The World Falls Away

It feels like I have barely stopped moving since Tuesday evening when we brought our little Bear home. All the things happening outside of my home have fallen away as I focus on trying to find the right balance and rhythm to everyday life again. The fact that holidays are approaching in mere days is inconceivable.

I’m woefully behind in all previous planning as I work on savoring these puppy days. On Wednesday Bear became aware of what a leash is and we learned that one of the best ways to teach him is to have Moose lead the way. Now being on a leash is almost entirely about keeping up with his big brother! On Thursday, he discovered pine cones and had his first bath. On Friday, he found out he could play with sticks. Today he learned how much fun a tennis ball can be and went for a walk on his first trail hike and I am still picking the little burs out of his long coat.

As I tried to explain to my mom on the phone, having a 7 week old puppy in the house is kind of like having a toddler and an infant rolled into one. The sweet trust and innocence makes your heart melt over and over again, but there is also that unstoppable curiosity. And it is so much fun to watch him learn about the world, especially how much he looks to Moose for guidance and how Moose tries to teach the little dude. This, you see, is how you help make dinner…

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And this is how you look super pathetic and tiny when Mom is making dinner…

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And this is  how you sleep in Mom & Dad’s bed…

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Yes, since we expect Bear to be over 100lbs and Moose is 90lbs, this will eventually be a space issue, but for now it brings Bear much security and us some much needed rest. We will cross the space issue bridge when the time comes.

Aside from all-things-dog, very little has been happening. We did our best to finish up some pre-holiday school goals. A friend came over and we decorated Christmas cookies. That was chaos one step from mayhem, but so much fun. I finished knitting a hat…

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This is a Rikke Hat (a free Ravelry download) and knit in my handspun yarn from Three Water’s Farm’s August installment of their Top of the Month Club.

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I am very happy with the yarn — it just knit up so nicely!

I was curious about how the brim would be in garter with a smaller needle, but without ribbing and I’m happy to report the fit is great.

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Obviously I made the slouchy version — I just find it’s easier with my longer hair knowing I get a messy bun in there if I need to. I have enough yarn on there to put a pom on, but I don’t think I’m going to bother. I like it as is.

With supervision, I also started another hat…

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I tried Judy Marples’ Knit Night Hat originally, but wasn’t a fan of how it was knitting up in the yarn, so I went searching and found Clare Devine’s Acai hat pattern. It’s a much better fit for the yarn!

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It has a 2 round repeat which is about as good as it gets when you are picking it up and setting it down constantly.

I also started a pair of socks in this Kickapoo Sock Yarn that was a gift from a good friend…

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The colorway is called Blue Heron and it’s one of the prettiest colorways and nicest sock yarns I’ve knit. Obviously I’m not super far, but it’s a start! And sharing the beginning here has reminded me that I finished a pair of socks a couple weeks ago! I’ve worn them a couple times, but I will try to snap some photographs after the holiday.

Speaking of which, if I don’t get a chance to log on and write before next week, I want to wish you all a very heartfelt Happy Holidays! Whatever holidays you celebrate, may they warm your heart, bring a smile to your face. When all is said and done, may you rest as soundly and contentedly as a 7 week old puppy after his first trail hike. And maybe even allow yourself let the rest of the world fall away for a little while to enjoy the simple, fleeting pleasures that make up this life.

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From all of mine, to you and yours — Happy Holidays!!!

 

 

 

O, Transience!

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I wanted to share this little blast from the past today because last week this little peanut turned 11. Where does the time go?! My parents came into town for the last half of the week to celebrate and we did it up right with some good quality family time and a cake from which we are still recovering…

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My girl — who in her mind is definitely the female version of Owen Grady, velociraptor wrangler of Jurassic World — created it. In case it’s not clear, she insisted we carve the cake into a hill-like shape and that it must have a “water feature” complete with truffle rocks. The gummy bears, of course, are the victims of this fierce predator and the red frosting and sprinkles, the carnage. It is weird that something so gruesome is also literally so insanely sweet. And I don’t care what anyone says, gummy bears should not be on a frosted cake, but I declined to tell the cake artist that. It was her day and her cake, after all.

Like birthdays, the march of time is relentless in its journey forward toward winter. Most of the leaves are down now and the temps have cooled off considerably. This is the time when most people start to skip their walks and hikes and stay cozy indoors, but not us! As is a family motto, “There is no bad weather, just poor clothing choices!”

