-ups will be open through December 31, 2015 (the fiber club will be open for those quarterly sign-ups throughout 2016 as well).

This year, I'm offering 3 clubs (with a preview of another new offering if you make it all the way through this post at the end!):  The Heroines Shawl Club and a subscription Sweater Club for knitters, and a fiber club for handspinners.

Let's start with the fiber club.  It'll be similar in format to last year's.  Each month you will receive 4 oz of either a 100% wool, a wool and something blend (like merino/tencel, BFL/silk, etc.) or a custom blended roving.  Since the club is set up in quarters of the year, you'll get one of those bases every 3 months.  You have the option of picking a handpaint or a tonal/kettle dye option.  On the months I send out the blended roving, everyone will get the same roving.  You may opt to do more than 4 oz, of course!  Shipping is included in the price, and you can sign up for just 3 months at a time, or go for the whole year and get yourself a discount.  Our theme for 2016 will be Art Gallery. Think colorways inspired by great masterpieces of art - Botticelli, Van Gogh, Dali, Degas.   Packages will ship around the 15th of every month.

Next up, a new addition to the line-up, the Sweater Club.   This club will get you enough yarn to knit two hand-dyed sweaters and their patterns during the course of 2016.

The first sweater will be a DK-weight cardigan, with my brand-new Aeslin DK superwash merino as the base. It will have a simple knit/purl texture pattern for the body, with the sleeves and upper raglan yoke knit in stockinette, and a casual, boxy fit. The yarn and pattern will arrive mid-March 2016.
The second sweater will be a fingering-weight cardigan, knit with Artio Sock, which is a 50/50 silk/blue-faced Leicester wool blend. It will have some optional waist shaping, with lace patterning on the back and set-in sleeves, with a bit more tailored fit; a great layering piece for the changeable weather of early fall. The yarn and pattern will arrive mid-September. (If you loved the Aspens cardigan from Free Spirit Knits, you’ll like this one).
You can pick and choose from multiple sizing options and can select any of the tonal-dyed colorways available in the shop Gallery section. All of your yarn will be dyed at the same time, so it will be the same “dye lot” for your project. Club members will receive both sweater patterns delivered as PDFs into your Ravelry library. The club will allow you to break up the cost of two hand-dyed sweater lots over 4 installment payments during the year, with payments for the remaining 3 installments due March 1st, June 1st and September 1st. Previews of the sweaters will be available in mid-January and mid-July, so you can select colors that best suit the projects and your personal preferences (and I’ll be sending out reminder emails to club members so they have plenty of time to pick).

And finally, the Heroines Shawl Club.  We’ll again have six shawl projects in the club this year, with the first one shipping out the first week in January, and then every other month (so March, May, July, September and November 2016). You will again have the option of choosing just the ebook collection that has patterns only, opting for an installment payment for the yarn/patterns or paying upfront for the entire year (which gets you the deepest discount). Each shawl project will be a different shape, ranging from half-hexagon, to a rectangle, to circular, and a few others in between.

The themes for 2016 will be:

  • Freya from the book Iceland by Betsy Tobin. This will be on the Arianrhod Sock base (SW merino/silk/glitter), and will feature a gradient colorway based on fire and ice.
  • Gustine from the book “The Dress Lodger”. This will be on Nimue Sock (50/50 SW merino/silk) in a mid-range cornflower blue. Genevieve from “The Lady and the Unicorn”. This will be a warm rich red on Aeslin Fingering (100% SW merino).
  • Jo March from “Little Women.” This will be on a brand-new club-exclusive sockweight yarn (50/50 alpaca/merino) in a dark earthy gray with a heathery look.
  • Lily Owens from “The Secret Life of Bees”. This shawl will be knit from a tricolor/gradient on Ceridwen Sock (100% SW merino) in warm honey golds.
  • Isabella Byrd who wrote a series of memoirs in the form of letters back home to England while she was exploring the western mountains (Colorado to Nevada) on horseback, and knitting her way through all of that!  This be on Artio Sock (50/50 BFL and silk) in a dark forest green.

All the shawls will be full size, so at least 600 yards of fingering-weight yarn each. Shawls will also be intermediate in terms of skill set - all the motifs will be charted and not written out.

