Rested, Refreshed, and Ready to Tackle All the Things

Last week I took the week off. Not totally off, I still managed to stay up-to-date on a few things, but mostly off. My in-law’s were in town and since we usually only see them once a year, it’s important that I drop what I can and be in the moment. Additionally, Mr. Knitting Sarah also had the week off, so I always like to soak up that quality time, too.

We spent a lot of time visiting over coffee and shared some delicious meals. We went about an hour north and spent a night in a cabin to which we have access. During the day, we spent a beautiful afternoon in the sunshine at a nearby flowage…

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If you squint, you can see the trees were just starting to change colors.

My girl and I had fun giving Moose little acorn cap hats and trying to sneak his picture…

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It’s quite a feat to sneak those little hats on his head without him knowing it and then also be quick enough with the camera to get his picture, but it brings the silliest, most satisfying giggles. What can I say?! We are easily entertained!

Aside from soaking up the sun, outfitting Moose with woodland finery, and the dawn of fall colors, I did a little fishing. I had a couple bites but didn’t manage to land anything. I just like casting and reeling in such a beautiful setting; I find it very relaxing.

One of the beautiful aspects of being a knitter and spinner, of course, is that they are pursuits you can do while visiting with others. So while I was mostly off the grid for the week, I still was actively creating. In the evening at the cabin, I’d brought my spindles and I had a grand time spindle spinning…

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I finally got around to trying out the wrist distaff I purchased a few months ago from Maine Fiber Tools and I almost immediately fell in love with it. I’ll have to share a more in-depth post about this handy tool sometime soon, but suffice to say, I whizzed through almost all the fiber I brought along with me.

Back at home during afternoon movies, I finished up my September Top of the Month Club from Three Waters Farm

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And since I had a little time before Spinzilla started, I eeked out one more spin…

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This is Put Off My Blues from Three Waters Farm on Superwash Targhee and I spun it to a DK or light worsted weight yarn. This one was super fun and I’m totally in love with the results! Both of these spins are having their spa day today so as soon as they are dry, I’ll share them with you in more detail.

As the week went by, it felt like nature was racing toward fall…

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As the temps stayed pretty low and we had to fire up the heater for the first time since spring, the trees gained more and more color. Every time I stepped out the door it felt like the trees were that much closer to their peak colors.

And as Mr. KS’s parents’ visit was drawing to a close, my girl and I whipped up some blueberry muffins with lemon glaze for a road treat for them (with plenty for us to enjoy, too, of course).

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Usually I don’t let them bake to such dark tops, but once we added the glaze, I thought they were just about perfection.

As the weekend came to a close, and Mr. KS’s vacation came to an end as well, we went for one last hike and had a beautiful tapestry of color on which to tread…

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And with bobbins emptied for the beginning of Spinzilla, I worked on my current shawl spin, Down the Road and Back Again

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I’d hoped to get you an updated photo in better light, but it’s been dark and rainy here all day so I’m re-sharing the photo from last night. This knit, though… I barely have the words. I stayed up way past my bedtime last night because I’m tantalizingly close to finishing and it is just a true beauty in all respects. I didn’t quite get there. I may or may not get to work on it this week with Spinzilla going on, but suffice to say I’m loving every minute of this knit and I’m equally looking forward to wearing this one. It’s just so sublimely dreamy.

Despite my late night, I woke up on time and got right to my Spinzilla spinning…

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Grey for my Three waters Farm Handspun Sweater-Along. I feel a little paranoid about how I’m spinning it and getting the weight just so, but I’m trying to just shut out all the doubt, just do what I can to check in on the weight, and just keep spinning. I’m sure it’ll all work out!

And that, my friends, has been my week off. I’ve spent most of today, the first day of Spinzilla, at my computer catching up on all the things I dropped to make last week a (mostly) true week off. But I’m happy to report that I felt great this morning — rested, refreshed, and ready to tackle all the things. Sometimes a week off loaded with family and fun is just what you need!

 

A Week of Spinzilla Snapshots

Some weeks here at Chez Knitting Sarah are less glamorous than others. Some weeks both kids get sick and the bulk of the week is spent finding good ways to get them them to rest without boring them. Some weeks I spend a lot of time dodging coughs and sneezes. Some weeks my main job is just being around in case someone needs something and then racing to squeeze all my errands into as little time as possible. So goes the life of a mom though, right?

