FO FriYAY!

It’s Friday and I’ve decided to share not one, but TWO Finished Objects today. I think that means this Fri-day levels-up to Fri-YAY, don’t you?!

My first finished project I’d like to share is my Lesley Sweater!

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I’m the first to admit that I may have been a little overzealous with the length.

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I was trying to avoid the hits-at-waist-look, but it seems instead of going a smidge longer, I’ve created a tunic — at least that’s how it looks on the mannequin! In reality, on my person, it’s not quite so insanely long, just nearly covering my backside and the fit is actually quite good.  I do reserve the right to rip some back, but I think I’m far more likely to just wear it and enjoy a draft-free sweater. I mean, if I leave the length, than I can probably get away wearing it with stretchy pants out on the trail… that’s something to think about!

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The design is just a super simple raglan.

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And I adore the pretty blue color, Quince & Co’s Osprey in River. While I’m undecided on whether I’ll leave the length as-is or take some off, I’m positive that I love the fit and feel of this sweater and I’m very happy I finally got around to knitting it!

My other FO today is a pair of socks!

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After the whole darning affair of a week or so ago, I dug in and got these done for Mr. Knitting Sarah. As you can see, once again, I got a little overzealous in the length of the cuff — must have been something I was doing in February when I overshot on my Lesley Tunic, I mean Lesley Sweater, as well!

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I mean, yikes! Usually I have quite a bit of yarn leftover from these big Regia skeins I use for him, but NOT THIS TIME. It was yarn chicken all the way and I just escaped by the skin of my teeth! I maybe had 5 yards leftover!

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In any case, I finished them last night and had to share them today as they need to go right into the sock rotation for Mr. KS. I’ll be casting-on another pair asap as well, to help bolster the reserves, but I am glad to have one new pair heading for his sock drawer. Hopefully one more in the rotation will help the longevity of the newly darned socks. Everyone cross your fingers with me!

This weekend I hope to ply up three spins that are waiting to be finished and maybe get working on the next step of my French Braid Cardigan. Oh, and cast-on that pair of socks, too! What’s on your knitting and spinning agenda for this weekend?

Knit From Your Knitting, Part 2

About this time last year I was knitting my first ever socks from a sock blank. As I clicked away, Mr. Knitting Sarah looked across the room at me and then stared at my knitting.

“Are you knitting… from your knitting?”

Knitting from the sock blank, of course, that’s exactly what I was doing. I cam to realize that knitting from sock blanks definitely agrees with me. There’s something about being able to look at the upcoming color changes and say, “Oh, I will keep going until I get to the next bit of red,” or “I can’t wait to see how that dot of green knits into this fabric.” They are really great fun and a welcome change from my usual center-pull balls of yarn.

Earlier this year, a friend of mine gave me an awesome Andre Sue Knits sock blank (I’d give you the link, but I believe she’s ended her sock blank painting business). I cannot believe it, but I did not take a before picture! That’s not true… I took the picture, I just can’t find the picture. And I’ve searched everywhere it should be. [Insert huge eyeroll here.] In any case, if you tilt your head and use your imagination a little, the fabric in the back of this photo with the sheep — that’s the blank.

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I believe I received them in June and started knitting on them shortly after that. They’ve been my on-again-off-again knitting project ever since… until a couple of weeks ago when — after finishing my Tecumseh sweater — I found myself gloriously in-between big projects.

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Ta-da!

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Obviously, these are fraternal twins, not identical. I never mind that at all, but my apologies to those whose skin I just made crawl. Just take a deep breath or stop reading because there’s one more photo to go here.

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I really love the colors and the fit is superb. I didn’t take too many photos of these because I’ve actually worn and washed them a couple times!

It’s funny. I was recently considering switching to Fish Lips Kiss heels as my go-to heel. I’ve been using the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock pattern with its heel flap & gusset method for about a decade now and I really like it. And I know it really well. But I have a couple pair of Fish Lips Kiss heeled socks that have a pretty phenomenal fit. This pair of socks sends that plan into total limbo because the fit is just fantastic. I will have to do some pondering before I get to the heel on my next pair of socks!

