Hat Mania

I don’t know if it’s the weather or the appeal of the simple, easy, quick project, or just necessity born of the fact that I have successfully lost or at least misplaced a number of hats by this time of year, but this time of winter I tend to go into a hat mania.

Just before Christmas, I shared my finished Rikke Hat. I’ve been wearing it a ton, so I was aptly inspired to finish up my Acai Hat. I wound the yarn at the same time as the yarn for the Rikke Hat. It’s handspun Three Waters Farm Superwash Targhee in the Put Off My Blues colorway.

 

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It’s a beautiful colorway that makes me super happy, but the way I spun it really made for a busy fabric. I start with a stockinette stitch hat pattern, but I was not a fan of it so I opted to switch gears and find a pattern that is more textural.

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I’m really happy with how the Acai Hat worked with it and it proved a great project to work on with the puppy in the house. Interesting to occupy my mind that was tired after chasing the pup all day, but easy enough that I could still knit it on auto-pilot to an extent.

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It’s quite different from the hats I usually knit and that’s exactly why I like it!

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I think the texture compliments the busy colors nicely.

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And I have just enough slouch in it for the relaxed look that I love.

It won’t shock you to know that I’ve got 2 more skeins of yarn sitting on my desk, all wound and ready to become hats. Let the hat mania continue! You can’t have too many hats during winter in Wisconsin, can you?!

 

 

The World Falls Away

It feels like I have barely stopped moving since Tuesday evening when we brought our little Bear home. All the things happening outside of my home have fallen away as I focus on trying to find the right balance and rhythm to everyday life again. The fact that holidays are approaching in mere days is inconceivable.

I’m woefully behind in all previous planning as I work on savoring these puppy days. On Wednesday Bear became aware of what a leash is and we learned that one of the best ways to teach him is to have Moose lead the way. Now being on a leash is almost entirely about keeping up with his big brother! On Thursday, he discovered pine cones and had his first bath. On Friday, he found out he could play with sticks. Today he learned how much fun a tennis ball can be and went for a walk on his first trail hike and I am still picking the little burs out of his long coat.

As I tried to explain to my mom on the phone, having a 7 week old puppy in the house is kind of like having a toddler and an infant rolled into one. The sweet trust and innocence makes your heart melt over and over again, but there is also that unstoppable curiosity. And it is so much fun to watch him learn about the world, especially how much he looks to Moose for guidance and how Moose tries to teach the little dude. This, you see, is how you help make dinner…

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And this is how you look super pathetic and tiny when Mom is making dinner…

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And this is  how you sleep in Mom & Dad’s bed…

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Yes, since we expect Bear to be over 100lbs and Moose is 90lbs, this will eventually be a space issue, but for now it brings Bear much security and us some much needed rest. We will cross the space issue bridge when the time comes.

Aside from all-things-dog, very little has been happening. We did our best to finish up some pre-holiday school goals. A friend came over and we decorated Christmas cookies. That was chaos one step from mayhem, but so much fun. I finished knitting a hat…

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This is a Rikke Hat (a free Ravelry download) and knit in my handspun yarn from Three Water’s Farm’s August installment of their Top of the Month Club.

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I am very happy with the yarn — it just knit up so nicely!

I was curious about how the brim would be in garter with a smaller needle, but without ribbing and I’m happy to report the fit is great.

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Obviously I made the slouchy version — I just find it’s easier with my longer hair knowing I get a messy bun in there if I need to. I have enough yarn on there to put a pom on, but I don’t think I’m going to bother. I like it as is.

With supervision, I also started another hat…

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I tried Judy Marples’ Knit Night Hat originally, but wasn’t a fan of how it was knitting up in the yarn, so I went searching and found Clare Devine’s Acai hat pattern. It’s a much better fit for the yarn!

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It has a 2 round repeat which is about as good as it gets when you are picking it up and setting it down constantly.

I also started a pair of socks in this Kickapoo Sock Yarn that was a gift from a good friend…

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The colorway is called Blue Heron and it’s one of the prettiest colorways and nicest sock yarns I’ve knit. Obviously I’m not super far, but it’s a start! And sharing the beginning here has reminded me that I finished a pair of socks a couple weeks ago! I’ve worn them a couple times, but I will try to snap some photographs after the holiday.

