Catching Up & Looking Ahead

As you may have noticed, this week has been about catching up. I’ve been woefully behind in sharing finished projects since — eek! — the beginning of the year. I’m getting close to caught up though, my dear friends. I am getting close. I have a bit of a traffic jam on the blocking mats at the moment, as usual, with my Saugerties shrug drying and my Artesian shawl patiently waiting for its turn. With any luck, by the time these dry I’ll have another pair of socks finished and a skein of yarn spun.

And then what?

How do you go about choosing your next projects? For me, I always have a running, sliding queue in my head. I think about what I want to work on a lot at random times throughout my days and I kind of let the world around me saturate my decision making. I would say that what ends up on my needles and wheel at any given time is two-thirds planned and one-third impulse. This ratio allows me the freedom to be inspired & spontaneous, but the direction and guidelineshelp me to avoid lulls in productivity and because my choices are always fresh it keeps me finishing things. In short, it’s a system that works for me and I’m thankful I can just go with it.

This week, we woke up to fresh snow two days in a row and are in discussions about a Northern Minnesota vacation this summer, so the idea of an extra warm & squishy (not to mention quick to knit) sweater was on my mind. The possibility of Musubi by Mel Ski of the With∞‍Mel blog has been ruminating in my mind since it came out last month. I really like the tone of the With∞‍Mel blog and find it to be a great spot for inspiration. It just so happened that the perfect storm of store credit & a 40% of closeout sale from Eat.Sleep.Knit landed this on my doorstep earlier this week…

IMG_8585Just enough Dream in Color Groovy (100% superwash merino) to knit myself of Musubi. It is in the Mild Tedium colorway that is anything but tedious. It is a subtle, sandy rust mixed with a foamy green and a soft, warm sky blue. It is the beach & ocean in the morning. It will be my Musubi.

I’ve also been thinking and planning for this skein…

IMG_8588A gift sent from one of the kindest knitters in Maine, I’ve had some trouble settling in on what exactly I want to do with it. This String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn from Blue Hill, Maine is a lovely, lovely teal-y blue and part of me just wants to let it stand-alone with a simple pattern, maybe even just vanilla socks. The other part of me is thinking something like Tanis Lavallee’s Smokestack Socks or Cookie A’s Elm. It will definitely be socks though. Definitely.

I also recently acquired this skein from my subscription to The Golden Skein

For which I have no ideas, but I just really, really want to knit with it because it is divine. And when I say divine, I mean I would not be surprised in the least to discover that it indeed have arrived straight from God to Switzerland to the UK to me. This skein of Siidegarte Siide-Quirlig is 70% silk + 30% seacell from Switzerland and quite literally one of the most luxurious things I’ve ever touched.

Then there are a few skeins of Quince & Co Kestrel in the Pebble colorway… IMG_8595that I’m obviously raring to get to as I’ve already wound some of it. I’ve been so happy with my Kit Camisole in Quince & Co Sparrow that I decided this should be the year I knit another linen piece. This Kestrel will be a Togue Pond tank.

These options are probably enough to consider, but after my latest shawl successes I’m thinking about another…

IMG_8603I’m kind of in love with prospect of the marriage of this Northbound Knitting Merino/Silk in the Autumn colorway and the Sparkleduck Nimbus (an absolutely lovely merino/yak/silk blend) in the Plumberry Compote colorway (exclusive for The Golden Skein) into a Laylow by Shannon Cook.

And then there’s this 50/50 silk/merino from Cloudlover in the Sashimi colorway…

IMG_8601for which I have no pattern in mind specifically, I just want to knit it into a shawl for my daughter. I have been toying with the idea of cabinfour’s Rosarium because I’ve been watching David (aka seattleknitterguy)’s progress on Instgram and I like that it’s a smallish shawl and I definitely like the sweet combination of garter and simple lace. I’m just not convinced it’s the right pattern for the yarn… I’m afraid the color variations won’t jive with the lace. I guess I’ll keep thinking on that one.

Now that I type out my latest ideas, I suppose that whole ‘let the world saturate my decision’ thing is pretty obvious. It is nearing the end of March and my ideas range from a bulky sweater to a linen tank. I suppose that’s the fun in looking ahead though and the joy of the last throes of winter/beginning of spring. Anything is possible. The world is my oyster. Every option is a plausible one. All that good stuff. I suppose I’d better get knitting… I don’t want my blocking mats to catch up to my knitting, now do I?!

Mother’s Day at the Beach

I hope all you mothers out there had a great holiday yesterday. My little band of adventurers & I made the 2hour drive to spend ours visiting my mum & dad. They’ve lived in the same house since before they had children, so it was also a return to my own childhood home. It is a beautiful property which they’ve spent a lifetime building.  Growing up I always took a little for granted that the great Lake Michigan churns away only 5miles from their doorstep. Most of my years living there were spent in the lakeshore communities near their house and the lake was never more than a couple miles away. Because of it, nothing quite feels the same to me as being on a beach. Ocean or big lake, the beach is just home.

Knowing this, after a huge lunch my husband proposed we hop in the car and make the short drive to the nearby beach. While my girl & Moose stayed behind to keep my dad company, my mum, husband, son, and I piled into the car for a walk along the beach.  Of course, I snapped some photos to share with you.

20130513-085340.jpgOnly a few yards into our walk I found this lovely sea glass….

20130513-085350.jpgWhile my animal loving son discovered some bleached remains. To my eye, very lovely — a Great Lakes spin on Georgia O’Keefe.

20130513-085406.jpgHow do you not love this type of lakeshore?

