Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WIP Wednesday: January 27, 2016

Sekret Knitting:

  • What was sweater #2 is now sweater #1:  Both sleeves are done and joined to the body.  I'm working the raglan shaping/decreases and have 5 more sets of those to go - so almost there.  Once those are done, I'll have the collar and front bands to knit and then the sample will be finished!
  • What was sweater #3 is now sweater #2: I've swatched this and got spot-on where I wanted to be after blocking, so I just need to wind some yarn and get this one on the needles this weekend to get started.  Woot!
Personal Knitting:
  • I've worked 14 of the 16 suggested chart repeats on my Hogmanay shawl, so I'm nearing the finish line on this.  I'm planning on working on this tonight at Knit Nite and will maybe try to get it finished up this weekend.  Currently it looks like:

  • Still knitting self-striping sock samples.  I suspect that won't change for a while since I'm trying out new colorways as I develop them.  Right now, I've got the March Colors of New Mexico colorway on the needles. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge: Week Four

This week, I read What She Left.  This book wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be.  I thought it was going to be a kind of fond, bittersweet memory of a young woman who died too young.  Instead, it was a downer of a book with a lot of navel gazing and psychobabble and was totally NOT my kind of book.  I finished it, but that's about all I can say for it.  None of the characters had any redeeming qualities that I could find - lots of drug use, nasty little secrets and generally a bunch of people I wouldn't want to spend time with in real life, and I sure as hell didn't want to spend one more minute with in my reading time either.  Ugh.

For this week, I needed a little palate cleanser, so I opted to go with Reader's Choice and grabbed a novel about Mozart's mistress, an English opera singer - Vienna Nocturne.  I started this already and am enjoying it.  Much more "me".  :)

The 2016 List
1. A book you meant to read in 2015, but didn't
2. A book set in a different continent
3. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2015 (winner or nominated)
4. A book by an author you discovered in 2015
5. A book with a title beginning with the 1st letter of your name
6. The highest rated on your TBR
7. A book about books
8. A classic book with less than 200 pages:  Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence - DONE
9. A book that was mentioned in another book
10. A book by an author you feel you should have read by now
11. A book from the Rory Gilmore challenge
12. A childhood classic
13. Reader’s Choice:  Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell.
14. A book with one of the five W’s -or H in the title (Who/What/Where/When/Why/How) What She Left - T.R. Richmond - DONE.
15. A book set in the past (more than 100 years ago)
16. A book from the top 100 mystery novels
17. A book with a beautiful cover
18. A book on a summer/beach reading list
19. A non-fiction book
20. A book with a first name in the title
21. A book from the Goodreads Recommendations page
22. The first book in a new to you series
23. The next book in a series you are reading
24. A "between the numbers" book of a series (0.5, 1,5, 2.5, etc.)
25. A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you
26. A book everyone is talking about
27. A book with a beautiful title (in your own opinion)
28. A biography, autobiography, or memoir
29. A book by an author who writes under more than one name
30. A fairytale from a culture other than your own
31. A work of young adult fiction
32. A historical fiction book
33. The 16th book on your TBR
34. A book about mental illness
35. An award winning book
36. An identity book - a book about a different culture, religion or sexual orientation
37. A book that you've seen the movie of but haven't read
38. A book about an anti hero:  Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace - DONE.
39. A previous suggestion that did not make it into the list
40. A novella from your favorite genre
41. A book about a major world event (fiction or non-fiction)
42. A top 100 fantasy novel
43. A book about a thing that goes bump in the night
44. A book you're embarrassed to read in public
45. A book related to a hobby or passion you have
46. A crime story
47. A book with a type of food/drink in the title
48. A dystopia
49. A book with a great opening line
50. A book originally written in a language other than English:  Tove Jansson's The Summer Book - DONE.
51. A short story from a well-known author
52. A book published in 2016

Friday, January 22, 2016

Spinning Friday: January 22, 2016

This week, I spun up the Wooly Wonka Fibers January fiber club - Starry Night.  All of the club colorways this year are based on great works of art and January's club is based on Van Gogh's Starry Night painting.




