A Terrific Lady Day

Terrific Lady Day (n)

A special day that a man gives to his significant other (girlfriend, fiance, wife) in which he does whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Most of the time, this is done to fix a screw-up, or obtain good graces in preparation for a future screw-up.

As seen on the FX series “The League”

                                                   — from Urban Dictionary

Long before we saw this terminology on television, my husband has treated to to special days every now and then. Sometimes it’s shopping or just a day trip that includes a favorite stop & a special lunch. This has changed somewhat since the kids came along, of course. Now at my house, a Terrific Lady Day is less about past or future screw-ups — because for the most part both my husband & I take those in stride — and more about sanity maintenance and kid-free time for me.

As a stay-at-home mom homeschooling our two kids while my husband works long hours that often change last-minute, it can be hard to take time for myself and nearly impossible to actually coordinate spending time with my grown-up friends in a kid-free block of time. I won’t lie, I’m thankful for the time with my family & I’m actually very protective of it and I routinely pass on possible free time to not miss a moment with my hubby & kids. It’s important to find balance though and sometimes the difficulty in finding time to spend with friends wears on me and really gets me down. With my last kid-free day being back in March, the last few weeks were especially hard as I kept trying to carve out time that just wasn’t possible.

And then a couple weeks ago a good friend — who is even busier than me — forwarded an email to me for a trunk show happening at Cream City Yarn this past Sunday that just said, “Maybe we can have a coffee date and visit the trunk show?”

I jumped into action.

I knew my husband would be setting his schedule for that week and I hoped that if I caught him in time he’d be up for watching the kids so I could sneak a kid-free day. The stars aligned, my hubby’s schedule held, and my friend & I used a pen, not pencil to hold the date.

After one heck of a week (I explained on Periscope Sunday morning — check it out for a good laugh, I’m @KnittingSarah), Sunday morning arrived and my hubby rolled the kids out of the rack at o’dark-hundred for a full day trip to the Chicago Field Museum while I had my Terrific Lady Day. I awoke at 5ish to help get everyone out the door and then I spun until it was time to head out…

IMG_0839I’ve been plying away at this beautiful fiber from Dyeabolical for a good long while — 5minutes here, 15minutes there — and the couple hours I had before it was time to leave was just what I needed to take a good strong chunk out of this project.

Then I got in the car exactly on time and promptly got lost. I know, right?! Some sort of vortex opened up or I got stuck in a fold in the space-time continuum that somehow made it impossible to find the correct road. I eventually turned on my phone’s GPS and got on the right road (so maybe the cosmos weren’t conspiring against the Terrific Lady Day…) and was only about 30minutes late.

We got coffee and spent a nice long time browsing through my friend’s fave local bookstore. I fought the urge to not 1) ask if I could live there and 2) buy one of everything. Yes, I managed to control myself and just get a book on Spanish verbs that I have been wanting to help me help the kids with their Spanish lessons. Lots of mental notes were made, however, and I’m very much looking forward to the day I can bring my bookworm of a daughter to see this wonderful shop.

We made our way over to Cream City Yarn and upon arrival, I was instantly overwhelmed by the friendliness of staff, the loads of inspiration & shop samples, and also just being there with the knowledge that I didn’t have 3 tired and hungry people in the car waiting for me to hurry up. It was just me and my terrific ladyfriend. Being there with a fellow knitting friend was pretty amazing, too — so many grand plans were hatched.

After much debate, I finally settled on these beauties.

IMG_0873A skein of Sheepish Yarn Co’s Midwest Merino in Black Bear which is destined to be a fab hat or cowl. I haven’t quite decided yet, but I think hat since it would be very versatile. And despite having my list of sweater yarns that I really wanted, on a complete whim I was totally inspired by a shop sample of Nordic Wind in Quince & Co’s Owl. I picked all blues in Quince & Co’s Owl & Owl Tweet and when I asked my friend. She looked, thoughtfully and said, “What about switching one blue out for a brown?” It was absolute genius. I am in serious love. And despite having like 5 projects that need to happen in the next few weeks you can bet I’ll be winding this yarn asap.

Having spent our budgets and taken loads of notes for future projects (seriously, that really happened), we stopped for a quick bite to eat before I headed home. I did manage to avoid the evil space-time fold on the return trip and had a couple hours to finish up my morning’s plying project. I even had time to start another…

IMG_0875I’ll tell you more about this in an FO post in the near future, but suffice to say it’s from Spun Right Round and it’s amazing.

Rested and relaxed and refreshed, when the kiddos and hubby got home full of stories, I was ready. It’s amazing what a Terrific Lady Day can do, especially with such a terrific ladyfriend!

Handspun Honey Cowl

I am a largely self-taught spinning novice. I have had some pointers from friends and own a few instructional videos, but mostly my adventure with spinning is me & my wheel and a whole lot of trial and error. As I muddle through figuring this craft out, I keep one main goal in mind: to spin yarn I can knit.

Last October I completed a skein of yarn made with some Cloudlover fiber I purchased earlier in the year.

Cloudlover Illustrus navajo ply

It is an 80% merino – 20% silk blend in the Illustrus colorway. This was my very first attempt at Navajo-plying and I was really proud that it turned out pretty nice. Most exciting of all, it turned out to be yarn with which I could knit.

