Woolpacalypse! (Winter Woolfest in Wamego!)

Holy cow! Two weeks into the new year and I already don’t know my ass from my elbow (wait, is my elbow the big doughy thing?)! I’ve been running around like a lunatic, but of course I have found time to obsessively compile my new Überlist.

Tomorrow is Winter Woolfest! Come see me! I’ll be selling lovely woolly goodness and signing & selling my new book, Literary Knits! Look at all those exclamation points! (I can’t believe my book’s been out for almost 2 months and I still haven’t showed it off here yet. It’s really lovely! Stay tuned for  a showoff and giveaway next week. There. Now I have to do it.)

I’m back in the corner of the main floor. Look for my goofy pennants festooning my booth:

I’ll have tons of spinning and felting fiber, the new Cupcake Ranch CSA Fiber Shares (on sale for the first time finished–next round will be a pre-production, more like a traditional CSA), a Card-it-Yourself Batt Bar, spindles, hand cards, maybe even a few drum carders if I can fit them in my car. Maybe dye and undyed fiber if it will fit, too. IF THERE’S ANYTHING YOU ESPECIALLY WANT ME TO BRING FOR YOU, LET ME KNOW BY 7AM!

I was pretty nervous about doing this whole operation with Twyla Pearl (aka T. Pearl, Sweet T, Pearly, The Tiny Boss, T-Boney Maronie, Chili Dog, Puppy Chow, Cheeseburger, Tiny Tears, T-Bird, and Birdie), but supermom and amazing Woolfest creator & organizer (and Yarn School teacher extraordinaire) Jennifer Schermerhorn has been so incredibly helpful that I’m feeling a lot better about it.

Twyla Pearl, sporting her Adrian bonnet and overalls and her Melinda cardigan. Unfortunately, the Columbian is like a thousand fucking degrees, so she will not be wearing her darling knitted duds. She’s pretty hot-natured (thank goodness because the school is cold most of the time–though not with these 59F January days, huh?) and she would be wailing inside a few minutes, as would I. Hopefully, all the coming and going will cool the place down, because it was  bit too cozy tonight, even without scores of fiber fanatics. I’m already always red-faced and overheated, but I get extra hot when I’m nervous, so I’m afraid my head will burst into flames during my carding demo.

I set up my entire booth in a classroom yesterday, then broke it down and took it to Wamego (sans most of the merchandise) and set it up this afternoon, with Jennifer’s kids (and models from my book) hauling in everything for me because they are AWESOME.

Lucy (modeling Lyra Hood and Phoebe Coat), Jake & Sam (modeling Oskar Pullover, all from Literary Knits):

Okay, better go hang up all that last-minute dyeing, or a I’ll be dragging a bunch of wet wool with me tomorrow!

See you there! Huzzah!



A late introduction: Twyla Pearl

I’ve been very absent from my old friend The Thrifty Knitter. My crazy year is finally winding down. This year, I survived a tornado, finished a book, grew and expelled a human person, and hosted Yarn School, Fiber School & Mitten School! Whew!

The Tiny Boss (Twyla Pearl, born 9/13/12):

Twyla Pearl, Week 10

If you’re a baby person, you can see about a million pictures of her here. Otherwise, since I’m trying to keep it crafty here, I won’t bore you with a gazillion baby photos, but limit myself to 2 featuring  handmade stuff (she’s got several beautiful handknit garments I’ll also show off as she grows into them):

Twyla Pearl, Week 10

Twyla going stealth in a homemade boppy cover & matching pinafore dress, by me. I have made a SHITLOAD of baby gear, which I’m hoping to pull into a Cooperative Press book if Twyla stays mellow this winter. No doubt I’ll be producing a lot more baby patterns in general.

Twyla Pearl, Week 11

The most amazing Baby Surprise Sweater (!) ever by my incredibly skillful friend Teri, handknit of yarn from our chocolate Romney Fudgy the Whale + hand dyed yarn from our neighbors Alpacas of Wildcat Hollow!

