Friday, January 30, 2015

Spinning Friday: January 30, 2015

This week's fiber is all spun up  - it's the January club fiber from my Wooly Wonka Fibers Mythical Creatures club.  Each month I'm dyeing two colorways - one handpaint and one kettle dye that coordinate.  This month's colorways were Mirkwood (the kettle dye/solid) and Elves (the multicolor), both on Shetland wool roving.



I spun the Elves braid I grabbed for myself up in a fractal spin.  I split the braid in thirds, and broke one third into halves length-wise, the second third into quarters and the third third into twelfths.


Technical Specs: 
Roving: 4 oz of  Shetland wool roving from Wooly Wonka Fibers.
Ply: 3-ply.
Weight: Sportweight. 
Yardage: 301 yards/3.6 oz

I had originally thought I'd maybe knit some socks with this, but my buddy, Dilshani, really loved the yarn, so it's off to live at her house already!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WIP Wednesday: January 28, 2015

Sekret Knitting:

  • For shawl project #1, I'm just over the halfway point on the border.  My plan is to get this finished up this week. 
  • I haven't touched shawl project #2 at all.  I've had a few other things pushed ahead of this in the queue, so I'm putting it in limbo for a bit until I can move through those.
  • I've just cast-on for a pair of summery socks, so those will be my go-to project for a while after shawl #1 is done. 
Personal Knitting:
  • You saw I finished my Hecate Shawl up with Monday's post.
  • I decided on a very basic ribbed-cuff, stockinette hand pair of mittens to knit next.  I'm vaguely using numbers out of the Ann Budd book for these.  I grabbed a skein of handspun out of stash and I'm using that.  (This is a 2-ply Finn that I spun up at the end of 2014).  These are earmarked for more orphan box donations.

I had considered another mittens pattern but I was 99% sure I didn't have enough yardage to complete the mittens using it, so I'm going with a simpler pattern for these.  No particular deadline on these, but they will likely go fairly quickly since it's a pretty plump yarn.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Finished Project: Hecate Shawl

This weekend, I finished up my Hecate Shawl, another fun-to-knit pattern from Kirsten Kapur at Through the Loops.


I used Wooly Wonka Fibers Ceridwen Sock.  The gray is a subtle multicolor, "Tinder", and the red is "Little Miss Firecracker".  Definitely colors outside my usual palette choices, but I like them together in this pattern a lot!  I am fairly sure I've got enough yarn left over to knit a pair of 2-color socks as well - I'll weigh my skeins tonight to be sure of that.


The pattern is not hard to work at all if you have some chart-reading experience.  It's got enough interesting things happening that you don't get bored with it and on size 7 needles it moves along pretty quickly! I blocked mine fairly briskly to open up the lace patterning on it and I quite like how it looks.  I'll be popping this one into a donation box.

And with that... I actually have no personal projects on the needles right now!  I'm hankering to cast on some handspun mittens next though.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge: Week 4

I have just about finished up Katherine.  The author, Anya Seton, was kind of at the forefront of the current popular historical novels (from author's like Phillippa Gregory and Allison Weir), and while it's theoretically a "romance", it's not packed with what my mum calls "heaving bosom moments".  It is a love story - about John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford - but there's also a lot of history packed into it.  A good read.

This week I was going to tackle The House of Hawthorne as a new release in 2015, but it's actually not available on Kindle yet, so I'll go back and pick up week 1's book (Bitter Greens), skip week 4 for right now and hop along to week 5 shortly when it arrives.  (Since I really wanted to read the book on Nathaniel Hawthornewho is one of my favorite writers, and his wife, I'm willing to wait for it until May.)

I've changed out a couple of titles on the master list, and still have a few slots I need to find candidates for.  So far, I'm enjoying this challenge quite a bit!

WEEKS & TOPICS
1. a book with more than 500 pages: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth.
2. a romance: Katherine by Anya Seton.
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.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WIP Wednesday: January 21, 2015

Sekret Knitting:
  • Sadly, although I was moving along thru the final chart on the laceweight project, I was unhappy with the motif placement on it.  So I decided to rip back to the beginning of that section (which is a WHOLE lotta knitting).  I think I'm back on track with this one, but definitely in negative yardage, so to speak.  
  • I finished up the third chart on this one and started the fourth (and final before the border) body chart.  I am going to focus on this piece this week while I regroup on the laceweight shawl, and see if I can just motor along on it and get it totally done in the next week to 10 days. 
Personal Knitting:
  • Having finished up the Wood Hollow Mittens, I'm currently down to just the Hecate Shawl on the needles for personal knitting. I did get to the two-thirds point on the border - this week the plan is to get those final border rows completed, and then next week, I'll work on the edging/bind-off and finish this project up!


