The Next Chapter

It’s been almost a month since I said “to be continued” on part one of my vacation story. There’s good reason and I will get to that here today, but let me start today by finishing that story of our South Dakota vacation.

I left you with a severely dinged windshield that had also cracked and was spreading and Mr. Knitting Sarah promising to just “kick the window out like a Cowboy” if it decided to shatter or get much worse. Instead of this option, we decided to do something crazy: we called our insurance agent and set up an appointment to get the windshield replaced. Thankfully we were headed out of Wall & the Badlands to base out of Rapid City for the remainder of our week and we could get in before the long drive home to get the work done. We set the date for Friday morning.

With the plan in place, we packed up our Adventuremobile, the 2 kids, and the dogs and headed for Rapid City Wednesday morning. It was snowing again or still snowing (it’s hard to know which) and as we left early and wouldn’t be able to check in to our hotel room until 3pm, we grabbed snacks from a gas station with the intention of driving the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park, enjoy a hodge-podge picnic at Sylvan Lake, and head back to our hotel later that afternoon or evening.

It seems weird to see it now, but this was the drive in to Custer State Park on May 1st.

We stopped at the visitor center in the park where they seemed to think the roads would be passable for Wisconsin natives used to winter driving so we carried on with our plan and struck out on the Wildlife Loop.

We saw LOTS of brand new bison. None seemed very phased by the weather. We spotted some antelope and birds as well, but all in all the weather was formidable enough that we didn’t see a ton.

It was a beautiful drive up to Sylvan Lake though.

The picnic options, however, when we arrived were sub-optimal…

Unless you happened to be wearing snow pants (which we weren’t). We opted instead to hold on eating and go for a hike instead first since we had the lake to ourselves and the dogs really deserved a good romp. They both love snow so much and it would have been cruel not to.

Moose was contemplative because this:

Until Bear instigated some serious games of chase…

He had a lot of energy to burn off and got a lot of joy from the bonus snowy day and play with his big brother.

Knee-deep snow can’t stop us from a great time!

When we got back to the car, Bear really wanted to take the snow with him…

This is part of the reason we now bring extra towels with us whenever we take him somewhere. He is always trying to bring the outdoors inside with him one way or another.

We stopped for some delicious pizza at a little place in Hill City and by that point we could get into the hotel so we headed back toward Rapid City. As we descended out of the Black Hills, we were singing P!nk’s “Just Give Me a Reason” in true Carpool Karaoke style and just as Mr. KS hit his big note we heard this mysterious *crunch* from the back of the car. And then we hear our daughter, who was in the third row, say, “Uhhhh…. guys. Uhhh….”

The entire back windshield had shattered.

Now we joke that it was Mr. KS’ singing, but it was likely from previous rattling on dirt roads or pressure changes during the trip — who knows all we know is that it just went. Thanks to safety glass, it stayed in one piece for about a mile before chunks started falling off.

And just like that I was on the phone with our insurance agent again and then with the auto glass repair shop making a second appointment. Suddenly our last day of vacation on Friday was pretty booked.

We were not to be deterred though. Mr. KS got us all into the hotel and then struck out to the nearest store that sold heavy plastic and duct tape. Knowing we would be driving it around for a day before we could get it fixed, he got it as air and water tight as possible. Since we were losing Friday to auto glass repairs, he was not about to let Thursday escape without adventure.

It was loud and not exactly a relaxing drive, but we made it to our final big destination the next day…

It was a first time for the kiddos and it couldn’t have been a more beautiful day for it. The stress of the previous month, the car issues, and what was coming when we got home finally broke me a bit and I will admit there was some sloppy crying on my part at the empty Devil’s Tower Campground. It was cathartic though and I was thankful that Mr. KS was there to talk through it and just give me a hug. I was able to finally let the stress go and enjoy the afternoon and rest of the trip.

We took a brief detour to the Spearfish Canyon on the way back…

A place we’ll definitely be returning to to explore further.

The following morning, Mr. KS kindly offered to go in and handle the glass repairs while I sat with the kids and dogs in the hotel room.

Moose was ok with that.

So was Bear.

