In the Mean Time…

Well, I’ve got my plans for the Christmas Eve Cast-On as I shared in my last post and I managed to wrap up my holiday knitting early yesterday morning, finishing up my daughter’s Everyday Brew hat.

img_1719The big question, of course, was then:

What do I work on for the next 3 days?

The kiddos and I are still in school through Wednesday, so I knew I’d have a bit of my normal down-time while they work through lessons. I was thinking I’d wind a bunch of yarn I’ve been looking forward to knitting — a hat for myself, a very special cozy sweater, some warm socks for my kiddos, but I ran short on time for winding before the school day started so instead I opted for a project I’d purchased yarn for on my terrific lady day a couple months ago.

IMG_0873The five skeins at the bottom have been destined to be a Nordic Wind shawl and in a bout of extreme optimism a while back I’d prematurely wound all the yarn into center-pull balls. A simple design + beautiful yarn — it was the perfect answer to my question.

img_1723-1As soon as I cast-on, I instantly knew I’d chosen wisely. The pattern is incredibly easy and the yarn — of course — is a gorgeous luxury. It was absolutely ideal to work on during down time in school and then again, after a flurry of pre-holiday cleaning and a winter solstice walk with the kiddos…

img_1729-3It’s just such a wonderful project with which to unwind. I may have even knit through the entire first skein by the time I headed for bed. The pattern gives measurements for each color block section, but I’m opting to just knit through the skeins and shift colors when I run out.

In the above photo you can see my ‘advent calendar’ in the background. I’ve been faithfully keeping up with it and have even added a couple extra squares now and then just for fun.

img_1725-1Being the winter solstice, by the time I had my day’s square added I was out of natural light, so please pardon the horrendous lighting. I have a couple packs of mini skeins from Spun Right Round and Tanis Fiber Arts that I’m considering adding to the mix on this blanket. I’ve been saving them for other projects for a while and I think it’s time to just use them. Plus, I think they’ll be very fun additions.

My plans remain on track for the Christmas Eve Cast-On and I’ve still got some spinning I’d like to make happen before my house is full of guests, but I’m happy to have found my ‘in the mean time’ project. After all, we all deserve a good, relaxing knit this time of year — in between the cleaning and the baking and the wrapping and all the merrymaking. There is nothing quite like that down time with my needles — that pause to take it all in. The glimmer of the colorful Christmas lights, the sound of my kids playing with their train set, the dog snoring softly in the glow of the pretend fireplace — the very stuff of the holidays.

A Terrific Lady Day

Terrific Lady Day (n)

A special day that a man gives to his significant other (girlfriend, fiance, wife) in which he does whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Most of the time, this is done to fix a screw-up, or obtain good graces in preparation for a future screw-up.

As seen on the FX series “The League”

                                                   — from Urban Dictionary

Long before we saw this terminology on television, my husband has treated to to special days every now and then. Sometimes it’s shopping or just a day trip that includes a favorite stop & a special lunch. This has changed somewhat since the kids came along, of course. Now at my house, a Terrific Lady Day is less about past or future screw-ups — because for the most part both my husband & I take those in stride — and more about sanity maintenance and kid-free time for me.

As a stay-at-home mom homeschooling our two kids while my husband works long hours that often change last-minute, it can be hard to take time for myself and nearly impossible to actually coordinate spending time with my grown-up friends in a kid-free block of time. I won’t lie, I’m thankful for the time with my family & I’m actually very protective of it and I routinely pass on possible free time to not miss a moment with my hubby & kids. It’s important to find balance though and sometimes the difficulty in finding time to spend with friends wears on me and really gets me down. With my last kid-free day being back in March, the last few weeks were especially hard as I kept trying to carve out time that just wasn’t possible.

And then a couple weeks ago a good friend — who is even busier than me — forwarded an email to me for a trunk show happening at Cream City Yarn this past Sunday that just said, “Maybe we can have a coffee date and visit the trunk show?”

I jumped into action.

I knew my husband would be setting his schedule for that week and I hoped that if I caught him in time he’d be up for watching the kids so I could sneak a kid-free day. The stars aligned, my hubby’s schedule held, and my friend & I used a pen, not pencil to hold the date.

After one heck of a week (I explained on Periscope Sunday morning — check it out for a good laugh, I’m @KnittingSarah), Sunday morning arrived and my hubby rolled the kids out of the rack at o’dark-hundred for a full day trip to the Chicago Field Museum while I had my Terrific Lady Day. I awoke at 5ish to help get everyone out the door and then I spun until it was time to head out…

IMG_0839I’ve been plying away at this beautiful fiber from Dyeabolical for a good long while — 5minutes here, 15minutes there — and the couple hours I had before it was time to leave was just what I needed to take a good strong chunk out of this project.

Then I got in the car exactly on time and promptly got lost. I know, right?! Some sort of vortex opened up or I got stuck in a fold in the space-time continuum that somehow made it impossible to find the correct road. I eventually turned on my phone’s GPS and got on the right road (so maybe the cosmos weren’t conspiring against the Terrific Lady Day…) and was only about 30minutes late.

We got coffee and spent a nice long time browsing through my friend’s fave local bookstore. I fought the urge to not 1) ask if I could live there and 2) buy one of everything. Yes, I managed to control myself and just get a book on Spanish verbs that I have been wanting to help me help the kids with their Spanish lessons. Lots of mental notes were made, however, and I’m very much looking forward to the day I can bring my bookworm of a daughter to see this wonderful shop.

We made our way over to Cream City Yarn and upon arrival, I was instantly overwhelmed by the friendliness of staff, the loads of inspiration & shop samples, and also just being there with the knowledge that I didn’t have 3 tired and hungry people in the car waiting for me to hurry up. It was just me and my terrific ladyfriend. Being there with a fellow knitting friend was pretty amazing, too — so many grand plans were hatched.

After much debate, I finally settled on these beauties.

IMG_0873A skein of Sheepish Yarn Co’s Midwest Merino in Black Bear which is destined to be a fab hat or cowl. I haven’t quite decided yet, but I think hat since it would be very versatile. And despite having my list of sweater yarns that I really wanted, on a complete whim I was totally inspired by a shop sample of Nordic Wind in Quince & Co’s Owl. I picked all blues in Quince & Co’s Owl & Owl Tweet and when I asked my friend. She looked, thoughtfully and said, “What about switching one blue out for a brown?” It was absolute genius. I am in serious love. And despite having like 5 projects that need to happen in the next few weeks you can bet I’ll be winding this yarn asap.

Having spent our budgets and taken loads of notes for future projects (seriously, that really happened), we stopped for a quick bite to eat before I headed home. I did manage to avoid the evil space-time fold on the return trip and had a couple hours to finish up my morning’s plying project. I even had time to start another…

IMG_0875I’ll tell you more about this in an FO post in the near future, but suffice to say it’s from Spun Right Round and it’s amazing.

Rested and relaxed and refreshed, when the kiddos and hubby got home full of stories, I was ready. It’s amazing what a Terrific Lady Day can do, especially with such a terrific ladyfriend!