Friday, February 27, 2015

Spinning Friday: February 27, 2015

It's taken me a while but I finally finished up the 70/30 alpaca/angora roving I've been spinning from deep, deep stash.


Technical Specs:
Roving: 4.9 oz of 70/30 alpaca/angora blended roving. 
Ply: 2-ply.
Weight: Light fingering.
Yardage: 453 yards/4.8 oz.



I'm not sure if I will keep this as-is or overdye it.  I don't have a specific project for it yet, although probably a small shawl, but once I decide on what I'm going to knit with it, I'll decide about the color.

I gotta say, it feels GREAT to move this out of deep stash (10+ years) and into actual usable yarn!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WIP Wednesday: February 25, 2015.

Sekret Knitting:

  • I finished up the pair of mitts that was on the needles.  The draft is written and off to my tech editor.
  • I am working on sock #2, and thru the heel turn and about halfway down the foot.  The plan is to get these finished up this week, finalize the pattern and get that sent on to my tech editor as well. 
  • I need to work on some charting for a shawl that I'll need to prioritize as the next project to be knit, so that's also on the to-do list this week. 
Personal Knitting:

I lied to y'all.  I decided, after looking at how scruffy my current hat collection is, I needed a new hat. I cast on Hoarfrost, which is a nice little basic slouch style hat.  I'm using my "Little House" handspun, which is a Finn wool, and is lovely, bouncy, and soft.



I highly recommend this pattern for handspun - it's pretty forgiving in terms of yarn weight.  The original was knit with a MadTosh DK-weight yarn, and this is a little bit heavier (closer to worsted weight), but the stretchy 1x1 ribbing at the band makes it fit nicely - not too snugly, not too loosely.

I think I've got another pair of mittens to cast on next.....

Monday, February 23, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge: Week 8

Lots of reading this week thanks to several insomnia-laden nights!  I finished The Greyfriar. This was my "book with nonhuman characters" read, and it was a kind of mashup of Steampunk and vampires. I didn't like this one as much as I thought I would.  It was really S.L.O.W. at the beginning and took me about half-plus of the book to get engaged with this.  There was also a (to me anyway) confusing section about two-thirds of the way in where there is a Big Reveal of Secrets, and switched up identities, and I wound up reading sections two and three times to try to figure out which character was actually talking.  A bummer, since I really wanted to enjoy this as a fun romp.  There are more in the series.... maybe they improve.

I also started and finished Bossypants by Tina Fey.  Fun, lite reading.  If you enjoy her and her humor, you'll probably enjoy this book.  It's a digest biography, with anecdotal tidbits about growing up, her time in improv and on SNL, and eventually 30 Rock, and of course, her version of Sarah Palin for SNL during the presidential race.  Nothing earth-shattering here.  It'd be a good vacation book for some entertainment.  (And for the record, I did find it a funny book.  I do enjoy her type of humor, so it wasn't a reach for me to be entertained by it.)

And finally, Fever 1793.  I didn't realize when I queued this book up that it was a Young Adult fiction book.  But that's okay, because it was a good read no matter what audience.  (Yes, it would have been even better for me expanded into an adult-length book, but again... well-written is well-written.)  Set in Philadelphia during the 1793 yellow fever epidemic, this gives a great overview of the history of the time period, seen through the eyes of 14-year-old Mattie, who lives through the fever.  The storyline is interesting, the characters are nicely developed for the length of the book, and the author does a stellar job giving a glimpse into the time period as well.  She also finishes the book up with a great Q&A informational section about historical figures, the city of Philadelphia at the time, medicine and disease.  This would be a great book for homeschoolers working on an early American History module.

Next up, is Seance' in Sepia - which is technically the week-10 book, but I'll have to go back and pick up week 4's when it is available, so I'm getting a little bit ahead.


