I’m working on a new book!

With all the hullabaloo of Fiber School (which was incredible–amazing group!) and hitting my first deadline and the new chickens and the new dog, I almost forgot to mention: I’m working on a new book with Wiley!

I am VERY excited about this book. I’m also really excited about Wiley. Communication and feedback have been excellent, even from before we had a contract. And I have my own editor–something I didn’t really have on my first book. (Staffing changes kept shuffling me to new people, and in the end, I kind of ended up in limbo, without a dedicated editor–a rough place to be for a first book.) And she’s great to work with, thoughtful and smart and enthusiastic, so Yay!

It’s also incredibly thrilling to be working on a knitting book when I actually know what the fuck I’m doing. So far I love all of my patterns, and I look forward to every new one.

The only downside to this whole thing is the brutal deadlines it involves. Between Fiber School and the new dog, I’m cranking out more than a pattern a week to make up for it. Luckily, I’ve already worked out the broad strokes of everything, so I’m not coming up with the ideas out of the blue–just the nuts & bolts–but that’s still a hell of a lot of knitting, especially whilst housebreaking a dog. And the way I knit (knit, frog, repeat), and with my ambitions to make diversions and variations of every fracking pattern (which I am suppressing to prevent madness/hand failure), I typically at least double my knitting.

New dog, so bony still:

He was starving when he showed up the night before Fiber School. We started feeding him but had no place to put him, so he kept running around town until he got hurt. Then Rachel drove him down to the emergency vet/Humane Society dropoff and he spent a few days in doggy jail, giving his original owners a last chance to find him. The we adopted him, chipped him, and now we’re trying to acclimate him to his new home and dampen his interest in the chickens and sheep (he’s fine with the cats) and fatten him up so we can get him fixed and vaccinated and on heartworm/flea & tick stuff. I don’t want to stress his system with a bunch of chemicals until he’s back up to a normal body weight.

He was afraid to come inside at first, but he’s adjusting nicely. As he gets healthier, he’s quickly becoming more energetic, so I suspect I may be taking up running to keep him stable and non-destructive inside. He definitely wants to be an outside dog, but knowing he’s a runner (a motivated dog would have no trouble escaping our fence, especially with Randy from the City and the elelectric guy coming and going to check the meters) and not yet sure how he’ll react to the livestock once he’s healthy and robust–well, he’s going to be an inside dog with long walks for at least a couple weeks. I hope to transition to letting him out in the fenced back as much as he wants and inside at night once he knows this is his home and he’s adjusted and current with his shots and outside meds (rabies, heartworm, flea/tick–we get plenty of wildlife on our property).

The housebreaking’s going well. We’re crate-training him.

The other new addition, the new chicks, have been moved outside. I had major repairs to the hoop house, which got blown around and dashed to the ground last summer. (BTW, this is not something that gets blown around lightly. IN its previous 2 years, it got blown a few feet once. It’s heavy. Even with a flat dolly in back and mower wheels installed on the front–making it a 6-wheeled vehicle– I could barely drag it back into place. Now it’s in a pretty sheltered spot, and I attached 4 cinderblocks to add to the weight, so we should be good for most contingencies.) The don’t quite get the roosting thing. Their first few nights, they crammed themselves into the holes in the cinderblocks instead of using their roost, and I had to transfer the groggy but outraged beasts to their roosts after dark, since their chosen spot was also the most exposed, and they’re still way too small to be rubbing it in predators’ faces like that.

Once they’re bigger, we’ll let them range with the other chickens and hopefully by winter, everyone will be back to the coop and I can kit out the hoophouse for a greenhouse again.

New Chickens, about 6 weeks and happy to be outside

New home

I love how they pile up in a clump

All of the animals are still waiting on names. I’m leaning toward Joan/Peggy/Betty for the chickens, but I want to make sure they’re all girls and that I’ve called which is which appropriately. Due to their timing, I’ve had much less contact with this batch, so they’re a little more wild and strange to me.

We haven’t found out the dog’s name yet, which is making training a pain. We think we know it, but it’s hard to know for sure until the dog knows he’s home. This one seems like he was on his own for a long time, and he’s not yet quite who he’ll be. Anyway, we’re going to have to decide this week, or he’s going to think his name is Good Boy.

Did Chico’s rip me off?

So knitloon on ravelry sent me a note about this:

Look familiar?


She said she bought it as new stock a month ago. My pattern was published on Craft in March.

KAL Sally Cardigan

Sally Cardigan on Craftzine.com

Of course the Chico’s one is pieced colorwork instead of top-down slip-stitch, but that would be necessary for mass production. The only design difference is the neckline, which I actually give instructions for on the ravelry page (the color notes are the original for the pattern, not for me to show emphasis now):

Neckline mod closeup.

Now, maybe the Chico’s was inspired by the same random 40s children’s sweater I was. And maybe they decided it would make a good women’s sweater, and maybe they decided to change the pattern motif, ease, sleeve length and cuff length just like mine, and maybe this all happened after my pattern was published and without them seeing it. But really? Really, Chicos?


