August in the Summer Sock KAL + Extension News

It’s hard to believe that we’re already talking about the wrap-up of the Summer Sock KAL, but that’s the thing about summer — it always flies by! I have to take a moment to say that I’ve been so very lucky to have been able to knit with the Summer Sock Club yarns from Feel Good Yarn Co. The hand-dyed colors of SilverSpun Sock have been beautiful and unique each month and it’s just been a joy to really explore the possibilities of this yarn. That being said, have you noticed how incredible the August colorway is?

IMG_0396Wait, wait! Let me share the super fun & official ‘beauty shot’ from Feel Good Yarn Co…

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It’s bright & fun and quite literally the color of a perfectly ripe watermelon. For me, it was love at first sight and I knew immediately which pattern I wanted to knit. One of our group’s prolific knitters this summer knit up a pair of Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter‘s SpringTastic Socks, in June and they were just beautiful. Last month’s variegate wasn’t the right fit for the pattern, so I was hopeful August’s would be a match. When I saw Watermelon Crush, I knew it was meant to be.

IMG_0399I cast-on and I never looked back.

IMG_0456I’ve been knitting on these on and off for only a week, but it feels like much less since I didn’t seriously start to dig in until Saturday afternoon. Thanks to a beautifully written pattern and excellent layout this slightly complex pattern has been a breeze. Can I say once again how underrated a nice, big chart is? It makes the knitting go so much faster & easier!

IMG_0467Last night, I made it to the toe of sock #1 and this morning I kitchenered it together. The cuff on sock #2 is a round away from being complete after listening to the kiddos do their read-aloud assignment. I’m pretty happy with how these are moving along. Yes indeed, I’ll be back with an FO post before too long!

In the mean time, I wanted to share some Summer Sock KAL news. We had a couple requests to extend the dates a bit just so that all those in the Sock Club would have ample time to knit up their August skein. After checking in with our sponsors at Feel Good Yarn Co, I’m very happy to share that we’ll be extending the Summer Sock KAL a little over 2 weeks! The new end date for this knitalong will be Wednesday, September 16th. Winners of the KAL prizes will be announced on Friday, August 18th. This means everyone should have ample time to whip up on last pair of shorties before the end of the KAL! If you haven’t met your own goal or you just heard about us and want to throw your name in the ring, you’ve still got time! You can check out (or refresh your memory) on how to qualify for the prizes here.

I’m off to enjoy some more Watermelon Crush knitting — I can’t wait to see the socks knit up in the final weeks of the Summer Sock KAL!

Happy knitting!

July Summer Sock KAL Wrap-Up

My July Summer Sock KAL shorties took their sweet time being knit into existence. I was busy with the Tour de Fleece, so I snuck stitches in here and there — like at the pool when I sat out of swimming and on longer car rides when I wasn’t driving. That’s the beauty of shorties, though, they don’t take long to knit up.

 I got my skein of SilverSpun Sock in July’s Nectarine Dream at the end of June.

IMG_9832Laurie from Feel Good Yarn Co has been awesome in getting a skein to me a little bit early each month so I can do some test running with the yarn to settle on a pattern before everyone else in the group starts to get their skeins. I have to admit that I initially wanted to go with the very popular Rose City Rollers pattern. I started them and then had second thoughts about how the colors were falling. So I ripped them out and tried the SpingTastic Socks which to my delight were much easier to knit than I anticipated. The patterning looks kind of complex, but the designer, Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter, is pretty brilliant and has quite the knack for good pattern layout and writing. It was flying off my needles, but… it just wasn’t a match for the yarn. So I ripped them out and re-cast-on the Rose City Rollers and this time the pattern stuck.

I got through the heel of the first sock and I was hooked and from that point on I loved everything about the project. They were nice and simple which was just what I needed for this July.

sskal july1Best of all, these socks are totally unique — they are so… so… so July! Bright yellows and vibrant reds, broken up by slightly more subtle colors, almost like some of the colors are in full sun and some are their cousins that are hanging out in the shade.

sskal julyThey are everything July socks should be — lively and wild and a little crazy — from the colors right down to their random repeats.

sskal jul3In addition to the yarn being absolutely wonderful in both color and the always luxurious SilverSpun Sock blend, I now totally understand why the Rose City Rollers pattern has taken the knitting world by storm this summer. It is well-written, accommodates multiple sizes, and is a truly fun and easy knit. I found the fit to be excellent, too. If you haven’t tried a pair of Rose City Rollers yet this summer, you definitely should!

August will be the final month for the Summer Sock KAL and you are still welcome to join us to chat in the Summer Sock KAL main thread and enter your shorties in the Summer Sock KAL FO thread.  Remember there will be a prize drawing for those who finish a pair of shorties in SilverSpun Sock yarn as well as a prize drawing for those who finish up a pair in other yarn, too. There’s plenty of time to still take part!

I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited to see what’s coming our way for the August installment of the Summer Sock Club.  Until then, I’ll be deciding what to do with the other half of my July skein and maybe casting-on a gift that I need to get done sooner than later. I may be able to keep myself busy, but after the last two beautiful months I’ll surely be dreaming of that August skein!

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!