Whew!  Made it this far through this very long post? If so, then I'll sneak in just one more little bit of information.  Beginning in January 2016, I will be carrying self-striping sock yarns.  Each month I'll introduce a new color and in 2016, I'll be focusing on Colors of New Mexico.  January's colorway will be "Santa Fe", a gorgeous 4-color set of stripes.  This color will be available for the first 3 months of 2016 for orders, with a new color added every month.  These will all be on a custom-dye basis, so you can pick from one of four sock yarn bases and have it dyed up just for you.  More to come later in the month of December with some sneak peeks and info on KALs and giveaways!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Reading Challenge Recap

I am really proud of the fact I actually finished this reading challenge.  I wound up finding several great new authors and enjoyed a large number of books I probably never would have picked up.  To recap a few of the notables this year:

My top 3 favorite reads:
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth.  A wonderful retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale.
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  A completely unexpected favorite this year.  I chose it to fulfill the category need, but wound up becoming completely immersed in it.
Iceland by Betsy Tobin.  I loved this combination of Norse mythology with historical fiction.  I was inspired enough by this book to design a shawl for my Heroines Club for 2016!

My 3 least favorite reads:
The Hours by Michael Cunningham.  Meh - I don't think this lived up to the hype AT.ALL.
Magic America by C.E. Medford.  Depressing and not in an enlightening way.  More violence and cancer than I really needed to read about.
Beloved by Toni Morrison.  Is this book on all the should-read lists simply because it was banned?  I found it confusing and depressing.

I've decided to forge on and do the challenge again for 2016.  The upcoming topics are listed below, with some of my tentative choices included in italics.  My plan, however, is to try to get as many of these on loan from my library and/or as Kindle loaners.  I do have a few of them on the bookshelves already, and I may wind up slotting a few others in as I go, depending on what my dad sends me in his book gift boxes every other month or so.  I'm looking forward to finding some gems in 2016 too!

2016 Reading Challenge List
A book that you've seen the movie of but haven't read:  Edith Wharton – Age of Innocence.
Reader's Choice (freebie):
A book about mental illness (i.e. substance abuse, alzheimer's, autism, bipolar, etc.):  Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
A book that's title begins with the first letter of your name – Wallace Stegner – Angle of Repose

A book with a great opening line:  Paula Hawkins – The Girl on the Train
A book by an author you feel you should have read by now:  Ian McEwan – Atonement.
A book with a beautiful title (in your own opinion):  Philip Margulies – Belle Cora.
A work of young adult fiction:  Tiffany Trent – The Unnaturals.
A book set in a different continent:  John Shors – Temple of a Thousand Faces. 
A book with a first name in the title:  Marisa Silver – Mary Coin.
A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you:  Vanessa Diffenbaugh – The Language of Flowers
A book everyone is talking about
A book related to a hobby or passion you have:  Whitney Otto – How to Make an American Quilt
A book with a type of food/drink in the title:  Ray Bradbury – Dandelion Wine.
A book by an author who writes under more than one name
The next book in a series you are reading: Stephanie Barron - Jane and the Stillroom Maid
A book from your "to read" list:  Anthony Horowitz – The House of Silk
A book you're embarrassed to read in public
A book about booksJasper Fforde – The Eyre Affair.
A crime story:  Gerri Brightwell – The Dark Lantern
A book with one of the five Ws -or H in the title (Who/What/Where/When/Why/How) Hazel Gaynor – The Girl Who Came Home
A book about a thing that goes bump in the night (i.e. vampires, monsters, etc.):  Brian Ruckley – The Edinburgh Dead (print copy)
The first book in a new to you seriesJules Watson – The White Mare

A book from the Rory Gilmore challenge:  Isabel Allende – Eva Luna.
The 16th book on your to-read list:  Theodora Goss – The Thorn and the Blossom.
A book that was mentioned in another book 
An award winning book (Pulitzer, Newbery, Caldecott, Man Booker, Printz, National Book Award, etc.)
A historical fiction book: Katherine Howe – The House of Velvet and Glass.
A book set in the past (more than 100 years ago):  Pauline Gedge – The Eagle and the Raven.
A book from the Goodreads Recommendations page:  DJ Taylor – Kept.
A top 100 fantasy novel (The hobbit/LOTR, Game of Thrones, The Chronicles of Prydain, etc.): T.H. White – The Once and Future King
A book from the top 100 mystery novels:  Marcia Muller – Edwin of the Iron Shoes
A childhood classic (i.e. Anne of Green Gables, Black Beauty, The Secret Garden, etc.) Elizabeth George Speare – The Witch of Blackbird Pond.
A non-fiction book:  Fiona Carnarvon – Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey.
The highest-rated book on your to-read list:  Betsy Tobin – The Clockmaster.
A biography, autobiography, or memoir

