Later, Dudes!

Last week the weather here warmed up and with temps in the 20s on Mr Knitting Sarah’s day off, we were excited to hit the trail. We’ve been exploring the area around where I saw the ermine from my last post — the trail is just a couple miles from our house and the more time we spend there, the more interesting things we see.  This hike took place in a lovely January… fog?

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Not pea soup fog, obviously, but definitely spooky fog conditions. We were actually surprised by how cold it felt. After coming out of weeks of subzero temps, we all felt a little nipped by the cold. We’re guessing it must have had something to do with the moisture in the air making it feel cooler than it was. Humid cold feels colder than dry cold, just let humid warm feels warmer than dry warm? That was our best guess anyway.

In any case, we struck out and as is his way now, Mr KS was on the prowl for tracks to see what kinds of creatures were about. It wasn’t long before he called us out to follow a trail into the woods…

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At first glance, we figured it was either 1) a beaver or 2) something somewhat large dragging something else. We found our pretty definitive answer by following the tracks for a little while…

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That is pretty unmistakable. And just in case you don’t see what I’m talking about…

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A close-up. Tracking is a new to our family pasttime and it’s astounding what you can learn from it. It’s a lot like birdwatching in that it teaches you a lot about the landscape, things you might not notice if you weren’t looking as carefully.

This is a hard to see image, but this is a fisher track, I believe.

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I could include one of Mr. KS’s images of the trail for better identification purposes, but I just wanted to share the size with you with my mitten as a comparison. And check out those claws! These tracks we find everywhere and while I’ve never actually seen a fisher, I’m keenly aware that they are all around me! Bobcats are the same up here — They. Are. Everywhere. including right in the city limits!

After a nice long hike through the humid cold, we settled in for some lunch and I had a little spinning time. I’m working my way up to another long draw project, but until I washed and dried the first skein and see the finished results, I didn’t want to start that — you know, so I could go into the next one a little more informed. Instead, I opted to work on something a bit simpler. I selected a braid of 75/25 BFL + Silk from Three Waters Farmto spin as singles, continuing my recent love affair with spinning singles…

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I love BFL + Silk. And I’m looking at winding this lovely off later today…

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I am very interested in seeing this one finished as well as I was a little less on top of the whole uniform weight thing with this one and the twist is a little higher than I’d like. We shall see!

I also finished up the mittens I was working on late last week and — I’ll be honest — my Fairbanks sweater pattern was upstairs and I didn’t quite feel like picking up that big project anyways, so I cast on sock #2 for my Clever Girl gradient socks from Dyeabolical

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These are just simple vanilla socks, so they are great for road trips and just all around auto-pilot knitting. I am slowly but surely working my way through my UFOs from 2017 here and this will be the 2nd to the last that I have still lingering out there. It feels good to be making steady progress on that UFO list — I’m definitely not one who handles those unfinished projects well.

Over the weekend I also got over 20oz of freshly spun & finished handspun yarns on the drying rack, but while they were drying we had another family day. This time, we opted for some tubing a couple towns over.  For those who don’t know, “tubing” is basically taking an inner tube down a snow hill. Usually it’s billed as the family/kid friendly alternative to skiing or snowboarding — you know, good for all ages. The bigger tubing hills sometimes have tow ropes, just like the beginner ski hills. We’d never done it, so we thought it would be a fun new family pasttime.

We made a day of it with lunch out and we timed it so we’d get there right when the hill opened to hopefully avoid the worst lines. Very reminiscent of when my son & I went on the fatefull lumpy Apostle Island boat tour last summer, we had the head of the tubing hill come out when the ticket booth opened and announce that since we’d had two 40°+ days and the temps had just dipped down to the teens and low 20s. It was ICY and the runs were FAST and that they’ve tried to make it as safe as they can, but if you don’t like speed today might not be the day for you to go tubing. Only the main hill would be open because those 3 runs were at least straight and at the end of the speech he added, “we’ve done our best to slow you down at the bottom of the hill.”

Okaaaaay. So I’m not exactly sure how much confidence we were supposed to be instilled with after that, but we aren’t ones to turn back when we’ve come that far. We got our tickets, grabbed tubes, and hitched a ride with the tow rope. At the top we found what could only be accurately described as 3 luge runs that you happened to ride down on in inner tubes.