The repairs took most of Friday and by the time they were done, we went for a brief walk through a couple parks, grabbed some ice cream as a treat because now it was very warm and sunny (as opposed to freezing and snowy) and then just headed back for an early evening knowing we’d be hitting the road for home early the next day.

I’m happy to report that the drive home was largely uneventful. And we arrived home to this.

Spring on the Marsh.

It’s hard to be sad about vacation ending when this is a short jaunt from your front door.

It was another one of those trips that teaches you to not give up, to just keep going and deal with whatever comes your way with the best attitude possible. Our family does seem to thrive in the best/worst vacation category. Sure, we spent a small fortune in auto glass and had to radically alter plans for weather and to spend the day getting our windshields fixed, but we made a lot of memories and we spent so much quality time together. In retrospect, I wouldn’t change a thing. These trips are special and I hold them close to my heart even when everything goes wrong and maybe I had a little stressed out sloppy cry in the middle. It’s all part of the journey and even if imperfect a lot of the time, it comes with a breathtaking view.

The Monday after our return home I officially returned to the workforce. For the first time in nearly a decade of being a stay at home mom, I took a part time job. It wasn’t something I was necessarily looking for or even expecting to do, but the schedule and type of work suited the family, my physical limitations, and my abilities so I went for it. The past month I’ve been working a lot of hours as I get my training in which is why getting back to blog here has been so difficult. I’ve been adjusting to a different schedule, trying to get the kids through the end of their school year, and learn my own job, so it’s been a lot.

On top of the job status change, my parents are making a move to our town! We’ve been asking since our son was born almost 14years ago and we are very excited to welcome them to their new home. In just over a month, they will be moving in just a couple streets over from us . I can’t say much more than I simply cannot wait. I think it’s going to be a wonderful change for all of us.

Which brings me to a bittersweet end here, in this post and in this space. I think we’ve all felt it coming for a while, but today I am going to put it in so many words: It is time for me to take a step back from my little corner of the blogosphere. The truth is that life for me is changing in big ways. I need to adapt how I am spending my time to fit my new normal and sadly that means letting some things go. As much as I love to write and share our stories and my craft here, it’s become hard for me to keep up. I have never wanted to be someone who starts every post with “It’s been a long time” or some variation on that, but that’s exactly what has been happening. It is time.

My subscription on my platform runs through November, so my plan is to leave this live until then. If by chance things settle down and I have more time or I find that I truly miss writing here, I will simply come back and pick it back up. If, however, November rolls around and I haven’t touched it and am happy with the new normal I’ve created, then I will simply let it go.

For those who would like to stay in touch, I will continue to pop in when I can on Ravelry and (hopefully) update my projects there. For the time being, I also plan to keep my Instagram account live and update it when I have time and it feels right with knitting or spinning or our nature walks or puppy updates. I am  @knittingsarah on Instagram and TheKnittingSarah on Ravelry, so please feel free to stay in touch.

It is hard to imagine. It is hard to let go. And I don’t know how it’ll all feel as I officially disengage from this space, but it is time for new adventures and new challenges. And I have to be open to all the promise and opportunities in front of me and make the most of them and do what is right for my family. For now, though, I’m going to take some time to contemplate and process the change from a very special spot with some very special people and two very special pups. And probably a cup of coffee, too.

I wish all the best in whatever is next on the horizon for you and I hope that, where ever you are reading from, that you can find a peaceful spot, enjoy a cup of coffee, and look forward to your own next chapter with hope and joy and peace.

Two WIPs, A Future WIP, And A Few Random Thoughts & Happenings

First of all, I want to extend a very heartfelt thank you to everyone who took the time to share words of encouragement after my last post. I’m sorry the message felt more dire than the reality to some — that was not my intention, of course! As most of you know, I write from the heart and believe in being frank, so I felt like letting y’all into my head a bit to see the doubt and joy and passion that are all rolled into what comes out here on the blog. I assure you, even on the occasions that Mr. Knitting Sarah & I have talked about the possibility of closing down the blog, when it’s felt unsustainable, he’s made the point that I need such an outlet. We whole-heartedly agree that I might be [more of] a handful without it. Thus, I will continue to keep writing as time allows.