Like so many skeins of yarn, after oogling it for a while I tucked it into my stash awaiting the perfect time to use it. Toward the end of February I decided it was time. I tried out a few different patterns with it. I loved Rondelay it looked so good! — but I was short on yardage, so I frogged it and re-wound the skein. I was pretty bummed & more than a little stumped. The trick with handspun is that I always want to choose a pattern using as much of the yardage as I can to get the most from my spinning efforts. It isn’t always possible or preferable, but for better or for worse that goal tends to linger in the back of my head.

In any case, after staring at the skein for a few more days, it dawned on me that a couple years ago I knit up a Honey Cowl in a very similar weight of yarn with very similar yardage.  I cast-on immediately and was totally hooked on the design and the fabric I was creating.

handspun honey cowl2Just like my previous Honey Cowl, I cast-on for the longer version of the cowl & just kept going until I ran out of yarn. I just adore the stretchy quality of the fabric — that paired with the merino/silk blend makes this one of the softest, coziest cowls I own.

handspun honey cowlIn all honesty, I finished this cowl up in March. It has taken me this long to post photos because I have been wearing it almost daily (even with my plain old hoodie, as you can see!) — it’s become such a staple that I kind of forgot that I never documented it!

honey cowl handspun 3It turned out the perfect colorway for spring and has kept me warm on almost every hike over the last few weeks. I give lots of props to Natalie at Cloudlover for her mad dying skills. I’ve said it before and I will say it again — I give her a lot of credit because I think it’s her dying that makes my spinning look so good! She dyes fiber as well as yarn, offers yarn & fiber clubs, and even does custom spinning. She’s pretty much awesome. Check her website out!

For details on this project, check out my Ravelry info page.

Either, Or….

Another finished project – from almost a year ago!

If you have knit with Malabrigo Rasta, you know that it is a heavenly Super Bulky single. The colors are to-die-for & it is soft, soft, soft! No fancy stitching required to make it a  w o w.

One of my fave projects for it is this one skein wonder.paris night

It is Firefly Fibers Either, Or Redux. The pattern is written for either a long, skinny cowl or a wide version. This is the wide cowl in Malabrigo’s Paris Night. I have a serious Paris Night addition. I have knit this colorway in at least four different weights and every time I love it more than the last. But that’s another story. This is seriously the coziest cowl I own — I often double-it over for extra warmth. It is perfect for our annual sub-zero January weather in Wisconsin, insulating against the arctic winds like no other knitted item in my closet.

You can view all of Malabrigo’s Rasta colorways here. Better yet, pop into your LYS for their selection. Malabrigo is always better in-person!

For more info on my project, see my notes on my Ravelry project page.

You can also purchase this pattern here on Ravelry or at Firefly Fibers in Beaver Dam, WI.

The Magical Moebius

After a brief break from the classroom for the holidays, it’s time once again to tell you about a class I’m teaching. If you’re looking for a fun project & new technique to ring in the new year, try my Magical Moebius class at Firefly Fibers. This class focuses on the moebius cast-on — I’ve said it before and I will say it again, this cast-on is one of my favorite knitting ‘moves’. It’s not because I use it all the time — in fact, it is very specific. It is, however, just really, really fun. This is a technique I use & design for again and again because I love watching how the projects unfold — starting at the center and working out toward the edges. It is so unique and such a great way to shake my knitting up a bit.

Ferdi_medium2

This is the Ferdi Cowl — my first moebius design and the one used for the class. The yarn is a real treat!

Tous les Jours CowlAnd here is my second design that utilizes the moebius cast-on — the Tous Les Jours Cowl (pronounced ‘too-lay-joor’). It’s a favorite of mine — the openwork makes it perfect for transitioning to  warmer weather.

Moebius is perfect for cowls because that half-twist lays so gracefully around your neck. The style just can’t be beat! I’m doing my best to continue designing new moebius projects to keep things interesting for those who learn the technique — trust me, there is more on the horizon!

If you are interested in adding this awesome skill to your technique toolkit & you are in the area, sign up for my class. It’ll be a blast! Class will be held Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 10-12:30 at Firefly Fibers in downtown Beaver Dam, WI. Contact the shop to reserve your seat today — the remaining seats are sure to fill fast!

Chloe Cowl

Chloe Cowl by Firefly Fibers

The reversible nature of brioche knitting combined with its lofty warmth make it perfect for a cowl. The Chloe Cowl introduces you to brioche while using two colors from the fun color palette of Spud & Chloe. Get ready for basic brioche- which doesn’t look so ‘basic’ – and create a beautiful bi-color cowl with just enough drape to make this a classic go-to accessory.

To purchase your copy of this pattern from Ravelry, click here.

Either Or, Redux

Either Or, Redux by Firefly Fibers

Our shop favorite has been redesigned with stitch pattern and style options! The thin version can be worn either as a long looped scarf or wrapped twice as a cowl. The wide version is a cowl without any fuss. Knit with one skein of Malabrigo Rasta, this quick knit is sure to get attention!

To purchase your copy of this pattern on Ravelry, click here.