Knit From Your Knitting, Part 2

About this time last year I was knitting my first ever socks from a sock blank. As I clicked away, Mr. Knitting Sarah looked across the room at me and then stared at my knitting.

“Are you knitting… from your knitting?”

Knitting from the sock blank, of course, that’s exactly what I was doing. I cam to realize that knitting from sock blanks definitely agrees with me. There’s something about being able to look at the upcoming color changes and say, “Oh, I will keep going until I get to the next bit of red,” or “I can’t wait to see how that dot of green knits into this fabric.” They are really great fun and a welcome change from my usual center-pull balls of yarn.

Earlier this year, a friend of mine gave me an awesome Andre Sue Knits sock blank (I’d give you the link, but I believe she’s ended her sock blank painting business). I cannot believe it, but I did not take a before picture! That’s not true… I took the picture, I just can’t find the picture. And I’ve searched everywhere it should be. [Insert huge eyeroll here.] In any case, if you tilt your head and use your imagination a little, the fabric in the back of this photo with the sheep — that’s the blank.

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I believe I received them in June and started knitting on them shortly after that. They’ve been my on-again-off-again knitting project ever since… until a couple of weeks ago when — after finishing my Tecumseh sweater — I found myself gloriously in-between big projects.

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Ta-da!

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Obviously, these are fraternal twins, not identical. I never mind that at all, but my apologies to those whose skin I just made crawl. Just take a deep breath or stop reading because there’s one more photo to go here.

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I really love the colors and the fit is superb. I didn’t take too many photos of these because I’ve actually worn and washed them a couple times!

It’s funny. I was recently considering switching to Fish Lips Kiss heels as my go-to heel. I’ve been using the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock pattern with its heel flap & gusset method for about a decade now and I really like it. And I know it really well. But I have a couple pair of Fish Lips Kiss heeled socks that have a pretty phenomenal fit. This pair of socks sends that plan into total limbo because the fit is just fantastic. I will have to do some pondering before I get to the heel on my next pair of socks!

Forty-Seven Handknit Socks

I have 47 handknit socks currently drying on a rack in my basement.

Just for a moment, let’s overlook the sheer number of handknit socks in my house. In addition to the 47 (socks, not pairs of socks, just to be clear) drying, there are currently 2 freshly dirty ones to wash up, one on each of my feet, and who knows how many currently residing in my cedar chest still clean. So yeah, let’s set the fact of the sock largesse aside for a moment and consider this:

I have forty-seven socks currently drying.

Not 46. Not 48.

47 

Something is not quite right with this picture.

After counting them last night and then re-counting them, I just kind of tilted my head, confused, and then I started chuckling a bit to myself. The 48th sock is here somewhere, of that I’m sure. I just don’t know exactly where right now. There’s a metaphor for my life in there somewhere — everything is good, the holiday is going to be great, I just happen to be temporarily one sock short.

I especially feel “a sock short” at the moment as I’m coming down with a cold or fighting a low-level one or something and my head is a little foggy. But I’m persevering nonetheless, as we do this time of year.

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I’m forging into sock number two of Mr Knitting Sarah’s Christmas socks. I’m feeling confidant enough in finishing on time, in fact, that I spent the better part of last night plying…

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This is pretty much as full as this bobbin can get. In fact, the wheel did a bit of disagreeing with me as we got toward the end, so the last bits are a little unevenly plied. It’s not perfect, but perfect enough that washing and setting it should even things out well enough. For those curious, this is Granite from Three Waters Farm on a 60/40 Polwarth + Silk base and it’s one of the prettiest neutrals I’ve had the pleasure to spin.

For good measure, I pulled this off the wheel straight away and got the next plying project started…

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This is also from Three Waters Farm, called Moving in Circles and this is a Merino/Superwash Merino/Tussah Silk blend — the colorway link will take you to a 60/40 Polwarth + Silk blend. It is pretty breathtaking and it’s definitely going to be hard to step away from.

On a very happy, holiday-y note, I did receive a couple treats in the mail yesterday. I’ve been on the fence about Fringe Supply Co bags for a very long time. I know they’re very nice, but they are pricey and I’ve just never been able to justify the purchase. Over the weekend I noted that Firefly Fibers — my once-upon another lifetime LYS — was offering them at a 10% discount, so I jumped.

Yesterday I received my black Porter Bin…

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I imagine using this to hold prepped fiber for upcoming projects. I have an extra special plan for this, but the second part of it is still en route. Updates to come when part two arrives, of course.

