Prescription: Knitting (and a lot of other healthy things)

A week ago the mister & I both started to come down with a cold. He had a big week at work and did not have the luxury of letting it take him down, so I’m still not sure if I wound up more sick or he just held it together a lot better than I did, but I was not at all well. I even spent most of Tuesday in bed — something I quite literally cannot remember the last time I did. The rest of the week, I barely left the house save for a short daily walk. I’m happy to report that today I’m feeling much better save for a lingering cough that I am taking all measures to combat, but ugh… what a week!

The silver lining of being sick is that when I wasn’t accidentally asleep (which happened a fair bit), doing the things that needed to get done around here, or just too head-cold-y (UGH) to have my wits about me, I was able to get some knitting and a tiny bit of spinning done.  Today is the first real sunny day we’ve had since I finished a couple things, so the FOs I have are having their spa day. I do have a bundle of WIPs that I’ve started up though and I thought I’d share those with you.

I mentioned it in an installment of Today on your needles…, but I started a knitted toy cat. And this is how far I am as of this moment…

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You probably all remember I’m not super keen on knitting toys, but it’s pink, so you can probably guess which soon-to-be birthday girl I’m knitting this for. Inspired by Rachel at Dyeabolical’s Parlor Cat project and using her SW Worsted Merino dyed in the colorway named Freedom, Beauty, Truth, and Love, it’s been going all right. I ran into a little snafu with the pattern a couple nights ago and have been banging my head unsuccessfully against a wall since, but I woke up today determined to draw a little picture and get things sorted out properly. I did just that and am confident today I’ll start moving forward again. I’m 85% sure I’m just interpreting something wrong because I’m not using DPNs and the cold has left me a little impatient. That, or I’m being too fussy about how something is centered. Either way, I have a plan and hope to be moving past the sticky part soon which is good because the birthday is coming up and I think this will be super cute.

Next, I started my Brillig for the NimbleNim SAL+KAL in the Three Waters Farm Ravelry group. I started working on it…

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And then I kind of had some issues putting it down…

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It’s a really fun knit. And it’s the kind of knit that is pretty easy to learn and just potato chip knit through a movie. As you can imagine, in my current state, that is a pretty great fit!

One WIP this week met an untimely end…

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You’ll remember this image from last week. Yes, this incarnation of the Rainbow Warrior has officially been scrapped. I so wanted to love this combination, but I finally came to terms with the fact that I just was not feelin’ it. I have another combination in mind, but I just need a little time to let this one go and let the new idea simmer for a while.

I also accepted and received a new yarn for review last week.

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This Shepherd’s Lamb Rambouilllet is from the mountains of Northern New Mexico and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to get this new-to-me American wool on my needles. I wound it over the weekend…

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And I’m looking at knitting it up into an End of Summer hat for my daughter. It’ll hop on my needles as soon as the cat is finished. I can’t wait to tell you more about it.

And I think that’s it, my friends! I have to admit, I am a grouch when I’m sick and for that, well, let’s just all take a moment to feel bad for my family (sorry everyone, especially Mr Knitting Sarah!). At the same time though, I think it was good to be forced to slow down for a bit. It felt good to put my feet up and settle into a couple new knitting projects, even if my nose was running, my head was full, and my throat was raw from coughing. I’m going to slowly start picking up the pace again this week, but I’ve not forgotten the two months it took me last year to tackle a nasty cough, largely because I spent the first 6weeks ignoring that I was sick. This time around, I’m going with a prescription of more knitting with my feet up, lots of vitamin C & eating well, continued rest, and some fresh air & light exercise. That should fix me right up, even if it’s at a ‘slowly, but surely’ pace I’m hopeful that it’ll continue to heal me up and kick this illness to the curb a little faster than the last time. That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it!

That Sounds Reasonable, doesn’t it?

Pretty much everything in the last 8 weeks has been building in one way or another toward the WI Sheep & Wool event. Sure, I finished my handspun socks and did a few other bits and bobs along the way (like the random morning I decided to re-caulk the upstairs tub… but that’s a story for another day), but by and large the focus was on being ready for WI Sheep & Wool. Did I have enough handspun? Did I have the right spindles? Was my spinning wheel clean? Did I have the right fiber to demonstrate with? Did I have the weekend planned well enough that the kids would have fun? Was my mom all set with a plan that would make her happy? Did I have yarn to cast-on our group project? And on and on. Don’t get me wrong, these are not complaints at all, it’s just been the state of my brain, like an on-going mildly urgent checklist.