20130513-085430.jpgI love to build cairns. The balancing act brings me such peace.

20130513-085444.jpgThe beach can bring so may different elements together and make them look so natural in each other’s arms.

20130513-090335.jpgWe even found a little pocket of quicksand — endless fun for the boys, terrifying for Grandma.

20130513-090327.jpgThe only thing missing was the briney smell of saltwater. I love the lake, but the salty aroma of the ocean has a hold of my heart always.

20130513-090343.jpgAfter our walk, we took some time to play. Grandma enjoyed the swings while my husband taught my son to climb a tree…

20130513-090408.jpg… As well as how to jump out ‘safely’…

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… and I snapped a picture of this willow — it looks more like a sketch than reality to me…

20130513-090400.jpg… And the proper scenic vista vantage point.

Really, this was such a nice little walk.

I didn’t knit much over the weekend since we were visiting, but I did gain a little real estate on my Kit Camisole — an appropriate knit for a weekend involving the beach, no?

20130513-100258.jpgI have been coming in a bit tight on gauge, but there is a lot of stretch in the fabric so I kept going over the weekend. This morning the suspense was killing me regarding how it would fit, so I tried it on (hence the visible slipped stitches on the needles). I am happy to report that the fit is looking just fine and especially considering it should relax with washing I am pretty confident it will be ok. This is not to say I won’t at some point still decide to rip back and start over. Stranger things have happened…. We shall see!

I really can’t say enough good things about this linen — Quince & Co’s Sparrow. It is so incredibly lovely and just a joy to work with — I kind of never thought I would say that about a linen! Sure, I have used very nice linens to knits up into beautiful sweaters and things, but they have often been taxing on my hands. Worth the effort to be sure, but there was some effort involved. This one… it is effortless and I just love every stitch. I am also very, very excited to see Hannah Fettig’s new collection, Knitbot Linen, which solely uses Sparrow in its designs. Ms Fettig’s talented designs combined this wonderful yarn is sure to be hit. I can’t wait!

Knitting, Interrupted.

Most knitters love a good car ride, especially when someone else is driving so they can knit. This morning I awoke to the Moose who had someone managed to get under my head to become a warm, soft pillow and my husband asking 1) What on earth is the dog doing? and 2) if I would mind a long drive today. After the laughter over the dog pillow, I confirmed that  — of course not — a long drive would be grand! I had a moss stitch border to work on — perfect car knitting for me!

Normally we aren’t really bird chasers — we don’t hop in the car to see every random bird that shows up in our area, but we have been hearing about & seeing photos of a Great Grey Owl that was being seen regularly a bit shy of a 2 hour drive from our house. Great Grey Owls are very rare in these parts — usually they don’t travel this far south — and no one in the family had ever laid eyes on them. In the birding world, we call this a “life bird” — it just means a bird you haven’t seen in the wild before. When you have been birdwatching with any degree of consistency or skill for a while, it is a special day when you get to see a life bird because they just don’t happen very often. With everyone finally nearly recovered from illness, this seemed like the perfect low-key yet exciting day for us.

I threw on my favourite Lemongrass sweater & Simple Beret, tossed my knitting in my bag, grabbed a to-go cup of coffee, and we all piled in the car.

We arrived to a scene not uncommon for a rare bird. With a bird of this caliber you generally don’t have to even find the bird, just the side-road lined with cars & people standing next to spotting scopes and holding giant cameras.

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The bird was very near the road — you can just barely make out the light grey fluff above the man in the brown coat & black hat here just to the left of the center in the photograph. For the most part everyone had good etiquette — they were quiet and respectful of the animal. We stayed back because with two young kids, we didn’t want to risk noise of disruption should someone forget to whisper or stay still.

olDespite the distance, my husband did manage to get this great photo using his camera phone & our spotting scope. It is a pretty incredible bird. We stayed & watched for a good long while — you could tell immediately if the bird moved or started preening because you would hear a quiet cacophony of clicking cameras.

20130317-160534.jpg I was really proud of my kids, who were very patient & quiet despite the standing around in the bitter cold.

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My daughter needed a lift to get her view of the owl — thankfully Mr Knitting Sarah is always there to help with that.

After fr-fr-fr-freezing in the cold wind, we rewarded the kids with a trip to Buffalo Phil’s. It’s a restaurant in Wisconsin Dells where a model train delivers your food and drinks. The restaurant is also connected to an indoor amusement park — also known as heaven on earth for the kids.

20130317-160551.jpgMr Knitting Sarah was kind enough to model one of the buffalo head-dress things they give all the kids to wear. I think it’s very fetching.

20130317-160543.jpgI enjoyed a salad with three of my favourite foods: spinach, blue cheese, & bacon. I’m a big fan of the broccoli, too.

After letting the kids run wild in the play area for a while, we hopped back in the car to start back toward home. We took a brief stop to walk the pup (who patiently waited for us at each stop) at a riverwalk along the Wisconsin River. It is a pretty mighty river — at least that is how I always view it. My opinion may be a bit jaded by the time way back when when my husband thought it a good idea to attempt to kayak up it. The current is pretty strong & to kayak against it is… well, it’s a good workout. Let’s leave it at that for now.

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It is a beautiful scene though.

20130317-160615.jpgThe sand bars covered in snow are so picturesque.

20130317-160558.jpgAnd all the while between the interruptions, I clicked away on my moss stitch border using my new Quince & Co. Finch.

A perfect bird. A perfect lunch. A perfect family. A perfect yarn.

A perfect day for Knitting Sarah, interruptions & all.

Happy Sunday!