A book published in 2016
A book with a beautiful cover
A book about a major world event (fiction or non-fiction)
A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2015 (winner or nominated)

A book you meant to read in 2015, but didn't
An identity book - a book about a different culture, religion, or sexual orientation than your own

A book about an anti hero
A suggestion that did not make it into the final list 
A classic book with less than 200 pages
A novella from your favorite genre 
A "between the numbers" book of a series (0.5, 1,5, 2.5, etc.):  Kate Daniels – Gunmetal Magic.
A
fairytale from a culture other than your own: 

A short story from a well-known author – Neil Gaiman – Cinnamon
A book by an author you discovered in 2015 and want to read more of

A dystopia
A book on a summer/beach reading list
A book originally written in a language other than English

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

WIP Wednesday: November 25, 2015

Sekret Knitting:

  • I'm in the home stretch on the first Heroines Club Shawl pattern for 2016.  I have a couple more hours of knitting time to put in on it, and it'll be done and ready to head off for tech editing/testing.  I'm looking forward to sending this one out into the world - it's a really fun set of gradients!
  • The yarn just arrived yesterday for the next deadline project, which will be a fair isle/stranded knitting garment.  Lots of knitting to do on that with a pretty short deadline, so I'll be focused on that for the next couple of weeks. 
  • Waiting on yarn for 2 other deadline projects that got accepted for Fall 2016 publications - one is small-ish and the other is a men's garment, so I have plenty on the deadline knitting front to keep me busy for a while. 

Personal Knitting: 
  • Because I suffer heartily from the Cobbler's Wife syndrome (as in... I knit constantly, and hardly ever have knitwear to wear myself), and I needed a new hat, I cast on for a Felicity Hat in some of my oldest stashed handspun yarn.  This is a blend of wool and mohair (60/40 maybe?) in the Winter Dawn colorway, which is kind of a dusty mauve/purple colors.  When I purchased it, or even when I spun it, is lost in the mists of time - it's VERY well-aged stash.  It was sometime pre-Ravelry and it's been waiting for a project. 
  • I haven't made any further progress on it, but just to show an updated picture of my Mesa Verde shawl, here it is.  I've got another repeat and a half to do to finish it up and may work on this a bit over the holiday weekend if I have some spare knitting minutes. 

I've got a bad case of startitis right now.  I suppose that's what one does when faced with mountains of deadline knitting?  I'm trying valiantly to suppress the urge to cast on new quickie projects - that's what I've been in the mood to knit right now (and maybe a fallout from a lot of larger deadline projects?).  I also have 2 WIPs, which is a rare occurrence for me.  One is the mystery shawl from Kirsten Kapur from this summer.  I think I have clues 4, 5 and 6 left to knit.  The other is a pair of socks which I've gotten as far as the cuff and maybe 1-1/2" down the leg on.  Both of these are holdovers from many months ago - like last spring (socks) and summer (shawl).  I generally don't like to leave things on the needles this long.  I am strongly considering frogging the socks and starting over with something else.  I'd like to finish the shawl, but I may have to wait a bit on that and try to work on it after December 20th when I'll need to have 2 of the 3 deadline projects (other than the Heroines shawl), finished.

WIP Wednesday: December 2, 2015

Sekret Knitting:

  • I finished the shawl for the Heroines Club January kit.  That is off to my TE and test knitter. 
  • I started the big stranded garment knitting deadline project this weekend.  I've got 1 sleeve about half-knit and I've started on the body, with about 2" of that finished).  I'm going to get sleeve #1 done completely and cast on for sleeve #2.
  • I have 2 other deadline projects, 1 large, 1 small, that I'm waiting on yarn to start. 
Personal Knitting:
  • The handspun Felicity hat is done!  It's maybe a wee bit dense with this yarn (which is more like an Aran then a worsted), but it's SUPER warm because of that and the mohair content.  This was a really quick and easy project.  I only used half of the yardage of this handspun, so I could either knit another hat, or might knit a pair of gauntlet-length fingerless mitts, or a pair of mittens.


