Summer Sock KAL

Here at Knitting Sarah headquarters there has been a flurry of activity behind the scenes plotting and planning the Summer Sock KAL. As with a lot of the things I do here, this project has had a very organic development — beginning with the suggestion of a couple fellow knitters in the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group who had just subscribed to the Summer Sock Club from Feel Good Yarn Company. One thing led to another and the amazing folks at Feel Good Yarn Company enthusiastically offered to sponsor the knitalong complete with prizes for participants. It’s so awesome how things just work out so well!

Today, I wanted to share the loose guidelines of the Summer Sock KAL and then a bit about the Summer Sock Club. First, let’s talk about the knitalong.

The goal: To knit shorties.

(And by shorties, I basically mean specially designed socks that stop of your ankle — perfect for summer!)

The yarn: Your choice!

I will be featuring the beautiful hand-dyed SilverSpun in the Summer Sock Club, but  you are welcome to knit with any yarn you’d like.

The patterns: Your choice!

I will select specific patterns for each month on which you’re welcome to knit along with me. I’m also sifting through loads of patterns on Ravelry to share in case my choice isn’t your cup of tea. If you have a personal favorite, share it with the group — I will happily add it to the list!

The Prizes: Each person who completes at least one pair of shorties between June 1 and August 31 will be entered to win a prize.

For those knitting with SilverSpun yarn the prizes will be: 1 full skein of SilverSpun Sock or Sport

For those knitting with all other yarn the prize will be: 1 mini-skein of SilverSpun

This knitalong was designed to be inclusive and very manageable, even during the busy summer months.

So how do you sign up? Easy! Just pop over to the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group Summer Sock KAL thread, say hi, & start chatting! I’ll start adding some basic patterns up shortly and all group announcements will pop up in the thread.

When will sign-ups close? They won’t! Although I encourage you to join us today, we’ll leave that door open all summer long.

Now, the Summer Sock Club.

Today is the last day to sign-up for the Summer Sock Club from Feel Good Yarn Company and because I’ll be knitting with these exclusive yarns in the Summer Sock KAL, I wanted to highlight why you might want to make the leap and subscribe to the club.

1. Exclusive colorways.

The Summer Sock Club will be comprised of 3 skeins (one each month in June, July, and August) of SilverSpun Sock hand-dyed in small batches. These colorways will be exclusive to the club — members will have the opportunity to get extra skeins of these exlusive yarns, but they  will not be available to the general public.

2. Unique blend.

87% Combed Cotton / 5% Silver / 5% Nylon / 3% Spandex

From my experience working with this yarn, it really is unlike any other cotton yarn I’ve used. Thanks to the nylon and spandex this yarn has tons of bounce and holds its shape very, very well.

And why silver?

Silver inhibits the growth of odor causing bacteria (perfect for socks), has excellent thermal properties, is nontoxic and is quite beneficial for those suffering from diabetes, arthritis and sensitive skin.

3. That feel.

On the website, it states SilverSpun “has the strength of cotton with the feel of cashmere” — and that is the truth! This yarn is incredibly comfortable. I have fingerless mitts and socks knit with this yarn and both just feel so soft. I wouldn’t trade them for anything!

4. Stitch definition.

SSPM2SilverSpun Sock has phenomenal stitch definition as you can see here in my Paper Moon socks. While I’m planning a balance of basic & more complex shorties in the KAL, you can bet I’ll be exploiting this awesome characteristic of this beautiful yarn.

5. Make your summer knitting easy!

We are all busy in summer, so there’s simply no better time to work on projects that require one skein of sock yarn. The Summer Sock Club in conjunction with the Summer Sock KAL is the perfect marriage of luxury, utility, and portability. The yarn will come to your door, the patterns will be easily accessible on Ravelry, and each project will be the perfect size to pop in your bag where ever you go. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

As I said, today is the last day to claim your spot in the Summer Sock Club and only a few openings remain, so act fast!

Introducing the Summer Sock KAL & my new SilverSpun Socks!

It all started right here.

IMG_9064A skein of SilverSpun Sock yarn.

And you’ve watched the socks I’ve knit evolve…

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From basic toes…

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To those first couple cables…

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To the gussets…

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And beyond.

And today I get to share the finished socks.

SSPM2Aren’t they lovely?!