The fiber is 100% Falkland wool, which is a great multi-use fiber, IMHO.  Not as soft as merino, but still plenty soft for most applications, and it does wear a bit better as the staple length is slightly longer.  Here's the roving before I spun it up.


One of the Ravelry groups I'm in (the Spin 16 in 2016 group) has a challenge for January to spin singles, so I decided I'd do that.  I don't spin singles and leave them unplied very often, but I did so for this braid.

I spun up 262 yards/4 oz of a DK-weight yarn that looks like:


I think my plan for the yarn is to work up a pair of loosely knit mittens and then felt them down to fit, to make a nice, densely warm pair of mittens.

I've started my next spin already too - more FatCatKnits club fibers.  This time it's a merino swirl (white and dark wool) from the December club package themed on Scarlett and Rhett.  I've finished the first half of singles and started on the second half which I'm hoping to finish this weekend and then ply the yarn up during the upcoming week. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

WIP Wednesday: January 20, 2016

Sekret Knitting:

  • Sweater #1: The sample is done!  It's blocked, all the ends are woven in and it's finished.  I just have some number wrassling to finish up and the schematic, and it'll be ready to head off.
  • Sweater #2:  Sleeve #1 is done and I've started sleeve #2.  My hope is to get the second sleeve done no later than Friday and then I can join the body together with the sleeves and knit for the finish line.  Would REALLY like to have this one accomplished by the end of January. 
  • Sweater #3:  Swatching for this.  It's mostly stockinette but a new-to-me yarn, so I want to make sure I'm spot on for gauge as I think this one may wind up drooping a bit when worn (lots of alpaca).
Personal Knitting:
  • Still working on my Hogmanay handspun shawl.  I am halfway through the 12th pattern repeat - with 16 repeats written into the pattern. I'm 99% sure I'll have enough yardage to get in a 17th repeat, but I want to try to get a few more repeats finished before I decide that's truly the case.  My goal is to finish this up by the end of the month too. 
  • Striped plain-vanilla socks!  Working on lots of samples of these so I can have multiple colorways to take with me to Stitches West in a month!

Monday, January 18, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge: Week Three

This week, I read Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace, for the week 38's topic: A book about an anti-hero.  You might recognize Margaret Atwood's name as the author behind The Handmaid's Tale, and while her voice is definitely recognizable in this work, it's a very different story than that dystopian one.  The book is based on the actual trial and notes of Grace Marks.  It is based on the trial of Grace and James McDermott (her alleged co-conspirator in murder and lover) in 1843 Toronto for the murders of their employer and his mistress.  Each main chapter has a quote from a contemporary interview with Grace - either trial transcripts or from interviews with her after she was imprisoned.  She originally was sentenced to death by hanging (which as the fate of James McDermott), but that sentence was changed to life imprisonment.  The chapters tell the story of her childhood up to and including the murders and her time in prison and the lunatic asylum after she was arrested.

A well-told story that kept me riveted.  Did she or didn't she?  Atwood also introduces several subcharacters such as a doctor who interviews Grace to try to determine if she truly helped commit the murders or not, and throughout the whole book, you're never quite sure if Grace is sane or not.  A well-researched and interesting book.  I enjoyed this one a lot.

Next up, I've downloaded (but haven't started yet) What She Left to start this week.