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We are truly spoiled where we are that there is no shortage of trails to explore and most of the time we get them to ourselves. That means, plenty of time and space to examine the world around us.

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In all it’s weird…

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And wonderful glory, changing daily before our eyes. Even the greyest of days, even when it’s 40 degrees and spitting cold rain…

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There’s so much to see and enjoy. Trust me, it may look like a barren field, but there are loads of wonders out there!

At home, I’ve started exploring a new avenue, too…

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The support spindle! Isn’t this a pretty one?

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It’s a spalted maple “acorn” from Maine Fiber Tools. I’m still 100% thumbs when trying to use it, but I’ll keep at it. I’ll crack the code someday!

When not fumbling with the support spindle, I’ve been working on a spin for my mom…

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She was looking for something black for a neutral scarf and we found some battlings, procured from an LYS that has since shuttered its doors and a dyer that no longer dyes wool. I don’t know why, but it seems like another quiet reminder of the passing of time, how things change and evolve on all levels of this world.

I’ve also picked up a sock project that’s been on the back burner, simmering since July. I’ve knit on it here and there over the months and then I finished all the way to the last stitches on the toe a couple weeks ago… and couldn’t find my darning needle! The shame and horror!

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Alas, I tracked it down (finally), finished the toe, wove in my ends and started sock #2.

As always, the sock knit is an essential road trip must-have, so it rode along with me yesterday when we took the kiddos up to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum for their annual Birds in Art Exhibit.

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As a former student of art history, I’m always amazed how the lingo rushes back when you stick me in an art museum. This exhibition we find particularly good for our family because just like art helped me to better understand history way back when, the birds are an easy access point into viewing art for our kids.

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We are able to discuss the different media and subject matter and how to read the labels on the works of art. The hands-on exhibits provided by the museum are, of course, a favorite for our very hands-on crew. I certainly appreciated that they had a silk screening set-up out for touching since trying to explain to an 11-year-old what “a giant squeegee-like thing” is when describing silk screening is not super effective without a visual. So much for technical art lingo!

In any case, outside the museum, well, autumn was still whispering in some places.

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And this theme of time passing, kept presenting itself; from my girl’s birthday, to the seasons, to using familiar and learning new skills in my craft. It’s so important, the ebb and flow of all things, always on display, always evolving from one iteration to the next and setting us in motion.

O, transience! I am reminded to look for and celebrate the variance within the expected, to let go and welcome in what looks different than that to which I’ve grown accustomed, and to honor each changing moment as a step in this grand journey.

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I Just Have To Keep Looking

This week was another odd week. It’s been a trend lately that — ironically — has been stressing me out. Our family treasures that we have the freedom and means to spend time together, but it’s been taking advantage of this very freedom and its subsequent disruption of the schedule I built for our school days that has been wreaking havoc on my state of mind. For reasons unknown (beyond my desperate desire for an established routine, that is), I’ve been butting heads with a slightly chaotic reality lately that’s been at odds with my fabricated idea of school year normalcy. It’s left me feeling a little defeated and very tired. I realize it’s all in my head and really kind of ridiculous considering how much of the issue is all in my own perception of what “should be,” but I’ve been feeling weary nonetheless.

Today, however, I’m delighted to have a day at home. To reflect on the past busy week, share a bit here with you, and hopefully unearth a reminder that I may need to give myself a break; that maybe all the internal frustration is indeed pretty baseless and that I just need to relax a little and adjust my perspective. Can a day at home do all that?! I suppose we will find out!

It started, you see, with a hike…

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on a beautiful day with Moose.

There were flowers both new…

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and colorful…

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and spent…

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This is often the case this time of year. The leaves are starting to change here and it feels almost unreal that the summer is almost over and that fall is beginning to take hold. All those familiar markers that denote the coming fall were somehow disrupted in my mind this year and I feel taken by surprises by the red and yellow leaves starting to show in the trees and the cooler nights we’ve seen sporadically.

Somewhere during the week I managed to finish spinning some singles…

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“Painted Nettles” was such a colorful spin. I’m going to ply it as a simple 2-ply and I purchased a coordinating red to go with it to possibly use in a 2-color shawl knit someday. I’m really into this idea of spinning multiple skeins that work together for future 2 or 3 color projects. I’m in no rush with this one as I likely won’t get to the red anytime soon.