  • I also finished my Mesa Verde Shawl #2, which I knit out of Rowan Scottish Tweed from deep stash.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge - DONE!

I am done!  Before I left to vend in Texas, I actually finished up both Muse and The Last Unicorn.

Muse was just the kind of historical fiction I like to read.  Set in 14th century Avignon, and filled with lots of historical detail about the time period, the author also created wonderful characters and filled in the storyline about Petrarch's mistress with tidbits of fact she was able to glean from extant resources (and granted, there is very little known about this woman, but I liked how the author created a strong female voice within a very male-dominated time period.)

I finished things up with The Last Unicorn.  I'm so glad I had this book to close out the year's challenge.  Lovely, lyrical, filled with magical things and a fairy-tale based in reality, this was one that I will keep close to hand when I need a smile or an uplifting moment in my day.  Peter Beagle writes well, and his turn of phrase and choices of words make this one a definite favorite of the year for me.

Next week, a quick recap of my favorites and not-so favorites of 2015, and a peek at the topics for 2016!

WEEKS & TOPICS
1. a book with more than 500 pages: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. FINISHED.
2. a romance: Katherine by Anya Seton. FINISHED
3. a book that became a movie: The Hours by Michael Cunningham. FINISHED.
4. a book published this year: The House of Hawthorne by Erika Robuck.  FINISHED.
5. a book with a number in the title:  The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. FINISHED.
6. a book written by someone under 30: Eragon by Christopher Paolini. FINISHED.
7. a book with nonhuman characters:  The Greyfriar by Susan Griffith.  FINISHED.
8. a funny book: Bossypants by Tina Fey.  FINISHED.
9. a book by a female author: Fever 1793 by Laurie Anderson.  FINISHED.
10. a mystery or thriller:  Séance in Sepia by Michelle Black. FINISHED.
11. a book with a one-word title: East by Edith Pattou.  FINISHED.
12. a book of short stories:  Tapping the Dream Tree by Charles deLint.  FINISHED.
13. a book set in a different country: The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak. FINISHED.
14. a nonfiction book:  The Fossil Hunter by Shelley Emling.  FINISHED.
15. a popular author's first book: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.  FINISHED.
16. a book from your favorite author that you haven't read yet: Forests of the Heart by Charles deLint.  FINISHED.
17. a book a friend recommended: Botelo by Alyson Hagy. FINISHED.
18. a Pulitzer-prize winning book: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. FINISHED.
19. a book based on a true story: The Wild Princess by Mary Hart Perry.  FINISHED.
20. a book at the bottom of your to read list: Before I Go To Sleep by S.J Watson.  FINISHED.
21. a book your mom or dad loves: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.  FINISHED.
22. a book that scares you: The Blackhouse by Peter May. FINISHED.
23. a book more than 100 years old: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte.  FINISHED.
24. a book based entirely on its cover: Twilight of Avalon by Anna Elliot. FINISHED.
25. a book you were supposed to read in school but didn't: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. FINISHED.
26. a memoir:  Two Rings by Millie Werber and Eve Keller.  FINISHED.
27. a book you can finish in a day:  India Black by Carol Karr.  FINISHED.
28. a book with antonyms in the title: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. FINISHED.
29. a book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit: Iceland by Betsy Tobin. FINISHED.
30. a book that came out the year you were born: Mary, Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser. FINISHED.
31. a book with bad reviews: The Last Unicorn  FINISHED.
32. a trilogy (the first):  Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clarke. FINISHED.
33. a trilogy (the second) Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clarke.  FINISHED.
34. a trilogy (the third)  Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clarke.  FINISHED.
35. a book from your childhood: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell.  FINISHED.
36. a book with a love triangle: Muse by Mary Novak.  FINISHED.
37. a book set in the future: Cinder by Marissa Meyer. FINISHED.
38. a book set in high school: The Small Rain by Madeline L’Engle.  FINISHED.
39. a book with a color in the title: Scarlet by A.C Gaughen.  FINISHED.
40. a book that made/makes you cry:  Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. FINISHED.
41. a book with magic: Grave Witch by Kalayna Price.  FINISHED.
42. a graphic novel: Seawitch, Book 1.  FINISHED.
43. a book by an author you've never read before:  My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira.  FINISHED.
44. a book you own but have never read: The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. FINISHED.
45. a book that takes place in your hometown: Magic America by C.E. Medford. FINISHED.
46. a book that was originally written in another language: Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende. FINISHED.
47. a book set during Christmas (or similar holiday): A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas.  FINISHED
48. a book written by an author with your same initials: Silver Lies by Ann Parker. FINISHED.
49. a play: The Odd Couple by Neil Simon.  FINISHED.
50. a banned book: Beloved by Toni Morrison. FINISHED.
51. a book based on OR turned into a tv show: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs. FINISHED.
52. a book you started but never finished:  The Tudor Rose by Margaret Campbell Barnes. FINISHED.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Spinning Friday: November 20, 2015