This week that is exactly what took place here at my house. First one kid got sick. Then the other got sick. We reorganized our school week to rely more heavily on educational videos (we always have a few in the queue in case of emergency). If you’re looking for something new to watch Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey which is phenomenal for any parents or those who just like learning about the natural world. It’s available on Netflix and I really loved it. Thankfully our kids both really love nature documentaries so they are a great way to keep the kids engaged without going stir crazy.  With Hurricane Matthew churning in the Caribbean, we also spent a fair bit of time studying his every move and learning all about hurricanes — the science of it, disaster preparation, and all the rest.

This week also happened to be Spinzilla week and while I never want my kids to be sick, if they have to get sick & be worn out by colds Spinzilla week isn’t a bad one for it to happen. Because of the kids not feeling well, really the bulk of my week was spent rather quietly, often watching documentaries which is a pretty good companion for spinning. Since really all I’ve been doing this week is caring for my kids and spinning, I thought I’d just share a quick photo stream here today. For those who follow me on Instagram it’ll be very familiar, but I know a number of readers don’t use Instagram so I thought it’d be fun to share here, too.

I’m spinning with Team Three Waters Farm and as I have a healthy stash from them, I’m delighted that I’ve been spinning nothing but TWF fibers. My week started bright and early Monday morning before the kiddos were up with Blooming Treasures….

img_4760When they awoke and it became clear that my girl was not feeling well, I knew I should just forge ahead…

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By the following aftrnoon…

img_4766I’d finished the Blooming Treasures singles and moved on to the Night Light colorway…

img_4765And then that evening I took a brief break with my hubby. We had a little campfire and I spun some non-Spinzilla fibers that I had started on my spindle a while back.

By Wednesday though, I was mostly through a new colorway, my Dragonfly spin…

img_4778This was a last minute addition to my Spinzilla line-up. It’ll be a gift for my mom if she likes it.

And then by Wednesday night, it was time to get plying and by Thursday morning…

img_4780I had made some good headway.

I got up early on Friday (again) and got going on my last bit of plying that I had…

img_4782Dragonfly. And I got that finished up just in time for my daughter to wake up and declare, “That’s one fat bobbin!” It’s true. It’s very full & I’m lucky I squeeze it all on there!

Moose has been…

img_4784Less than enthusiastic about these early mornings.

I spent yesterday on the Damselfly colorway…

img_4787And as the sun was going down…

img_4788I was wrapping those singles up, too.

And before bed last night, because I try to never leave my wheel without a project started…

img_4790I got going on some merino in the Rattlesnake colorway.

I’m now solidly in the “if I suddenly become an amazing speed spinner” realm of my fiber plans. Of course, it’s less about being amazingly fast (because I am not) and more in the “if both kids suddenly fall ill and I can’t leave the house for a week” category. So on the bright side, the leaning tower of fiber I had prepped for this week “in case” is going to good use. I’m not yet sure the plans for our weekend with both kids kind of still not over the hump yet of their colds, but I do hope to finish up my Rattlesnake spin and maybe one other. These last two I’m aiming for slightly heavier yarns, so it’ll be less yardage for my Spinzilla total, but good for some new winter hats. Speaking of yardage, I haven’t bothered to count any of that yet. If I manage to have enough bobbins to not bother until Spinzilla ends, I won’t. It’s less about the yardage for me and more about just enjoying the spinning.

This morning, after this long week of early mornings I’m taking a bit of a delayed start. Both kids slept until 7am which is pretty much unheard of in our house, so I dosed a little later than normal. And then I found myself with a burning desire to make and eat some home made blueberry muffins. This morning it was quite chilly outside and I just thought the warmth of the oven and fresh baked goods would be such a nice treat. Of course, it would have gone a little more smoothly had I realized we were out of eggs before I mixed the butter & sugar. Nothing a quick run to the store can’t solve!

img_4792Muffins baked, kids (and myself!) fed, it’s time to get on with my day. I’ve a little work to do, but hopefully I’ll be back at my wheel before long. I’ve got many yards to go before I sleep!

Flurry

No, we haven’t had even one picturesque December snow flurry of which to speak. In fact, instead of a blanket of pristine white we see this scene while out on our hikes.IMG_1533I will say this particular hike was very eerie as the dog was clearly unsettled. Had we not been with Mr. Knitting Sarah, I probably would have gotten right back in the car and found a different spot. As it was though, it was a spooky Halloween-y hike in December. And while it isn’t necessarily unheard of to be snow-less this time of year, it’s definitely not quite as fun to tramp through the woods in mud and fallen leaves instead of snow.