The 2016 List
1. A book you meant to read in 2015, but didn't
2. A book set in a different continent
3. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2015 (winner or nominated)
4. A book by an author you discovered in 2015
5. A book with a title beginning with the 1st letter of your name
6. The highest rated on your TBR
7. A book about books
8. A classic book with less than 200 pages:  Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence - DONE
9. A book that was mentioned in another book
10. A book by an author you feel you should have read by now
11. A book from the Rory Gilmore challenge
12. A childhood classic
13. Reader’s Choice
14. A book with one of the five W’s -or H in the title (Who/What/Where/When/Why/How)
15. A book set in the past (more than 100 years ago)
16. A book from the top 100 mystery novels
17. A book with a beautiful cover
18. A book on a summer/beach reading list
19. A non-fiction book
20. A book with a first name in the title
21. A book from the Goodreads Recommendations page
22. The first book in a new to you series
23. The next book in a series you are reading
24. A "between the numbers" book of a series (0.5, 1,5, 2.5, etc.)
25. A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you
26. A book everyone is talking about
27. A book with a beautiful title (in your own opinion)
28. A biography, autobiography, or memoir
29. A book by an author who writes under more than one name
30. A fairytale from a culture other than your own
31. A work of young adult fiction
32. A historical fiction book
33. The 16th book on your TBR
34. A book about mental illness
35. An award winning book
36. An identity book - a book about a different culture, religion or sexual orientation
37. A book that you've seen the movie of but haven't read
38. A book about an anti hero:  Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace - DONE.
39. A previous suggestion that did not make it into the list
40. A novella from your favorite genre
41. A book about a major world event (fiction or non-fiction)
42. A top 100 fantasy novel
43. A book about a thing that goes bump in the night
44. A book you're embarrassed to read in public
45. A book related to a hobby or passion you have
46. A crime story
47. A book with a type of food/drink in the title
48. A dystopia
49. A book with a great opening line
50. A book originally written in a language other than English:  Tove Jansson's The Summer Book - DONE.
51. A short story from a well-known author
52. A book published in 2016

Friday, January 15, 2016

Spinning Friday: January 15, 2016

Wow - it's been a month since I've done a Spinning Friday post.  Go grab some tea or other hot beverage - I've got a lot to share today!

I've spun a LOT since the turn of the year.  Most recently, I've finished two 2.5 oz braids that came from FatCatKnits as part of Ginny's 2013 Fairy Tales Club.  I took the first colorway "Angry Dwarf" and separated the lightest parts from the brights, and then spun up 2 small skeins to use for colorwork.  This is a 2-ply sportweight and my plan is to use it for an easy stranded knit hat.


I then took "The Prince" colorway and spun that 2.5 oz braid up into a 2-ply worsted weight that I want to use for a pair of textured fingerless mitts at some point.


Since I'm working from deep stash right now, I grabbed a 75/25 BFL/silk roving from Funky Carolina in the "Austin" colorway.  I originally bought this braid because the colors in it were sort of outside my usual color choices - burnt orange and a burgundy.


There were a lot of very lightly dyed sections inside the darker colors, so this spin came out a lot lighter than I had anticipated - the burnt orange was VERY toned down and it's more a set of muted pastels.   Pretty - but not what I thought it would look like.  This is 388 yards of a fingering weight 2-ply.  This one is slated for a shawl of some kind.  I have a coordinating tonal dye that I think I'll try to use with this.


Last but not least for the new year thus far, I also spun up a gradient colorway from my shop, "Iceberg" on Falkland wool.  I split the braid in half lengthwise to keep the colors lined up for this 2-ply.


This is 311 yards of a 2-ply sportweight.  It's slated for a lace cowl.

Currently, I'm working on two 2.5 oz braids of a dark/light swirled merino wool from FatCatKnits and her Famous Couples Club.  This is the December pair: Rhett and Scarlett.


My plan is to spin each of these up into singles and then ply together for a fingering weight and then use a very dark - maybe black or charcoal gray - tonal dye as the contrast for a striped shawl.

For those of you on Ravelry who are interested, I'm currently participating in 4 challenges, which sort of run concurrently and have morphed together all my 2016 resolutions regarding fiber stash.