That’s Twyla at my book signing at The Wicked Stitch last weekend. After missing two naps in a row (the signing on Saturday and Spinster’s Club yesterday), she was a cranky little potato yesterday, especially angry on the ride home, but she conked out right after dinner last night, so the silver lining was that Ron & I got some rare alone time.

And my new book came out last week! I am so very pleased with and proud of this thing, though I’m still really sheepish about being on the cover. More on that (and my new BACON mittens!) soon.

Tour de Fleece 2012

This I’d really the first spinning I’ve done this year, so I’m pretty excited to get back in the saddle.

My TdF teams: Stashbusters, Wicked Stitch, SCF/HY, and My Favorite Sheep.

Because I like checking things off lits, my many TdF 2012 goals:

    Spin only from stash,whenever possible.
    Spin 5# of fiber.
    Spin some Yarn School Hello Yarn fiber.
    Spin last year’s samples from my flock.
    Spin something besides wool or alpaca.
    Spin something from MO Fiber.
    Spin something from Rhinebeck.
    Spin Gringo’s fur for Daddy’s hat (my dad loooooves his dog)
    Figure out the oldest thing in my stash and spin that.
    Spin a fiber sampler.
    Spin more worsted weight
    Spin with at least the type of project (mittens, shawl, sweater, throw) in mind and decide what to make with everything I spin.
    Decide what to make with any unknit yarn from past Tours

Here’s the rundown from Week 1:

Day 7: 3.5oz ABC Ranch merino/silk roving
Tour de Fleece, Day 7

Day 6: plied Hello Yarn “Brittle” SW w/ white SW

Tour de Fleece, Day 6

Day 5: White SW

Tour de Fleece, Day 5: Superwash Corridale combed top

Day 4: 2nd half of Hello Yarn “Brittle” SW

Tour de Fleece, Day 4: the rest of the Hello Yarn "Brittle"

Day 3: 1st half of Hello Yarn “Brittle” SW

Tour de Fleece, Day 3: Hello Yarn "Brittle"

Day 2: Laura’s Pygoras Shetland roving

Tour de Fleece, Day 2: More Laura's Pygoras Shetland roving

Day 1: Laura’s Pygoras Shetland roving

Tour de Fleece Day 1: 4oz Laura's Pygoras Shetland Roving

Tour de Fleece, Day 1!

I feel like I’ve been underwater forever, working on my book. But I have to rest today, so I’m spinning in bed with my e-spinner and watching lots of TV on Netflix.

Today, I made this:

Tour de Fleece Day 1: 4oz Laura's Pygoras Shetland Roving

from this

Tour de Fleece Day 1: 4oz Laura's Pygoras Shetland Roving

In other news, my book is all but done and it’s AWESOME. I’m really, really proud of it, and I can’t wait until I can start showing it off! All that’s left is a teeny bit more editorial review & it will be out of my hands completely. I’m so pleased with the whole experience, the patterns and the research an the photos and especially working with everyone at Wiley.

Strut your stuff in the famous Yarn School Goody Bags!

(photo by moonrat42 aka Natalia :))

Hand dyers, fiber farmers, yarn shops, etc! Advertise your fibery goodness for free in the Yarn School goody bags!

Get your wares in the hands of eager fiber enthusiasts. Send 36 pcs of fiber samples, patterns, notions, yarn–whatever you specialize in–to arrive here by Wednesday 4/25 (we can probably squeeze it in if they come Thursday, but shoot for Wednesday). In exchange, you’ll get great advertising and a free banner for the next 6 mos on thriftyknitter.com and yarnschool.com. Make sure anything you send is well labeled so customers can find you.

We also love door prizes!

Email nikol@harvyevilleproject.com if you’re sending stuff.

