Down The Road & Back Again

The Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group selected the Down The Road and Back Again Shawl as the second annual knitalong this fall. I need to give a great big shout-out to my two amazing moderators and everyone over there. They keeps things so fun and inspiring and wonderful even when I drop in and out of the conversation and for that I am just so happy and thankful. I’m always humbled that this incredible group meets up under a banner I created and have made it their own. I could sing their praises all day long, but they would probably be happier if I’d just get on with it and share my project today!

Unlike last year, when I had to restart the group KAL no fewer than three times because the first 2 yarn combinations just didn’t fit, this year I got it on the first try. Sure I had a half dozen options pulled out of my stash, but when it came time to cast-on I kind of had a pretty good feeling where it was going to work.

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I mean, how could I not fall instantly in love with this?

And unlike last year, I just couldn’t put it down…

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Anywhere I went!

It took me about a month from start to finish.

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And then about 6 weeks to get it washed and photographed. Seriously?! Am I the only one with this lag time problem? I need to work on that!

In any case, today I have some FO photos (finally) and I’m just so pleased to share them!

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It’s cold where I’m from, so this is likely how I’ll be styling this shawl most days. But I think you need to open it up to really appreciate it…

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From the details…

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To the shawl set wide open…

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I’m just extremely happy with how it turned out.

The tonal was a gift from a dear friend and is String Theory Caper Sock in the Dark and Stormy colorway. And the contrast color is my own handspun, a 40/40/20 Merino/Superwash Merino/Tussah Silk fiber in the Merry Poppies colorway from Three Waters Farm.  It was actually the first yarn I spun on my Jensen Tina 2 when I got it earlier this year and it’s just a simple 2-ply fingering weight. The two yarns went together beautifully.

There you have it! Another year of the annual Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group KAL is in the books for me! Who else is already looking forward to next year?!

Second Annual

This past weekend was the WI Sheep & Wool Festival and while I was unable to attend this year, it brought back a lot of truly wonderful memories from my last time there. Last year, if you remember, a large group from the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group traveled from near & far to get together and meet up for this event. It was just totally incredible! This year, the same amazing group of women set-up a similar get-together, but this time in Maine. Unfortunately, that was not in the cards for me either this year, but they’ve been sharing stories and images with us and my heart is full knowing they are having a fantastic time.

True to form, these enthusiastic band of ladies haven’t stopped at just the travel and adventure, die-hard knitters that they are, they had the idea to put together a knitalong to coincide with the whole event. It’s such a grand idea as it allows those who can’t travel to still participate and be a part of, even if the travel is not in the cards. Last year, the group decided on Rainbow Warrior and believe it or not, a year has passed and I’ve yet to share my finished project. Well, friends, today is [finally!] the day!

My Rainbow Warrior project has existed in not one, but three incarnations. It started as this…

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But it just didn’t suit me. So I switched it up and tried it with this combination…

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But it was still not quite right. It was a little too Green Bay Packer-y for me (not that there’s anything wrong with that, just wasn’t tickling my fancy). After ripping attempt #2 I had this inkling that this skein might be the ticket…

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It’s a skein of KnitCircus Greatest of Ease Lothlorien Panoramic. And I thought… this gradient + that grey I’d been using — SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock in Silver — I think that could be it! With the holidays coming and other things on my mind, I tucked both skeins away in my cedar chest only to unearth them again months later in mid-June.

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And I just knew it was going to work almost instantly. And in a few short weeks, I was finished.

Since that time I’ve been wearing it. And loving it. And not photographing it. It actually made it on my little shawl and sweater rack near by bed so I could throw it on on chilly morning. Finally, this morning — inspired by my latest knit — I brought it down to the mannequin and took some photos to share. Would you like to see?!

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After being through two combinations I did not care for, it’s even more satisfying seeing how this version turned out.

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The pattern was really fun and easy to knit and I adore how the gradient worked with it. And while I can take or leave a picot edge, on this shawl, I really love it. I think it suits the texture perfectly.

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Beautiful. And already in my regular rotation of shawls!

The reason I opted to share this with you today is that just like last year, the Friends of Knitting Sarah Group (really, it’s a shame my name is on it because they are well beyond me at this point!) have selected a new KAL to coincide with the get-together and while a group are knitting away in Maine, those of us unable to attend are enjoying their photos and stories and knitting away on this year’s selected pattern, Down The Road And Back Again.

