Forward Progress Through Frogging

I awoke to a winter wonderland again this morning, with soft snowflakes falling gently to the ground. With 2-3″ of fresh snow, it’s so much fun to watch the birds fly into our beautiful snowy yard. Bird nerds that we are, we’re loving the much wider variety of birds that come in to our feeders in the new yard. I’m hoping to add a heated bird bath soon as the water source is a major plus for the wildlife. Mr Knitting Sarah has claimed the bird feeder acquisition and design as his domain though, so I am waiting for expertise to pick the right one.

In any case, in addition to the new snow, this week we saw our first really chilly days with highs not getting out of the teens. My girl, who has been bitten by the baking bug, has been baking up a storm and we’ve been enjoying warming the house with lots of home-cooked meals. You can also imagine the cold temps make the fiber artist in me go a little bananas. So when the kids and I aren’t digging into our school work or out on field days and we’re not cooking and baking, I’ve been sneaking in a lot of quality time with my needles and wheel.

I finished the first Christmas sock for my son…

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I’m a total convert to dividing yarn into separate balls of yarn for toe-up socks. This Turtlepurl Yarns Baah Humbug yarn came in two equal skeins, so I just hand wound them and started knitting. It’s made all the difference! I used to get super bogged down in toe-up socks, but having that one little ball shrinking noticeably as I go is like a magical addiction that just propels me forward. I will absolutely work this way from now on with toe-up socks.

I also finished the singles of a spinning project…

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The plan here is to ply each colorway into a 2-ply and then weave them together.

Currently my thought is that the Granite will be the warp…

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And Moving in Circles will be the weft…

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We’ll see how the yardages come out in the end though.

In other knitting news, I ripped out my handspun Brillig last night. It’s going to sound more than a little crazy, but there was this really simple direction I misread through probably the first 20% of the project…

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See how the edge on the left 2 “teeth” look different than the one on the right? I was slipping the stitch with the working yarn in the front instead of the back. I realized it, saw the difference, and then set the project aside in a little time-out while I considered if I could live with it as is or not.

Turns out, I couldn’t. I frogged it last night.

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And I started over this morning. I don’t mind. In fact, I’m really happy and relieved that I did and that I can knit this up and just love it and enjoy the knit. I may not hit the end of the month deadline as I still may need to spin more of the blue colorway to finish, but I am happily plugging along on it.

I also opted to start another spinning project rather than stopping to ply the one above. This month’s Top of the Month Club from Three Waters Farm inspired a larger scale weaving project (yes, I kind of have weaving on the brain at the moment).

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A little hard to see for the plastic bags and the lighting, but the colorway on the right will be spun and plied into a 2-ply for the warp and the colorways on the left will be spun and plied together to be the weft. I think it’s going to be wonderfully moody.

I started the Mercurial Light warp yarn…

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And it is gorgeous. Add in that it’s on one of my favorite bases, BFL + Tussah Silk and I’m in heaven. What a joy to spin!

So did I make forward progress this week? It’s not a sure thing, I don’t think. I’m thinking that even with the total tear back of my Brillig, though, that I did finish a sock, start another sock, re-start Brillig, and spin through maybe 8oz of fiber. That’s not bad. I will need to pick up the pace a bit if I want to hit my Christmas goals, but even those are flexible — I’m just never going to be someone who stresses about hitting holiday knitting deadlines. But I digress. The important thing, for me at least, is enjoying the process and continuing to move forward. So in some ways, I suppose all progress is forward progress, even when it involves ripping back. That makes perfect sense, right? That’s forward progress through frogging!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unplugged

Well, friends, I’m back from a week long vacation. One week from being generally out of cell service. And I have to be honest, it was exactly what I needed.

We knew we wanted to do a camping trip because Mr Knitting Sarah loves camping, we’ve got all sorts of new places to explore now that we’re farther north, and because it’s significantly less expensive than hotel-ing it for a week. Because of the move, though, we weren’t able to schedule anything out very far in advance and therefore when we finally had the dates set, we weren’t able to schedule the whole week in one spot. Mr Knitting Sarah — brilliant vacation planner that he is — organized us into a three campground itinerary to not only give us lots to see and do, but also a great taste of some of the parks that are now a lot closer for us.

Our first stop was Copper Falls State Park. It also happened to be the day of the Solar Eclipse, so we got an early start and luckily were able to get our tent set up before venturing out to find a view of the eclipse.