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.
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.
11. a book with a one-word title:  Jabberwocky by Daniel Coleman.
12. a book of short stories:  Snow White, Blood Red anthology.
13. a book set in a different country: The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak.
14. a nonfiction book:  The Fossil Hunter by Shelley Emling.
15. a popular author's first book: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
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.
18. a Pulitzer-prize winning book: Andersonville by MacKinley Kantor.
19. a book based on a true story: The Wild Princess by Mary Hart Perry.
20. a book at the bottom of your to read list: Before I Go To Sleep by S.J Watson.
21. a book your mom or dad loves: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
22. a book that scares you: The Blackhouse by Peter May.
23. a book more than 100 years old: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte.
24. a book based entirely on its cover: Twilight of Avalon by Anna Elliot.
25. a book you were supposed to read in school but didn't: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
26. a memoir:  Two Rings by Millie Werber and Eve Keller
27. a book you can finish in a day
28. a book with antonyms in the title: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.
29. a book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit: Iceland by Betsy Tobin.
30. a book that came out the year you were born: Mary, Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser.
31. a book with bad reviews: Moon People?
32. a trilogy (the first):  Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clarke.
33. a trilogy (the second) Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clarke.
34. a trilogy (the third)  Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clarke.
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
38. a book set in high school: The Small Rain by Madeline L’Engle.
39. a book with a color in the title:  A Cavern of Black Ice by J.V. Jones.
40. a book that made/makes you cry
41. a book with magic: Grave Witch by Kalayna Price.
42. a graphic novel
43. a book by an author you've never read before:  My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
44. a book you own but have never read: The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro.
45. a book that takes place in your hometown: Magic America by C.E. Medford.
46. a book that was originally written in another language: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
47. a book set during Christmas (or similar holiday): A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas.
48. a book written by an author with your same initials: Silver Lies by Ann Parker.
49. a play
50. a banned book: Beloved by Toni Morrison.
51. a book based on OR turned into a tv show: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs.
52. a book you started but never finished:  The Heresy of Dr. Dee by Phil Rickman.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Weekending

A weekend of some weather changes for us - Friday was gorgeous, sunny and warm.  The winds picked up on Saturday and there was a definite chill in the air.  We woke up this morning to more wind and off-and-on spitting snow/rain/sneet.  We've been spoiled by all the gorgeous spring-like weather we've been having!

I did manage to sneak in a photo shoot for two clients this weekend for my new venture with Elizabeth Green Musselman and Stitch Definition.  While it was cold and a bit gray out, we managed to get everything done before it started spitting rain.  I have to make a huge shout-out to my model, Ashley, who filled in at the last minute for us when my originally scheduled model woke up sick on Saturday a.m.  I'm excited to see the final post-production photographs from this batch!

Otherwise, I worked on lots of dyeing this weekend, knit quite a bit on some Sekret projects, and I finished up my Portland Mittens as well.


I made a few mods to the pattern since a lot of the project pages on Ravelry had indicated these came out pretty big.  I dropped down a needle size for both the cuffs and the mittens themselves.  I dropped off a half-repeat of the stitch pattern before starting the decreases at the top as well.  Post-blocking, they wound up measuring10" from cuff to tip, and 8 3/4" hand circumference, so they are still on the large size, but at least not huge.  These are another Mittens for Akkol donation, and since the kids had specifically requested mittens for layering, I think these will work just fine as an outer layer.

They are knit from 2 colors (the original pattern called for 3), of Lite-Lopi I had in stash, so I'm really happy to have 2 more skeins gone from storage bins in the great 2015 Stashdown Project.  (I still have 2 skeins left, one of each color, and I may just make some basic striped mitts with those.... at some point.)

For the rest of today, after I'm done work, we're planning on having the fire going, making a nice slow-cooker dinner, and just hanging out this afternoon.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

WIP Wednesday: February 18, 2015

Sekret Knitting:
  • I finished up (even blocked) shawl #1.  It's been off to the TE and now is in the hands of my test knitters. 
  • I finished the first sock of the pair and started the second.  This one will be my primary focus this week as I'd like to have it done in the next 10 days or so. 
  • I started on the final sample to be knit for this collection, which is a pair of mitts.  The first one is close to being finished, but these are a quick knit, so I feel sure I can finish the other one up in the next couple of weeks as well. 
  • Shawl #2 is still on hold (and probably will be for a bit longer).
Personal Knitting:

The only personal thing I've got going right now are the Lopi mittens.  I've gotten the second one on the needles and I'm about halfway through.