Speaking of which, if I don’t get a chance to log on and write before next week, I want to wish you all a very heartfelt Happy Holidays! Whatever holidays you celebrate, may they warm your heart, bring a smile to your face. When all is said and done, may you rest as soundly and contentedly as a 7 week old puppy after his first trail hike. And maybe even allow yourself let the rest of the world fall away for a little while to enjoy the simple, fleeting pleasures that make up this life.

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From all of mine, to you and yours — Happy Holidays!!!

 

 

 

All The WIPs and One FO

After finishing my sweater, I’ve found myself shying away from the thought of finishing… anything.  As someone who is usually very methodical in my craft — first you start, then you work through the project, then you finish, and finally start a new project — it’s been a weird mindset in which to find myself. Thankfully, it’s not ledto a wild foray into startitis, but it has resulted into a few new WIPs.

I’m tantalizingly close to finishing this pair of socks…

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Just a little ways to go on the foot and then the toe and this pair will be done. I’ve been plinking away at it since mid-summer, so it’s time to mosey toward the end of this project one of these days.

Shortly after finishing my sweater, I started this shawl project…

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It’s a new-to-me construction (who knew there was such a thing — lol!) as I am knitting in a circle! As so many new techniques are, it was a bumpy start, but I seem to be cruising now. I have no idea how far I’ve left to go before I hit some cool lacework, but I’m kind of slowly working my way into this project. I’m still debating another knitting project as I have yarn wound for hats and really could use some extra hats, especially with holiday company coming in a couple weeks. I think I’ll attempt to finish up the socks and then move on to hats. I don’t want to get too crazy with this multiple projects at once thing!

In spinning news, I’ve been very driven to work on singles. I’m definitely in a “fill the bobbins and worry about plying another day mode.” And so that’s exactly what I’ve been doing with the exception of my latest Top of the Month Club

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Mary Ann from Three Waters Farm and I found ourselves curious how it would look as a traditional 3-ply and really there’s only one way to find out. Spin it!

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It just turned out beautiful! Add it to the list pile of yarn I want to knit into hats!

In the great game of “fill the bobbins” though, I’ve got singles for Nest‘s Damaged Goods…

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Three Waters Farm’s Multifarious Ruse…

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These are all set to ply.

On the wheels — because I’ve been splitting time between my Jensen Tina 2 & Schacht Reeves — I’ve got an Inglenook batt in a braid (I think) in the Hazelnut colorway happening. I’m probably 1/3 of the way through the fiber I have…

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And Three Waters Farm’s Maple Leaf Rag is almost finished.

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Seriously, 5 minutes and I’ll be done with this. I’ve not yet decided what spin will come next on this wheel, but you probably won’t be surprised to know I have some ideas.

It’s really quite weird to not be focused in on finishing anything in particular, especially right before the holidays when most are feverishly knitting on holiday gifts. I have to say though, I’m finding it very refreshing! I’m not sure how long it’ll last — it may end when I hit “publish” on this post! — but I’m going to enjoy it while it does!

 

A Handspun Tecumseh Triumph

When Caitlin Hunter released Tecumseh last March, it was — like so many of her patterns are — instantly added to my to-knit list. I toyed with the idea of buying yarn for it a number of times, but always stopped short. It was hard to justify a yarn purchase (no really, it was!) when I have sweater quantities here “in stock.” Toward the end of summer I realized that I had two out of three of the colors I was looking for in my fiber stash. Could I do it? Should I make a handspun Tecumseh?

The answer, it turns out, was yes. I had to get a little extra fiber, but it was still less expensive than buying another sweater quantity of yarn (that’s an important note in my irrational rationalization of this whole thing). If you’ll remember I spun up a test skein in September…

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It was a little on the heavy side for the knitting to gauge, so while I still did all the calculations in case all the yarn came out a little too heavy, I aimed lighter for the rest of the yarn which I spun mostly during Spinzilla. It turns out Spinzilla is a great opportunity to spin a sweater quantity of yarn if you’re in the mood to fly through it and not allow yourself time to get bogged down. It only took a week or so beyond the event to finish up all the yarn…

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And shortly after that, I swatched again and found that I’d indeed hit the nail on the head for gauge. I started knitting.