Once I finish Hecate up, I think I'm going to cast on the Shelburne Mittens.  I'm in the mood for a fairly quick project and these are knit with bulky yarn.  I am planning on using some handspun for these, which I think will be fun, bright and cheery with this fairly simple pattern. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

10 on Tuesday: 10 Things I'm Happy About Right Now

I think of myself as a generally upbeat person, so there are usually several things I'm happy about at any given moment.  This week, however, I'm happy about:

1.  Finally getting to work on the round one edits for my Interweave book!
2.  My DH feeling back to his normal self.  (He slept more over the last long weekend than I've seen him sleep in a long time.  I know he wasn't feeling well at all.)
3.  I apparently haven't caught whatever nasty bug laid him so low!
4.  We have predicted colder weather and possibly some snow forecast for later this week.  (Yes, yes, I know..... but I actually LIKE winter.)
5.  I have some awesome friends who are helping me out by running my skeiner while I work on dyeing a really large wholesale order.
6.  I finally pulled together a plan/design concept for my next planned knitwear collection.
7.  The Pats are going to the Super Bowl!
8.  I'm thoroughly enjoying my current read, Katherine, by Anya Seton.  (I do love historical fiction!)
9.  I am 99% sure I can carve out some time on Wednesday to go to a knitting afternoon with friends.
10. I have a working furnace this week.  (I am really happy about this one.  See #4.)

Those are the things I'm happy about this week!  I leave you with this reminder.....


Monday, January 19, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge

While surfing through the Goodreads site the other day, I ran into a 2015 Reading Challenge group. This looked really fun to me and I adore reading new things, so I think I am going to try to challenge myself to read things on the challenge list.  (And you can see the original challenge info here.)

One thing I like about this challenge list is that it will force myself to step outside my usual comfort zone of books.  Not that there is anything wrong with reading things you like, but OTOH, it's good to expand one's boundaries occasionally, doncha think?

There is a handy downloadable checklist available via a link at the above original challenge site, but I've also put the group list of weeks and topics below, so you can check it out for yourself.  Some of these are going to be a stretch for me; some of these will feel almost too easy.

I'm finishing up Charles deLint's Forests of the Heart for a forest-themed RAL in a Ravelry group, and I'm going to use that for topic #16, but once I've finished that, I'm going to begin at the top of the challenge list with item #1.  I've got a few gaps to fill in for later in the year, but I think I'm set for the next several months with what I've picked.

Anyone else interested in playing along?

WEEKS & TOPICS
1. a book with more than 500 pages: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth.
2. a romance: Katherine by Anya Seton.
3. a book that became a movie: The Hours by Michael Cunningham.
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: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.
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.
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
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
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
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
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)
48. a book written by an author with your same initials
49. a play
50. a banned book
51. a book based on OR turned into a tv show
52. a book you started but never finished:  The Heresy of Dr. Dee by Phil Rickman.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Weekending: January 18, 2015

D headed off with a friend for a guy's weekend on Thursday, and I had plans to get a lot of things done around the house, but he called me on Friday a.m. and said they were already headed home.  He had come down with some kind of stomach flu (and his friend's little one had as well), so they arrived back here Friday mid-day.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed all the nasty bugs stay away from me!

So in between making some chicken soup and running out to grab some 7-Up for him, I did a quick run to Yarn and Coffee in Santa Fe to drop off a big yarn order, and worked in the studio as well with lots of dyeing for another big order as well, plus some smaller dye runs for my first spring show, the Dallas/Fort Worth Fiber Fest that's in March.

In between times, I did a bunch of knitting and I finished up my Wood Hollow Mittens.  I love how these mittens knit up, and they are so fun to work up in handspun.  (This is a worsted-weight BFL handspun in the "Herbes de Provence" colorway from Oceanwind Knits - out of deep stash.)


These are going into the donation box for the Mittens for Akkol orphanage.  The only modification I made was to add a couple rounds of ribbing - they asked specifically for slightly longer cuffs on any mittens we sent, so I made sure to do that.  They are soft and warm - I hope they make one of the kids happy too!