Hoping to finish this second mitten up at some point this weekend.  Next up, I think I'm going to cast on for a fun new pattern, the Long Dark of Moria  socks designed by the talented Claire Ellen.  She used Wooly Wonka Arianrhod Sock, but I have an odd dye lot of Aerten Sock that I actually really like the colors in that I plan to use.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pattern Release: Jabberwock Socks

I've just released the first of four patterns for the Mythical Creatures Club, the Jabberwock Socks.




This sample pair is knit with Wooly Wonka Fibers Aerten Sock, in the Jabberwock colorway (one of the two colorways for the February Yarn Club.)  They are knit from the top (cuff) down and feature a panel of twisted stitches that run down the front of the sock, and a smaller twisted stitch/ribbing pattern on the back of the leg.


They can be worked in one of three available sizes (to fit most women's feet), and are suitable for any sock-weight yarn that has a nice firm twist and not too much halo.


There will be 3 other patterns in the collection, released over the course of the year, about one per quarter, although you can also opt to pick up this pattern as a stand-alone as well.

Monday, February 16, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge: Week 7

This week I finished up Eragon.  (You can read my full review here.)  I enjoyed this book despite it being a bit uneven.  I'd definitely pick up others of this author's work.  From reviews I've read at Goodreads, his work develops maturity and improves further into the series.  (And probably not a huge surprise since he wrote this book when he was 15 years old.  It's a pretty amazing achievement for a teenager.)  It falls firmly on the bookshelf containing Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern, Ursula LeGuin's Wizard of Earthsea trilogy, and the LOTR books - a fun fantasy adventure.  I think it's something my nephew, Charlie, would really enjoy.

I decided to jump ahead a bit and (re)read Island of the Blue Dolphins since I'm designing a shawl for my Heroines club based on that for the summer.  I vaguely remember reading this as a kid, but not all the details of it, so it was a good refresher (and a quick read).

I'm just about ready to finish up The Greyfriar for my week 7 book - I'm about 75% finished this one, so I know I'll have it done in the next few days and move on to my week 8 book a bit early.  I'll save the review on this one until I'm totally done tho.

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.
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.
8. a funny book: Bossypants by Tina Fey.
9. a book by a female author: Fever 1793 by Laurie Anderson.
10. a mystery or thriller:  Séance in Sepia by Michelle Black.
11. a book with a one-word title:  Jabberwocky by Daniel Coleman.
12. a book of short stories:  Snow White, Blood Red anthology.
13. a book set in a different country: The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak.
14. a nonfiction book:  The Fossil Hunter by Shelley Emling.
15. a popular author's first book: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
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.
18. a Pulitzer-prize winning book: Andersonville by MacKinley Kantor.
19. a book based on a true story: The Wild Princess by Mary Hart Perry.
20. a book at the bottom of your to read list: Before I Go To Sleep by S.J Watson.
21. a book your mom or dad loves: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
22. a book that scares you: The Blackhouse by Peter May.
23. a book more than 100 years old: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte.
24. a book based entirely on its cover: Twilight of Avalon by Anna Elliot.
25. a book you were supposed to read in school but didn't: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
26. a memoir:  Two Rings by Millie Werber and Eve Keller
27. a book you can finish in a day
28. a book with antonyms in the title: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.
29. a book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit: Iceland by Betsy Tobin.
30. a book that came out the year you were born: Mary, Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser.
31. a book with bad reviews: Moon People?
32. a trilogy (the first):  Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clarke.
33. a trilogy (the second) Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clarke.
34. a trilogy (the third)  Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clarke.
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
38. a book set in high school: The Small Rain by Madeline L’Engle.
39. a book with a color in the title:  A Cavern of Black Ice by J.V. Jones.
40. a book that made/makes you cry
41. a book with magic: Grave Witch by Kalayna Price.
42. a graphic novel
43. a book by an author you've never read before:  My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
44. a book you own but have never read: The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro.
45. a book that takes place in your hometown: Magic America by C.E. Medford.
46. a book that was originally written in another language: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
47. a book set during Christmas (or similar holiday): A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas.
48. a book written by an author with your same initials: Silver Lies by Ann Parker.
49. a play
50. a banned book: Beloved by Toni Morrison.
51. a book based on OR turned into a tv show: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs.
52. a book you started but never finished:  The Heresy of Dr. Dee by Phil Rickman.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Weekending