These socks — knit with the Paper Moon pattern — are beautiful, soft, and the fit is incredible. I could not be any happier if I tried. The best part? They are so much easier to knit than they look!

SSPMThe only part of these socks that did not go according to the plan is as I knit these two-at-a-time, I played a little yarn chicken at the end and ended up only working half the cuff repeats.

SSPM3I don’t think the look or fit suffers one bit.

Thanks in part to a very positive response to these socks and some very enthusiastic knitters in the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group, we’ve decided to keep on knitting with this beautiful yarn — All. Summer. Long.

You see, we’d been chatting a lot lately about ‘shorties’, or anklets, in the group and how we could all stand to add a few of these summer-friendly socks to our sock drawer. A couple members of the group mentioned that they’d signed up for the Feel Good Yarn Company’s Summer Sock Club and as they say, the rest is history! That’s right, I’ll be hosting a Summer Sock KAL June 1st through August 31st in the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group and I’ll be featuring the yarns of the Feel Good Yarn Company’s Summer Sock Club!

The best part? You’re all invited to join!

Each month I’ll be selecting a pattern based on the current club colorway and you are welcome to knit right along with me with the club yarn and the pattern I choose or with a pattern and yarn of your choice — as always with me, it’s a pretty inclusive KAL. You know how I love for you to have options — any excuse for us to knit together! I must say though that this club is going to be amazing. It’ll be comprised of SilverSpun Sock yarn that is hand-dyed in three exclusive colorways (1 color per month, June, July, & August). In case you are wondering what this yarn looks like hand-dyed, here’s a taste of what they’ve done in the past…

Hydrangea

Just imagine this beauty in a pretty little shortie pattern for summer or for around the house anytime of year.

As of a few minutes ago, there were only about 20 spots left in this fabulous club so if you’re interested, I recommend popping over straight away to reserve your spot. You can place your order with Feel Good Yarn Company right here.

For those who aren’t able to subscribe to the club, have no fear! The Summer Sock KAL is open to anyone who’d like to knit some shorties with us this summer. As I said, I’ll be providing pattern inspiration and, for those knitting with me, some support on the patterns I’m working through regardless of the yarn you’re using. And, just in case you are watching us knit with this lovely SilverSpun Sock and decide you want to try it out, the FREE SHIPPING discount code SARAHKNITS will be valid until the end of June. Non-members won’t be able to get the hand-dyed colorways, but the natural will still be available for purchase! *Remember, the FREE SHIPPING code applies to all orders $42 and over, but it does not work with the Summer Sock Club since shipping is included in the price of the club.*

As added incentive to join, Feel Good Yarn Company will be graciously providing a couple prizes! At the end of the KAL, any knitters who complete at least one pair of shorties will be entered to win a skein of SilverSpun yarn! Those who knit with SilverSpun yarn will be entered in a drawing for a full skein of SilverSpun Sock or Sport and those who knit with other yarns will be entered in a drawing for a mini-skein. As if we needed more incentive, right?!

To sign up, just pop on over to the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group and say hi on the Summer Sock KAL featuring SilverSpun Sock thread. As we get nearer the start date, I’ll share information on tagging and start posting some pattern options in the group. On June 1st I’ll share which pattern I’ll be knitting for the month and we’ll be off! I can’t wait to knit with you this summer!

Loads of Great Things

Well, we spent a very harmonious morning back at the water’s edge yesterday with much better results. I managed to reel in this monster catch…

IMG_9171As a special treat, I even broke out my very best Jeremy Wade impression for my family as I narrated the unhooking, photographing, and release of this true 4 or 5inch lake monster. I’m pretty sure said impression comes out more like a cross between Jeremy Wade and Arnold Schwarzenegger, so it’s probably less of a treat and more an embarrassment for my family and additional evidence that I’m pretty easily entertained.

In any case, my son was more successful.

IMG_9178He managed to reel in this 15″ smallmouth bass. None of us could really believe it because this is the biggest fish any of us have ever caught, but we were so excited for my boy who could not have been more proud. For Mr Knitting Sarah and I, it was a huge relief as we were a little worried that the kids would lose interest before we could get any results on the fishing front. So far, 2 fishing expeditions, 0 humans hooked despite two children casting, and 1 perfectly respectable fish successfully landed. I’m going to call this an early season win.