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Mr Knitting Sarah knows a lot about optics and so in preparation for the eclipse he made a filter for our spotting scope. It was impressive. He literally made it out of a plastic jelly jar and some filter sheets he bought. It worked great… until it clouded over on us about 35 minutes into the eclipse. No bother though as we went for a hike…

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An eerily dark hike, but pretty nonetheless, as Copper Falls always is. On the way back, we raced incoming rainstorms…

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Even Moose was egging me on! It’s hard not to hussle when you see that face up ahead!

We took a bit of a drive while it rained and then ended up at Loon Lake in the park where we — you guessed it — watched a Loon.

We only had the one night at Copper Falls and we awoke early to hit the road — we were headed North! And the day before my boy had agreed to take boat cruise around the Apostle Islands with me. As we got in line, the captain came around and told the 20 or so of us there that they were expecting the lake to have 3-5ft waves and that they’d have to amend the tour because it was unsafe to go all the way to the outer island. Anyone wanting a refund they’d honor it. After our story salmon fishing earlier this summer, we were undeterred though. After 3 more reminders that we could claim a refund (no judgement!), we got underway.

In a word, it was indeed lumpy. I tried to take photos to capture it, but really, there’s no way you can. Despite being soaked through my raincoat by spray and having slightly numb fingers (because there was no way I was going down below when I could enjoy the Lake Superior air!), there were brief moments of this…

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And this…

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And this guy, who, after being 80% convinced we might die the first 30 minutes, really started to enjoy himself.

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Until he took a hefty spray/splash directly to the kisser in the final leg home. It was an epic spray/splash that was followed by a collective “Oooooooh!” from our fellow tourists after which everyone looked with nervous smiles, that plainly said, “Oh, that looked really bad!” It was. It was wet. And cold as the water temp was in the high 40s or low 50s. He’s a trooper though and I was glad to have the time with him.

From there, we caught the ferry out to Madeline Island. And thus enjoyed two and half days of this…

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It was perfection. On our final beach day, the kids and I took the long walk from one side of the Big Bay to the other. It wasn’t my hip’s favorite thing, but it was important for my heart. And sometimes the heart has to win.

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Yeah, it does.

Did I mention that all along the way there was knitting?

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There was knitting. All along the way. ❤ And most of the knitting was on these handspun socks.

From here, we spent a day in Duluth. It was sort of on the way to our next destination, Pattison State Park, and we needed to pick up a few groceries. There also happens to be a yarn shop in Duluth that I like to stop at, but that just was a happy coincidence (or a well-planned detour… one or the other…).

I dropped the mister and the kids at the very cool Great Lakes Aquarium and Moose and I headed to Yarn Harbor. It’s definitely one of my favorite destination yarn shops, partly because I love Duluth, but also because it has such a great selection. I always spring for one of the shop’s exclusive colorways dyed by Three Irish Girls Yarns. I think I have 3 other colorways from this collection that I’ve picked up on previous trips. I’ve knit zero so far, but I have zero doubt that I’ll get there. They are beautiful. This time I picked the ‘Yarn Harbor’ colorway.

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Oh, and an Arne & Carlos Regia Pairfect that I thought would be cute for my daughter. As a side note, I’ve always read “Pairfect” as “Parfait” until writing this. “Pairfect” is way cuter and makes much more sense.

One of the benefits of a camping trip that involves morning temps in the 50s is that the dog can wait in the car for short bursts. Moose is an excellent guard/nap dog in the car.

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And he did such an excellent job watching over the car while I was in the yarn shop that he and I went for a nice walk on the Duluth Lakewalk.

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What a beautiful morning in a beautiful place! We picked up our other 3 people and had a wonderful lunch at the dog-friendly Little Angie’s Cantina and Grill before heading out to the next campground.

Pattison State Park features the states highest waterfalls…

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Which also happen to include the fourth highest East of the Rockies. We viewed the taller of the two, Big Manitou Falls, on day one and resolved to check out Twin Little Manitou Falls the following morning.

With rain coming on the horizon, we broke camp a couple days early and decided to head home, but not until we took the quick jaunt down to the little falls…

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It was still dark and cloudy and foggy when we visited, but Mr KS used his magic touch to get this photo. Such a perfect capture!

We headed home with loads of laundry, plenty of good memories, and one tired puppy.

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So tired, in fact, that he couldn’t keep his tongue in his mouth while he slept.

The laundry is almost all washed, the dog is almost recovered, and we’re back in the grind of every day. The memories remain, though, and they are awfully grand.. Oh, and for those who are interested in those handspun socks, they’re done. I’ll be back with more on those soon — they are pretty grand, too.