Another late-spring-like weekend here - beautiful, sunny weather with highs in the mid-60s.  (Yes, I know Northeast - I'm sorry.... I'd send you some of that if I could!).

Yesterday, D and I ran down to Santa Fe to pick up a set of panels to set up and outdoor dog space. He's getting a new puppy in a few weeks, and while the little one won't be able to be outside a lot right now, he wanted to get it set up and ready to go for when she is big enough to start introducing her to it.  There's plenty of space in it for both her and her big sister, Rowan (who, at 30 pounds, will likely only be the "big" sister for a few weeks after the puppy comes home), to hang out in and we set it up where they will have shade from a few of our bigger trees in the summer, but still be able to have a nap in the sun if they want.

I did some dyeing in the afternoon and worked on two deadline knitting pieces in the afternoon before we had a great stay-at-home Valentine's Day dinner together.

Today, my afternoon plans are to pop a stew into the slow cooker, get a bit of spinning done and then have some time this afternoon to spin.  I've been reading The Greyfriar for this week's reading challenge book, and I'm about 75% of the way through it - it's a perfect book to read while I'm spinning as it doesn't require a lot of focus.  More of a mind-candy sort of read, so I find it relaxing to have that going while I spin!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Spinning Friday: February 13, 2015

This past week or so, I've been spinning deep stash fiber - this is the final 5 oz of a blended roving I had made when we lived in Vermont (yikes! at least 10 years ago!).  The alpaca is from my friend, Terry's farm, Snowshoe Alpacas, and the angora is from my bunny, Hank, both in a natural fawn color.


I'm spinning this up as a challenge fiber for February - one that kind of keeps popping up in the stash again and again (aka Groundhog Day). This has been in my stash for so long, I'm really delighted I'm spinning it up although it's a bit bittersweet since it is the last of the fiber I had processed from my bunny boys.


The first bobbin of singles is done.  It's a slow go right now - I haven't had a lot of time to spin, but I'm also spinning this fairly fine to keep it in the light fingering weight category when it's plied since it'll be very warm.  I'm hoping to have a bit of time to start the second half on Saturday.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Pattern Release: Currituck Collection

This week I rolled out a small group of patterns in the Currituck Collection.  Currituck County is part of the Outer Banks and when D and I lived back east, the tradition for our anniversary (which is in late March) was that we would go and enjoy ourselves with long walks on the deserted beaches, bundled up against the cold, before picking some great little restaurant (we usually had to ourselves or close to it) and having some great seafood dinners.

The collection features a women's raglan cardigan with stripe and seed stitch details (and optional small front pockets for beachcombing treasures), a matching slouchy hat and fingerless mitts set, and a cabled wrap, to wear either as an oversized scarf or a narrow stole around your shoulders.  Each piece in the set is knit from Wooly Wonka Fibers Freya DK.  (Samples are worked in the Seafoam and Driftwood colorways).

These are great, easily-wearable pieces you can dress up or down, and worked in a lightweight yarn, they are perfect for a season-spanning wardrobe addition during the changeable weather of the spring months.   They are available at a discounted price as a set, or as individual downloads via Ravelry.

All photos courtesy of JS Webb Photography and many thanks to the beautiful Elle Webb for modeling these so gracefully for me!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

WIP Wednesday: February 11, 2015.