On the spinning front I also have a win to share. Two months ago I started spinning 3 batts from Spun Right Round

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And this morning, I finally finished the singles.

IMG_9216I ended up sort of kind of marling (is that a word?) these fibers together to try to get the colors really blended. There were parts of these batts that looked a little crazy together and the marling seemed to help even it all out. The finished singles almost max out a jumbo/plying bobbin on my Lendrum DT and the plan is to n-ply this bobbin in a nice round slightly crazy colorful 3-ply. I’m definitely hoping to get this skein finished in the next week as I think I’ll be getting in some new fiber to review soon. I have some summer spinning plans, too, that will include an invitation for you, but I’ll share details once I figure them out soonish.

After the troubled beginning to the leg portion of my Paper Moon socks, I’m happy to report it’s been smooth & happy sailing.

IMG_9218I’m not quite sure how tall these socks will wind up being as I went a little long in the foot to accommodate the bit of shrink that comes with knitting a cotton, but I’ll likely keep on keeping on until I start to stress about running out of yarn for the cuff. As you can see, this yarn is absolutely amazing with this pattern. I’m terribly tempted at the prospect of the hand-dyed sock yarn club for the coming summer. Remember to sign-up for the newsletter to get the news on this club, other Feel Good Yarn Company news, as well as free pattern delivered right to your inbox. Don’t forget that the FREE SHIPPING offer on orders $42 and up for SilverSpun yarn from Feel Good Yarn Company is still available, too — just enter the discount code SARAHKNITS at checkout to claim this special offer!

If just wearing these beauties isn’t motivation enough to finish, I got a little extra incentive in the mail a couple days ago…

IMG_9220-0 A stronger person would have waited and taken a picture of the seal pristine & unbroken, but you had better believe I tore right into this baby. I’ll have more on this fun club & this month’s beautiful project in the next couple of weeks as well as another fantastic giveaway for you, so keep your eyes peeled!

In addition to the short-term goodies, I’m happy to share that plans are in the works for a little bit of spinning fun this summer as well as a 2016 knitalong that I could not be more excited about if I tried. Loads of great things on my wheel, on my needles, and on the horizon, so stay tuned!

The Jeremy Wade of Knitting

My family & I are big fans of the Animal Planet show River Monsters. I think it’s the right mix of adventure, science, mystery, and sport to hold everyone’s attention. It doesn’t hurt that it’s very easy to knit through which is always a bonus for me. Unsurprisingly, it’s led my son to become extremely interested in fishing. It’s a bit of a challenge for us as parents to nurture this interest as we really haven’t done much fishing on our own. I’ve gone a fair bit with my dad, but generally I’ve always gone for the company and being out on the water more than actually trying to catch anything. We’re discovering there’s definitely a learning curve — as is evidenced by this string of texts between me & my dad this morning…

IMG_9164It’s pretty easy to get fishing gear and throw a couple hooks in the water, but actually catching things is a little more complicated. Apparently keeping your live bait contained is not an issue though, which is great news in my opinion.

Opening day of the fishing season was Saturday, so yesterday evening with Mr Knitting Sarah mostly on the mend we headed out and spent a couple hours on the shores of a local lake.

We didn’t catch anything — by all reports the fish are biting in the mornings, but not so much the evenings and I think the lack of live bait wasn’t helping us (hence the questions about live bait this morning). It still felt good to get out to the water and check and familiarize ourselves with our gear. Personally, I was pretty fascinated just peering into the water — watching minnows and the occasional larger fish swim up to my lure, stare at it, and then swim away. I got to see a catfish kind of rise off the bottom a couple times, too, which was really other-worldly and cool. I think (read: hope) the catching will come for my kids’ sake, but for the first night I feel like I learned some things and enjoyed the wildlife around me including Little Green Herons, Kingfishers, and Pelicans.

My son definitely idolizes the host of River Monsters, Jeremy Wade, quite a bit and I have to admit I think what he’s done is pretty cool. I really like the whole catch and release mentality as well as his very big-picture approach of not just trying to pull fish out of the water, but really striving to understand what’s at play in the whole ecosystem in each location he fishes. He also displays extreme patience, unwavering determination, and just sheer mental stamina that borders ever so closely on obsession to work through the inevitable lulls in action associated with fishing. This has proven exceptionally useful in teaching our children to fish because they’ve heard this TV host talk repeatedly about how much waiting and patience is involved in fishing, but it also got me thinking — fishing isn’t really isn’t very different from knitting.