I got a wild hair this week and went on a carding bender. Since I’ve been meaning to set up a separate shop for Art Club (aside from etsy), I figured may as well do it now, with all these pretty new cuckoobatts, huzzah! Most of them are big fat jumbo batts, 3 – 4 ounces, enough for a decent project on their own.

In honor of the new shop, mention this post for a free custom coordinate-y surprise jumbo batt with $35 purchase! (Man, 5 modifiers and no commas!)

Seaweed (wool, bamboo, mohair, soy silk):

Seaweed Cuckoobatt

Sunken (wool, bamboo, soy silk):

Sunken Cuckoobatt

Deep Sea (wool & bamboo):

Deep Sea Cuckoobatt

Fruit Punch Mouth (wool & bamboo):

Fruit Punch Mouth Cuckoobatt

Peacock Twinset (2 coordinating batts; wool, mohair, silk & bamboo):

Peacock Twinset Cuckoobatt

Disney Mermaid (wool, bamboo, soy silk):

Disney Mermaid Cuckoobatt

Frog Pond (wool, soy silk, bamboo):

Frog Pond Cuckoobatt

Pushup (wool & silk):

Pushup Cuckoobatt

Monster Mash (wool & soy silk):

Monster Mash Cuckoobatt

Old Moss (merino, alpaca, soy silk):

Old Moss Cuckoobatt

Cherry Bomb Sox (superwash wool & nylon):

Cherry Bomb Sox Cuckoobatt

Bluebell Sox (superwash wool & nylon):

Bluebell Sox Cuckoobatt

Vine Sox (superwash wool & nylon):

Vine Sox Cuckoobatt

Indian Paintbrush Sox (superwash wool & nylon):

Indian Blanket Sox Cuckoobatt

Pink Candy Sox (superwash wool & nylon):

Pink Candy Sox Cuckoobatt

Hot House Sox (superwash wool & nylon):

Hothouse Sox Cuckoobatt

Thistle Sox (superwash wool & nylon):

Thistle Sox Cuckoobatt

I may end up using etsy for the one-offs and the main shop for all the open stock stuff, but for now, it’s super batty.

FREE PATTERN: Splash Swimsuit Coverup/Lace Minidress on Craft!

Free pattern on Craft

Splash, knit in a mere 3 skeins of Lorna’s Laces Pearl (4 skeins for the L/XL)!

As a swimsuit coverup:

Splash Swimsuit Coverup/Lace Minidress

As a dress:

Splash Swimsuit Coverup/Lace Minidress

I’m kind of loving lace right now. Lace is just such a bargain to knit that I can’t resist it. I mean, a 300g dress! And the short version of my Date Night top was 100g, bananas! Of course, my idea of lace is mostly easy mindless lace. I’m working on another project with complicated lace that I actually have to think about, and it’s not nearly as fun, though it’s satisfying to watch it emerge (it’s also knit flat, so bleh, too much purling!).

More Splash (thanks to Charlene for modeling for me!):

Splash Swimsuit Coverup/Lace Minidress

Splash Swimsuit Coverup/Lace Minidress

Splash Swimsuit Coverup/Lace Minidress

Splash Swimsuit Coverup/Lace Minidress

Splash Swimsuit Coverup/Lace Minidress

Splash Swimsuit Coverup/Lace Minidress

Splash Swimsuit Coverup/Lace Minidress

Splash Swimsuit Coverup/Lace Minidress

Splash Swimsuit Coverup/Lace Minidress

In other news, the heat finally broke, after a torturous 111° on Tuesday. And today: rain! I’d almost forgotten what it was.

Oh, and the Spinners Control Cards are back in stock!

New Superawesome WPI tool


Today I shot Splash, my upcoming Craftzine pattern, with the lovely Charlene, who has a figure that welcomes the camera instead of mortifying it (uh, me). The weather was gorgeous, windy, mild hot (nice hot, not the punishing 100-by-noon bullshit we’ve had the last couple weeks), and the setting was a pretty town lake in Lyon county, out by Char’s place. Here’s just a teeny taste of it (I’ll post a big pile of photos next week when the pattern’s live):

Splash tease

I’m delighted with this pattern. It’s utterly easy and speedy and used just 3 skeins of yarn, which completely blows my mind. It knits up just about as fast as you’d expect 300g of worsted in a simple, open pattern on 7s to knit up–and that’s fast, brother! And it’s so soft and comfy I kind of don’t ever want to take it off. Which is a funny way to feel about any clothing in the dead of summer, let alone a knit. The only reason I don’t run around naked all summer is because: 1) well, the obvious horror–no one wants to look at that mess all day, especially not me; 2) my ass sticking to seats; 3) increased potential injury from cooking/hay/evil plants/insects/livestock. After the Naked French Fry Burn Incident, I have a much healthier respect for clothing.

I’m trying to keep that TDF momentum going. I just finished this:

Handspun from Laura's Pygora's romney roving

from this, Laura’s Pygoras romney roving:

Laura's Pygoras Roving

Next up, also Laura’s Pygoras, but this time, Shetland:

Laura's Pygoras Roving

I got burnt out on combed top at the end of TDF and I’m on a roving kick now.