This week, I finished spinning up the combo spin from FatCatKnits "Famous Couples" club.  This was the September 2015 installment - Sam and Dean.


I got two 2.5-oz braids of a superwash merino/sparkle base, which are shown coiled around each other above.  The "Sam" colorway is the red/black/white/yellow one, and the "Dean" colorway is the purple/black/teal/white one.

I spun each of the colorways up separately, and then I plied them together to get:


This crazy bright 2-ply yarn!

Yarn Specs:
Fiber:  Superwash merino wool/nylon sparkle - 5.0 oz.
Colorway: Sam and Dean (2.5 oz of each color).
Ply:  2-ply.
Weight: Fingering weight with 504 yards and 4.9 oz in the finished skein.

I originally thought I'd make socks from this, but 504 yards is WAY more yardage than I need for socks.  I might do socks AND a pair of mitts, or maybe try to figure out a really simple shawl pattern that would play nicely with this.


Next I'll be starting the last blended roving offering from my Wooly Wonka Mythical Creatures Club - Gryphons, as I'm in the mood for a little heathery/tweedy yarn to make something for the colder weather.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

WIP Wednesday: November 18, 2015

Sekret Knitting:

  • Thanks to a couple of evenings in my hotel and not going out to be social after a day of vending, I am on the final repeat of the large lace project.  That should be done and blocked by this weekend.  It's already been reviewed by my TE, so it's ready to roll out of here to the publication shortly.
  • I've been working on the first Heroines Shawl Club 2016 pattern.  I'm done the first lace pattern on that and just started the second.  I'll be feverishly working away on that while I wait for yarn to arrive for.....
  • Another deadline project that's a long jacket with colorwork.  That'll be a dash and a half to get it knit by the end of December's deadline but I think I can get that accomplished. 
Personal Knitting:  I've been working a bit on my second iteration of Mesa Verde, and I've got one more full and one half pattern repeat left to finish up.  If I have some down-time this week, I'll see what I can get knit on that, but re-entry post the Kid N Ewe festival, plus a teaching night and a photo shoot on Friday, probably means not much will be happening there.  

Monday, November 9, 2015

Reading Challenge 2015

In the home stretch!  This week I finished Muse which is a historical fiction novel about the woman who fathered the poet, Petrarch's, children.  Set in 14th century Avignon, this story imagines what type of young woman was the mother of his children, and follows this character, Solange Le Blanc, from her days in a nunnery where she learned to be a scribe, through her years as Petrarch's mistress, and eventually her return to the nunnery where she grew up.  It ties in all sorts of great history including the years when the plague came to Avignon, and Pope Clement's reign in the city during that time period.  There is virtually nothing known about the actual woman who was the mother of Petrarch's children, but this story ties in enough details of the time to create a believable character.  I really enjoyed this one. 

You'll also note that I read a graphic novel this week.  I'll come clean here and say I don't "get" these.  Are they comic books?  Regular books?  So I decided I would find a freebie on Amazon - which I did - Saltwater Witch - and read it.  I LOVED the first 4 pages; gorgeous underwater watercolors with beautiful colors and just a touch of the macabre.  And then the text started and it lost me completely - an orphan teen getting tormented and beat up in her group home.  Good thing it was only 35 pages.  I'm not sure I could have gotten thru much more. 

