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!

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...