But I digress.

There has, however, been a flurry of activity around our house. Ever since we put the tree up, we’ve been filling all our spare moments with Christmas music and finding those last perfect gifts and preparing for the family we’ll be hosting for the holiday. Since the kids are really into baking and since a couple of the cookie varieties we like to offer handle freezing well, we’ve starting chipping away at the cookie list.

At Thanksgiving my mom handed me some chocolate stars and asked if I could use them. I’m not one to waste chocolate so…

IMG_1557Peanut butter with stars it is!

And of course no holiday would be the same without cut-out cookies…

IMG_1566-0Our selection of cutters is accidentally extensive and the selections the kids make to use is always very eclectic. We made one batch last week and then another over the weekend. It’s way too many, I know, but this way I won’t feel stingy with letting the kiddos sample them leading up to the holiday.

In addition to baking and shopping and all the holiday merry-making, I’ve been clicking away on my final (I think, I hope) knitted Christmas gift.IMG_1552Shown in black and white here, of course, to surprise the recipient, I can share that I’m knitting Martina Behm’s Fractal Danger and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I’ve been very impressed and inspired by the Behm-a-long that’s been taking place over in the Three Waters Farm Ravelry thread and while this one isn’t in TWF yarns or handspun, I found the pattern for this gift through this -along nonetheless. I’ll be sharing more on the Martina Behm project I did start with Three Waters Farm handspun, a new spinning project, and some other fun Three Waters Farm news soon.

In addition to all the holiday-related goodness, remember that double marl I’ve been working on for a while using a couple braids of Cloudlover fiber?

IMG_1559I finally finished plying!

IMG_1560It’s drying now after its bath, but suffice to say after all the doubt and worry as to how this skein would turn out I am very, very pleased. I’ll be sure to share proper photos once it’s dried.

On a less colorful but still exciting (at least to me) note, you might notice that the Knitting Sarah blog has very recently gone ad-free. This is something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while, but have put it off because of the fee involved. Alas, the perfect storm of wanting to do it and needing a bit more space here for media has finally allowed me to take the leap. You may have not even noticed the change, but I wanted to share just because as dorky as it is it was a big deal to me.

So. You see what I mean — we’ve been busy little bees around here lately. Baking, spinning, knitting, hiking about, making long-awaited blog changes, and all around enjoying the season. I hope you are enjoying a bit of the holiday spirit, too!

YUM.

Both of my kiddos are sick with colds on this late-winter Saturday, so I decided that nothing would suit this morning better than some good old-fashioned home-made comfort food. Today’s choice: blueberry muffins.

I did a little searching on-line for a recipe that used sour cream — I love how moist it keeps baked goodies & I had some leftover from a batch of banana bread. After reading a few recipes & assessing my ingredient situation, I went with Smitten Kitchen’s Perfect Blueberry Muffins. I love Smitten Kitchen, don’t you?

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So, here is the batter just after ‘folding’ in the blueberries. For whatever reason, I really stink at ‘folding’ things into batter. I almost always end up with purple blueberry muffins, but this batter is pretty thick, so it actually wasn’t as bad as normal.

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Fresh out of the oven. This is where I started snapping pictures like mad because I was excited.

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6 jumbo sized blueberry muffins. These were so warm I burnt my fingers putting them on the plate. They smell AMAZING.

imageOnly one word caption is necessary here: YUM.

Can’t write anything more, I have to go eat these muffins while they are still warm!

PS — Hopefully I will be back to regularly scheduled knitting updates later today or tomorrow!

A couple notes on the recipe:

  • I used the sour cream instead of plain yogurt simply because that’s what I had on-hand.
  • I also omitted the lemon zest. I absolutely love lemon zest in fresh baked goods & it would have been awesome here, but I was at home with two sick kids so running to the store for lemons was not an option.
  • I sprinkled a little sugar on top. It is awesome & I highly recommend doing it. I used regular old white sugar which worked fine, but a turbinado sugar (like Sugar in the Raw) would be better. Sadly, I am somehow out of stock here at Casa Knitting Sarah.
  • I used frozen blueberries & as instructed did not bother defrosting them.
  • I made a double batch so I’d have plenty for my kiddos & a few extra to share with Alisa the Yarnista & her hubby. My double batch yielded 12 regular sized & 6 jumbo sized muffins.