Send to:

Nikol Lohr
13149 Harveyville Rd
Harveyville KS 66431



Upstairs/Downstairs (Carnaby Skirt becomes Carnaby Capelet)

Kelly from Knitigating Circumstances (kellydawn on ravelry) sent me her Wearability Wednesday post on her daughter’s Carnaby. The post features Emma’s Carnaby skirt in several different ensembles, and also shows her modeling it as a capelet. The pictures were so darling I had to share:

(Thanks to Kelly & Emma from Knitigating Circumstances for the photos)

If you’re thinking about knitting Carnaby, the post has includes many photos and a nice overview/review of the pattern. She points out that it somehow looks great at a wide range of lengths and on a whole spectrum of body types, which delights me.

My own Carnabys have turned out to be surprise favorites, despite my initial fears that I wouldn’t be able to pull of a flirty skirt with my wide rid hips & thunder thighs. But the textured pattern really does a bangup job of masking all the lumps and bumps that typically shame me away from wearing knits on my hindquarters. Mine are knit at the standard pattern length, but if I were one of those lucky creatures like Emma here, with long slender legs, then I’d probably make them as short as possible (of course, that would make a much skimpier capelet…).

Carnaby (by me!)
Knitty, Deep Fall 2010

1-2 more Yarn School Helpers Wanted!

I am looking for a couple more helpers for the spring session. I have two reserved already & I’d like 3 or 4 total to spread the work out more so all the helpers get more fun time.

Basically, it’s a Yarn School work-exchange program, heavy on the work! You do lots of prep (cleaning, laundry, fiber balls, mixing dyes, etc.) beforehand, then help with meals, dishes,  laundry & the Dye Lab during. In exchange, you get to attend Yarn School, a Yarn School goodie bag with Hello Yarn fiber (no extra BYO wheel bonus, though), a door prize, and 2# of fiber to dye, which you can dye on either Sunday night after the Dye Lab add-on (we’ve got a full house for the add-on, or normally helpers dye then) or Monday–or at some future time, if you live within a drive and want to come out and relax and take your time at a later date.

Here are the details:

Since I’ve had people I don’t know flake out on me in the past, helper jobs are now only available to former Yarn School students or helpers.

If you’re within driving range, you can either come out and work the two weekends prior (April 14/15 and 16/17–or Fri/Sat, if that’s better for you–stay here overnight Saturday) & then show up Thursday (4/26) afternoon for Yarn School, or come out the Monday before (4/23) & work all week. Out-of-towners do the 2nd option. All of our KC helpers have preferred option #1 since you’re better rested & generally have more fun that way. Helpers usually stay thru Monday am, and are welcome to stay thru the day if they want to dye then.

Helpers clean, set up goody bags, get rooms ready, make beds, do laundry, etc. in advance & then assist with meals, dishes, laundry & the Dye Lab & generally helping out the teachers during.  Sunday while the Dye Lab  add-on is going on, you’ll strip all the beds of those who have already left. It’s a lot of time on your feet, so if you have health or mobility problems, this is probably not a good job for you.

Helpers stay in one of the group rooms. Helpers need a driver’s license, since they often run the airport shuttle.

I think that’s about it. If you’re interested or have more questions, let me know asap!

Time for a break!

It’s been a mad winter! Woolfest in January (I have to brag about my awesome booth that I totally neglected to photograph), then mass book knitting and a bit of photography, then a fucking TORNADO at the end of February that threw the town into chaos. Then I accidentally agreed to a bit more recovery volunteering than I was prepared to handle and was in a bit of a panicked frenzy for a week and a half. Then a much needed and super-awesome Spinsters-y MO Fiber Retreat in which I learned locker hooking, basket weaving, Tunisian crochet, and wagon wheel rug weaving, peppered with much Spinsters hilarity. This week, Vicki & Susan in Burlingame volunteered to man/organize the Donation Center and suddenly my volunteer duties became manageable again! And I’m only 2 weeks behind on my final deadlines and another couple months behind on my life!

We had some uninsured damage to the roof (I don’t think anything our insurance actually covered was damaged) and lost a good 20 feet of our quirky handmade fence. While it will definitely hurt to fork out the money for the roof, the bid didn’t make me burst into tears. And considering the catastrophic damage in Harveyville, we were very, very lucky.