And I am on to my final novel, The Last Unicorn.  Peter Beagle's fantasy book about the last remaining unicorn.  (The main issue with the bad reviews I read was that it had "too much magic" in it, which is what I love about it.)  I'm planning to finish that one up this week and then I'll be ready to start the new challenge list in 2016 when the new year arrives!


WEEKS & TOPICS
1. a book with more than 500 pages: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. FINISHED.
2. a romance: Katherine by Anya Seton. FINISHED
3. a book that became a movie: The Hours by Michael Cunningham. FINISHED.
4. a book published this year: The House of Hawthorne by Erika Robuck.  FINISHED.
5. a book with a number in the title:  The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. FINISHED.
6. a book written by someone under 30: Eragon by Christopher Paolini. FINISHED.
7. a book with nonhuman characters:  The Greyfriar by Susan Griffith.  FINISHED.
8. a funny book: Bossypants by Tina Fey.  FINISHED.
9. a book by a female author: Fever 1793 by Laurie Anderson.  FINISHED.
10. a mystery or thriller:  Séance in Sepia by Michelle Black. FINISHED.
11. a book with a one-word title: East by Edith Pattou.  FINISHED.
12. a book of short stories:  Tapping the Dream Tree by Charles deLint.  FINISHED.
13. a book set in a different country: The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak. FINISHED.
14. a nonfiction book:  The Fossil Hunter by Shelley Emling.  FINISHED.
15. a popular author's first book: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.  FINISHED.
16. a book from your favorite author that you haven't read yet: Forests of the Heart by Charles deLint.  FINISHED.
17. a book a friend recommended: Botelo by Alyson Hagy. FINISHED.
18. a Pulitzer-prize winning book: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. FINISHED.
19. a book based on a true story: The Wild Princess by Mary Hart Perry.  FINISHED.
20. a book at the bottom of your to read list: Before I Go To Sleep by S.J Watson.  FINISHED.
21. a book your mom or dad loves: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.  FINISHED.
22. a book that scares you: The Blackhouse by Peter May. FINISHED.
23. a book more than 100 years old: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte.  FINISHED.
24. a book based entirely on its cover: Twilight of Avalon by Anna Elliot. FINISHED.
25. a book you were supposed to read in school but didn't: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. FINISHED.
26. a memoir:  Two Rings by Millie Werber and Eve Keller.  FINISHED.
27. a book you can finish in a day:  India Black by Carol Karr.  FINISHED.
28. a book with antonyms in the title: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. FINISHED.
29. a book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit: Iceland by Betsy Tobin. FINISHED.
30. a book that came out the year you were born: Mary, Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser. FINISHED.
31. a book with bad reviews: The Last Unicorn.
32. a trilogy (the first):  Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clarke. FINISHED.
33. a trilogy (the second) Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clarke.  FINISHED.
34. a trilogy (the third)  Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clarke.  FINISHED.
35. a book from your childhood: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell.  FINISHED.
36. a book with a love triangle: Muse by Mary Novak. FINISHED.
37. a book set in the future: Cinder by Marissa Meyer. FINISHED.
38. a book set in high school: The Small Rain by Madeline L’Engle.  FINISHED.
39. a book with a color in the title: Scarlet by A.C Gaughen.  FINISHED.
40. a book that made/makes you cry:  Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. FINISHED.
41. a book with magic: Grave Witch by Kalayna Price.  FINISHED.
42. a graphic novel:  Saltwater Witch, book 1, by Chris Howard.  FINISHED.
43. a book by an author you've never read before:  My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira.  FINISHED.
44. a book you own but have never read: The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. FINISHED.
45. a book that takes place in your hometown: Magic America by C.E. Medford. FINISHED.
46. a book that was originally written in another language: Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende. FINISHED.
47. a book set during Christmas (or similar holiday): A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas.  FINISHED
48. a book written by an author with your same initials: Silver Lies by Ann Parker. FINISHED.
49. a play: The Odd Couple by Neil Simon.  FINISHED.
50. a banned book: Beloved by Toni Morrison. FINISHED.
51. a book based on OR turned into a tv show: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs. FINISHED.
52. a book you started but never finished:  The Tudor Rose by Margaret Campbell Barnes. FINISHED.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Spinning Friday: November 6, 2015

This week, I finished spinning the singles and plied the gradient I was working on last week.


