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Gearing up for 2015!

Gearing up for 2015!

This year has gone by in the blink of an eye! We started out with a bang at Stitches West in February. We had an expanded booth with a new display and tons of gorgeous yarn.We also debuted our new line of Forbidden Essentials, starting with wool wash and healing balm, using all natural ingredients and essential oils.

It was an amazing weekend, as always, and we left with even more ideas of how to bring you the best we have to offer .


The new website was launched in August, bringing you more Forbidden yarns than we've ever been able to offer online before! We're still stocking the shop with all our new accessories. Soon we'll have beads, ChiaoGoo needles, patterns, and our Essentials line.

Summer was spent gearing up for the fall: a trunk show at Middleford Yarn in Medford, OR in September, and a return to the CogKnitive Retreat in Tehachapi in October.

CogKnitive Retreat 2014

Now that the year is coming to a close, my brain has been working overtime on all the fabulous things we want to bring you next year!

  • Spring colors are in the works - they'll debut at Stitches West in February, along with your past favorites.We'll also be bringing a variety of bases in our usual lace and fingering weight yarns (including a couple new ones!), and for the first time ever - a DK weight - soft, squishy Temperance! Prudence, the 150-gram skein dyed in gradient colorways, was a new favorite in 2014 so we'll be bringing lots more with us next year in 2015! We'll have lots of new samples for you to see the new yarns in action.
Spring 2015 Preview
Don't these just scream for colorwork?
  • We'll be expanding the Essentials line to include lotion bars and spinning wheel polish, and new scents for the wool wash too! Our goal with this line is to help you care for your handmade garments, your tools, and even yourself, using our love of essential oils.
  • We're working to expand our show schedule to include lots of exciting events that have popped up in southern CA, and also to bring Forbidden yarns and products to more LYS and to have a constant presence in our online shop.
  • I have lots of ideas for fun yarn and fiber clubs - we'll try to have a new club offering each quarter.What's better than yarn showing up at your doorstep every month?

Perhaps most excitedly, we're hard at work on a new project that will broaden our horizons in a way I've been dreaming about for the past couple years.I can't wait to be able to share more details soon!

So many ideas brewing..stay tuned!

Leann Ross
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Fall Happenings

Fall Happenings

When we lived in New Jersey, I loved the end of August because the summer heat and wild thunderstorms started to give way to cool evenings and you just knew that fall was coming.  Southern California weather is the complete opposite!  August is when things really start to heat up, and by September we're seeing triple-digit heat you just know won't break before Halloween. 

And yet, fall is still my absolute favorite season.  We've just passed the middle of August and I'm looking longingly at that new canister of chai tea in the cupboard and dreaming of all the sweaters I'm going to cast on.  The leaves won't change until Thanksgiving, but I'll be wearing scarves and sweaters and maybe even some handknit socks long before then, just waiting for the first sign that fall is finally here. 

So it's no wonder the studio is a flurry of activity!  Here's a sneak peak at what's happening right now, and what's in the works:

  • The Yarnover Truck has been hosting a trunk show that started at the Knit & Crochet Show in San Diego last month.  In addition to their regular stock of Pride, Pride Lace, and Superstition, they're showcasing a rainbow of favorite colorways in Fortitude and Justice. Pictured below is Fortitude in Strawberry Cupcake, Smoke Signal, Strawberry Jam, Little Women, and Illium!
      • Yarning For You in San Marcos, CA is hosting a trunk show, too!  Three huge boxes of Envy, Pride, Charity, Wrath, Gluttony, and Sloth just arrived in the store this week, and will be there through Saturday, September 5th.  Charity is a brand new fingering weight single in scrumptious superwash merino, and Yarning For You customers have the first peek!  I'll be in store on Saturday, August 29th from 10am to 2pm for a knit-along.  I'm so excited!
      • Jennie's Yarn Shop in Medford, OR is celebrating her first anniversary!  They hosted a Forbidden Woolery trunk show at their grand opening, and I was so excited when Jennie asked me to be a part of her anniversary extravaganza.  We'll be sending lots of Pride, Justice, and Gluttony to help with the celebrations.
      • The San Diego Yarn Crawl is September 17th through the 20th, and Ramona Country Yarn will be hosting Forbidden Woolery yarns all weekend!  We'll be sending lots of favorite colorways in Whisper, Hope, Virtue, Pride, and Wrath.  Virtue is another new yarn - a non-superwash merino sportweight yarn that's perfect for lightweight sweaters and accessories.  I grew up in Ramona and it's so much fun to visit Connie and her fabulous new store in the heart of downtown.  And especially to have lunch at my most favorite restaurant of all time, La Cocina, which just happens to be right across the street.  I'm also looking forward to the sneak preview of something Connie and I have in the works for later this fall.  More details to come as it starts to shape up!
      • Yarnosphere is happening in Long Beach, CA October 17th and 18th, and Forbidden Woolery will be there for the first time!  It's so exciting to participate in all the fiber festivals popping up in southern CA and I can't wait for this show in particular.  I'll be debuting a new yarn I've been working on nonstop since Stitches West in February.  It has challenged everything I know about yarn and dyeing, and I couldn't be happier with the results.  Stay tuned for more information!
      • In November we're teaming back up with Jennie's Yarn Shop and Ramona Country Yarn for some exciting things!  Revelations 2, Forbidden Woolery's second pattern collection, will also be published.  The original Revelations focused on accessories, and Revelations 2 will have beautiful new sweater and vest patterns to celebrate the season.