At mid-week, we all piled in the car and headed East. Mr. Knitting Sarah had meetings for work that took place a short drive from my parents’ house, so we rode along to spend some time with them. We left early Wednesday and dropped the kids and dog for some quality time with Grandma & Grandpa while Mr. KS & I headed to the beach…

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We don’t get much Big Water time anymore where we live and Mr. KS knows that it’s something that I miss dearly, so he made a point to take me and let me spend some time.

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I did some beach knitting and enjoyed the last of my morning coffee. We stayed a good long while, until Mr. KS started to get a little stir-crazy and hot in the sun. Where I could stay at the beach all day, he kind of hates the sun because he burns very easily. It makes the fact that he made a point of taking me all the sweeter! It was restorative, indeed, and I should add that on the knitting front, I still adore this knit!

The next day as Mr. KS went to his meetings, the kids and I spent quality time enjoying some panfish catch & release with my dad…

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We just went to a small lake a few miles from their house, but the water was so clear we could watch the little bluegills nibbling our worms. It was a beautiful day to be on the water! And when we returned, we grabbed a late lunch and then I volunteered to mow my parents’ lawn. They have a nice lawn tractor, so I listen to music and zoom along and get the job done for them. When we’re there long enough and it needs to be done, I never mind doing it.

After an early night and a somewhat quiet morning, we picked up Mr. KS from his last meeting and headed home in order to make it back for our town’s annual Maple Fall Festival where we had to work bright and early the following morning. We spent most of the day working, but playing, too.

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That’s my girl, “Zorbing” with gusto! If you ask me, she sort of looks like a girl trapped in a bubble in this image, but she swears she enjoyed it! We got home around dinner time, pretty exhausted from the cumulative effect of multiple days in the sun. When my head hit the pillow last night, it was heavy.

I woke up this morning, though, and was ready to take advantage of a day at home which seems to be exactly what someone else in this house needs as well…

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This is the current view under my desk (the white streak on his face is just a sunbeam, but that is his ear up against my knee — how this is comfortable, I have no idea). I think Moose might have been a little bummed to be trucked about all week with us and all the unpredictable comings and goings and then stuck home alone yesterday for most of the day. Poor, sweet fella!

In any case, dog plastered to me, I worked on a swatch for my Tecumseh sweater this morning…

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And I learned a few things:

  1. My yarn measures out to a DK weight (hooray!), but
  2. I do not like it knit to the prescribed gauge of 22sts = 4″
  3. I love it knit to the gauge of 19sts = 4″
  4. I can do math to figure out a way to (hopefully) make that work

And thus, the project moves on! I’m planning to prep my main color today and get spinning! I’ve got grey from 2 separate dyelots, so I will be prepping and mixing them all up to hopefully blend it all into one nice lot of yarn.

As I wrap this whole account up, I can’t help but recognize that it was a pretty amazing week, full of family and memories, and so many good experiences. True, my schedule was blown to bits and the dog is being a little weird today, but maybe that’s just the way it is. You just don’t get the whole kit & kaboodle — freedom and order, schedules and days at the beach. Somewhere in all of it, there’s got to be a balance to be found — be it in perspective and frame of mind or just making it all work together in harmony. I have to believe that balance is out there somewhere even if it’s been eluding me lately. I think I just have to keep looking.

 

 

Two WIPs, A Future WIP, And A Few Random Thoughts & Happenings

First of all, I want to extend a very heartfelt thank you to everyone who took the time to share words of encouragement after my last post. I’m sorry the message felt more dire than the reality to some — that was not my intention, of course! As most of you know, I write from the heart and believe in being frank, so I felt like letting y’all into my head a bit to see the doubt and joy and passion that are all rolled into what comes out here on the blog. I assure you, even on the occasions that Mr. Knitting Sarah & I have talked about the possibility of closing down the blog, when it’s felt unsustainable, he’s made the point that I need such an outlet. We whole-heartedly agree that I might be [more of] a handful without it. Thus, I will continue to keep writing as time allows.

On that note, I do have a few ideas in the works for the coming months and maybe even a bigger, grander scheme for next year — you’ll have to stay tuned for that! For the immediate future though, I’m going to work toward sharing more short posts intermingled with the longer sagas I’ve gotten in the habit of posting lately. I think that approach will jive a bit better with getting back into the swing of our school schedule which gives me wonderful structure, but more short bursts of free time than opportunities to write longer stories. And I’m going to work on getting back in touch with my “Today on my…” serials because I think those are fun and a nice way to stay in touch.

