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Showing posts from 2015

WIP Wednesday: December 30, 2015

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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 th…

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 th…
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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.

Spinning Friday: December 18, 2015

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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 nex…

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 …

At Year's End

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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 …

From the Bookshelf: December 2015

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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 b…

WIP Wednesday and Travel Tales

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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 ta…

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 to…

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 b…

WIP Wednesday: November 25, 2015

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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 Felic…

WIP Wednesday: December 2, 2015

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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.

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 m…

Spinning Friday: November 20, 2015

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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 offe…

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-entr…

Reading Challenge 2015

In the home stretch!  This week I finished Musewhich 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?  Regu…

Spinning Friday: November 6, 2015

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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!

WIP Wednesday: November 4, 2015

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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-No…

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.  M…

Spinning Friday: October 30, 2015

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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 s…