I also got one of the new Waxed Canvas Plaid Field Bags

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I love waxed canvas — it’s so practical for my lifestyle, just like the size and design of the bag, and these colors are just me.

It also just so happens that once I finished Mr. Knitting Sarah’s socks, even though I have other WIPs to attend to, I’m hoping to cast on this…

img_9146A gift from a good friend, this was also the last knitalong from Firefly Fibers. I’m too late to participate, but I’m excited to work on it nonetheless. I have a laundry list of projects that I want to get to in the new year, but this one — because it’s a gift and such a pretty blue tweed — it just feels like pure luxury.

And this lady, with 47 handknit socks drying — not 46 or 48 — could use a little something that is just a treat, pure and simple.

It Was About Time

Back in July, I shared a finished sock with Three Waters Farm Storm’s End Merino + Nylon Self-Striping Yarn. I finished sock #1 in time to coordinate with the Three Waters Farm launch of the yarn and share my project here. I cast-on sock # 2 straight away, but courtesy of a busy summer, it was set aside, languishing while I did other things. I know a lot of people suffer from second sock syndrome regularly, but I generally do not so this stood out in my world. A very pretty thorn in my side, waiting not so quietly for its turn to be finished.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. A very good knitting friend, who had recently traveled from Texas to Wisconsin in the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group‘s real life meet-up at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool festival, was knitting away on her Rainbow Warrior shawl and realized she was in danger of running out of this same Three Waters Farm yarn. Knowing how much yarn I usually use for socks, I had a feeling that I would have yarn leftover when I finished that second sock. I went over to the finished sock, weighed it, did the math, and sure enough, I would have quite a bit leftover.  She was less than a week from binding off at that point, so I got the lead out and finished that second sock in a couple of days.

 

It’s amazing what you can do when you have a finite deadline on something!

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In fact, you can finish up a sock that’s been sitting idle for months in just a couple of days!

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And in the process, you can be reminded why you loved this project to begin with — awesome yarn, fun pattern, it’s got it all!

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I put this squarely in the “unfortunately/fortunately” category — unfortunately my friend found herself playing yarn chicken and yet fortunately it inspired me to get that sock finished. It was about time!

And while I’m knitting a hush-hush project on those needles at the moment, I’ve got a new sock project all picked out for when I get the hush-hush project finished up (I’m halfway there, btw).

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This beautiful 100% Organic Polwarth handspun that I spun up at the end of the Tour de Fleece earlier this year…

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And I am going to make some stunning socks with it, I think.

img_8392I’ve been slow to share these skeins because they are a bit over-twisted in spots as I attempted to ply them on my Schacht Reeves. For a while I didn’t quite understand what was going wrong, why I was struggling, and therefore why the skeins has extra twist. I’ve finally gotten to the point that I wholly understand that I’ve not yet mastered plying on the whole double drive thing and that’s ok. And I don’t need to be shy about that. I don’t have to know how to make it all work right away and I can take the time I need to learn new things. Considering this yarn will be destined for socks and high twist on socks generally lends itself to durability, the over-twisted spots shouldn’t hurt the project at all.

While it’s true that this handspun yarn would have been enough motivation for me to get those Zigzagular Socks finished eventually, knowing I could potentially help a friend definitely helped to spur me along. It just goes to show that when it comes to motivation, it comes in many forms. As knitters, I think we just have to learn to grab on to those powerful motivators when they arise and let it drive our projects from the WIP column over to the FO one. At the end of the day, whatever gets the job done, right?! I’m sorry that my friend had to deal with the stress of yarn chicken, but at the same time I’m thankful because she gave me the motivation I needed to get those socks done sooner than later. She inspired me to forge onward and upward & thus helped me put a new pair of socks in my sock drawer and another pair of socks on the horizon. It was about time!

NEW Hand Dyed Yarn from Three Waters Farm + *GIVEAWAY*

You remember the photos of needles with the yarn just out of view, right?

img_6742Oh, such a tease was I! A few of you, dear readers, even teased back saying you were going to stop commenting until I shared. Well, my dear friends, today is the day. And I’m so happy to say that not only is your patience rewarded with the big reveal, but also a generous giveaway!

