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!

New Adventures On The Horizon

If you’ve been wondering why I sort of fell off the radar last week, I’ve got some very exciting news to share:

The Knitting Sarah clan is moving!

Last week Mr Knitting Sarah was presented an opportunity to relocate for work and it didn’t take long at all for us to agree that it would be a fantastic move for our family. Since we’re not the kind to hem & haw and knowing the move would need to happen relatively quickly, we jumped right into action and started to make our plans for the move. Sifting through what will go with us and what we’ll donate, helping the kids get excited for the new town and allaying their fears, working on a timeline for how to get our own house sold, and beginning to house hunt all happened as soon as we made the decision to go. Thanks to my parents’ willingness to watch the kiddos & Moose for the weekend, my husband and I were even able to spend the weekend house-hunting and getting to know our soon-to-be new hometown, Marshfield, Wisconsin.

Now it’s worth noting that I actually grew up visiting the area. My mom and dad both graduated from high school just north of Marshfield and while they moved to the eastern part of the state when they married, a lot of their family members remained local (and they both come from large families). Family reunions were almost always held in neighboring towns and regular visits were made. I remember once a year I’d find myself piling into the backseat of my aunt’s Buick so we could drive down to Thorp to a certain butcher shop which my mom’s very Polish family swore had the best Polish sausage around. Sundays spent in Medford, meant my Grandma’s fresh paczkis after church. She always added raisins, but since I wasn’t a fan she’d leave a couple plain just for me. My Grandpa lived in Greenwood and before he passed a few years back, he spent free time touring the area playing his concertina with his polka band. I could go on and on — there are endless memories and lots of places that I’m excited to revisit.

I’ve been back once or twice for family events in my adult life, but the trips were always very quick and family focused so spending time in Marshfield proper this past weekend gave me a chance to really get a feel for the town. Marshfield is a small town in north-central Wisconsin, but as home to a large hospital and medical research facility it’s a really unique & diverse place. On our first evening in town, we visited the Blue Heron Pub where I enjoyed a delicious yellow curry dish with fresh naan. In fact, all the restaurants we visited had delicious food. We even found time to try out Biggby Coffee for a quick morning jolt before house-hunting. As a family that really loves a lot of different kinds of food, we were so impressed with the quality and variety of food available. And coffee, too. Coffee is very important, of course.

It’s a beautiful community,as well, that boasts a beautiful new library, lots of mature trees, bike paths, and green spaces including the Wildwood Zoo which focuses on North American wildlife and includes some wonderful nature trails, right in town. For the times you want something a little more wild, drive in any direction for just a few minutes and you can find yourself out in wide-open country, under some of the brightest stars you can imagine. There’s even a marsh just outside of town! How perfect is that for my little family?! McMillan Marsh has seasonal bike paths, hiking trails — the works. My husband cannot wait to spot his first black bear which are considered “common” in the area and “abundant” just about one county over. Clearly there will be new and exciting adventures in my near future!

The best part, though, by far was the people. Everyone was so kind and incredibly friendly. If all works as planned, we’ll be living in the community where my husband works and cutting his commute time way down, too, a detail for which we are all over-the-moon. I have zero doubts that we’ll love our new hometown and that we’ll find the perfect neighborhood for our family. We really just can’t wait to make this move and introduce our kids to and begin to explore this vibrant, beautiful community.

What does all this means for my blog space here? Simply put, it’ll be quiet for a while. For me, the coming weeks and months will be filled with all that comes with moving a family and household to a new town and making that as smooth for my family as possible is my first priority. I’ve already begun the process of stepping away from the Ravelry groups I moderate for the time being and am leaning on others lead the way for a bit. My knitting and spinning will likely languish. I will share snapshots when I can and I’ve got a few reviews that I’ll clear off the decks when I can make the time, but until we get settled in I most likely won’t be taking much time to write here. I fully intend to be back with bells on as soon as possible though and I do hope you’ll join me on the other side of this move as I’ll have all new (mis)adventures and wooly exploits to share.

For now though, I’ll leave you with the one photo I took on my whirlwind trip to our new hometown…

img_5992The sunrise on our last morning.

There are, of course, a lot of emotions rattling around me these days — excitement, nervousness, happiness, fear — the list could go on and on for a very long time. At times, it’s all really overwhelming as things are moving so incredibly fast. As I groggily snapped this photo, though, this sunrise reminded me that every day brings with it new, beautiful beginnings both big and small. You just have to be awake enough — in spirit and mind — to make the most of them. Thank goodness I know where I can get a good cup of coffee.