Like I said, it's a flurry of activity!  But I'm always up for more.  If it has to do with yarn and color, I can't get enough!  If you have a favorite yarn store and want to see a Forbidden Woolery trunk show near you, have your yarn store contact me at forbiddenwoolery@gmail.com.  Putting together specialized trunk shows and events is so much fun, and I would love to dream something up for you!



Leann Ross
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The Anatomy of a Colorway

The Anatomy of a Colorway

Hello!  It's been quite some time since I've put a blog post together, and I miss it so!  I'm starting the Forbidden Woolery Blog anew, as when I migrated over from my Wordpress site a few years ago, my blog became quite the mess.  I'll add posts back as I can get them cleaned up, but I'm going to focus mainly on new content.  To start, I thought it would be fun to explore color together, and to show you what goes into creating a new colorway around here. 

The most common way I create a colorway is to throw a bunch of primary colors together in a container, put some in the dypot and give it a stir, then add yarn and see what happens.  If I like it, voila!  A new semi-solid is born.  If I don't, I think about what color would make it better, put that in the dyepot and give it a stir, and then put the yarn back in.  Then I repeat as many times as necessary until the color is pretty.  Some of my most favorite colorways have been created this way, actually.  Bloodtracker, for one.  Most definitely Poison Study. And, most recently, Nuclear Winter

The most calculated way I create a colorway is when I use inspirational artwork as a starting point.  It's a fairly new technique for me, as I only started doing this about 18 months ago when I started the Harry Potter Yarn Club in November 2015.  The Wanderlust Yarn Club is also structured this way, though it's almost always centered around a photograph from somewhere in the world, as opposed to artwork.  Most recently, I've been using inspirational photographs to create the new Colorway of the Month club colors.  This is where I've really started experimenting with new-to-me techniques and colorways I never would've made before.  It's been so much fun!

May Flowers is probably one of my most favorite colorways to date.  It all started with this inspirational photograph.  This beautiful image is courtesy of  Christi Kraft, http://christikraftphotography.com or https://christikraftphotography.com/featured/colors-of-the-cabbage-patch-christi-kraft.html).

May Flowers handdyed yarn inspiration

I think it's a cabbage of some sort, but I haven't been able to figure it out for sure.  I loved the way the colors melted into each other, from pink to purple, to blue and green and, finally, just a touch of yellow around the rim of the leaf. 

I dye almost exclusively from a collection of primary colors, so almost every color you see from me is custom mixed.  Sometimes it's only two primaries together in varying ratios, but some colors have four or five different primaries and can also include a grey or black to create a shade of another color.  Mixing different colors is one of my most favorite parts of dyeing.  The possibilities are endless - I currently have about 300 different colors to choose from!

For May Flowers, I chose a pink, yellow, and blue primary, then started mixing to get as close to the colors in the photograph as I could.  I write down the formula, then test the color by putting just a tiny bit in a plastic cup and sticking a paper towel in it to get an idea of what it will look like.  This isn't a foolproof method by any means.  I've had quite a surprise in the dyepot a number of times!  Turquoise, in particular, likes to play tricks on me!

Once I had the shade of pink, purple, blue, green and yellow that I wanted, I started applying them onto the yarn in the dyepot.  This is the part that's new to me.  Usually, as I described above, I put the color in the pot first, and then put the yarn in.  It's how I create layers and layers of complex colors.  But to get more clear cut color changes, I have to put the undyed yarn in the pot and add the color on top.  I started at the bottom with my pink, then added the purple, blending it into the pink so it wouldn't be too abrupt a change.  Then I added the blue in the same way, then the green, and ended at the top of the pot with the yellow.  When I was satisfied with the coverage and the depth of color, I left the yarn alone and let it cook until the water ran clear.  Then I flipped the yarn over in the pot, and colored in as many of the white spots where the dye didn't quite hit the bottom of the dyepot.  I love doing this because it creates even more melded colors in the yarn. 

