And Now, Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Things went very, very quiet last week thanks to a little event called Spinzilla. Because the whole idea of Spinzilla is to spin as much as you can in a week, it means you get to attempt to drop everything for that week and churn out some serious yardage. Since I’ve been slow on the uptake of my sweater spin, I used this as my chance to really dig into that project.

You might remember this giant heap of prepped grey?

img_3691All that remains after last week is about 2 oz in the big basket and whatever is in the backpack basket. I don’t know how to quantify the amount of fiber that is if you are not a spinner, but suffice to show, in process it looks like this…

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Plus 4 bobbins, I think… Who can remember after such a whirlwind?!

And finished…

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Five BURSTING bobbins of plied yarn. That’s roughly 20oz and 1100 yards of a dk/worsted yarn (we’ll see when it’s dry to be sure). All in one week.

It’s a minor miracle that in addition to the spinning, all this fiber is already measured, washed, set, and drying. Therefore, I have no skein photos for you right now. Once it’s dry, I intend to do another good swatch with it before casting on my sweater, just to be sure I’ve got all the math set right. For this project, I have an estimated 8oz left of the grey which should be mostly just a safety net of extra yarn and then 8oz of blue to go. I will probably also spin the last 4oz of yellow I have on-hand just to be on the safe side. Considering that a week ago at this time I was looking at having a solid 40oz to spin on this project, having cut that in half is a huge mental hurdle to have catapulted over.  I’m a little disappointed I didn’t finish the grey and surpass the halfway point, but I’m happy to have made the progress I did.

Of course, as is always the case, I did not give over entirely to spinning. One of the biggest pitfalls for a Spinzilla spinner is to do nothing but spin. The first year I did Spinzilla I really leaned into it and wound up with a very sore back by the end. I took that as an important lesson. I don’t ever want my craft to be a source of injury, so now I am pretty careful to approach the week in a more balanced way. This year, I made a point to take time for yoga & a good daily walk. And thanks to that, I also got to enjoy the beautiful fall colors that are just nearly at their peak here.

Yesterday morning, Mr. Knitting Sarah and I awoke nice and early and did a little drive and hike in one of our favorite spots.

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I love the deep, dense forests that surround us. This one looks pretty dark because the sun was barely up when we were out, but the trees were bright and blazing fall color with their lively range of yellows, oranges, greens, and reds…

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The leaves were rustling in the stiff, chilly breeze with their timbre ever so slightly transformed by the autumn. It is music to the ears!

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Oh, how I do love the autumn!

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At home, the push of migratory birds has been felt in our little yard, too. The White-Throated Sparrows arrived shortly followed by the throngs of Juncos. Our little Ruby-Throated Hummingbird friend was hanging tough through some cold nights to return to our feeder, as puffed out as such a little thing can be…

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(pardon the poor quality of the photo — it was through the window, screen, handheld binoculars, and rain!) I didn’t see this little thing yesterday and not yet today, so it may have finally moved on to warmer places.

This time of year is a fun time to have bird feeders out, though, because you never quite know what you’ll see. Currently turning up at our feeders are: White-Throated Sparrows, White-Crowned Sparrows, Goldfinches, Purple Finches, English House Sparrows, Juncos, Robins, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Crows, Chickadees, at least one Fox Sparrows, Mourning Doves, Red-Breasted Nuthatches, White-Breasted Nuthatches, Hairy Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, Chipping Sparrows, and European Starlings. We’ve also spotted an early Common Redpoll, the occasional appearance of the neighborhood Cooper’s Hawk, and this little treat…

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(again, pardon the through the window, screen, handheld binoculars, and rain taken with a cellphone photo!) — this is the prettiest little Eastern Towhee I’ve ever seen. I love these birds. In the spring they sing, “Drink your Teaaaa!” in the most beautiful lilting song and I’m honored that this has decided to spend some time with us.

Our yard is also a host to an intimidatingly large number of Robins. At any given time, there are easily 40 or 50 individuals. Today they are enjoying the low spot between our lot and our neighbors’ where they are all enjoying a nice brisk bath.

Our other significant visitor was this little thing…

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Mr. Knitting Sarah caught this snapshot through his spotting scope yesterday afternoon of this Red Fox. It appears to not be very healthy, so we are keeping an eye on it and doing our best to help it as best we can. In addition to food, we were advised to provide some meds (not harmful to other animals or pets), baited in food to help it recover. Keep your fingers crossed it finds its way back to the yard and the medicine!

And that, my good friends, has been my very busy week. I’m very much looking forward to resuming the regular programming of a balance of knitting and spinning and other things this week. I’ve got some lime butter cookies chilling in the fridge nearly ready to bake, a knitting project just a few rows away from being finished, and maybe I can wrap up those last 8oz of grey fiber. That sounds like a nice balance to start out the week, don’t you think?!