Finally.... a fun giveaway to announce.  My friend, Andi, is doing a give-away of the entire Ebook copy of Legendary Knits, V3, right now on her blog. If you'd like to be entered in the running to win a copy, please check out her post from today!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Spinning Friday: January 16, 2015

I've got a fun spin to share with you this week.   The original roving was a gradiant dyed BFL from Two if By Hand.


I love the colors in this braid, the purples, plums and chocolate browns, and I knew that I wanted to use it for a shawl at some point.  With that in mind, I decided to keep this as a single ply yarn and keep those colors very distinct.


I didn't really do any prep with this fiber.  I spun the braid from end to end, trying to keep a nice twist balance - enough to have it hold together solidly, but not so much it became kinked.

Technical Specs:
Roving: 4 oz of BFL roving from Two If by Hand.
Ply:  Singles.
Weight:  Light fingering weight.
Yardage: 491 yards/4 oz.


I haven't picked a pattern for it yet, but there are so many pretty ones out there for this kind of yardage, I know I'll find a good one to use!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WIP Wednesday: January 14, 2015

I've been busily knitting away this week, but don't have much I can show you right now.  However, here's where my knitting projects are in progress:

Sekret Knitting:

  • I'm on the fourth chart of the laceweight shawl project.  I'm in those incredibly long final rows, so it's slow going.  I'm trying to knit 4 chart rows every other night at a minimum.  I may focus more intensively on this one this weekend though and try to get that fourth chart knit.  Then I'll be on to a (relatively) easy knit-on border to finish this up!
  • I'm just about to start the third chart of the fingering weight shawl project.  This one is a fairly relaxing knit, so I've been interspersing it on the other other nights to try to make some progress on it.  If I can get through that third chart this week, I'll feel like I'm making great progress on this one!
Personal Knitting: 
  • Wood Hollow Mittens:  I finally gave myself a shove and cast on for the second mitten.  This really is a quick knit, but I've felt like I needed to prioritize the Sekret projects, so it's been on the back burner a bit.  I'd like to get through the thumb gusset knit up this week since the remainder of the hand goes pretty quickly after that.
  • Hecate Shawl:  Also slow going on this project, but I've completed about a third of the final border chart.  My goal for this week is to get to the two-thirds point on the border.

I'd like to get back to just one personal knitting project on the needles for a while - I've got a ton of short-term Sekret Knitting to get accomplished before the end of April, and I want to be sure I get that done!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Weekending

Crazy, busy weekend to follow a matching week!  D was aways on travel this entire week, and in the way of how things go when he's away, Tuesday a.m., our furnace died.  We knew it was probably coming, and it could have been worse in the sense that it was only in the 20s here, but still.  I spent the week shuttling wood into the downstairs to feed the woodstove to try to keep the pipes from freezing, and I was exceptionally happy we were able to get a replacement put in on Friday.

Yesterday, while I could have used a bit of a day to regroup and relax, I had a several-hour photo shoot and whoosh!  today's Sunday already!  (The photo shoot went SO well yesterday.  My model did an awesome job even though I know she was practically frozen by the time we knocked off at 4:30, but she looked gorgeous even with her goosebumps.)  :)

Today my plan is to get my work shift done and then have a quiet afternoon with D, watching some football and doing some knitting.  I've got two deadline/Sekret Knitting projects I'm working on right now, one of which I need to do a bit of frogging before I can move on, but that's my plan for today!

Hope your weekend has been wonderful too!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Spinning Friday: January 9, 2015.

I plied up my superwash merino from FatCatKnits:


Technical Specs:
Fiber: 4 oz of superwash merino roving from FatCatKnits
Ply: 3-ply/chained ply.
Weight: DK weight.
Yardage: 254 yards/4-oz skein.

I forgot how much merino plumps up after plying and a bath, so this came out a little thicker than I personally like for socks, so I think I'll probably earmark it for a pair of mittens, as it is soft and squishy.  I did a chained ply for this spin, so it's got big long runs of colors that'll form fun stripes as I knit it up.


Next up is a braid of BFL in a gradiant handpaint from Two If By Hand in the colorway "Formal Splendor".


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pattern Release: The Mad Queen Shawl

This is the first pattern release in the year-long Heroines Shawl Club for 2015, the Mad Queen Shawl.