TDF 2011

Well, I feel pretty good about my Tour de Fleece.

Final Tour de Fleece 2011 Yarn

My last minute spin, which ticks both my Team Wicked Stitch checkbox and my Team Browncoats checkbox–though the last one by accident. It turned out being pretty much the colorway of the Serenity movie poster, through no effort on my part.

The fiber was some stuff I got at the grand opening of The Wicked Stitch, back when it was Settler’s Farm.

Wicked Stitch Combed Top

I thought it went well with both this old Cuckoobatts Club Batt I’ve been hoarding forever:

Art Club Cuckoobatt Sea Hag

and these alpaca batts:

Alpaca batts

And I almost put them all together for a project, but then I decided I didn’t feel like mixing fibers, and I didn’t feel like spinning a whole pound. I don’t need every bit of handpsun I spin to become a sweater, after all.

That brings the total to two and a quarter pounds and about 1700yds, assuming I counted the first lot right, and I’m suspicious about that, as 500-something seems low for a pound of dk to worsted, even of the heavier fibers. I mean, it was spun woolen. Even with the chain ply, that doesn’t seem right. But that’s a procrastination project for another day.

Tour de Fleece 2011: 2.25 pounds

1. Yarn School widows & orphans=1# woolen chain plied odds & ends. 2. Hello Yarn Yarn School Grunge (2006) and Gentle (2011), Woolie Bullies merino & Spinning Colors Dune=1# worsted 2-ply. 3. Wicked Stitch Combed Top=Worsted 2-ply sock.

And with the last two, I am officially sick of spinning combed top for  awhile. Haven’t picked out he rest of my June spin or my July spin, but for the June, at least, it will be roving or batts.

I did not spin every day after the first week, but I did pretty well, and considering I’m also working on several design projects, I’m satisfied with my output, though I did feel kind of deflated after looking at the Team HY/SE/SCF page and learning that my 2+# was way less impressive than I thought. But at least I get to tick off a couple more boxes on my Überlist.


I finished my 2nd TDF pound this evening. Here it is, unwashed, 800-something yds of 2ply. I need to see it in daylight to form an opinion, but offhand, I think it’s less than the sum of its parts. I probably should have chain-plied. Oh, well.

Tour de Fleece 2011: Finished!

Tour de Fleece 2011: Finished!

Tour de Fleece 2011: Finished!

Tour de Fleece 2011: Finished!

Tour de Fleece Singles

Next up for Tour de Fleece: May's Pound of fiber

Viva la AC!

It is fucking HOT right now, but you wouldn’t know it in my office or bedroom because I’VE GOT AC, MOTHERGRABBER! We put in our little seasonal window units last week, after holding out for the multi-week heat advisory warning (though we didn’t know it at the time–it was only supposed to be 5 days, but has dragged on another 5 so far).

Now, the rest of the building is still a Bikram studio (especially the 2nd story–gosh, I could probably bring a yoga mat up to the dye lab and practice…), but I try only to leave the havens to procure food, check on the sheep, and use the potty.

Tour de Fleece Singles

While I haven’t succeeded in spinning every day as planned during the Tour de Fleece, I am well on my way to finishing my second pound of fiber, which still puts me two pounds behind for the year–but gives me better hope of catching up. I shouldn’t have any problem plying this before the end of the Tour, but my goals of spinning something unique for Team Wicked Stitch or Team Browncoats is fading into a mist. Instead, I think I’ll change my goal to finishing this pound and adding my fiber stash to my Ravelry stash so next time I need to pick something to spin, I’ll have a better place to start, and an easy way to update its finished version to my stash.

While I’m on spinning, I must bring up my beloved new WPI tool, which is so super awesome that I’m selling them in my etsy shop now.

New Superawesome WIP tool

New Superawesome WIP tool

Not only does it give you wpi without having to wind your yarn a gazillion times and try to maintain tension/not untwist your yarn/somehow monitor your wraps from time to time, but it also comes with a clip and a retractable cord so you can keep it with your gear but zap it out, and it includes a little wip-to-yarn weight conversion chart.

Right now I have 4 important WPI but my most pressing uses this:

Current project, new Craftzine pattern

Lorna’s Laces Pearl, which is just lovely to knit. It’s silk and bamboo, and I like knitting it way better than either of those fibers singly. It’s super soft but not too slippery, and it has a light sheen, but it’s doesn’t look like a satin NASCAR jacket or anything, and the color shifts are fluid and a joy to knit. Good yarn doesn’t come cheap, however, and this stuff is spendy, so I’m trying to be as thrifty as I can with it in my current pattern, which will be up (for free, natch) on Craftzine at the end of the month!

I spent way too much time updating my ravelry stash. I really need to destash, but I’ll save that for another day. Instead, I’m going to waste some more time adding my fiber to it. But I’ll need to dole it out a bit at a time as a sort of rewardy game. Much to do–I can only rationalize a little bit of dicking around–even if it is fiber-based dicking around.

Oh, wait! It’s the 22nd! No fiber stash dilly-dallying–I need to ply that yarn!