Now that we’re on the other side of it though, I’m a bit more relaxed and relaxing into our normal routine. I finally got the old, dead freezer out of the garage this morning. We’re on our full-day homeschool schedule and I’ve got all our records and tracking set-up and up-to-date. We’re planning and cooking normal meals again. Moose is getting all his necessary beauty rest with minimal interruption. It’s all good and I’m feeling more settled than I’ve felt in months.

It seems only fitting that I take stock of where I’m at with some projects and share them here. Partly because I like to keep everyone apprised of where I’m at, but also because it gives me a little bit of accountability that never hurts when it comes to achieving self-set goals. This is especially true when you’ve just added a bunch of new fiber and yarn to the stash as I have and you’d like to start chipping away at those projects that have been on your radar for a good long while now. So let’s have at it, shall we?

First, there is my very first Hitchhiker.

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I’m photographing in black and white because it’s a test color that I’m trying out. I reached the point of total addiction to this potato chip knit and I have the feeling it’ll be off the needles by the end of the week just because of the sheer joy of knitting with the colors and design. It doesn’t hurt that it’s been a while since I’ve been able to knit unabashedly without a spinning deadline looming.

Next up, I have a plying project that I’d hoped to finish before WI Sheep & Wool, but I just ran out of time. I started it upon my return instead.

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I bought this years ago, during the first Sock with Sarah KAL. It’s a Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sheep  2 Shoe kit. There is only one such kit available in their online shop currently. I’m thinking maybe it’s been replaced by the Super Foot! Roving as it appears to be similar. In any case, it’s sat in my stash literally for years and since I really didn’t have interest in spinning it for socks and I’ve been on a crusade to clear through and/or destash all the seasoned fiber and yarn around here, I just spun this monster 8.5oz kit onto 2 bobbins…

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And I’m making a simlple 2-ply. I’m not breaking any speed records with this plying job, but I’ll get through it eventually. I’ve got another special spinning project ordered, so I’m just aiming to finish up by the time the new project arrives.

This is the rest of my deep stash spin-off…

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Housed in my awesome copper boiler that I picked up a couple weeks ago at a flea market. There are more than a few projects in here, but the plan is to just keep whipping through them and then maybe have a little handspun destash party later this fall.

The ladies in our get-together decided to cast-on a Rainbow Warrior to commemorate the special weekend. I did…

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And I just was not feeling these colors. When I got a few repeats in and noticed a major mistake, I took it as a sign, ripped and back, and picked new colors.

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This is a skein I got at the festival — King of the North on Merino + silk from Bumblebee Acres — plus a skein of Tough Love Sock from Sweet Georgia in Silver that I had stashed. It’s a little more Green Bay Packer than I’d anticipated, but I love the gold and silver tones together. I’ve been back and forth a couple times on whether or not to switch out the colors again, but at least for now I’m going to hang with it as is.

This is my last shared image (I think) of my Dyeabolical Gradient Clever Girl toe-up socks.

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I’m just hitting the second color on the first sock. I’m at that point where I’ve past the heel and there are just miles of stockinette in front of me. I’ll just say that it’s a blessing and a curse in my eyes. I’ve got a ways to go here.

Also started long ago and hibernating since around the time we moved is my Find Your Fade shawl.

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I stalled out around the time I stopped increasing with it. And then I accidentally knocked some stitches of the needles. Suffice to say, I need to sort it out and just finish it up one of these days. It’s a lot of knitting, but it’s going to be awfully pretty if when I finish.

I almost forgot that I have this second sock waiting to be finished up, too, from my test knit of the Three Waters Farm Storm’s End colorway on 75/25 merino + nylon.

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I really need to get it done so I can start wearing them. I’ve been wearing my Three Waters Farm Mini-Skein kit socks constantly and I love them to pieces. It’s time to get these off the needles, too!