May Flowers in the dyepot

When dyed this way, each skein in the pot is a little bit different, because the dye travels in the water onto each skein at varying rates and depths.  Normally my OCD would be all aflutter over this, and my eye may even start twitching.  But, somehow, I actually like it!  It's the beauty in hand-dyed yarn, isn't it?

Once the water runs clear and the yarn has cooled down, it then gets a rinse in warm water with a hint of lemongrass essential oil, and then goes for a spin to get the excess water out.  Then it hits the drying rack to dry in the warm California sunshine.  I usually leave yarn out to dry overnight, to ensure any lingering vinegar smell from the dyebath gets a chance to dissipate. 

And voila!  You have May Flowers.  It's available for pre-order until May 31st! 

May flowers handdyed yarnMay flowers handdyed yarnMay flowers handdyed yarn

This month I took it just a bit farther and created some semi-solids using the same colors from May Flowers, so you can use them together in that multi-colored project you've been eying in your queue!  From left to right in the photo below: New Moon, Daffodil, May Flowers, Succulent, Butterfly Dust.  A couple of the colorways already existed (I'm looking at YOU, Butterfly Dust and New Moon), but two are brand new - Daffodil and Succulent. 

May flowers handdyed yarn Semisolid coordinating coloras

I'm using May Flowers and Butterfly Dust together in this super cute Wee Cria sweater.  I'm a sucker for stripes, what can I say?

May flowers handdyed yarn

Leann Ross
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Big Changes for Forbidden Woolery!

Big Changes for Forbidden Woolery!

Happy New Year!


2018 is almost here, and I’m so excited to ring in the new year as Forbidden Fiber Co!  

If you’ve been following me on social media since the beginning of the year, you’ll know that 2017 hasn’t been very kind to the Ross clan!  We started out the year with a frightening two-week hospital stay for baby Genevieve, then seven months old.  Thankfully she made a quick and full recovery, but the year kept throwing curve balls our way!  We had to make spur-of-the-moment, life-changing decisions at the drop of a hat, and figure out the fallout later.  

Professionally, the hardest moment came in early September, when I received a letter stating that the use of the word “Woolery” in my name was a trademark violation.  I’ve been Forbidden Woolery for eight years now, so this was quite a blow!  After consulting several (rather expensive) lawyers, all of whom assured me that I did (and continue to do) nothing wrong, I still decided to speed up a plan that had been forming in my head for some time.  With my growing company, expanding product lines beyond wool and wool blends, and how the birth of my Steampunk line changed the way I view Forbidden’s identity, “Woolery” really didn’t fit who I was anymore.  I absolutely loved it when I chose it, but lately, no matter how I dress it up, it just feels a bit stodgy to me.  Some other big things are coming down the pike and I’d hoped to time a name change with those, but the disruption all this legal back-and-forth (not to mention dealing with some unsavory business people who seem to enjoy being big bullies) made me realize that I should be like Nike and Just Do It.  

Easier said than done, though!  My creative juices flow when they want to, not when I force them! Forbidden has always been who I am, from that moment in October 2009 when I stood in front of the Swarovski store in York, England, staring at a beautiful red apple necklace and the whole company came to me in a great big whoosh! of adrenaline. So trying to force myself into a new timeline had me stammering to find something that matched the intensity of the word Forbidden.  I googled, translated, thesaurus-ed, and dictionary-ed for days, turned weeks-on-end.  I had input from dozens of friends and family.  I settled on something just to throw it out and start all over, more than once.  And finally realized I was WAY overthinking it and went with something easy.  Something that wouldn't detract from the vast emotion I have invested in the word “Forbidden”, wouldn’t limit the possibilities of where I can go in the future, and, most importantly, felt like it was me.  Because as much as I hate being in the spotlight, this company is my identity.  It is me and I am it.  

And that's how Forbidden Fiber Co. was born!
Forbidden Fiber Co

So, to quote my favorite episode of Buffy, ever, “Where do we go from here?”

Things have been slowly plodding along behind the scenes - new business licenses, new logo, new labels, etc, etc.  Let's just say I've realized just how invested in a brand one becomes over eight years! 

In the coming weeks you’ll see:

  • The new name and logo taking over the website, social media, advertising, etc.
  • The website and online shop will move to www.forbiddenfiberco.com, but you will still be able to access it from www.forbiddenwoolery.com for the foreseeable future.
  • A GREAT BIG SALE!!!!  Because who wants to relabel hundreds of skeins of in-stock yarn? Not me, that’s for sure!!! 

With all that said, from December 31, 2017 through January 8, 2018, use the code NEWYEAR2018 for 30% off everything in the online shop! 

Please note: Everything will ship on January 8th, when we return from our holiday vacation.


Leann Ross
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