Birthdays, Toads, Computer Problems, and the Stuff of Life

This week has had it all, my friends. And by the way, where did the week go?!

It all started with a mad dash to get both kids to the finish line with their schoolwork for the end of the year. It turns out when you’ve got a measly 5 math lessons remaining, it takes everything you have just to get it finished — both the kids working them and me in correcting them. My goal was to get them both to wrap things up before my son’s birthday on the 10th and thankfully, amazingly, the last test was taken on the 8th. After correcting that last test, I think I sort of mentally declared mission accomplished, whirred a couple times, and fell asleep standing up for a while because this year, and especially this spring, felt loooong.

But there was a cake to be ordered and gifts to wrap for my baby boy’s TWELTH birthday. Twelve. How is that even possible? We don’t describe him as ‘taller than me’ anymore, now it’s more like ‘he’s a little shorter than Mr. KS.’ Alas, my sweet little dude may not be very little any more, but he’s still the sweetest, kindest, most helpful kid around. In fact, I also taught him to mow the lawn this week. He did so much better than I anticipated and I’m very proud of him for it. We even found this guy in the process.

He’s the second one we’ve found in the yard, so I now know to watch carefully while mowing in one section where they like to hang out. Got to take care of these cute, little chubby guys.

In any case, I can tend toward being kind of emotional for birthdays, but I managed to hold it together pretty well for this one. I didn’t even lose it when we had his cake made with a drawing from one of the comic books our boy draws.

He writes a comic series called The Adventures of Pike & Perch so we snagged one to make one extra special cake. I got the bakery the text, the photo, and said, “I trust you to make it awesome” and they did! He absolutely loved it. Even our girl thought it was the coolest thing ever. In case you’re wondering, the big green spotted guy is Pike fighting with one of Perch’s henchmen. Seriously now, I can’t make this stuff up.

The weather was awfully nice this week, so we’ve hiked and biked (yay for Mr. KS getting a new bicycle!) and walked and been enjoying the heck out of our new town and neighborhood. I even tested out the deck for spinning.

It’s pretty much perfection. I’m oh-so-close to finishing up the singles for my latest spin. I literally have maybe 5grams left to go, but a super secret project came up so that took up and continues to occupy a bit of my week. I’ll let you in on it as soon as I can!

 I did started to organize myself for the Tour de Fleece though…

Although “organize” might be a generous word for what was happening. It was more like pulling a lot of fiber out and putting the superfine merino into a pile next to some other random bits I’d like to spin. Yeah, I don’t think “organize” is really the right word at all.. maybe create controlled chaos is more accurate? Anyways, suffice to say I’m thinking about and starting to get things ready for my Tour de Fleece this year. It was pretty exciting to touch the fibers and dream up projects for a while.

And then one day I was thinking about the whole fade fad and this happened…

Because if I could actually spin these each into 400yard fingering weight skeins, I could knit them into one epic So Faded sweater. Just without the garter in the upper arms because I don’t need extra bulkiness in that general region. Stockinette will do just fine, thank you very much. But yes! It would be one grand find your fade if I do say so myself.

And if life wasn’t busy enough this week, believe it or not just as I finally finished up all the things I needed to do on Thursday (including settling out the last of our paperwork from the move) and planned to get a blog post or two written for the FOs sitting on my desk, my computer decided that it was through using its power connection. It was how my last computer died, also, and after a few tries to convince the connection to work, I just started to frantically back up my desktop. I do back-up regularly, but hadn’t since the move, so I figured if it was going to die I at least wanted my work up to date. It’s currently accepting power, but is slowly losing juice over time so we are marching toward a slow demise, I think. Please bear with me as I sort through the business of figuring out a new machine. I’ll attempt to keep using this one, but since the connection is failing and unpredictable, I may be able to use it for weeks or it may just die tomorrow. Whatever the case, I’ll work to do a better job of getting up my daily snapshots up which are easy to do with my phone so that we can stay in touch whatever fate holds for this machine.

Birthdays and toads and biking and hiking and cake and school work and computer problems and spinning and fiber ogling and secret projects… this really is the stuff of life. It’s nice to be back to normal, just trying to enjoy and keep up with it all.

Happy Anniversary *GIVEAWAY*!