The inspiration behind this piece is Johanna of Castile (also known as Johanna the Mad) was the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, and the older sister of Katharine of Aragon. Poised at the crux of multiple powerful Tudor-era families, she was married to the heir to the Holy Roman Empire, and should have been a powerful ruler in her own right. After the death of her husband, she was declared insane and incarcerated in a nunnery while her father ruled as regent for her son, Frederick. Debate about whether she was truly suffering from a mental illness or simply a pawn in the political intrigues of Europe at this time still surrounds her.

This shawl is a half-circle shape, worked with two types of increases from the center back neck down to the hem. The pattern features intertwined Tudor cables and floral lace patterns, and is finished with a simple lace bind-off, to form a cape-like shape.



The original sample was knit with two skeins of Wooly Wonka Fibers' Laysa Sock yarn in the colorway Castile.  The sample took almost all of the 800 yards for those skeins to complete.  It could be knit with any fingering-weight yarn with a firm twist and without much halo to show off all the stitch patterns. 



I'm so happy with how this design came out!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Weekending: The Post-Holiday Edition

I can't remember the last time I took 3 days in a row to do mostly free-time things, but it's been SO GREAT.  I slept in a couple of days, and generally lazed around the house, took some walks with the dogs (although it's been very cold here), and enjoyed myself.

I spun a bunch on Friday and Saturday - more details on that to come on the Spinning Friday post.

I worked a bit on a Sekret Knitting project, but I also knit quite a bit on my Hecate shawl - I'm in the striped lace section, and I've got just one more repeat of the eyelets and stripes to do to finish the final chart in that section, and then I'm on to the border!


I also cast on for another one of Kirsten's patterns, her Wood Hollow Mittens, which I have knit before and really enjoyed, so I'm making them again, this time out of a handspun BFL.  While I have kept the needle size as written, they are coming out a little larger since the yarn is a plumper worsted than the original sample.  This is perfect as I am making them for my Mittens for Akkol donation package and the kids apparently often wear two pairs of mittens, layered, for warmth.


So all that said, while I say every year I don't make resolutions, I suppose I have this year.  A fairly short list, but here it is:

  • Work on spinning down my fiber stash.  I've earmarked a small set of 11 braids to Spin the Bin (and have spun one up and started a second already.)  If I spin all those, I'll refill the bin and start over.  I've also decided to sign up for the 7.5 pound (half of 15 pounds) challenge from the 15 in 2015 group on Ravelry, as well as participate in the monthly challenges at the Spin Your Stash group.
  • Work on knitting down some personal stash.  I recognize I have "work" type knitting that I do, which is mostly with my shop yarns, but I'd also like to make a dent in my personal yarn stash that's been languishing for the last couple of years.  I own some nice yarns.  They need to be more than just skeins in a bin!
  • Read 50 books in 2015.
  • Spend some focused time on charity knitting. I've already mentioned the Mittens for Akkol group, and I plan to make use of some of my stash knitting to go towards projects they need.  I'm making an effort to get some mittens done before I move on to socks, since the kids have requested mittens this year specifically, but I've got plenty of yarns in stash to work on both.
  • Be mindful of my fun time/free time.  See above re: "work" knitting.  Sometimes I get so target-locked on deadline things, I forget how good a little mental health break is for me to feel reinspired and rejuvinated.  I'm going to try to make sure I don't get too focused on deadlines in 2015. 
  • Get out and walk several times a week.  I've had to give up running this year, but I do enjoy the 2-mile loop around our neighborhood, and I can certainly walk that instead of running.  A great excuse to take the high-energy 9-year-old "puppy" out with me too. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Spinning Friday: January 2, 2015

While I don't really make a lot of resolutions, per se, for the new year, one resolution that's been banging around since this fall is to get a bunch of my fiber stash spun up.  To that end, I kicked off the New Year with a new spin.

This is a braid of SW merino from FatCatKnits in the colorway "Denim".  My plan is to spin this up for a pair of socks.


I'm planning on spinning this up and chain plying it for a pair of socks.  I had a delightful New Year's Day where I sat and spun for several hours and read a great Victorian mystery.  I can't remember when I've spun up 4 oz in one day, but I did that and finished up all the singles.


Plying is next!

April 2018 WIPocalypse Update

April was full of a lot of travel and work stuff - but happily, I think those are going to slow down for at least a couple of months.  Here&...