This year, I pulled a few options out of my stash and put them in a bit where I could walk past them, get used to them together, and ruminate on my options. Then, as I was contemplating photographing my options and posting them to the group for opinions and thoughts, I thought what about…

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It’s my handspun Merry Poppies spun with Three Waters Farm fiber and a skein of String Theory Caper Sock in Dark & Stormy I received as a gift a couple years back. I’d started a project or two with the Caper Sock, but never found anything that was good enough. Before losing incentive, I wound the Merry Poppies, weighed both skeins (the project goes by weight, so awesome for all you handspun knitters out there!) and started. And unlike the many false starts of the Rainbow Warrior, this one I knew was going to be perfect from the get-go.

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I am just smitten with everything about this project. It’s fun to knit and the colors just work.

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I am struggling to put it down — just one more color change, I tell myself all the time! It’s one of those knits!

So I don’t think the second annual Friends of KS Fall KAL will take as long as last year’s (at least I hope not!), but there’s no denying that both are/will be lovely and that I’ll get a whole lot of wear out of both of them. Even though the first took a good long time, this event has quickly become a KAL I really look forward to and enjoy knitting. Here’s to many more years knitting with this wonderful group and to many more adventures and opportunities to get together in the future!

Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group Updates

Socks with Sarah started Wednesday & I have been b-u-s-y getting everything up & running smoothly over on the Ravelry group. While our official start date has come & gone, please know that I’m happy to honor an open enrollment policy — just hop over and join up if you’re interested. We’ll be happy to have you!

You know, every time I think this group can’t possibly get better, it does. I’m so lucky to have so many helpful folks with so many great ideas participating. Thanks to some of these awesome knitters who came up with some wonderful ideas & helped brainstorm a way to make them work, I’ve got a couple new resources to share with the group.

Because there have been some changes, to make it easy on everyone I’m going to go ahead and walk you through  how to use the different threads & resources on the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry group.

Socks with Sarah Main Thread: This is the main area for the Socks with Sarah KAL. This is where I need y’all to sign-up (just hop on & let me know you want to be added to the list). It’s also the spot for chatting & questions & WIP photos.

SWS Recommended Patterns Thread: By request, this is an indexed place for Socks with Sarah knitters to share their favorite patterns. Please read the guidelines for submission carefully before posting.

SWS Recommended Resources Thread: By request, this is an indexed place for Socks with Sarah knitters to share their favorite sock knitting resources. Please read the guidelines for submission carefully before posting.

SWS FO Catalog (photos & links only) Thread: Just as the title implies, this thread is for finished socks! Please read the guidelines for submission carefully before posting & please resist the urge to comment here — direct your oooohs & aaahhhhs to the Main thread, pretty please.

Say Hi! Thread: Just like it sounds, this is for anyone — KALer and general group member alike to say hi & introduce him/herself.

Today on *your* needles… Thread: Just like the ‘Today on my needles…’ serial here on my blog, share what you’re working on today. We’d love to see!

What socks are you wearing today? Thread: Started by a KAL member (Ravelry ID: blueadt), this is a fun little spot to show off what’s keeping your toes warm today.

Ask Knitting Sarah Thread:  This is a general question & answer area — check out the first post for specifics, but if you have questions about things I’ve written, materials & tools I’ve used, techniques I write about, or any other general knitting and spinning related item, this is your spot to ask.

Inspire Me Thread: Because I think it’s too easy to be hard on ourselves for perceived imperfections, this is the place to say, “I made this and I really like how it turned out.” It’s not about showing-off, it’s about being proud of your work & sharing the awesome!

Tell Me More Thread: This is your chance to make requests and suggestions for things I should write about here on the blog.

You’ll notice the Socks with Sarah Main Thread is spelled out in so many words, but the other KAL-related threads start with ‘SWS.’  This is due to formatting issue & how the titles appear on your screens. The abbreviation should make everything a little more user friendly. Of course, threads not beginning with an ‘SWS’ are general. As always, if you have any questions or suggestions just let me know!

Enjoy the improvements to the group & look forward to hearing from you!

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