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!

A Chance to Win…

I don’t know exactly what it is about late spring and early summer, but I always decide I need to knit a few washcloths. When I found myself finished with all but one major project this week and the one project I had was not super travel friendly and my kids wanted to hit a local park to go biking after I’d already mowed the lawn and had to sit out the activity, I thought I should just go ahead and sneak in a quick wash cloth. Perfect, right?!

I’d caught wind of the Knitter’s Pride Spring Home Decor KAL/CAL and it was just the ticket to motivate me. I grabbed the new free pattern from Stefanie from over at Handmade by Stefanie, the Spa-Riffic Wash Cloth and got to work.

I did share these photos earlier in the week, but I thought Id’ share with the full story today because I just couldn’t believe how fast this knit up.

This was my quick cast-on before we left home…

And this was just about an hour and a half at the park with the kids…

And by the evening I was done.

One more photo of the finished wash cloth? Of course!

It’s awesome! It’s really large — I did an extra couple repeats just to use up the yarn I had, so it’s 11 x 11inches. It’s totally reversible, too, so I think this pattern would be awesome for wash cloths and hand towels if you just adjust sizing to your preference.

For those interested, the Knitter’s Pride Home Decor KAL/CAL runs through June 30th — pop over here to the Knitter’s Pride blog for more information on how to participate. They’ve got some pretty sweet prizes up for grabs for participants including a set of the same interchangeable needles I used for my wash cloth — the Royale Special Interchangeable Set — and a couple super awesome goodies. Definitely take a little time to check it out if you’re so inclined and maybe knit yourself your spring/summer wash cloths and maybe even win a prize doing it!

Socks with Sarah, a KAL for 2017

First and foremost, I’d like to wish everyone reading a very, very

Happy New Year!

Three years ago today almost on a whim I launched a knitalong which I coined Socks with Sarah. The whole idea behind it was to take a year and focus on knitting socks. My handknit sock drawer was empty and I desperately wanted to fill it. Goals were completely open to personal interpretation, but the general idea was to knit on socks every day. Basically it was just applying the old maxim, “a little goes a long way,” to sock knitting. It ended up being an amazing year with far more knitters participating than I ever dreamed possible. I ended up making a lot of wonderful knitting friends and knitting a whole lot of socks.

Fast forward to a month or so ago when I shared here on the blog a pair of socks that I’d finished and how Socks with Sarah was kind of living on sporadically in my knitting life. And someone asked, “Could we do that knitalong again?”

And I thought, “Why not?”

So today, I’m officially launching Socks with Sarah 2017 — hooray!

This reprise will be a little more laid-back than the earlier version. We’ve had some conversations in the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group about what knitters would like it to be and the consensus was far and away that there was much more desire for more of a gathering space to knit socks together than providing challenges or goals of knitting loads and loads of socks. Since many of our sock drawers are still pretty full from the last time around, the idea was more to try some new patterns, knit up some stash or fun new yarn, and just to take up the cause of knitting socks once again because, let’s be honest, it’s really fun!

One thing that hasn’t changed is that this knitalong is open to first-time and veteran sock knitters alike. All of my tutorials for the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock pattern are still available on YouTube here making it nice & easy to knit your first socks as I guide you through all the transitions from the cast-on to kitchener stitch. And, of course, we’ll be meeting in our happy little ravelry group right here sharing, cheering each other on, troubleshooting, and just enjoying the company of other sock knitters. Instagram users can feel free to use the same tag as last time, #sockswithsarah, too!

I’ve started my first pair of socks for 2017….

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Snow. Cold. Moose. Socks.

Where I live, January is the month when the magic of winter begins to wear off & instead of eliciting gooey comparisons to snowglobes a new snowfall tends to just get everyone complaining about shoveling… again. I take care of the snow removal at our house. We don’t have a snowblower, so ‘snow removal’ is simply me. Outside. With a shovel. I am lucky in that about half the time our neighbors snowblow for us, so I return the favor and shovel for them whenever I can. This morning was one of those mornings. And you know, I really don’t mind any of it — the snow, the cold, the extra work. Honestly, I’d much rather shovel than mow the lawn. I just love winter, even in late January.

With 5 or 6″ of fresh snow I was thankful that it was the light, fluffy, airy variety and I had the two houses’ walks all cleared out before long. Since I was bundled and we’re expecting another stint of subzero temps to move into the area tonight, I went ahead and filled all the bird feeders, too. And then, when all the work was done a little play was in order.

20140126-100558.jpgSomeone was a wee bit excited to romp in the new snow and how could I deny this face?

20140126-100638.jpgWe use frisbees this time of year — they are harder to lose in the snow than tennis balls — and Moose fetched his little retriever’s heart out and then promptly laid down for a spell to rest & chew on his apparently indestructible frisbee (thanks Grandama & Grandpa!).

20140126-100609.jpgMoose loves to ‘drop’ his frisbee in the snow so he has to find it again.

20140126-100707.jpgThe finding looks like this. I love this dog.

20140126-100736.jpgWhen it was time to head in, he tried to use camouflage to avoid the inevitable. It worked for a time… again, how do you deny that face a little extra play?

Of course, shoveling wasn’t the only thing I did this morning. I was awake for a couple hours before I could get outside without disturbing the neighborhood. So I did this:

20140126-100446.jpgOh yes, I did. I finished Socks 1.1 & 1.2 for Socks with Sarah.

20140126-100506.jpgThey are made with Cloudlover Yarn & Fiber Sock Yarn in Aegean. I just love the colors, as always is the case from Cloudlover.

20140126-100543.jpgAnd there they are. Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock made with that gorgeous Cloudlover yarn.

I am going to give them a wash before I wear them, but the air is so dry they will be ready to wear in no time. For those of you knitting along, I am a bit early finishing up, but I did shoot the video tutorials along the way and I will post them on the designated days as promised. Just keep knitting away!

As for me…

20140126-104008.jpgI have some yarns to wind and choices to make and exciting new projects to begin. After all, when the work is done a little play is in order, right?

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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