Where Am I? A Social Media Update

I’m very aware that the Earth is super big (don’t even get me started on trying to comprehend how big the universe is) and the internet — while bringing us closer together in some ways — is also is a thing of hugeness with a never-ending maze of information and ideas. If you’re reading this, somehow, some way you’ve found your way to my teeny tiny little corner of the so-called world-wide-web, my blog. You may have even chosen a to find a way to stay abreast my latest posts — if that’s the case, I extend a very big ‘thank you’. However you found your way here, really, I say thank you. Writing this blog, sharing my family & crafty stories bring me a lot of joy. I love the exchange of inspiration and ideas that goes on here, I really do.

As you may be aware, in addition to my work here on the blog, I also share on a couple different social media platforms. One of my favorites, Instagram, is making some changes behind the scenes that will monkey with whose photos get seen based on popularity and what-not. What a bummer! I don’t need to get into it because I get that everyone’s trying to make their money and I don’t begrudge anyone that nor do I propose that I know the best way for any app to work, but I thought I’d take this moment to just go over how & where I share on the different social media platforms — including a couple new spots. My hope here is that by letting you know what outlets I use and how I use them, that I can help you can find the easiest and best way to stay in touch & up to date with my latest posts.

Instagram@knittingsarah

I post a lot of photos on Instagram — some I later use in stories here on the blog and some I don’t. Please feel free to turn on notifications for my posts should you not want to miss any. To do this, just click on the three dots in the upper right when you’re looking at my profile and select ‘Turn on Post Notifications’.

FacebookKnitting Sarah

Facebook is a platform I use to share new blog posts, so if you’re a Facebook user and want to see when I have a new post right in your Feed you can. I do interact regularly & promptly with comments, so please feel free to say hi!

Twitter@KnittingSarah

Twitter is an outlet I use solely to share new posts. I do not interact with comments here. I don’t have anything against Twitter, but I don’t have endless time and have to pick and choose where I’m active. Just sharing new blog posts here allows me to still let Twitter followers know when I’ve got a new post.

RavelryTheKnittingSarah

I do my best to keep my knitting projects up to date on Ravelry and I’m working toward the same with my spinning although I’m not there yet. I’m very active in both the Friends on Knitting Sarah Group as well as the Three Waters Farm Group. I pop up from time to time in other groups, but these are my main haunts.

Periscope@knittingsarah

I haven’t touched Periscope since before the holidays! This little live interactive app is so much fun, butlife got busy and my lack of a tripod for my phone was posing some technical difficulties. That said, I’m working on getting my equipment issues resolved (finally) and I’m  hoping to start carving a little time out for it again soon.

New! Elloknittingsarah

I’m new here! I noticed a bunch of Instagram friends migrating over and since I wanted to stay in touch I opened an account. For right now it will look a lot like what I post on Instagram, but I will continue to explore this platform.

New! Bloglovin’ Knitting Sarah

I’m not 100% sure the best way to share this one! I’ve been meaning to get a blog reader organized for well over a year and I’ve finally done it.  My reading time comes in little snippets here and there, so I really needed a one-stop spot where I can kind of have my favorite blogs delivered or collected to help me stay up with them. I tested out a few different platforms and in the end I settled for Bloglovin’. I like the format and it really has helped me to keep up with my favorite blogs. If you’re looking for a similar blog roll/reader type platform, I’d recommend this one!

If you’ve got any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Thanks for hanging with me through this post — I feel like considering what’s been happening in the different platforms that it was worth taking a little time to reacquaint you with where you can find me. And now we can all carry on, right?! Hopefully my latest FOs will be ready to share in the very near future — there’s a whole lot of drying, button sewing, and other random finishing happening at my house right now and I’ve got at least one more project on the cusp of being wrapped up. Keep your eyes peeled, I’ll be back shortly!

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Oh hi! It’s me, Knitting Sarah

Someone asked me in the Ravelry group this week to share a little about myself. Since the start of the Ravelry group & Socks with Sarah, I know a good number of you are new to the blog & while I know you can get the concise history of Knitting Sarah in the about section, I thought this might be a good chance for you to get to know just a little more of who you’re dealing with here.

I grew up in the countryside a couple miles outside of a town that’s sign as you enter literally declares, “No Mayor, No City Council, No Government — Life is good!” My parents built a home on about 10acres of land — a little marsh, a little swamp, a little woods, and a lot of room to roam. I grew up romping about, “working” in the garden, annoying my older sister, and daydreaming. I remember the most exciting days were those when my mom sent me to the garage to hang out with my dad. Today, with a six-year-old daughter of my own, I suspect those were the days I was especially chatty. In any case, my dad would set me up with a 2×4, some nails, and a hammer. When I ran out of nails, I pulled them all out & started over. Life was good.