Sekret Knitting:
  • Socks:  Finished the heel turn on these, and now need to work the gusset and foot.  I'd like to try to get sock #1 done this week.
  • Gradiant Shawl:  I'm through the final increase row on this one.  I've got one more color change to work.  This is on the "finish it up" list for the week for sure.
  • Shawl #2:  Still on hold.
Personal Knitting:

Mittens:  I've finished up one of the pair of mittens (although these really will need a stern blocking. The slip stitch pattern draws them in a lot length-wise).  I'll cast on the second one at some point this week when I need a little quiet project to work on.



I am waffling between a couple of other projects to start.  I can't decide whether a pair of socks is next on the needles, or if I want to work on another pair of mittens - which I'm finding oddly addictive right now.

I did decide that for my Forest-themed fairy-tale group swap, I'm going to create a DIY kit for my swap recipient rather than knit her something.  She's a wonderful knitter and she has a bunch of things in her wish-list that I think I can make her up a fun kit to knit.  A sort of 2-fold gift - to enjoy while she knits it and then when she has the FO to wear and enjoy. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge: Week Six

This past week, I finished up Bitter Greens, which I would HIGHLY recommend.  I LOVED this book - it's got pretty much everything I love about fiction wrapped up in one entertaining package. You can read my full review over at Goodreads here.  This was one of my top 3 books of the past year that've read.

This week, I moved onto The Thirteenth Tale, which I also finished up.  That review is here.  I didn't love this book as much as I wanted to.  It was kind of uneven for me, and the beginning dragged a bit.
A few days early, but I decided to go ahead and start Eragon, since it's another long book.   I'm just a few chapters into it, but I'm enjoying it so far.


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.
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.
7. a book with nonhuman characters:  The Greyfriar by Susan Griffith.
8. a funny book: Bossypants by Tina Fey.
9. a book by a female author: Fever 1793 by Laurie Anderson.
10. a mystery or thriller:  Séance in Sepia by Michelle Black.
11. a book with a one-word title:  Jabberwocky by Daniel Coleman.
12. a book of short stories:  Snow White, Blood Red anthology.
13. a book set in a different country: The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak.
14. a nonfiction book:  The Fossil Hunter by Shelley Emling.
15. a popular author's first book: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
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.
18. a Pulitzer-prize winning book: Andersonville by MacKinley Kantor.
19. a book based on a true story: The Wild Princess by Mary Hart Perry.
20. a book at the bottom of your to read list: Before I Go To Sleep by S.J Watson.
21. a book your mom or dad loves: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
22. a book that scares you: The Blackhouse by Peter May.
23. a book more than 100 years old: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte.
24. a book based entirely on its cover: Twilight of Avalon by Anna Elliot.
25. a book you were supposed to read in school but didn't: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
26. a memoir:  Two Rings by Millie Werber and Eve Keller
27. a book you can finish in a day
28. a book with antonyms in the title: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.
29. a book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit: Iceland by Betsy Tobin.
30. a book that came out the year you were born: Mary, Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser.
31. a book with bad reviews: Moon People?
32. a trilogy (the first):  Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clarke.
33. a trilogy (the second) Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clarke.
34. a trilogy (the third)  Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clarke.
35. a book from your childhood: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell.
36. a book with a love triangle: Muse by Mary Novak.
37. a book set in the future
38. a book set in high school: The Small Rain by Madeline L’Engle.
39. a book with a color in the title:  A Cavern of Black Ice by J.V. Jones.
40. a book that made/makes you cry
41. a book with magic: Grave Witch by Kalayna Price.
42. a graphic novel
43. a book by an author you've never read before:  My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
44. a book you own but have never read: The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro.
45. a book that takes place in your hometown: Magic America by C.E. Medford.
46. a book that was originally written in another language: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
47. a book set during Christmas (or similar holiday): A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas.
48. a book written by an author with your same initials: Silver Lies by Ann Parker.
49. a play
50. a banned book: Beloved by Toni Morrison.
51. a book based on OR turned into a tv show: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs.
52. a book you started but never finished:  The Heresy of Dr. Dee by Phil Rickman.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Weekending: February 7, 2015

Busy weekend at this end - I feel like I've not really had a proper few days off this week with everything that's been going on around here.  I wound up picking up some extra hours at work on what would usually be my days off, and then on Saturday, we spent most of the day in Santa Fe.