  • From now until March 31st, I'm working on the Great Big Stashdown Spinning Party.  I've picked a selections of fibers and some personal goals for that one which you can see here.
  • I'm in the 16 in 2016 group, with a goal to spin 16 pounds over the course of 2016. 
  • I've joined the Spin the Bin Challenge 2016 as part of the CTA spinning group.  For this challenge, you pick a certain set of fibers - I chose randomly from my stash - that fits into a bin and you spin those up over the course of the year. 
  • And finally, my own personal 52 skeins/52 weeks challenge.
There obviously is some/will be some overlap as I'm not spinning separate braids for each of these challenges, but I AM going to try to get through a fair amount of fiber stash this year and challenge myself to make some gorgeous handspun yarns to use!

Monday, January 11, 2016

2016 Book Challenge - Week 2

This week I read Tove Jansson's The Summer Book for my #50 topic - a book originally written in a language other than English. This was a fictionalized memoir of the author's own summers spent with her family on a small island in the gulf of Finland.  The main character, Sophia, is 6 and she and her grandmother have the entire summer together.  The book isn't really plot driven at all.  Each of the chapters is more a little vignette in a moment of their summer together. Sophia's grandmother is stubborn and opinionated - as is Sophia herself.   I enjoyed this little "summer break" reading in the dead of winter.  A bittersweet remembrance of childhood summers - I caught myself remembering lots of moments I spent with my grandmother during the summers I was a kid. (She was also stubborn and opinionated.)  A lovely little book.

I've started my next book, written by Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace.  A VERY different kind of book than The Summer Book.  I'm already about 65% through it, so I should have that to report on for next week.


The 2016 List
1. A book you meant to read in 2015, but didn't
2. A book set in a different continent
3. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2015 (winner or nominated)
4. A book by an author you discovered in 2015
5. A book with a title beginning with the 1st letter of your name
6. The highest rated on your TBR
7. A book about books
8. A classic book with less than 200 pages:  Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence - DONE
9. A book that was mentioned in another book
10. A book by an author you feel you should have read by now
11. A book from the Rory Gilmore challenge
12. A childhood classic
13. Reader’s Choice
14. A book with one of the five W’s -or H in the title (Who/What/Where/When/Why/How)
15. A book set in the past (more than 100 years ago)
16. A book from the top 100 mystery novels
17. A book with a beautiful cover
18. A book on a summer/beach reading list
19. A non-fiction book
20. A book with a first name in the title
21. A book from the Goodreads Recommendations page
22. The first book in a new to you series
23. The next book in a series you are reading
24. A "between the numbers" book of a series (0.5, 1,5, 2.5, etc.)
25. A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you
26. A book everyone is talking about
27. A book with a beautiful title (in your own opinion)
28. A biography, autobiography, or memoir
29. A book by an author who writes under more than one name
30. A fairytale from a culture other than your own
31. A work of young adult fiction
32. A historical fiction book
33. The 16th book on your TBR
34. A book about mental illness
35. An award winning book
36. An identity book - a book about a different culture, religion or sexual orientation
37. A book that you've seen the movie of but haven't read
38. A book about an anti hero
39. A previous suggestion that did not make it into the list
40. A novella from your favorite genre
41. A book about a major world event (fiction or non-fiction)
42. A top 100 fantasy novel
43. A book about a thing that goes bump in the night
44. A book you're embarrassed to read in public
45. A book related to a hobby or passion you have
46. A crime story
47. A book with a type of food/drink in the title
48. A dystopia
49. A book with a great opening line
50. A book originally written in a language other than English:  Tove Jansson's The Summer Book - DONE.
51. A short story from a well-known author
52. A book published in 2016

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

WIP Wednesday/New Podcast Episode

If you'd like to cut to the chase to hear what I'm working on, my newest podcast edition is now live on Youtube:


Or you can also catch it on Podbean here.   I'm still working on iTunes.  It does not want to play nicely with my Podbean account and I cannot figure out why.