On that note, I do have a few ideas in the works for the coming months and maybe even a bigger, grander scheme for next year — you’ll have to stay tuned for that! For the immediate future though, I’m going to work toward sharing more short posts intermingled with the longer sagas I’ve gotten in the habit of posting lately. I think that approach will jive a bit better with getting back into the swing of our school schedule which gives me wonderful structure, but more short bursts of free time than opportunities to write longer stories. And I’m going to work on getting back in touch with my “Today on my…” serials because I think those are fun and a nice way to stay in touch.

Where does that leave us today? Well, it’s Monday, my friends, in the truest sense of the word! Here at Knitting Sarah HQ it was our first full day of school. It started off with the whole house waking up at 5am to an extremely powerful, extremely close electrical storm outside. You’d think I’d have been ahead of schedule for the early wake-up call, but I was not. Mr. KS and I enjoyed the light show over coffee and conversation and then it was a mad dash to be ready for the school bell (there’s no actual bell, but we do start promptly at 8am).

I’m happy to report that other than the most intense street cleaning I’ve ever witnessed (can you say 4+hours?!) and spending some quality time talking with a nice lady named Sheri from the customer service department of a publisher who provided a link to nowhere in place of a registration page for their online content, it went very smoothly. Rather than try to cram a lot into smaller time blocks as I did when the kids were younger when they benefit from switching things up more frequently, I’m working off of a schedule I drafted with larger blocks of time in the hopes that we will get through all our materials thoroughly and not feel as rushed. If today is any indication, I think I’m on to something.

Believe it or not, I have yet to wind those finished bobbins I shared in the last post into skeins. Shocking, I know! In all fairness, we had some seriously intense rain over the weekend and the humidity is insane, so the idea of of washing and attempting to dry yarn seemed to fall into the “why bother” category. Maybe I’ll wind this afternoon, maybe I’ll spin instead. We shall see where the afternoon takes me…

On the spinning front, I DID start my spinning for the Three Waters Farm Handspun Sweater-Along! It’s about time, right?! I shared a snapshot last night, but grabbed another image in the light of day here so you could see the beauty of this yellow a bit better…

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This is Three Waters Farm’s Sunshiney Day on Merino + Tussah Silk. I have the most fiber to yardage required ratio for the Sunshiney Day than the other sweater fibers I have here, so I decided to start with it. I would be smart to sample, but instead I’m being bold [read: possibly foolish] and spinning a whole 4oz and will wash, dry, and swatch this skein before continuing on with the rest of the spin. If I was more worried about the weight or didn’t have the control card to keep me in check, I would probably be better about making a smaller sample. But I’m familiar with the fiber and I’m feeling fairly confident in my overall consistency.  The Merino + Silk is spinning beautifully and I’m just… I’m feelin’ it. I’m close to being done with the first 2oz, so I’m hopeful I can have the whole sample skein finished — spun, washed, and dried — before the week is out and then I should be on my way to swatching and spinning the rest. I’m just… I’m all in on this project now as the fiber is just so dreamy. I was definitely right to choose the colors I am really passionate about — I think it’s going to make this large scale project feel like a breeze.

I’ve also been plugging away on the Honey Trail Shawl

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I’m very determined to get this project done sooner than later. I’m motivated to get it done before my MIL visits (as it is hers!), but I also really want to see how it blocks out. It’s knitting a bit small despite the fact that I’m working to the prescribed gauge, so I’m interested [read: slightly nervous] to see how it’ll relax in the blocking stage. In any case, I’m decreasing and it looks and feels good, so I think that’s what matters!

And as a last little bonus, I just ran out to grab the mail and look at what I found…

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My Three Waters Farm Top of the Month Club! I switched from the Wool to the Wool + Silk club this month and I was so pleasantly surprised to get this blend of Organic Polwarth + Cultivated Silk. It’s a blend I’ve been wanting to revisit, but just haven’t gotten around to ordering. What a delightful surprise!

While I’ve gotten accustomed to “reading” the fibers relatively well from their packaging, I thought it’d be fun to share what it looks like out of the bag as well…

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Do you hear a chorus of angels singing from on high in exaltation of this beauty? So do I. Maybe while I’m washing and drying that sweater sample skein I can crack into this beauty.