Yarn Specs:
Roving:  Hilltop Cloud gradient pack in "Lake Shore" colorway, a blend of 50% merino wool, 37.5% shetland wool and 12.5% linen (flax).
Weight: Fingering weight.
Ply: 2-ply.
Yardage: 574 yards/5.1 oz.

I hadn't spun this particular blend before (it's a custom blend from Hilltop Cloud), but I loved it.  Rustic look with the flax, but enough merino in there that it's still passably soft.  I did pretty well on spinning the singles evenly.  I had only about 2-1/2 yards of singles left on one bobbin after I plied, so the color shifts lined up pretty nicely!


With this spin, I'm within a pound of reaching my 7.5 pounds spun in 2015 goal!  I'm hoping I can finish up the next 14 ounces in the next weeks before the year's end!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

WIP Wednesday: November 4, 2015

Sekret Knitting:

  • Still working on the first deadline project.  I've knit about 1/4 of it and started in on the second quarter.  That's my primary project right now.
  • I have the Annika sweater up to the point I'm ready to bind off for the front neckline and sleeves.  If I have bandwidth, I'll see if I can get that done this weekend, but I'm in the throes of a LOT of dyeing right now to get ready for the Kid N Ewe show in Texas next weekend, as well as finishing up some other custom orders. 
Personal Knitting:  Hey! I have something!  I decided to cast on a Mesa Verde Shawl in a darker colorway using some (ancient) stash Rowan Scottish Tweed.  I picked a dark heathery chocolate brown with flecks of blue and yellow and a dusty mid-range blue.  I've knit 2 of the repeats so far and it looks like: 


I'm taking that with me to knit night tonight!  (And if any of my readers are interested, I'm hosting a KAL for Free Spirit Knits over in my Ravelry group from mid-November through the end of January 2016.  You pick the project from any of the ones in the book - so you can customize it to what you like best.)

And... I finished up the embroidery on the seam lines of the patches on the Bertie's Year - January this week, and just started the snowflakes.  I won't likely get anything done on this until I'm back from Texas, so this one will be on hold for a couple of weeks.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Reading Challenge 2015

This week, I finished the audiobook of Cinder.  This is a retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale, but set in the future, and Cinder is a cyborg who works as a mechanic.  If you haven't covered your eyes and run away based on that description let me tell you what I liked:

Clever reworking of the story - I liked the tidbits the author pulled in from the original story.
The characters are well-developed and strong.
Entertaining - I zipped thru the audiobook!

And what I didn't like:
Ugh - I guess I didn't realize this was part of a set.  This volume finishes just after the ball, but I think if you commit to reading this, you'll want to read the rest of the series.  (Which I likely will pick up at some point, but I've got some other things to read first.)
I asked D what he thought "young adult" meant, and he said almost the same thing I thought - 13 or 14 years old.  But I think there are too many intense themes in this for 99% of the 14 year olds out there.  Maybe 16 or 17?  I dunno - but forewarned that I don't think it's appropriate for middle or most junior high school kids despite the "young adult" label.

I just started Muse yesterday but so far, I'm really loving this book.  Based on the poet Petrarch and his mistress, Solange Le Blanc, and set in medieval Avignon, it's just the sort of historical fiction I enjoy!  

I haven't heard about my loan of The Last Unicorn via the library, so if that doesn't arrive by the time I'm done Muse, I may pick something else. I still need to get thru a graphic novel but I suspect I will have to buy a copy of the one I've got earmarked - but those are the last books on the list for 2015!