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, this project just flew. If I were a cat, colorwork knitting would be my catnip. It’s normal for me with any colorwork project that I cannot put down, but this sweater just hit the perfect rhythm for me. Colorwork, short stockinette section, more colorwork, repeat. It was the project that just kind of propelled me forward effortlessly.

Even though I was busy during the month of November, each night my few rounds of Tecumseh were something I looked forward to, like a treat for making it through the tougher days. img_4449

And it just flew.

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Before I knew it, I was on to the sleeves. And then I was trying it on, a finished sweater. I was a little concerned on that first try post-finishing that the sleeves were short. I’d followed the pattern’s recommendations, but I believe they are written to be what comes across to me as a little high-watered. I knew from other people’s photos, the sleeves did run a bit on the short side for many and I was torn between leaving them or giving mine a bit more length. Considering the fiber blend I’d used (80/20 Merino/Tussah), I thought there was a good chance that a warm soak would relax them enough to make them perfect without adjusting them. This is where knowing your fiber blends, how you spin, and the resulting yarn helps a lot!

I drew a warm bath for my sweater with a bit of wool wash and a hefty dose of vinegar, too. I had already washed and set the yarn and did not expect any of the colors to bleed, but with colorwork projects I don’t think you can ever be too careful. After letting it soak for a while, I pulled it out squeezed as much of the water out as I could and set it out to dry, with just a very basic reshaping. And then I waited. It’s a fairly heavy sweater with the colorwork, so even in low humidity it took a few days to dry.

And Voilà! A finished sweater!

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I went with the ultra generous fit. I think my positive ease is 13-14″ which is a lot. And I love it.

I was doing some garage and yard work this morning and I’m not exactly presentable, so I had my girl take this headless portrait so you could see the final fit, including the worrisome sleeve length which thankfully turned out just right.

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Perfetto! It’s big and cozy and just the absolute perfect comfy weekend sweater.

I think the blue + yellow + grey turned out just right, too.

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The yellow is definitely bright, but I love the combination and I think these colors play so nicely together.

Can I show you a little secret, too?

You may or may not know that I’m a huge fan of subtle little imperfections. As I was spinning the grey, I happened to have a few little bits of red fiber from a previous spin sitting next to me. I thought… wouldn’t it be kind of cool to spin them into this grey? Just a little something to make it truly unique, a little yarn design element that’s all mine.

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There are two spots in my sweater that have just that little hint of red. It’s kind of like a little secret just for me.

And there you have it! My handspun Tecumseh sweater is officially finished. I’m wearing it as I type. I may not take it off until next spring!

 

Early Christmas Gifts, Trail Cam Discoveries, And Some Knitting & Spinning, Too!

I hope each of you celebrating Thanksgiving had a wonderful holiday and got to spend some quality time with friends and family. Since Mr. TKS works on almost all the holidays, we are generally hosting my parents and a few others and this year was no different. I’m not much of a cook so I have always been a little terrified of the big holiday meals, but after taking the reins since our move I’m now to the point that I kind of enjoy the cooking. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still got a long way to go until I can start bragging about my holiday meals, but I’m no longer just overwhelmed by the prospect. I find that getting more familiar with some of the recipes to the point that I don’t mind incorporating some news things has lightened the stress level quite a bit and made it much more fun.

Alas, part of my learning curve — because the learning curve is ever-present — this year was a reminder not to use a mandoline while trying to have a conversation.

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Yes, I managed to slice a bit of my thumb off. It bled an alarming amount which is the main reason for the giant bandage. In reality the cut was pretty small and while I opted to take that night off of knitting and spinning, I was back at it the next day.

In fact, I grabbed a new pack of fiber to test out the ol’ liquid bandage remedy.

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What a pretty way to recover! This is Vivid Choosing on Falkland from Three Waters Farm and it’s sheer delight. I’ve got just one small nest left to spin of it, so clearly I’ve been flying! After the long sweater spin, it was fun to just spin to spin.

Speaking of the sweater, I finished!

