Works in Progress

A couple days ago on my hubby’s day off, we took the family on a little hike. It’s the time of year when this can either be brilliant or a disaster, largely depending on the absence or presence of mosquitoes or particularly determined flies. We chose a little trail we discovered this spring during migration and hiked the length of it nearly bug-free. 20140809-075152-28312739.jpgWe’ve had a cool summer and everything is exceptionally green. The trail was a bit muddy, so we were able to find and follow some deer tracks. We didn’t see them, but where the tracks stopped we could heard them crashing in the brush.

20140809-075150-28310346.jpgAnd of course there are the brilliant colors of flowers, too. In flowers and in the yellow warblers, cedar waxwings, robins, and one of my favorites — the catbird — that foraged around us.  The best, however, was hearing a yellow-billed cuckoo deep in the wood. We never got eyes on him, but his song was unmistakeable. Sometimes I think I remember ‘that time I heard the yellow-billed cuckoo’ almost more clearly than ‘that time I saw the yellow-billed cuckoo’. There is an intimacy in knowing a bird’s call, I think. It’s more than just searching for the movement of a bird and catching it in your binoculars, it’s about building a true familiarity that is a constant work in progress

20140809-075151-28311551.jpgThese little flowers reminded me of lace — they always do — so I had to snap a photo. I love seeing knitting inspiration in nature.

I started a new autumn sweater this week that is in my eye also inspired by nature, Little Wave by Gudrun Johnston.

20140808-165806-61086598.jpgThe stitch pattern is like a collection of little ripples. I can’t say how enjoyable this knit is — these little twists require no cable needle and the 12 row repeat is very easy to learn. It is actually much simpler than I anticipated which is wonderful for this time of year.  For yarn, I’m using the Green Mountain Spinnery Weekend Wool. This wool is 100% sourced from farms in New England & across the US and the colorway — Blue Jay — is the most spectacular rustic steel-blue with a hint of charcoal. I’m hoping to get this sweater finished by the time the WI Sheep & Wool Festival rolls around again in early September — I am optimistic and already have buttons on the way. I think the only real obstacle will be yardage. I actually bought this yarn to knit up a Cape Cod sweater, so according to the Little Wave pattern I’m about 50yards short. I decided 1) many patterns give you a 10% margin of error in yarn requirements and 2) I have no problem getting & using a different dye lot for – let’s say — the collar and button band should that be necessary.

Of course, also on my needles are some socks.

20140808-165934-61174472.jpgI showed you this photo yesterday and now I have about an inch to go to the heel flap. This is the pair of  Jeck by Regina Satta in Sweet Georgia Yarns BFL Sock in the Magpie colorway that I started on vacation last month. Having started Socks with Sarah blowing through a pair of sock per week, the 3weeks I’ve been working on these seems like forever. I remind myself though — and my fellow Socks with Sarah knitters, too — that this KAL isn’t about speed or about knitting only socks all the time, it’s about making sock knitting a part of your routine, your life. Splitting these socks with my sweater and a spinning project has actually been pretty refreshing. I’ve been on a good roll of working one project in the morning when I wake up through my first cup of coffee and then the other in the evening before bed.

I’m finding that as always the end of summer is a whirlwind of activity — from trying to get out and enjoy the green on the trails to stocking up on school supplies to mowing the lawn that just doesn’t want to turn brown and die this August to playing “Delia-ball” with my daughter. I’m also going to make time to enjoy clicking away on my fiber-y projects in the fresh air. I can already feel the hint of autumn in the air (just a hint — it’s a work in progress, too) and while there’s simply no better time to be outside listening for cuckoos and yellow warblers, there’s also no better time to be working on a new fall sweater and cozy pair of socks. Just as I’m ecstatic to be on the dark green trail listening and watching for wildlife, when October rolls around I’ll be pretty glad I stole a few moments for that sweater and pair of socks. So many works in progress; I’m going to enjoy them all.

15 thoughts on “Works in Progress

  1. So heart warming. I have an awesome cable sweater in charcoal on the needles –somewhere. If I found it, I wouldn’t know where I was in the pattern. I’m bad like that. Socks seem easier to pick up. I’m sure pleased with myself with the sock thing. I’m on my third pair this year because of your knit along. I love it!
    Thanks for inspiring

    1. I’m so glad you’re enjoying your sock knitting! I am equally bad about keeping track of where I am in patterns. I’ve been working on just marking up my patterns, always crossing off what’s completed as I complete it. So far, it’s been helping a lot!

  2. Beautiful post, Sarah…love your sweater and the flower photos… I was thinking about you last night, while I put down my socks and picked up a new project… started some felted slippers. I’ve also got a shawl going and a hooded sweater and I’m spinning again… Yay! Thanks so much for getting me going on this…I love it!

    1. You are busy! I’ve been looking at shawls, too, but am refraining from casting-on until I finish at least one other project… So glad you’re having fun!

  3. sounds like a great hike! While I am not a birder, a friend of mine who is loves to sit on my porch and just listen to the birds in my woods. She tells me which ones are which, and I hope to learn the names to match the songs someday.

    PS that pretty white flower IS lace – Queen Anne’s Lace. it is one of my favorite summer wildflowers.

    1. There are some great recording out there available to work on IDing bird song, but I have not really invested the time in that kind of studying. I just learn from the trail and occasionally looking things up on Cornell’s website. 🙂

      Thank you for the info on the flower! I’m terrible with wildflowers — something I really need to work on!

      1. Knitting Sarah, I am glad to learn you aren’t perfect! I bet if you got a field guide and took it with you on your hikes, you would learn the flowers pretty quickly. Good for a home school science project maybe someday?

  4. I loved this blog with its progression from a hike to your WIP’s! I just finished sew sleeves into my Ridge Stitch Sweater (I blogged about it at and fully intended to work on my sock. But after reading your blog, I’m headed out for a walk. Who knows how many of these beautiful days we’ll have until the rains start.

    1. It’s a super fun, very easy to memorize pattern and I love the results. Do measure carefully though for size as the slipped stitches make these run a bit tighter than vanilla socks. 🙂

  5. I’ve never spotted a yb cuckoo–excellent ID! My 3yo daughter just loves to identify the call/cry of the Catbird on our walks. One of my favorite little birds, too. My older daughter has been trying to determine sex on the Gray Catbirds we spot lately–more shiny/glossy top of the head for males she was told during a bird banding activity…apparently it’s a fun game. 😉

    1. I’ve seen the cuckoo once or twice, but when I was much less of a birder and I never would have known on my own. This was pretty exciting as I played a role in finding it!

      I didn’t know that about catbirds! Very cool!

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