Between this & the crochet & sewing & quilting & small engine repair that went on at my house as a kid, I’ve always been surrounded by & fascinated by building things — how small pieces intertwine & interact to make bigger things. While I have a Bachelor’s degree in Art History, my undergraduate studies included everything from my core courses in art history, to physical geography & geology, to weather & climate, to a lot of languages. I always felt a little bit directionless — I think that’s part of why I also traveled a lot during this time, but looking back I think it was all in attempts to understand how the world around me worked — from the physical world, to the social world both across the US & abroad, to the art world, to the history of the world. While not exactly practical as far as getting a job goes I learned a lot, especially about writing and how to talk about & convey to others how those small pieces work together to create bigger things.

It was after college that I finally got to learn to knit. I had been sewing & crocheting for as long as I could remember and while I’m capable in those areas, I lacked passion for them and really didn’t push myself to improve. I had always been drawn to knitting, the fabric it created and the look of the items you could create. Fresh out of college, newly married, and not exactly flush with cash, as a Christmas gift one year my parents gave me the funds for a knitting class. I jumped in the deep end, learning to knit via a simple custom cardigan & followed up with a finishing class. And I was on my way.

After having my kids, I commit to staying home full-time with them. My husband works long hours, so I can be flexible and always available for them as well as do all the things in & around the house that no one — not even me — wants to do. Everything from cleaning gutters to paying bills to scheduling everyone’s appointments to getting the kids to finish homework to making sure there’s mouthwash. I’m the lady who gets it done. You could say I’m the eye of the storm, the center that keeps all the beautiful madness spinning ’round. And it works for us. The fact that I do all this stuff means that when my husband has days off we get to have good ol’ fashioned unimpeded family adventures. It’s not without sacrifice for each of us, but — like I said — it works for us and we are a pretty darn happy bunch for it.

I came to spinning only a couple years ago. I started with a drop spindle, spending an inordinate amount of time dropping it while producing little to no yarn. Then I tried learning on a wheel and it went much better. I found my wheel, but had little time for lessons so I was lucky enough to have a couple spinning friends point me in the right direction to get me going. There was a long period of trial & error, then it all started to kind of click. I’m lucky to have some excellent voices that I follow online who offer great advice when I ask and I am just having the best time learning to make yarn.

It’s also true that I spent in the neighborhood of 3years as a knitting instructor at my local yarn shop, Firefly Fibers. I truly, truly loved the job & the people with whom I got to work. I was lucky enough to teach small groups & I loved that my classes revolved around helping knitters find their own path within the craft. I learned so much from my students and am so grateful for the time I spent in the classroom. I left the post last June to accommodate my family’s needs — a major job change and family illness meant that the time I was committing to my classes just didn’t work for my family any more, so sadly I signed off. It was one of those decisions in life that was awfully hard to accept, but that I knew in my heart was right.

To maintain a creative outlet, I opted to keep up with my writing here — documenting my knitting, spinning, & family life. The last year has really showed me how the two are irrevocably intertwined and it has further solidified my commitment to what has always been at the heart of my craft as teacher, writer, knitter, and spinner:  that it’s about finding your path, your passion within the craft. Learn to knit. Love to knit. That’s always been the theme, the dream. Take this craft, make it your own, and love it. That’s what I want to continue to inspire & pass on to all of you. That’s why I keep coming back to the computer and typing away. In return, I’ve been inspired by & grateful for all of you, my amazing global knitting community. Y’all are truly great; thoughtful, full of inspiration & laughter. You make me smile.

As you’ll notice both here on the blog as well as on the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry group, I pop on and off-line as life allows. Some days it will probably feel like I’m glued to the screen, sometimes I’ll be quiet. It all depends on where life takes me that day, so please know that if you’ve written a comment or contacted me I will be getting back to you just as soon as I can. I promise.

With all that said, how about a few random quirky tidbits about me?

1. Dark chocolate makes me sneeze (but I love it anyways).

2. I am an avid birdwatcher .

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This is me looking super tough on the trail. I’m one super tough nerd.

3. I sleep with a 90lb chocolate lab on my feet every night. Not at my feet. On them.

4. I swim laps for exercise. Poorly, but it’s the effort that counts I think.

5. I make playlists to spin by that are tempo specific to the speed I’m spinning.

6. I was a quintessential band geek in high school & could play almost any instrument in band at least a little.

7. I am not a great cook.

8. I am a pretty decent baker.

9. I love the smell of saltwater, but I’ll take any big water.

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This is a picture of one of my fave days ever, with my fave people & dog (who is swimming).

10. I still think going fishing with my dad is as much of a treat as I did when I was a kid.

That’s me, that’s Knitting Sarah. I can’t wait to get to know you, too!

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Oh, and this is Moose. The one who sleeps on my feet.