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My Tecumseh sweater is done and drying! I bound-off the final sleeve Sunday night and put it in the bath straight away. I’m not sure yet if I’ll need to lengthen the sleeves, so I left whatever ends I’d yet to weave in as is just in case I do want to add on some length. The sleeve length was close, so I’m guessing the relaxation brought about from the bath will do the trick. Usually I just knit them longer and roll the sleeves, but I thought I’d try something a little different this time. We’ll see how it looks in a few days — with the colorwork the drying is going to take some time!

Beyond these two projects, I’ve been working on my sock blank socks a bit, wrapping gifts, and — oh yes! —  I must not forget, I got an early Christmas gift! I went to run the dishwasher after dinner on Saturday night and apparently it have given up the ghost. We tried some troubleshooting, but it’s quite old and it was just fried. So in one of the world’s most exciting (is there sarcasm there, I’m not sure…) surprise joint Christmas gifts, Mr. Knitting Sarah and I treated ourselves to a new dishwasher! Try to control your enthusiasm!!!

I grew up in a house where we had no dishwasher so for 18 years I was a designated dish dryer while my sister washed. Maybe it wasn’t all 18 years because once I had a job and other obligations in high school I don’t think my parents expected much dishwashing out of me… but you get the idea. In any case, I don’t take it for granted and I fully recognize the dishwasher as a “want” not a “need” when it really comes down to it. While I may be a little sarcastic about my excitement for my Christmas gift, I am indeed very thankful for it. Perhaps the most exciting part, however, is that my dishwasher will no longer be called the “Quiet Partner” — I don’t know why, but that name has always been weirdly disconcerting to me. The new one will have a “name” that’s a bunch of numbers and letters — I’m much less creeped out by that!

And in one final bit of news from the Knitting Sarah homestead, I checked our trails cameras today after almost a week of not touching them and in between a zillion pictures of squirrels and deer, look at what I found!

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At first I thought it was our friend the Red Fox, but my friend asked a furbearer biologist she knows and was told it’s actually a Grey Fox. The good news is it’s a fox in the yard again (because YAY!), but the bad news is that Grey Foxes and Red Foxes don’t generally share territory, so as long as this guy is around, we aren’t likely to see our friend the Red Fox.

And that, my friends, is the latest from Knitting Sarah HQ. I hope your holiday was grand and that you are all recovering, enjoying leftovers, and maybe relaxing with some knitting & spinning, too!

Down The Road & Back Again

The Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group selected the Down The Road and Back Again Shawl as the second annual knitalong this fall. I need to give a great big shout-out to my two amazing moderators and everyone over there. They keeps things so fun and inspiring and wonderful even when I drop in and out of the conversation and for that I am just so happy and thankful. I’m always humbled that this incredible group meets up under a banner I created and have made it their own. I could sing their praises all day long, but they would probably be happier if I’d just get on with it and share my project today!

Unlike last year, when I had to restart the group KAL no fewer than three times because the first 2 yarn combinations just didn’t fit, this year I got it on the first try. Sure I had a half dozen options pulled out of my stash, but when it came time to cast-on I kind of had a pretty good feeling where it was going to work.

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I mean, how could I not fall instantly in love with this?

And unlike last year, I just couldn’t put it down…

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Anywhere I went!

It took me about a month from start to finish.

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And then about 6 weeks to get it washed and photographed. Seriously?! Am I the only one with this lag time problem? I need to work on that!

In any case, today I have some FO photos (finally) and I’m just so pleased to share them!

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It’s cold where I’m from, so this is likely how I’ll be styling this shawl most days. But I think you need to open it up to really appreciate it…

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From the details…

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To the shawl set wide open…

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I’m just extremely happy with how it turned out.

The tonal was a gift from a dear friend and is String Theory Caper Sock in the Dark and Stormy colorway. And the contrast color is my own handspun, a 40/40/20 Merino/Superwash Merino/Tussah Silk fiber in the Merry Poppies colorway from Three Waters Farm.  It was actually the first yarn I spun on my Jensen Tina 2 when I got it earlier this year and it’s just a simple 2-ply fingering weight. The two yarns went together beautifully.

There you have it! Another year of the annual Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group KAL is in the books for me! Who else is already looking forward to next year?!