Only So Many Days

Happy New Year! 

It’s taken me a while to figure out how to start today. The truth is that between the normal hectic holidays stuff and the addition of Bear to our family, New Year’s kind of snuck up on us and I was even more thankful than I usually am to spend a quiet night at home.

Bear, in case you were wondering, is doing very well.

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He is a very happy pup who loves to be outside. In fact, when he figured out that he could ring the bell on the door or cry a little at it to go out and that we’d praise him for it, well, he was pretty sure he had hit the new home jackpot. It really didn’t matter that we put the bell there with a certain purpose in mind. He is definitely a pretty smart dog and has selective hearing/learning skills when he wants! We’ll leave out the parts where he routinely trips over his own feet and somersaults or accidentally face-plants instead of making it up that one small step and just stick with the idea that he is pretty smart. In any case, he has really settled in to rhythm of our family in the two weeks since we brought him home.

We’ve been doing our best to teach him manners, something for which Moose has been a huge help…

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I’ve never had two dogs at the same time before and it’s amazing to watch Moose teach Bear. If Bear gets caught chewing on something he shouldn’t and we redirect him, Moose will run over, toy in mouth, and drop it on Bear as if to say, “Here, chew on this instead. This thing is ok.” If Bear doesn’t take the hint, he picks it up and drops it on him again. And again. Until the pup gets it. He’s been teaching him to play chase nicely as well as where the perimeter of the yard is. I didn’t think I could love Moose more, but I do. I am totally humbled by his kind, thoughtful, patient soul.

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He is also getting lots of one-on-one love, of course, because no one deserves it more.

We’re also learning all the things that make Bear happy…

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Like chewing sticks on our balcony. He LOVES the cold and LOVES chewing sticks, but occasionally I need to do things like laundry or clip Moose’s nails (that was today’s challenge!), so he gets to go in his “puppy playpen.” He thinks it’s just the bee’s knees and doesn’t even realize that he’s letting us get actual things done.

As you can plainly see, most of my thoughts are on random dog training things or what the latest adorable thing the dogs are doing or — you know — how I’m dying because Bear is sleeping sooooo sweetly with his paws in the air, making little “sleep woofs.” Yeah… it’s kind of all dogs all the time right now. As it should be though. As Mr. Knitting Sarah says, there are only so many days in your life you get to spend with puppies and they are all special. Almost all other plans have flown the coop.

I’d hoped to have my bobbins empty and new yarns to share today. Instead, I have a bin of full bobbins…

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There are actually two more full bobbins than this which I set over by my wheel in a moment of wishful thinking where I thought I’d blow through 2 plying projects last night.

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I got through one… almost.

I also made a bit of progress on my Kickapoo Socks

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I am totally in love with this yarn. I wanted to get through the ribbing last night and I managed to do just that.

It’s the new year, though, and I do want to set some goals for myself. I’m a habitual goal-setter, before finishing one project I like to have the next set up, so I’m continually setting new goals, always. I do find the new year, with its clean calendar, is a fun time to set some new ones though, you know?

After years of setting fiber arts goals of all sorts and sizes, I’ve decided not to set any specific project goals for this year. I’m at a place in life where I need flexibility and my hobby needs to respond to whatever else is happening in life. I want my goals to reflect that, to be more general, more organizational, and more about setting priorities than checking boxes on particulars. Maybe it’ll prove too nebulous, or maybe it’ll be just the right fit… we will see!

So here, in no particular order are some of my 2019 fiber arts goals:

  1. Participate in the Three Waters Farm Skill Builder SAL this year
  2. Spin 15 a day with my friends in the Friends of Knitting Sarah Group
  3. Continue to improve how I evaluate and talk about my spinning so I can help others to become better spinners (this folds into #1)
  4. Do a better job of keeping  Ravelry project pages for my knitting & spinning projects
  5. Knit some of my stash’s sweater quantities, preferably into sweaters
  6. Find a way to revive my sock knitting
  7. Tag my handspun yarn as I finish it
  8. Make notes for future blog post ideas to make sitting down to write more efficient
  9. Figure out my loom warping situation and do some weaving
  10. Set-up a yarn winding station somewhere in the house that I can leave up

That all seems reasonable, right?