That, dear friends, has been my Monday: two WIPs, a future WIP, and a few thoughts & random happenings. I hope yours has been delightful!

Dear Readers…

Dear Readers,

I’ve been writing this blog for quite a long time. I can tell you the archives here go back to the end of 2010, but I honestly had to look that up because I don’t spend a ton of time looking that far back over the years on content I’ve posted. I just know it’s been a very long time. August is the month when I first transitioned from more of a photo journal to a blog, though, so it’s this time of year that I tend to spend time reflecting on the labor of love that is my collection of projects and stories here.

I inevitably contemplate the evolution of this space. Initially this blog started — as I mentioned above — as more of a photo journal and project log. It eventually grew into a means of reaching and staying in touch with my knitting students once our classroom time had ended; to inspire and be inspired by a knitting community that I could not access easily. I had young children at home and not a lot of time or money for babysitters to give me the freedom to get out of the house on my own (largely because I like being home with my family and babysitter money can also go a long way to fund projects) . When I left teaching, this space became a place where I could continue to connect with fellow knitters and spinners, to fill the void left by the loss of my classroom community. It allowed me an outlet to talk about my projects, the things I was learning, and in little ways to continue to teach which is something I have always loved. It was at this time that this space grew to allow me to write about and share a glimpse of my other passion, my family’s adventures, as well.

Over the years, I’ve found that it’s pretty normal to go through periods where I write more or write less, where I am very good about keeping up with daily snapshots and then not so much — it’s much like the ebb and flow of the tides. There are times I ponder where my writing should go, if I’m failing to reach some larger potential, or if I should bother to continue writing at all. It all used to really get under my skin and, in truth, sometimes it still does. I’m someone who craves order and reliability, who is very much all-in or not-at-all and when I’m off my game here, it is easy to let the doubt creep in and for me to question if I should keep tapping away on the keyboard.

At the end of the day though, the point I’ve come back to time and again for the last 8 years is that writing and sharing here is an important creative outlet for me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always written and I’ve always been compelled to share what I’m writing. Frankly, I might be a little lost without it.

Today, after a summer that felt as though it sailed past, of which I barely scratched the surface here with the stories of life and updates of my fiber-y exploits, I find myself back at my desk, still tapping away. Even though I wonder if I should or if the time might be better spent, I will continue to share when I can because I don’t know how nor do I want to let it go. Still compelled to keep tapping, I’ll relentlessly ride the tides of inspiration and the flux of time and keep on sharing my photos, techniques, stories, thoughts, dreams; successes and failures as life and coordination of thought allows.

And with these whimsical thoughts, I’ll embark on the next year here in my little space. I think I will start by winding some handspun yarn into skeins.

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The Blossom of Possibilites + *GIVEAWAY* Winners

It is January 14, 2015 and thus the official end to the Socks with Sarah KAL is upon us.

….

It’s surprisingly hard for this woman of many written words to know what to write next. I’ve been reading each and every one of your kind notes on the Ravelry Thread this past week and more than once I’ve found myself tearing up a little. I have put a lot of time and heart and care and more than a few leaps of faith into creating this KAL and making it everything that I could for everyone who joined. I know what all of the friendships and struggles and triumphs within the group has meant to me, but this is the first time that I’ve sat down in one place and been able to see what it meant to all of you. I simply could never anticipated exactly how wonderful this group would become and how much joy and courage and confidence and strength it would bring out in so many. I am so humbled and so grateful for all of your words and for all of your efforts this past year. And for those who are just beginning, I cannot wait to see all the amazing things you are going to knit, too. I promise you that in this group, you are in the very best of hands.