I consider myself very lucky to be working with Three Waters Farm for many reasons. From their fabulous customer service to quick shipping to Mary Ann’s careful, practiced, and extraordinary dyeing talents, Mary Ann & Stephen have just hit on the perfect combination of good business practices and artistic individuality. I have nothing but respect and admiration for them. And that’s why I — as Knitting Sarah — am so incredibly over-the-moon with excitement to share the “secret projects” I’ve been knitting away on over here: Three Waters Farm Hand Dyed Yarn. Yes, you read that right! Yarn!

I’ve had many of you ask about Three Waters Farm in the past and if they offer yarns in addition to fibers. For readers who aren’t spinners and have long admired the beautiful colors of Three Waters Farm that I spin up, I’m happy to say that you don’t have to admire from a distance any longer! Mary Ann has taken the special Tour de Fleece colorway for this year, Storm’s End, and re-imagined it as a Self-Striping Yarn

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Photo courtesy of Three Waters Farm

And also a Mini Skein Set

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Photo courtesy of Three Waters Farm

And from these awesome yarns I knit up a couple projects. With the Self Striping Skein…

I made these fantastic Zigzagular Socks.

And with the Mini-Skein Set…

I made these awesome striping socks based off the the Mini-Skein Toe-Up Socks and Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Simple Toe-Up socks. It’s good to note that I knit this Merino + Nylon (75/25) yarn into socks, but it’s worth nothing that it is next-to-skin soft so it’s super versatile. It would be great not only for socks, but shawls, scarves, and garments, too.

Now I’ll be back over the next couple days to share all the details of each of these projects, but I wanted to give you this first glance today because — as I mentioned before — I have a giveaway to share! To celebrate the kick off of this pre-order event, Mary Ann & Stephen have generously offered to send one lucky reader a skein of their Self-Striping Storm’s End Yarn!  To enter this giveaway, simply comment below and share what you’d love to make with this fabulous yarn. This giveaway will close Wednesday, July 19th at 9am CDT and a winner will be announced shortly after. 

This is definitely a special event so please share the word with your knitting friends! For those who just want this yarn in their hands asap (and trust me, I don’t blame you!), pre-orders are open now through Sunday, July 23rd in the Three Waters Farm Etsy shop — the listing is right here. I’ll be back tomorrow with more details, but for now I’ll just leave this right here…

 

Inspired by Women

My kids love Star Wars. We don’t go to the theater for movies very often, but when a new movie in the Star Wars franchise comes out we go. It’s a big deal for us partly because it’s Star Wars and partly because we go all out — popcorn, soda, candy, just the works. It’s been a while since The Force Awakens came out, but it was such a hit with my kids that not only did we see it in the theater we also went to a screening at our local library when the DVD came out and then we got it to watch at home.

I enjoyed more than just the cheese-infused movie theater popcorn, too. I don’t know half the back story info that my kids do, but I think the movies are fun. The very first movie of any kind I remember seeing in the theater is The Return of the Jedi, so there is definitely nostalgic for me there (a fact I’m sure is not lost on the good people making these movies). And it might be a little trite, but especially with a fiery daughter in my house I appreciate positive strong female role models. Rey from The Force Awakens is just that. Not unlike the Princess Leia of my day, she’s strong and tough and and kind takes care of herself. It’s hard not to like her.

A while after the movie came out, I noticed Kemper at Junkyarn had a colorway named after Rey. Junkyarn had hit my radar sometime last year, I’m not quite sure how anymore. I do know that I was a little weary and the idea of hand dyed yarn inspired by women had me captivated. It still does, in fact. In any case, I ordered a skein of ‘Rey’ and last month I cast on.

 img_5721I started it to take on vacation last month, knowing full well a vanilla sock is just about the best project for me when on vacation.

img_5847-1The first sock was finished up within a couple days…

img_5806And along the way I just really fell in love with the whole Junkyarn color and dyeing style. And I finished these beauties just a couple days ago…

toeAren’t they so much fun?!

heelI love the bright pops of color and the short runs of sandy brown. It’s kind of like the color-poem of the Rey character.

reyThey are so unique and were so much fun to watch unfold before my eyes.

This was my first foray with Junkyarn and I’m confident when I say it won’t be my last. I have a skein of ‘Drew‘ here and there may be a Leslie Knope inspired skein headed my direction soon, too. (Really, I don’t know how I’m supposed to resist anything Parks & Rec related? But I digress on that point.) Clearly, I’ve been impressed with not only the dyeing, but also the yarn bases offered — it’s always such a treat when things come together like that, isn’t it? In any case, being inspired by women is nothing new for me, but I certainly like that now my yarn can be, too.