What are your fiber arts goals this year? 

(Oh, and one more gratuitous Bear photo, because you only get so many days with a puppy!)

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O, Transience!

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I wanted to share this little blast from the past today because last week this little peanut turned 11. Where does the time go?! My parents came into town for the last half of the week to celebrate and we did it up right with some good quality family time and a cake from which we are still recovering…

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My girl — who in her mind is definitely the female version of Owen Grady, velociraptor wrangler of Jurassic World — created it. In case it’s not clear, she insisted we carve the cake into a hill-like shape and that it must have a “water feature” complete with truffle rocks. The gummy bears, of course, are the victims of this fierce predator and the red frosting and sprinkles, the carnage. It is weird that something so gruesome is also literally so insanely sweet. And I don’t care what anyone says, gummy bears should not be on a frosted cake, but I declined to tell the cake artist that. It was her day and her cake, after all.

Like birthdays, the march of time is relentless in its journey forward toward winter. Most of the leaves are down now and the temps have cooled off considerably. This is the time when most people start to skip their walks and hikes and stay cozy indoors, but not us! As is a family motto, “There is no bad weather, just poor clothing choices!”

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We are truly spoiled where we are that there is no shortage of trails to explore and most of the time we get them to ourselves. That means, plenty of time and space to examine the world around us.

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In all it’s weird…

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And wonderful glory, changing daily before our eyes. Even the greyest of days, even when it’s 40 degrees and spitting cold rain…

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There’s so much to see and enjoy. Trust me, it may look like a barren field, but there are loads of wonders out there!

At home, I’ve started exploring a new avenue, too…

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The support spindle! Isn’t this a pretty one?

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It’s a spalted maple “acorn” from Maine Fiber Tools. I’m still 100% thumbs when trying to use it, but I’ll keep at it. I’ll crack the code someday!

When not fumbling with the support spindle, I’ve been working on a spin for my mom…

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She was looking for something black for a neutral scarf and we found some battlings, procured from an LYS that has since shuttered its doors and a dyer that no longer dyes wool. I don’t know why, but it seems like another quiet reminder of the passing of time, how things change and evolve on all levels of this world.

I’ve also picked up a sock project that’s been on the back burner, simmering since July. I’ve knit on it here and there over the months and then I finished all the way to the last stitches on the toe a couple weeks ago… and couldn’t find my darning needle! The shame and horror!

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Alas, I tracked it down (finally), finished the toe, wove in my ends and started sock #2.

As always, the sock knit is an essential road trip must-have, so it rode along with me yesterday when we took the kiddos up to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum for their annual Birds in Art Exhibit.

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As a former student of art history, I’m always amazed how the lingo rushes back when you stick me in an art museum. This exhibition we find particularly good for our family because just like art helped me to better understand history way back when, the birds are an easy access point into viewing art for our kids.

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We are able to discuss the different media and subject matter and how to read the labels on the works of art. The hands-on exhibits provided by the museum are, of course, a favorite for our very hands-on crew. I certainly appreciated that they had a silk screening set-up out for touching since trying to explain to an 11-year-old what “a giant squeegee-like thing” is when describing silk screening is not super effective without a visual. So much for technical art lingo!

In any case, outside the museum, well, autumn was still whispering in some places.

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And this theme of time passing, kept presenting itself; from my girl’s birthday, to the seasons, to using familiar and learning new skills in my craft. It’s so important, the ebb and flow of all things, always on display, always evolving from one iteration to the next and setting us in motion.

O, transience! I am reminded to look for and celebrate the variance within the expected, to let go and welcome in what looks different than that to which I’ve grown accustomed, and to honor each changing moment as a step in this grand journey.