There has been a lot of tallying up of our year’s achievements out there and I thought that today I’d share my own. I wrapped up one last pair of socks a couple days ago to bring my year’s total to 26pairs — there were a couple for my kids and husband, but mostly they wound up in my own sock drawer. So today, this drawer contains 28pairs of socks total, including of course the couple pairs before the KAL began.

sock drawerI will admit that I lamented earlier this week to the group that I’ve been wearing ready-made socks the last few days in order to get this photograph of the whole collection when they are washed and dry. I was surprisingly surly about that — it’s funny how now that I have plenty of handknit socks the ready-made ones never feel right. They’re always too hot or too cold or the elastic is too tight.

sock drawer closeupIt was worth the sacrifice to see the whole collection together though as I find myself pretty amazed. There are still some things I haven’t tried — like spinning my own yarn for socks, a couple heels I still want to try, and a bunch of patterns and yarns that are still on my to-knit list. At the same time there have been a lot of firsts and a lot of lessons learned. In fact, this KAL has been a true crash course in sock knitting. I learned in this single year what would have probably otherwise taken me ten and there is no question that I am a stronger & more confident knitter for it.

As a human person, I look at this sock drawer and I see yet another example of what daily dedication to a task can yield. Prioritizing — even if it means carving just a bit of time from each day — can have a huge impact. I can carry this with me into the bigger goals in life, like my kids’ schooling, gardening, reading, nurturing my relationships, and maybe even finally getting around to my larger writing goals. I think maybe we can move mountains, inch by inch.

But today is not just for the bittersweet. After all, we have just wrapped up a huge accomplishment so celebration is most definitely in order! So why not celebrate with announcing our End of the Year GIVEAWAY winners?!

Before we begin, I once again have to give a HUGE shout-out to each and every Socks with Sarah Sponsor. Please consider checking out the Socks with Sarah Sponsors list on the Ravelry thread if you are in the market for yarn or other supplies. Without these sponsors, the giveaways, coupon codes, tutorials, and many other details that made this KAL as awesome as it was would not have been possible.

Without further ado, the winners.

Listed by their Ravelry IDs below the photo of the prize they won the lucky 11 knitters are…


bmfa currier
charlie2 — 1 skein of Socks that Rock Lightweight in the Currier & Ives colorway from Blue Moon Fiber Arts

bmfa thravenjcampo — 1 skein of Socks that Rock Lightweight in the Thraven colorway from Blue Moon Fiber Arts

bmfa 2RainyDayStitches — 1 skein of Socks that Rock Lightweight in the Valenscummy colorway from Blue Moon Fiber Arts

bmfa scumseattleknitterguy — 1 skein of Socks that Rock Lightweight in the Pond Scum colorway from Blue Moon Fiber Arts

bmfa colorsmysparklyshoes — 1 skein of Socks that Rock lightweight in the Dawop Wallop colorway from Blue Moon Fiber Arts

skinny buggagelias — 1 skein of Skinny Bugga! in the Moon Crab colorway from Cephalopod Yarns

GBY butternutlisalou229 – 2 skeins of Knit Picks Stroll in Butternut from Great British Yarns

gby heatherJLCherry33 — 2 skeins of Knit Picks Stroll in Aurora Heather also from Great British Yarns

plucky greyrlmathews — 1 skein of Plucky Feet in the Medieval colorway from The Plucky Knitter

plucky iceboxIntrovertedKnits — 1 skein of Plucky Feet in the Vintage Icebox colorway The Plucky Knitter

sgybealily — 1 skein of Cashluxe Fine in the Rosebud colorway Sweet Georgia Yarns

Winners, kindly email me at  knittingsarah[at]gmail[dot]com  with your preferred shipping address and I will get your skeins out in the mail as soon as I can. Congratulations!

It seems only fitting to wrap-up this post with the news that I’ve already cast-on another pair of socks. It’s a more complicated stitch pattern so it’s going a bit slowly, but true to form I’m clicking away a bit every day. I also happened to cast-on a shawl and a sweater. And I have plans to whip up a quick colorwork hat. And maybe convince myself to knit a washcloth because I had to finally pitch one of my handknit ones earlier this week, but I kind of don’t like knitting washcloths. Oh, and there was that sock yarn scrap blanket that I was going to get started on sometime, too. The official Socks with Sarah KAL may be coming to a close today, but the socks are still coming and the group is still chatting and my needles, they are busier than ever. I kind of had a feeling that when the official KAL came to an end there would be a bit of an explosion of new projects as the possibilities for my needles blossomed just a little bit. And from the looks of all the #todayonmyneedles and #todayonmywheel and #todayonmyspindle posts, I’m not the only one!