If this wasn’t enough — and I mean, really, it so is enough! — I have at least 3 colorwork projects on my short list. They are small and quick and colorwork which I always speed through, but there are some deadlines on these so I need to really make this happen sooner than later. This combination is the one I’m most excited about…

img_8182With any luck and/or planning, these will be knit up into a gift. Cross your fingers for me, everyone! I would like to not cast-on until I finish up one or two of the already in-progress projects here, but time may get the better of me on that front!

What does your WIP pile look like these days? Honestly, this is more extensive than I thought it would be — whoops! I hope yours is perhaps a bit more contained, or at least more well thought out. I suppose it’s time for me to stop typing and start clicking away! I think I’ll begin with a simple goal: One project off the needles or wheel by Sunday evening. That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Sometimes… You Just Wing It.

I have a hard time with moderation sometimes. If I’m going to schedule my time, I want to stick to my schedule. And that’s what I’ve been trying to do lately. Take notes, have a plan, make a schedule, use a planner. I mentioned recently that I was having issues with mismanaging time. Consequently, Mr KS & I had a long talk about that last week and how I can better handle my time and make the most of achieving my personal goals as well as the jobs I need to make happen within our family.

Sometimes though… things don’t go according to plan.

Sometimes… you have to create a new plan.

Sometimes… you just wing it.

And this whole juggling act of scheduling and being flexible… well, I’m kind of terrible at it.

My latest sock project has become quite the test because things have devolved a little bit into me winging it. It’s out of character for me. Usually I am the quintessential pattern follower. I love the order of following the step-by-step of a pattern — just like I like my schedule neatly written into my planner in its appropriately boxed off time. And, of course, that was my original plan here.

summer jubilee

During last year’s Tour de Fleece, I spun this skein of Three Waters Farm “Summer Jubilee.” It’s about 300yards of roughly sport weight 3-ply and from the start I wanted to knit socks with it. I was worried, however, about the low yardage. Sometime in the last couple of months, I noticed that the Dyeabolical’s shop had a mini-skein of the Grayson colorway so I snapped it up to use for toes and heels. Sure, it was fingering weight, but I was hopeful the two would be close enough. Fingering can be kind of fickle in its weight, after all.

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I mean, don’t they look super nice together?!

Well, friends, they were not.

Last week while at the pool with the kids, I clicked away on the toes, all the while thinking, “this is too light to go with the Summer Jubilee skein,” but knowing full-well I was going to knit through the toes and try it anyway.

Yeah, they were just totally not the right combination. Because I need to work them 2aat to get the most from my handspun, that was a couple of hours I’d burned only to ultimately end up scrapping the toes and starting over, deciding to throw caution to the wind (because that’s working so well for me thus far in this project) and use handspun for the entire sock now despite the low yardage.

I did a quick gauge test and did some math to try to figure out a custom fit for these toe-up socks, again, to get the most from the handspun.

I knitted along for a good long while thinking, “These seem too big,” “I think these are going to be too big,” “This is just seems not right.” I trusted my math though.

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And it was right about here that I finally admitted defeat, my math was faulty. These socks were too big.

So I ripped them back. Again.

I grabbed two different custom patterns. Remeasured all my measurements and then cast-on once again. I’ll say — if you ever want to conquer a cast-on that maybe you hadn’t commit to memory before, this method of starting over 3 or 4 times is a great way to do so! Judy’s Magic Cast-On is a part of my very being now.

img_7559 In any case, this attempt has me content with the gauge and density of the fabric and so far the fit feels right to me. I’ll know for sure in another inch or two, but I have a good feeling about this one. Those caution signals aren’t going off in my head either, so based on past experience, I’m taking this as a good sign.

As you can see, these socks will be fraternal twins, not identical. Thanks to how I spun the yarn and how I want to use the yarn, it’s just easier this way. Rather than winding 2 center-pull balls that match, I’m just pulling from the inside and the outside of the single center-pull ball. I have an easier time not making a twisty mess this way and I’m not the sort that needs my socks to match. Actually, I kind of prefer the fraternal twins look. So this method works perfectly for me.

It’s been kind of an ‘as the crow flies’ kind of path I’ve been on with this project and it’s really tested whatever goes off in my head telling me that either there is no schedule or there is a rigid schedule. I’m happy to say that it’s been going surprisingly well. Just as I moved some things around last week when the day I’d scheduled to take the kids to the pool had rainy weather and I — hold onto your hats — rescheduled it for two days later when the weather was nicer. It sounds ridiculous, but I have a weirdly hard time adapting to this type of thing when I have the plan set in my mind. I want to just plow ahead in the face of any challenges, but sometimes… you just have to wing it a little bit. Move things around. Be flexible.