D and I made the decision several weeks ago to trade in my 10-year-old 3/4-ton diesel truck.  It seemed silly to continue to put money into it when we no longer needed the hauling power (since we no longer have horses and/or big trailers).  The truck was getting to that age where the little stuff was starting to have issues.  One window sometimes got stuck.  It needed to have the hood repainted after sitting outside in our harsh New Mexico sun.  But I wasn't really sure what I wanted to get to replace it.

I knew I wanted something that I could tow my little trailer with to shows, but that rode nicely on the interstate.  I wound up taking several weeks of online research and several test drives, but I settled on getting a Chevy Traverse.  The one I got has all-wheel drive (which is nice for bad weather up here in the mountains), and I got it with the factory towing package, so I've got a 5200-pound towing capability plus it comes with an additional transmission cooler, which is also really helpful if you are towing a lot in the mountains. But the great part is.... the interior is big enough I can lay my 6-foot grid-wire panels down in the back so I don't have to take the trailer unless we are doing an outdoor show and I also need to take my tent.  Which means I don't have to fight Dallas and Denver traffic and try to find parking spaces with a trailer for two of my 3 spring shows.  Win/win!  I also ordered a roof rack and a Thule roof cargo carrier where I can put overflow if I need too - those I'll get installed on Friday.  (Although frankly, with all the seats laid down, I'm 99% sure I can get everything I need in the interior of the vehicle, but I like to know I've got the space option if I really need it.)


It's been so long (10 years after all!) since I've had a new vehicle, I can hardly believe all the bells and whistles you can get.  It's crazy, really, that you can surf the web in your car.  (I opted not to get wifi.  I'm fairly overwhelmed by the concept of a touch-screen in the dashboard.  And yes, I'm aware that makes me sound about 95 years old.  I'm okay with that.)



Otherwise today, after work, I've got some shop things to get packed up and tidied up for next week, a few errands to run, and then I've got a few hours of knitting planned this afternoon outside since the weather here is gorgeous!  (Hard to beat 63 and sunny when it's February......)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Spinning Friday: February 6, 2015

This week I spun up a lovely squishy braid of Finn wool from Two If By Hand.


I was in the mood for a quick-ish spin, so I simply split this braid in half, divided each half into quarters and away I went.


Technical Specs:
Roving:  4 oz of Finn wool roving from Two If By Hand.
Ply: 2-ply.
Weight:  Worsted.
Yardage:  206 yards/3.7 oz.

The finished skein is a lovely soft and lofty one.  I'm thinking either mittens or a hat from this one - I love the colors in it!


Next up I'm doing a "Groundhog Day" challenge spin - something in my stash that keeps popping up and getting moved from bin to bin.  It also happens to be a deep DEEP stash fiber.... I think somewhere around 12 years ago?  Yikes!  Time to get that spun up!  Stay tuned......

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

WIP Wednesday: February 4, 2015

Sekret Knitting:
  • I finished up shawl #1 - that's blocked and the draft pattern is off to my tech editor for review. 
  • I started one pair of lacey socks for a spring/summer release. I'm halfway down the leg on sock #1, and my goal is to finish thru the heel turn this week. 
  • And I started yet another shawl also for a spring/summer release.  This will be pattern support for one of my Transitional gradiant color packs - I've worked through the first color change and am onto the second color.  The plan here is to finish thru that second color transition this week. 
  • Shawl #2 is still on hold while I work along on these other pieces with shorter deadlines for a bit.

Personal Knitting:
  • I cast on for another pair of mittens to donate this week.  I've had the Portland Mittens queued up for a while, and I actually had skeins of Lite-Lopi in stash, so I'm using (gasp!) the yarn called for in the pattern.  I'm working these up in a unisex gray and blue pair.

  • I also am participating in a swap/gift box through the Fairy Tales and Myths Ravelry group that's themed around the forest.  I'm pretty sure I've picked a project to knit for my swap partner, but I'm going to mull it over another day or so.  That'll go on the needles at some point in the short term so it's done for a March package shipment.