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You can see here, that it really is just bumpy glare ice. The brown half circle at the bottom of the hill is a 45° bowl full of woodchips. They laid down rubber mats right at the end of the ice run, too, just for added brakes because you seriously were flying. But still… really the only way to explain this is experience is…. well, have you seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? Yeah, this was basically us:

Standing in line next to the woodchip backstop, it literally sounded like you were on an aircraft carrier while the flight deck was in use with the regular WHOOSH of the tubes nearing and then hitting the woodchip brakes. While we were there, no one breached the upper fence, but many definitely came close.

Our little family all survived (somehow), though, and it was admittedly really fun. We all did 4 runs — the line became very slow very quickly because it was hard getting around, so aside from the flying down the hill, everyone was moving pretty slowly and carefully and those 4 runs took a couple hours to complete. We headed home exhilarated, amused, and genuinely a little bit stunned that we all made it home without injury.

And so, with new and exciting memories under my belt — from tracking beavers and fishers, to spinning singles and knitting socks, to my very first luge in a tube, I wish you all a great start to week. And until next time — later, dudes!

Sidetracked, Random, and A Little All Over The Place

I logged onto my blog here this morning ready to write up a short and sweet post sharing what I’ve been working on this week. Oh, the road was paved with such good, productive intentions! As I often do, while collecting my thoughts to write the post, I got into replying to a few emails and then — long story short — I found myself diving head-first into giving my blog here a much needed makeover! Those good intentions with which I started, were plowed over. Spectacularly.

In my defense, I’ve felt for a while that I needed to address some of my menus and other bits & bobs that have become dated in relation to the content I’ve been writing since I’ve started to divide time more seriously between knitting and spinning. I felt like there were just too many menus happening all over and that there wasn’t an easy way to navigate knitting vs spinning, for those who might have those preferences. I won’t be going back and re-tagging and reorganizing all the old material — at least not today — but going forward I’ll be attempting to tag things into much neater categories so it’ll be easier for you to find the posts you’re interested in. The content won’t change, it’ll just all (hopefully) be more clearly organized in that one main menu with drop-down options across the top.

I know it’s always a pain when things change, but I did try to stick with a similar aesthetic and I do hope in the long run it’ll prove an improvement. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me with them! I’d love to hear your feedback.

But enough about website design — it’s definitely a means to an end for me! Let’s get back to the short & sweet update, shall we?

Last night I did the unthinkable. I finished all my current plying projects. I know, I know! Pick your jaws up off the floor — I can’t believe it either. I feel like it’s taken a very long time. If I hadn’t fallen down the blog makeover rabbit hole this morning, I’d have these skeined by now, but alas, you will get to peek at them on the bobbins.

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At the top, is my January Top of the Month Club from Three Waters Farm. The green bobbin on the right is my first even woolen yarn. And the other 5 bobbins are for a weaving project — the three tonal purple bobbins will be the warp and the other two, the weft. I’m hoping to have these all skeined, washed, and dried by next week to share with you as proper skeins of yarn — keep those fingers crossed, my friends!

In my knitting life, I’ve made surprisingly good time with the Snowfling Mittens I’ve working on.img_9712

This is mitten #2 — I started the lining last night and I’m already into the thumb increases. Dare I say that I might have these done, washed, and dried by the end of next week? You bet I’m daring to say it! Of course these mittens were a side-track in and of themselves as I set aside my Fairbanks Pullover to work on them. Perhaps I’ll get to pick that up again next week. I don’t know if I’m mentally prepared to knit sleeves at the moment, but you know what they say — sometimes you have to face things when you’re not prepared to face them.

And since the more I write here, the more off-track and random I feel like I’m getting, how about one more totally erratic aside for you to round things out. Ready? Here we go!

Can you see something awfully special in this photo?

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Did you find him? Let me help?

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It’s a least weasel! While out on the trail earlier this week, this fearless little weasel charged me. I’m not kidding! He was 8″ of pure moxie especially considering Moose was standing right next to me the whole time! It’s the first time I’ve seen one in the wild, and definitely the closest I’ve ever been — at one point he got with a couple feet of me! I can tell you that when on snow his camouflage is incredibly effective. I had at least a dozen photos on my phone where I thought he was in the frame only to find he wasn’t. It was like a crazy real-time magic eye picture trying to find him in the snow. Moose can confirm that — he could clearly hear the ermine and smell him, but he couldn’t see him either most of the time!

And there you go — side-tracked, random, and a little all over the place as promised today. May you have slightly more centered and orderly weekend ahead of you!