Except for the 4 days of Woolfest & MO Fiber, my life has been all about my book and the tornado and pretty much ignoring everything else. But shearing’s coming up in a few weeks and I decided I need to finally get last year’s clip in the hopper. I skirted and bagged it all up. Now I just have to figure out what I want it made into.

I was originally thinking all yarn this year, except that I have Agnes’ ruined fleece from last year, so if I get her made into combed top, they can comb all my neppy roving into something worthwhile. And the Shetlands are so small and so fun to spin… And I love spinning Fudgy… I love spinning all of them. The plan was to start a CSA and let the subscribers dictate what got made into what, but I didn’t TCB in time and now… tick, tock. I’d like to at least have it ready for Yarn School.

Uncle Honeybunch (Shetland). The Shetlands are great fun to spin but not as impressive raw. He’s about 3# skirted.

Fudgy the Whale (Romney). Her fleece I just love. It’s enormous and shiny and just falls apart in your hands. About 8# skirted.

Jayne Cobb (either Romney or Merino x Romney–not sure of his pops). Another lovely fall-apart fleece. About 7# skirted.

Agnes (Merino). Cottony fine, snowy white. This is after sitting for a year and it’s still pretty damn creamy. 8.5# skirted

Hokey Pokey (Merino), not quite as fine as Agnes, but still dense and buttery. 7# skirted.

So here’s the real puzzler. These are both Ronnie. The bottom one is the bulk of her coat, much crimpier than the Romeny fleece, for instance, but way less crimpy than the other Merinos. And that top sample, which is what covers her thighs and rump, looks just like Shetland.

Here’s Ronnie with Uncle Honeybunch & Mr. Shivers, who’s light gray, though you can’t tell with all the old lanolin . It’s harder to tell on the light fleeces–and these are center back samples, so they have more undercoat–but the Shetland has the longer fibers that you can pull out by the tips and the wuzzier undercoat plumping up the rest of the loc. And her fleece is much more open and less greasy overall than her mom’s or brothers.

And Ronnie also looks more like a Shetland from behind. She’s got that square shape and those shaggy breeches that the Shetlands have. But then she has a wooly face and legs and that ridgy Merino nose, and although she was tiny at birth, now she’s about the same size as her brother. I don’t know if it would seem so Shetlandy to me if I didn’t have Shetlands, or if I had a wider representation of Merinos.

I took a little break and shot Cupcake Ranch a little:

Peggy, one of the new girls.

Joan and Betty, the other two new girls. All 3 are laying pretty little green eggs.

Of the old girls, Faith’s still laying like a champ.

Bridgette and Cathy have retired, but Faith was a slow starter so I suspect they’re still way ahead in overall eggs.

Georgie, the newest addition to Cupcake Ranch, is right at home these days. After a few run-ins with the Shetlands, he generally keeps a respectful distance, and I think I’ve taught him that the chickens are to be left alone. They pop into his area and drink from his water bowl unmolested, and he doesn’t chase them when he’s out in the main property running around like a madman.

Had to include Freddy, who was looking particularly kitteny today. Sugarfoot was hiding.

Mr. Shivers was being a little shit today. First he was all lovey-dovey, then when I quit scratching him, he gave me a quick butt and then kept following me around annoyingly, threatening to butt me if ever I let down my guard (I did not; I know better). He even followed me into the hay shed. I couldn’t finish my chores without turning around every three seconds to ward him off. It got so annoying that I had to throw a couple buckets of water at him to get him to beat it. But he was quick and wily at avoiding them, and I kept accidentally hurling them at other hapless sheep instead. Uncle Honeybunch was all “Hey, lady! What did I do?” Eventually I got a couple right in his face and he acted very put out and haughty and skulked off and shunned me when I tried to get a picture of his dripping face. Served him right, though. I’m glad they’re getting sheared soon. That always puts him in his place.

Before I get back to work, a few of my book projects, cleverly photographed so you can’t tell what the hell they are:

(inside-out, so as not to give away the pattern)