Happy Knitting & Spinning Everyone! I can’t wait to see where this year takes us!

Liebster Award!

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I am wee bit embarrassed to say that over the past few weeks I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Aware 3 times and until today I failed to act on it. Sorry! I am so very honored to have been selected (three times!) — I just have limited writing time and have not had a chance to do the proper post. Many thanks to Raquel at Knit It Out, Fiona at Cursing & Crafting, and Rachel at MidKnit Owl for the nominations!

For those who haven’t heard of it, The Leibster Award is given by bloggers, to bloggers, and it’s purpose is to highlight blogs with under 200 followers that deserve a look. Encouraging people to visit blogs that others enjoy seems like a great initiative. The rules for the award are pretty straightforward:

1. Post eleven facts about myself

2. Answer the questions given to me by the person who nominated me

3. Invent eleven questions to ask people whom I wish to nominate for the award

4. Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link to them in my post.

5. Go to their blog and tell them.

Ok, so here goes!

My 11 Facts:

1. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History.

2. I have never had a cavity. Ever.

3. My 5-year-old daughter chooses all my nail polish colors.

4. In high school I was a HUGE band geek and could play almost every instrument at least a little.

5. In Kindergarten I had to go to speech class because I couldn’t pronounce my ‘S’s’ properly. My workbook was called, “Sarah’s Super ‘S’ Book.”

6. I still have a slight lisp.

7. I like dry red wine.

8. My dad built my lawnmower from scraps.

9. My dog likes to play hide & seek with unsuspecting passers-by, so I have to check to make sure the walk is clear before letting him out.

10. I swim for exercise, but may be the worst lap swimmer in the history of lap swimming.

11. I am not a morning person or a night person. I’m mostly a middle of the day kind of person.

11 Questions Answered:

Since I had three nominations, I am going to answer a couple questions from each of my nominators.

1. Rain or snow?

I like both, but if I had to choose, snow.

2. Why did you start crafting?

It wasn’t really a choice, I just grew up crafting. It was just something you did in my house.

3. What is your favourite dessert?

Dark Chocolate. Or Fruit.

4. What project are you most proud of?

My son’s ‘Transportation Blanket.’ It was a lot of work, but most importantly my son picked it out & he still insists on sleeping under it every single night.

5. If you had to invite three historical figures to dinner, who would they be?

Queen Elizabeth II, Sacagawea, Henri Matisse

6. Favorite film?

Trollhunter.

7. What country would you most like to visit?

Iceland — I studied a lot of geology in college. Geology + rich knitting/wool interest = Iceland.

8. What’s your dream job?

My dream job is the one I have: Mum.  It wasn’t always my dream to have kids and stay home with them, but some times I think it’s good to let your dreams develop from the life you have.

9. . If the man/woman of your life asked you to have 8 kids, would you say yes?

5 or 6 years ago, I’d have said yes to my husband as long as we could provide for them. I’m a little long in the tooth for 6more now, though.

10. If you could go on holiday right this minute, where would you go?

Acadia National Park, Maine, USA

11. What’s your favorite crafting website?

Ravelry!

My 11 Questions:

1. Would you rather vacation in the city or country?

2. Favourite: Dog or cat?

3. If you had to chose one leg of a triathlon to race which would it be? Run, Bike, or Swim?

4. Which musical instrument would you most like to learn to play?

5. Describe your dream meal.

6. What are your favourite shoes?

7. When you were a child, what was your dream job?

8. Sunrise or sunset?

9. What’s your least favourite household chore?

10. Have you been swimming in an ocean?

11. Do you read more online or in paper books/magazines?

My Nominees:

It was so hard to narrow down to 11 blogs! You should check these blog out — I promise they are awesome!

Suzy Sells Sea Shells

feelgoodknitting

iMake

Friday Studios

AlisatheYarnista

bonitoclub

Writing from Scotland

Pictfamily

Sheepless in Rhode Island

handsomeandpretty

Stitch and Purl