However, if you are just here for a drive-by recap, here 'tis!

Sekret Knitting:

  • Sweater #1:  I'm just about ready to put the body on hold so I can begin sleeve #2.  Sleeve #1 is done.  My plan is to try to get sleeve #2 finished this week and get the whole sheebang joined together so I can knit the remainder of the body and yoke. 
  • Sweater #2:  I need to get sleeves on the needles this week for this one. 
  • Sweater #3: On hold until I finish sweater #1.
Personal Knitting:
  • I'm still working away in bits and bobs on various striped sock samples for the shop.
  • I also started Jen Lucas's Hogmanay Shawl out of handspun.  This is for the Handspun KAL I'm hosting for 2016.  I've knit Chart A and now 8 repeats of Chart B.  I'm just picking this up as I have time/interest and will be working on it all month. 


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016 Book Challenge - Week 1

Whoosh!  That was the sound of yesterday zipping by, when I had planned to write this blog post about week 1 of the 2016 Reading Challenge.  Better a day late than never tho, eh?

I kicked off my reading for 2016 with The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.  This is for week 8's theme of "A classic book with less than 200 pages."  I had seen the movie with Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder eons ago - mostly to drool over the costumes in it - but had not ever read the book.

No real surprises about the ending if you've seen the movie already, but I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would.  It wasn't quite as.....slow going? I suppose?..... as I thought it might be.  Wharton was a member of this upper social class in turn-of-the-century New York and knows whereof she was writing, but the era is far far removed from where we are today in terms of social norms and societal pressures.  (Or at least from where I'm sitting.)

This was a nice starter read to kick off the year and I zipped through it while I was doing some mindless knitting and then while spinning this past weekend.

Next week, I'm going to skip out of order to the final week's read, as I've already started "The Summer House" by Tove Jannson which is for week 50's topic.  This one is a quick read as well - I'll probably have it finished by tomorrow!

The 2016 List
1. A book you meant to read in 2015, but didn't
2. A book set in a different continent
3. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2015 (winner or nominated)
4. A book by an author you discovered in 2015
5. A book with a title beginning with the 1st letter of your name
6. The highest rated on your TBR
7. A book about books
8. A classic book with less than 200 pages:  Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence - DONE
9. A book that was mentioned in another book
10. A book by an author you feel you should have read by now
11. A book from the Rory Gilmore challenge
12. A childhood classic
13. Reader’s Choice
14. A book with one of the five W’s -or H in the title (Who/What/Where/When/Why/How)
15. A book set in the past (more than 100 years ago)
16. A book from the top 100 mystery novels
17. A book with a beautiful cover
18. A book on a summer/beach reading list
19. A non-fiction book
20. A book with a first name in the title
21. A book from the Goodreads Recommendations page
22. The first book in a new to you series
23. The next book in a series you are reading
24. A "between the numbers" book of a series (0.5, 1,5, 2.5, etc.)
25. A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you
26. A book everyone is talking about
27. A book with a beautiful title (in your own opinion)
28. A biography, autobiography, or memoir
29. A book by an author who writes under more than one name
30. A fairytale from a culture other than your own
31. A work of young adult fiction
32. A historical fiction book
33. The 16th book on your TBR
34. A book about mental illness
35. An award winning book
36. An identity book - a book about a different culture, religion or sexual orientation
37. A book that you've seen the movie of but haven't read
38. A book about an anti hero
39. A previous suggestion that did not make it into the list
40. A novella from your favorite genre
41. A book about a major world event (fiction or non-fiction)
42. A top 100 fantasy novel
43. A book about a thing that goes bump in the night
44. A book you're embarrassed to read in public
45. A book related to a hobby or passion you have
46. A crime story
47. A book with a type of food/drink in the title
48. A dystopia
49. A book with a great opening line
50. A book originally written in a language other than English
51. A short story from a well-known author
52. A book published in 2016

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...