I recently read a quote that really struck me and has stuck with me over the last few weeks.

There’s more to life than increasing its speed.

Attributed to Ghandi, I’m not sure how perfectly accurate the quotation is, but I like what it’s saying. Being intentional, working hard, striving to achieve goals — they are all worthy objectives. I just think that personally I need to work toward understanding that sometimes traveling as the crow flies to achieve these goals isn’t all bad. I don’t have to use the fastest route from point a to point b. And perhaps most importantly, just because you can’t accomplish something at the date and time you have it penciled in your planner, doesn’t mean you just don’t do it. There really is nothing wrong with starting over when something isn’t working quite right, to change tacks when we are on the wrong path. Sometimes we learn a lot about ourselves… and our foot size… and our pattern formulas along the way when we allow ourselves the room to make changes to the plan. And sometimes… when we have the fundamentals down, we have to be brave enough to fall back on and trust that knowledge, readjust the pattern, and just  wing it.

The 5 Hats of Christmas

About this time last month, I’d finished my holiday knitting and did really want to start a spinning project knowing it would be interrupted with all the hub-bub of the company & Christmas. I was left with the question, “What should I do with my hands?” I decided to knit up a hat for my daughter. Wanting to treat myself to using some of my handspun stash, I grabbed this skein of Dyeabolical Rainbow Vista

detail-2And I printed off a copy of Hannah Fettig’s Simple Beret and went to work.

And within a day…

sunset-vista-hatVoilá!

sunset-vista-detIt was really just such a fun knit I couldn’t put it down.

sunset-vista-det-2Bright and cheerful…

img_5613And just perfect for my girl. I gave it to her and I swear she didn’t take it off for 2 days.

With such a success on my hands and wanting to be fair, I started a project for my son. I grabbed this skein from the shelf, Mountain Colors Targhee Top in the Trading Post colorway.

targhee3I spun it up a while back and had though I’d knit something for my mom with it, but instead it wound up being destined to become a hat for my boy.

mm-hatIt turned out really, really beautiful. I used another Hannah Fettig pattern, the Simple Hat.

mm-detAnd it’s knit at a somewhat tight gauge so it’s super warm. Unfortunately, my boy doesn’t seem to interested in it as he favors his plain black hat that was a freebie with some ice fishing gear we bought. I don’t mind, it’ll just go in the family hats stack for whomever to use when it’s needed. You can never have too many back-up hats in Wisconsin!

In any case, having finished this one on the 23rd, I was pretty sure I needed to then knit a hat for my hubby, too. He is by far the fussiest in the family about what colors he’ll wear, so I wound my carefully selected for him skein of “Rattlesnake” from Three Waters Farm.rattlesnakeIt is a truly beautiful neutral full of the richest browns and slate blue/greys.

img_5556I started a Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Boyfriend Watch Cap in the wee hours of Christmas Eve…

And finished just in time to leave the cookies out for Santa.

I couldn’t get the mister to model, but my girl was willing.

I just love the colors.

And then it was time to knit a hat for myself. img_3997This was my skein of choice, Three Waters Farm‘s Stolen by Bandits colorway in a Polwarth + Silk blend.

stolen-by-bandits-det-2I chose the Simple Beret for my hat, too — what can I say? I love the pattern!

stolen-by-banditsAnd I love how it turned out.

stolen-by-bandits-detIt’s slouchy and soft and cozy and colorful.

And as soon as I finished this one, I grabbed the skein of Dyeabolical Id Squishy Sport and cast-on one of my all-time favorite hat patterns, Alana Dakos’ Sprig Cloche.

img_5587I have one in a wheat-like color that I wear constantly and I kind of wanted a back-up in a green or blue. This deep, emerald green (which I believe it now retired), fit the bill. And while I don’t have a ton of photos of this one finished, I do have one of it in its new most common location…

img_5614Atop my head!

These projects were the perfect fit for this busy time of year. Quick and easy and instantly usable. So apparently, the answer to the question, “What should I do with my hands?” around the holidays is simple: Knit hats!