The Last Box

I had some grand plans for things that were going to happen over the last week on the crafting front and I suppose they did.

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My Hitchhiker has been joyfully relaxing and fun to knit. It’s been a while since I’ve been totally auto-piloting something and it kind of felt great. I literally have 6.5 rows and the bind-off left and it will be done — including ends woven in — tonight.

Knowing the end was near, I printed off three patterns this morning for new projects.

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I mean, finish one project, start three. That’s how this knitting thing works, right? In all seriousness, I’ve got some personal deadlines on these, so it’s time to buckle down. Most of what’s on the ‘get hoppin’ list are small pieces, so I just need to dig in and start knitting. It helps that they are all fun.

For those thinking, “Hey Sarah, the last post you had 6 projects in the works. What happened to those?!” I haven’t forgotten about the things that are already started that I shared last time. I will keep plugging on those, too. I mean it, I will. Except maybe not the Find your Fade. I’m not ready to pick that one up again quite yet.

Since I last posted, I also finished a book. A real, actual book! Between homeschooling and writing and knitting and spinning, I don’t often read a ton beyond “required” reading, but I picked up Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody for vacation reading last month and I finally finished it.

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A friend had recommended it and while I won’t read just any book written by a celebrity, I am a sucker for a good life story and I’ve always liked Anna Kendrick. I found it interesting to read a book from a younger woman’s perspective and for the first time, I read thinking about her life experiences through the lens of ‘things my daughter might experience.’ That was equal parts fun, enlightening, and terrifying. All in all, though, it was a fun read.

I also somehow won a giveaway! How exciting, right?! A friend tagged me in an Instagram giveaway for Knitwise Fibers and her name was selected which meant we both won a very sweet little Halloween-y gift bag.

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A set of six mini-skeins, a cute little candy-inspired highlighter, some tea,  set of Halloween themed stitch markers, a page of Halloween stickers (already abducted by my daughter), and a little ‘trick or treat’ bag. What a generous giveaway! I’m not usually into Halloween colors, BUT I’m pretty excited to put these to use. I don’t have any Halloween colored socks yet so it might be time I rectify that.

Aside from acquiring yarn, finishing a book, and knitting away on my Hitchhiker, the rest of the weekend involved two main things: attending our town’s Maple Fall Fest — the 25th annual, actually — and working on the house. One thing we’ve discovered since our move is that this town is very Stars Hollow-like in it’s festival hosting. I don’t know the actual calendar, but it seems like there’s a new festival or big event every few weeks.

Maple Fall Fest involves craft booths that meander along the paths through one of the bigger parks in town, a maple syrup contest, and fun and games for the family. The highlights for me were the caramel apples and the trees. The trees put on their prettiest colors for the weekend, don’t you think?

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The highlight for the kids were the bouncy houses and Zorbing.

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Because what kid doesn’t love running around in a giant inflatable ball?

With regards to the house, we’ve been busy bees trying to take some last steps toward really making this house a home. Inside, Mr Knitting Sarah has taken over as director of interior design. I seem to lack the ‘big picture’ gene when it comes to home decorating, but thankfully it’s an area where he excels. We spent a week or so of him asking me if I like this or that and finally I just told him to go to town with his vision.

Aided by a recent addiction to American Pickers, he’s been adding some pretty awesome finishing touches. We still discuss new additions and the direction we want to go with certain things, but if I can’t envision something, I’ve embraced the fact that a) I trust him and know he won’t make me live with something I totally hate and b) he’s never had interest in our home decor before and he loves this house, so I want him to be happy with it. Generally speaking, he does a really good job of marrying our tastes.

He found me another cedar chest last week at an antique shop because he thought I might need extra space to store my stash (… no comment …) and he cleverly turned it into one of my favorite spots in our home.

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Outside, I’ve been working with the kids to get the last of our 7 yards of river rock distributed throughout the yard. I’m 95% sure the rocks multiply when I’m not looking because the pile is not shrinking no matter how many hours we put in with it. My son and I also got the garage cleaned up and ready to easily hold a vehicle during the winter months. OIn the process, we emptied the very last box from the move. You read that correctly! The last boxes were the art for the walls and one giant box in the garage and about an hour ago the recycling was collected and we are officially and totally moving box free. Hooray!

I don’t know that it’s because we’re settling into fall and the school routine, or maybe because we’re getting those final finishing touches of decor in place, or maybe it was simply emptying the last box — possibly it’s all three of those things, but this place really and truly feels like a dream home for us now. I had a lot of trouble envisioning it at the start of this little rollercoaster ride, but my oh my, do I see it now. That last box is empty and I’m thinking it may be time for a little celebratory break for a few minutes. I think I’ll retire to my own personal yarn shop to enjoy a cup of coffee and one of those 6.5 remaining rows of my Hitchhiker. That sounds just about perfect to me!