Monday, February 2, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge: Week 5

I finished up Katherine last week and if you are interested, you can read my Goodreads review here
I've been reading my way through Kate Forsyth's Bitter Greens, which is a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale, and absolutely LOVING this book - I am about 75% through it, so I should have it finished up at this time next week.

I'll be turning my reading attention to The Thirteenth Tale for the upcoming week.  I'm hoping to enjoy this book quite a bit - I love literary history/mystery kind of books and this one has good ratings, so I'm crossing my fingers it plays out that way! :)

WEEKS & TOPICS
1. a book with more than 500 pages: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth.
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.
5. a book with a number in the title:  The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
6. a book written by someone under 30: Eragon by Christopher Paolini.
7. a book with nonhuman characters:  The Greyfriar by Susan Griffith.
8. a funny book: Bossypants by Tina Fey.
9. a book by a female author: Fever 1793 by Laurie Anderson.
10. a mystery or thriller:  Séance in Sepia by Michelle Black.
11. a book with a one-word title:  Jabberwocky by Daniel Coleman.
12. a book of short stories:  Snow White, Blood Red anthology.
13. a book set in a different country: The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak.
14. a nonfiction book:  The Fossil Hunter by Shelley Emling.
15. a popular author's first book: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
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.
18. a Pulitzer-prize winning book: Andersonville by MacKinley Kantor.
19. a book based on a true story: The Wild Princess by Mary Hart Perry.
20. a book at the bottom of your to read list: Before I Go To Sleep by S.J Watson.
21. a book your mom or dad loves: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
22. a book that scares you: The Blackhouse by Peter May.
23. a book more than 100 years old: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte.
24. a book based entirely on its cover: Twilight of Avalon by Anna Elliot.
25. a book you were supposed to read in school but didn't: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
26. a memoir:  Two Rings by Millie Werber and Eve Keller
27. a book you can finish in a day
28. a book with antonyms in the title: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.
29. a book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit: Iceland by Betsy Tobin.
30. a book that came out the year you were born: Mary, Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser.
31. a book with bad reviews: Moon People?
32. a trilogy (the first):  Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clarke.
33. a trilogy (the second) Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clarke.
34. a trilogy (the third)  Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clarke.
35. a book from your childhood: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell.
36. a book with a love triangle: Muse by Mary Novak.
37. a book set in the future
38. a book set in high school: The Small Rain by Madeline L’Engle.
39. a book with a color in the title:  A Cavern of Black Ice by J.V. Jones.
40. a book that made/makes you cry
41. a book with magic: Grave Witch by Kalayna Price.
42. a graphic novel
43. a book by an author you've never read before:  My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
44. a book you own but have never read: The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro.
45. a book that takes place in your hometown: Magic America by C.E. Medford.
46. a book that was originally written in another language: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
47. a book set during Christmas (or similar holiday): A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas.
48. a book written by an author with your same initials: Silver Lies by Ann Parker.
49. a play
50. a banned book: Beloved by Toni Morrison.
51. a book based on OR turned into a tv show: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs.

52. a book you started but never finished:  The Heresy of Dr. Dee by Phil Rickman.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Weekending


A quiet, at-home weekend here so far.  We had a nice little snowstorm on Friday, with a bit more on Saturday, and woke up to a gray sky and some freezing fog today.  Perfect weather to stay inside with the fire and some hot tea!

I did a lot of knitting this weekend.  I finished up one Sekret Knitting project and got started on two others.  I did a bit of spinning too.

I also finished knitting up a pair of handspun mittens to go into the Mittens for Akkol orphanage donation box.  Aren't these fun?


These should fit a women's small/medium.  I knit these up with a heavy Aran-weight Finn wool handspun, and they are lovely, squishy and warm!  It makes me feel good that I'm using up some personal stash right now, and I've got another pair of mittens earmarked to go on the needles next for some personal knitting.

Today, we don't have any big plans.  After I get done work this morning, I'm planning to make some veggies and dip to have while we watch the SuperBowl, and D will fire up the grill tonight while we enjoy the game!

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...