Where does that leave us today? Well, it’s Monday, my friends, in the truest sense of the word! Here at Knitting Sarah HQ it was our first full day of school. It started off with the whole house waking up at 5am to an extremely powerful, extremely close electrical storm outside. You’d think I’d have been ahead of schedule for the early wake-up call, but I was not. Mr. KS and I enjoyed the light show over coffee and conversation and then it was a mad dash to be ready for the school bell (there’s no actual bell, but we do start promptly at 8am).

I’m happy to report that other than the most intense street cleaning I’ve ever witnessed (can you say 4+hours?!) and spending some quality time talking with a nice lady named Sheri from the customer service department of a publisher who provided a link to nowhere in place of a registration page for their online content, it went very smoothly. Rather than try to cram a lot into smaller time blocks as I did when the kids were younger when they benefit from switching things up more frequently, I’m working off of a schedule I drafted with larger blocks of time in the hopes that we will get through all our materials thoroughly and not feel as rushed. If today is any indication, I think I’m on to something.

Believe it or not, I have yet to wind those finished bobbins I shared in the last post into skeins. Shocking, I know! In all fairness, we had some seriously intense rain over the weekend and the humidity is insane, so the idea of of washing and attempting to dry yarn seemed to fall into the “why bother” category. Maybe I’ll wind this afternoon, maybe I’ll spin instead. We shall see where the afternoon takes me…

On the spinning front, I DID start my spinning for the Three Waters Farm Handspun Sweater-Along! It’s about time, right?! I shared a snapshot last night, but grabbed another image in the light of day here so you could see the beauty of this yellow a bit better…

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This is Three Waters Farm’s Sunshiney Day on Merino + Tussah Silk. I have the most fiber to yardage required ratio for the Sunshiney Day than the other sweater fibers I have here, so I decided to start with it. I would be smart to sample, but instead I’m being bold [read: possibly foolish] and spinning a whole 4oz and will wash, dry, and swatch this skein before continuing on with the rest of the spin. If I was more worried about the weight or didn’t have the control card to keep me in check, I would probably be better about making a smaller sample. But I’m familiar with the fiber and I’m feeling fairly confident in my overall consistency.  The Merino + Silk is spinning beautifully and I’m just… I’m feelin’ it. I’m close to being done with the first 2oz, so I’m hopeful I can have the whole sample skein finished — spun, washed, and dried — before the week is out and then I should be on my way to swatching and spinning the rest. I’m just… I’m all in on this project now as the fiber is just so dreamy. I was definitely right to choose the colors I am really passionate about — I think it’s going to make this large scale project feel like a breeze.

I’ve also been plugging away on the Honey Trail Shawl

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I’m very determined to get this project done sooner than later. I’m motivated to get it done before my MIL visits (as it is hers!), but I also really want to see how it blocks out. It’s knitting a bit small despite the fact that I’m working to the prescribed gauge, so I’m interested [read: slightly nervous] to see how it’ll relax in the blocking stage. In any case, I’m decreasing and it looks and feels good, so I think that’s what matters!

And as a last little bonus, I just ran out to grab the mail and look at what I found…

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My Three Waters Farm Top of the Month Club! I switched from the Wool to the Wool + Silk club this month and I was so pleasantly surprised to get this blend of Organic Polwarth + Cultivated Silk. It’s a blend I’ve been wanting to revisit, but just haven’t gotten around to ordering. What a delightful surprise!

While I’ve gotten accustomed to “reading” the fibers relatively well from their packaging, I thought it’d be fun to share what it looks like out of the bag as well…

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Do you hear a chorus of angels singing from on high in exaltation of this beauty? So do I. Maybe while I’m washing and drying that sweater sample skein I can crack into this beauty.

That, dear friends, has been my Monday: two WIPs, a future WIP, and a few thoughts & random happenings. I hope yours has been delightful!

To Sweep My Stoop

On my first trip to Europe I took an overnight train from Paris to Zurich and when I stepped off the train in the wee hours of the morning in a foreign land, I wandered in search of a cafe where I could find a good coffee. Down an old street that I didn’t know the name of, I came upon a little blue & white shop front with a woman sweeping off the front stoop. I indulged in coffee and croissants with fresh jam that were delicious, but after all these years what I remember the clearest about that morning was the woman sweeping her step. Her movements were efficient & brisk, yet clear in their investment in perfection. It was a quiet moment, to most an afterthought, but it has long stayed with me as a testament to the importance of the little details.

I’m the first to admit that I am not a great housekeeper. I don’t dust nearly enough and too often I choose knitting or spinning or reading or — let’s be real — anything over cleaning. I will take short cuts about putting things where they belong. I put off chores when I should just get them done. In short there’s a lot of room for improvement.