WEEKS & TOPICS
1. a book with more than 500 pages: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. FINISHED.
2. a romance: Katherine by Anya Seton. FINISHED
3. a book that became a movie: The Hours by Michael Cunningham. FINISHED.
4. a book published this year: The House of Hawthorne by Erika Robuck.  FINISHED.
5. a book with a number in the title:  The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. FINISHED.
6. a book written by someone under 30: Eragon by Christopher Paolini. FINISHED.
7. a book with nonhuman characters:  The Greyfriar by Susan Griffith.  FINISHED.
8. a funny book: Bossypants by Tina Fey.  FINISHED.
9. a book by a female author: Fever 1793 by Laurie Anderson.  FINISHED.
10. a mystery or thriller:  Séance in Sepia by Michelle Black. FINISHED.
11. a book with a one-word title: East by Edith Pattou.  FINISHED.
12. a book of short stories:  Tapping the Dream Tree by Charles deLint.  FINISHED.
13. a book set in a different country: The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak. FINISHED.
14. a nonfiction book:  The Fossil Hunter by Shelley Emling.  FINISHED.
15. a popular author's first book: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.  FINISHED.
16. a book from your favorite author that you haven't read yet: Forests of the Heart by Charles deLint.  FINISHED.
17. a book a friend recommended: Botelo by Alyson Hagy. FINISHED.
18. a Pulitzer-prize winning book: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. FINISHED.
19. a book based on a true story: The Wild Princess by Mary Hart Perry.  FINISHED.
20. a book at the bottom of your to read list: Before I Go To Sleep by S.J Watson.  FINISHED.
21. a book your mom or dad loves: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.  FINISHED.
22. a book that scares you: The Blackhouse by Peter May. FINISHED.
23. a book more than 100 years old: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte.  FINISHED.
24. a book based entirely on its cover: Twilight of Avalon by Anna Elliot. FINISHED.
25. a book you were supposed to read in school but didn't: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. FINISHED.
26. a memoir:  Two Rings by Millie Werber and Eve Keller.  FINISHED.
27. a book you can finish in a day:  India Black by Carol Karr.  FINISHED.
28. a book with antonyms in the title: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. FINISHED.
29. a book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit: Iceland by Betsy Tobin. FINISHED.
30. a book that came out the year you were born: Mary, Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser. FINISHED.
31. a book with bad reviews: The Last Unicorn.
32. a trilogy (the first):  Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clarke. FINISHED.
33. a trilogy (the second) Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clarke.  FINISHED.
34. a trilogy (the third)  Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clarke.  FINISHED.
35. a book from your childhood: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell.  FINISHED.
36. a book with a love triangle: Muse by Mary Novak.
37. a book set in the future: Cinder by Marissa Meyer. FINISHED.
38. a book set in high school: The Small Rain by Madeline L’Engle.  FINISHED.
39. a book with a color in the title: Scarlet by A.C Gaughen.  FINISHED.
40. a book that made/makes you cry:  Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. FINISHED.
41. a book with magic: Grave Witch by Kalayna Price.  FINISHED.
42. a graphic novel: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith.
43. a book by an author you've never read before:  My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira.  FINISHED.
44. a book you own but have never read: The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. FINISHED.
45. a book that takes place in your hometown: Magic America by C.E. Medford. FINISHED.
46. a book that was originally written in another language: Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende. FINISHED.
47. a book set during Christmas (or similar holiday): A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas.  FINISHED
48. a book written by an author with your same initials: Silver Lies by Ann Parker. FINISHED.
49. a play: The Odd Couple by Neil Simon.  FINISHED.
50. a banned book: Beloved by Toni Morrison. FINISHED.
51. a book based on OR turned into a tv show: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs. FINISHED.
52. a book you started but never finished:  The Tudor Rose by Margaret Campbell Barnes. FINISHED.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Spinning Friday: October 30, 2015

I did finish plying the 2 oz of  mixed BFL "Lagoon" from FatCatKnits.  Another skein of worsted weight 2-ply, with 119 yards.


So added to the current pile for this sweater I'm planning to knit, the stack currently looks like:


The current tentative plan is for a cardigan, and I'll use the natural dark brown for the ribbing and lower portion of the sleeves and body, striped with the 2 contrast colors that are sitting up on top, and then work the body in the variegated "Quest" colorway for the remainder. I still think I might be a bit short on yardage, but we'll see.

I then moved on to another spin.  This one is a gradient pack from Hilltop Cloud.  This is a blend of merino and shetland wool, and flax, that's a custom blend.  I have just under 5 oz to work with in this pack, which is in the colorway "Lake House".


It doesn't look like much since all the interesting color shifts are hidden, but I am done bobbin #1 of the singles:


I've started bobbin #2 and I'll be spinning the rest of the singles up this weekend with any luck!

Tour de Fleece - Week 2

I'm pretty happy with my progress for the Tour so far this year!  I've been trying to have a goal of 15 minutes of spinning a day, o...