Today is a special day for me — it marks one whole year since I officially introduced my Knitting Sarah site and gave it a proper address at knittingsarah.com. For someone with no formal web or photography training, it was a big & intimidating undertaking for me. I had no idea if I would be able to construct the space that I wanted. Of course, it didn’t help that when I first started building this site, I didn’t exactly have a clear vision of where it would take me or what it would become. Years and years ago when I start blogging, it was more about snapshots & less about words simply because with a young family that was all I had time for. In building this site I hoped that I would be able to continue with the projects that I had going — my ‘Today on my needles…’ serial, for example — and also create a little more room for words; reflection, humor, advice, reviews, and — most of all — a place for me to more fully document my work & my life. After a year, I feel like I have made myself a rather lovely little home here at knittingsarah.com and I could not be happier about that fact.

A huge part of the warmth I feel here is thanks to you — my readers. Whether you realize it or not, I am excited to answer your questions & respond to your comments. I so love hearing from old friends, past students, and new friends alike. As my view count marches swiftly on toward 20,000hits, I am humbled and so glad to have each of you here with me as I discover and explore what it means to be a knitter & spinner today and how the fiber arts fit in with my life as a wife & mum. Whether you read this because you are in my circle of family or friends, you love nature & the outdoors, you’re a birdwatcher, a mum, a knitter, a spinner, or whatever the draw — I just want to say thank you. I appreciate that you take time out of your day to read my stories & look at my photos.

To show my appreciation, I am offering a giveaway!  Hooray! Two lucky readers will win a skein of handspun yarn spun by yours truly.

The first skein is my ‘Hitting the Road to Rhinebeck’ from Susan’s Fiber Shop — dyed exclusively for Susan’s by Frabjous Fibers I spun this into a roughly worsted weight 3-ply.

20130822-140534.jpgA blend of wool, bamboo, silk, & tencel, this blend is about 150yds and is the perfect colorway for the upcoming autumn.

The second skein is the Caravan colorway, also from Frabjous Fibers. Spun into a heavy worsted or bulky 2-ply this 100% merino wool is sure to be nice & cozy!

20130822-140542.jpgThis is skein is roughly 90yards of soft, smooshy wool.

I did my best to pick season appropriate colors so that you could knit it up right away should you be one of the lucky two winners. Of course, as I am writing this I realize that actually is hemisphere biased… well, how about we call the colorways gender neutral. That’s good, too, right?!  Please know that this is handspun yarn — the weight & yardage is my best estimation & there will be irregularities within each skein. If you haven’t spun with handspun yarn, get ready to enjoy a very different kind of yarn!

In any case, to enter the giveaway simple leave a comment below. Refer a friend & get him or her to enter the giveaway by leaving a comment & I’ll give you BOTH an extra entry. Entries will be taken through 10am CST on Monday, August 26th, 2013.

Thanks again for a great year!

10 Random Facts.

It’s seems as though this ‘Random Facts’ things has been going around. I first saw it on the iMake blog, Martine at iMake got the idea from Crafted by Carlyyou know how these things go on the interwebs. So I figured, to celebrate the whole 10,000 hits thing (yay!) I would post up a 10 Random Facts about me blog because…. well, why not?

All right, here goes.

1. My favourite nut is the pistachio. I love it in pretty much any of its many possible manifestations.

2. I am a coffee drinker and a good fresh cup always makes me very happy.

3. I was born with congenital hip dysplasia which was not caught early. I have had multiple corrective — more like salvage — operations on it including limb lengthening & reconstruction.

4. In college I studied abroad in Italy, just outside of Florence to be exact.

5. I have worked many odd jobs including, but not limited to: grocery store clerk, manager a Far East & African Art shop, screen printer, image library staffer, optics (binoculars & spotting scopes) salesperson, and  therapist/teacher for autistic children.

6. It was always a dream of mine to hike the Appalachian Trail.

7. I was lucky enough to work on Martha’s Vineyard during summer breaks in college.

8. The smell of saltwater might be my favorite smell in the world.

9. I love being outdoors, but prefer to steer clear of the habitat of large wild animals that can attack or eat me.

10. Dark chocolate makes me sneeze.

That’s me. A weird hodgepodge of what-not — it makes me who I am.

20120818-154521.jpg

 And that ‘me’ usually has a smile to share… as long as I’ve been properly caffeinated.