When I get on a roll, though, I find it very hard to stop before I reach some level of self-perceived organizational perfection. I think of that woman sweeping her stoop and I just want my little corner of this world to be nice & tidy, the place you are able to stroll into, get a coffee, sit, and be at peace. And that was my goal the past couple of weeks in a nutshell for me. Granted, the blinds still need to be dusted and I need to sweep the floors again, but I organized and re-organized. I culled through all the random bits and bobs laying about and got them all tucked away where ever they needed to be tucked. I organized my calendar and set some goals. I planned for more school prep. One might say I took the time to sweep my stoop.

You are probably wondering where I’m going with this, though, right? Well, there are two things I’m working up to. First, I’ve moved my Lendrum next to my desk and have plans to start using it again rather than let it collect dust in the kitchen.

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I’ve got fiber prepped and it’s all set to get spinning again. It’s about time, I’d say.

My second point is that an interesting side effect of this tidying up is that when things are in order, when the clutter is eliminated and my own “stoop” is tidy, I am set free. The noise is gone and my hands & my mind are able to focus, to plan, to work — uninhibited. I’ll leave the more boring bits out, but I thought I’d share a look at all the spinning and knitting of the week as I feel wholly revived on that front lately.

First, I’ve made modest progress on my Honey Trail shawl

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This one is destined to be a slow & steady wins the race kind of project. A few rows here, a few there.

I started a few spins in preparation for a big sweater spin for the Three Waters Farm Handspun Sweater-along going on in the TWF Ravelry group. I’m working myself up to spinning to that elusive DK weight yarn, but in the mean time I’m working myself back into spinning consistently as I’ve felt a bit off on it lately. First was Vein of Turquoise from Three Waters Farm

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And when I finished it, I started up on Hickory & Maple…

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But, as you can see, only just starting on that.

I’ve been working on my latest Top of the Month Club from Three Waters Farm, too, but it was slow going. Something was not quite feeling right with my Schacht Reeves and after sitting at the Jensen Tina 2 I was fairly certainly the S-R needed a new drive band…

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So out with the old and in with the new. I wish I could say I had an efficient, graceful method for changing my drive band, but alas I do not. I just get the job done…

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I’m happy to report it’s spinning like a million bucks now and I’m almost through this one. Maybe that sweater spin will be next. Maybe.

I’ve also put a few stitches here and there on my sock blank socks…

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I’m around the heel, but still working on the gusset decreases. I pick them up now and then when I need something that I can do mostly on autopilot — in the car or when I’m particularly tired or just worn out.

And lastly, a spindle spin…

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I haven’t been using spindles since I finished my Tour de Fleece spindle spin at the end of July and I had just a few moments while the pan was warming to make a stir-fry last night for dinner. It seemed like the perfect time to get this spin started.

And that, my friends, is the magic made from taking broom to stoop and cleaning up my little corner of the world. Let’s hope I can keep it all up — the tidying and the creating!

The Possibilities

Well friends, today is a new day.

Last night I taught my final class at Firefly Fibers. As it should be, my last class was wonderful – full of familiar faces & talented knitters – just as they have always been. To each and every student I’ve taught, I extend my warmest thank you. To Alisa & Mike at Firefly Fibers I also express sincerest gratitude – for taking a chance on me and giving me the opportunity to teach & knit for your shop for two and a half years. I have learned so much about the craft, about how much I love teaching and working with other knitters, and just so much about myself. It has been sad to move on, but it is time for me & my family to begin this new chapter. Last night around 8:30pm, I walked out the door and came home to my new beginning.

This morning I woke up with my son’s arm around me, the dog in the crook of my legs, and my daughter smushed against my back (thanks, Mr Knitting Sarah for helping engineer this heartwarming scene). If this is any indication of the what is to come, I see no shortage of love & closeness with my family – exactly the reason for the change. Indeed the rest of my summer will be filled with…

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This goofball…

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This camera-shy guy…

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This bonafied mama’s dog…

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And my craft.

Of course, there are many more VIPs to add to the list – Mr Knitting Sarah, my local knitting friends, my parents, my readers & friends in the big ‘ol blogosphere and so many more that make each day a little bit charmed. There are adventures to be had and challenges to be met. And this new start, it all begins today. I’m thankful & humbled by what I am leaving behind and I’m excited for what comes next. The possibilities… they really are endless.

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