We stitch and we stitch and we stitch, using the right tools and materials just like Mr Wade preps his rods, reels, tackle, and bait in his quest to land specific fish. We rely on a pattern and experience to guide us to our finished projects just as he uses his experience and fishing guides and local knowledge to catch a fish. And we all have to be comfortable with a healthy dose of repetition and accept that some days we just don’t make tangible forward progress, but that it never means we aren’t gaining important knowledge that will eventually get us to our goal.

The last couple days have been some of those days for me. Through no one’s fault but my own I misread the instructions for the leg of my Paper Moon socks not once, but twice. So today I find myself starting the leg section of these socks for the third time.

IMG_9166They are gorgeous and I’m going to love wearing these socks, but the sheer mental stamina that borders on obsession is definitely coming in handy at this particular moment as every fiber of my being wants these beautiful socks off my needles and on my feet now.

It wasn’t until we were listening to the River Monsters audiobook on the way home from vacation that all this similarities really became apparent to me. As Wade was describing some of his thought processes and also the evolution of his career, I stopped the recording and looked at my husband and said, “Holy crap. I’m a lot like this guy.”

He responded with his very best DUH face, and said, “Yeah. You are pretty much the Jeremy Wade of knitting.”

Near single-minded pursuit of knowledge in your chosen field? Check. The drive to share said knowledge in a holistic way? Check. Near super-human patience? Check. The mental stamina to keep working toward a goal even though it’s very slow-going? Check. Kind of lacking the big-picture of career planning, but turning out ok anyway? Check.

It may take a little time, but just as Jeremy Wade will surely land a river monster in each episode of his show, you can count on the fact that I have what it takes to finish my knitting and spinning projects, even when they test my reserves of patience. Oh, and eventually I’ll probably figure out how to catch fish, too.

Works in Progress

Spring has definitely shifted from being in our queue to being a work in progress here. Earlier this week on Instagram I shared that our cherry bushes are even in bloom…

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They are so pretty — one of my favorites from our yard. Thus with the onset of spring, comes the urge for spring cleaning. I’ve spent a lot of the last couple weeks in the yard tidying up, prepping planters, starting seeds, and waking up the gardens. Spring cleaning has struck the Knitting Sarah blog as well. You may have noticed that I made a few minor changes in this little corner of the internet. For the most part, I like the layout because it is easy to manage and suits what I do just fine. I’m really not a very computer savvy person nor do I have the time or ambition at this point to become one, so the fact that I was able to build this blog in the first place is a small miracle. The fact that I could go back into the guts of it and rearrange some things is equally amazing, at least to me.

The changes are mostly organizational — eliminating redundancy and pulling categories I really don’t use & then just flip-flopping where certain menus appear. You know how it goes — once you start tweaking things, you have to get it just so before you can put the endeavor to bed. The only section I still want to ‘fix’ is to make the tutorials more easy to access and then add to them, but that will just have to come in time. For today, I hope the changes aren’t too inconvenient for you — I tried to make them as painless as possible!

The other progress I have to share is much more exciting, I think, as it has nothing at all to do with cleaning. I settled on a pattern for my delicious SilverSpun Sock yarn! Remember the yarn?

IMG_9065Of course you do! Well, I started knitting using the Vanilla Latte pattern and made it about an inch into the leg before I tore it out. It was just not it, you know?

I went to my second choice, Paper Moon Socks by AnneLena Mattison, a free pattern on Knitty. Because I was a little wary of second sock syndrome I cast-on these magic loop socks to work them two-at-a-time.

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And by this point…

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I knew this would be a home-run. I was really wary of being slowed down by a complex pattern, but these socks are incredibly easy thus far. The cables are all the same, so there is no flipping between left twisting and right twisting cables and I’ve really been able to get in a rhythm with them.

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Even having been away from home most of this week and being a little under the weather, I’ve managed to get within about an inch of the gusset increases. The most exciting aspect, however, is that these are out-of-this-world soft. I am completely smitten and cannot wait to have them on my feet. Don’t forget Feel Good Yarn Company has extended a free shipping offer for orders over $42 to Knitting Sarah readers — just use the code SARAHKNITS at checkout to claim this offer now through June 30th.

Well, I simply must get back to knitting. Gussets await!