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A Box Full of Memories

As the leaves are past peak here and the temperatures feel mostly down for good, it’s become apparent that I needed to re-organize the cedar chest where I keep most of my handknits. I did not take a “before” picture, but to know what it looked like all you have to do is imagine a heap of handknits wadded together in a ball and smooshed down — that was about it!

As I started pulling stuff out and tossing it into heaps with like articles…

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I realized that I don’t just have a wealth of handknits, I have a box full of memories at the foot of my bed.

Folding sweaters and pairing socks and separating out big shawls from scarves from lace shawls, I was reminded of the history of each piece. And I thought, what a sweet nostalgia-inducing collection I have here at my fingertips.

There’s a scarf I crocheted for Mr. Knitting Sarah before our kids were born. I bought the yarn back in Madison when I was still working in the area.

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Somwhere I have a picture of Mr. KS wearing it in a McDonald’s playland one winter day having taken our toddler babes to run some energy off.

There’s the first shawl I ever knit as a shop sample when I took on teaching knitting…

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Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West made in Malabrigo Silky Merino. This was way back when I had to print a Stephen West pattern from a blog he posted, I think, because he was not yet publishing patterns.

And there is the last item I knitted as a knitting instructor…

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The Carter Cardigan by Laura Chau knit in Lamb’s Pride Worsted. I never got to teach the class, but it was and still is an amazing sweater!

There’s this Quaker Ridge Shawlette by Susan B. Anderson

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I knit it in Madelinetosh Pashmina. When I made this one, I remember thinking it was the height of luxury as it is so soft and cozy and the colors were just a beachy dream to me.

There’s this little kerchief I knit in the skein of qiviut that Mr. KS gave me as a gift one holiday…

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The pattern was kind of a train wreck, but I muddled through and it’s still a favorite piece as it was such a thoughtful gift.

There’s this little sweater I knit as a shop sample and then my daughter later got to wear…

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I always meant to gift this to another little girl, but I’ve never gotten around to it.

There’s Deco by Kate Davies

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I knit this as knitalong with a friend shortly after I left teaching. I made it five years ago and it’s probably the best made sweater I’ve knitted. I like to think it was the excellent company during the process!

There’s my most worn sweater — Agnes in Quince & Co Puffin.

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It looks pretty rough and could use a spin with the Gleener to clean up the lint, but in its almost 3 years of life, it’s been on almost every wintry outdoor adventure I’ve been on. That is a lot of wear and oh, how I am thankful for this sweater!

There’s my second Three Waters Farm knit (the first I gifted away)…

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Samothrace Wings in Broken Pavement that taught me what a true joy it was to knit with handspun.

And my first handspun sweater…

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A Featherweight Cardigan in Birds in the Holly from Three Waters Farm, which is still a layering favorite.

And there’s this little handspun shawl knit with a friend’s handspun after she said, “Let’s do an exchange.”

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It’s a Pebble Beach Shawl in the colorway Pebble.

 

There’s my first pair of socks for the Socks with Sarah KAL

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Still in use almost 5 years later.

And there’s my first 100% handspun socks

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Oh, the fit on these is divine. My heart still flutters a bit when I put them on.

And then there’s the knit where it all started, my very first handknit…

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Before Ravelry, before my kids, before we bought our first house, knit in our last apartment in Madison. A simple custom cardigan knit in Lamb’s Pride Bulky so it is basically like wearing a furnace, I’ve never actually worn it anywhere as my first teacher didn’t really teach me about gauge… well, you know how that story ends. Despite the ill-fit, I’ve not yet had the heart to get rid of it.

Along with these memories are a bunch of other socks and sweaters and scarves and shawls, each with their own story. And isn’t that just the best part of handknits — they each hold a place in time and in our hearts. Tidying up my cedar chest quickly turned from chore to a stroll down memory lane. Not a bad way to spend a few minutes this Monday morning, tidying up a chest to make it easier to use my handknits and sifting through a box full of memories.

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