SpringTastic in Summer

As I mentioned last week, I selected Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter‘s SpringTastic Socks pattern my beautiful skein of SilverSpun Sock in Watermelon Crush, the August yarn for the Feel Good Yarn Co‘s Summer Sock Club. Can I show you the skein one more time?

IMG_0396It’s just so pretty!

In any case, trying the SpringTastic Socks pattern was kind of a big deal for me. I like to keep my socks simple and in the ‘no-brainer’ column because they are small and I’m on-the-go a lot, so their portability combined with the simplicity a basic sock provides is perfect for my everyday life. I also have this weird hang-up in my own head that always questions why I would purposely put holes in my socks via lace patterning. I set aside my prejudices and took the plunge though because I knew these would be beautiful. And sometimes, it’s nice to throw caution to the wind and make something just because it’s beautiful.

IMG_0456I worked on these mostly in my down-time, early mornings before the kids were awake and after they went to bed. Once I had the pattern down pretty well, I was able to work on it when I was paying less attention like when I was watching the kiddos at the playground or listening to them read aloud. I found the pattern to be really enjoyable to knit. I definitely never memorized it to the point where I didn’t need the chart (although I don’t think that would be impossible), but I did get a very good feel for it to the point that a quick glance at the charted directions was all it took for me to manage the next round of patterning. Suffice to say, I think it’s easier than it looks. My hat really goes off to the designer, Stefanie, as well as Holla Knits — the publisher of the pattern — for an extremely well-written, nicely edited pattern with an excellent layout that’s so easy to read and follow. I don’t usually talk much about such things, but for this pattern it’s absolutely worth mentioning because it is so well done. It definitely makes me even more anxious to get my hands on a copy of Midwestern Knits, the new book by Holla Knits editor Allyson Dykhuizen.

But back to the socks at hand.

These socks were definitely like rolling a rock down a hill in that I picked up speed as I went and the second sock really felt like it flew. Before I knew it, I was done.

topsI wanted to share this photo because you can see how they look pretty involved, but I assure you they were so manageable and fun to knit. I think I keep mentioning this because as someone who usually knits only very basic socks I’m kind of shocked at how easy these were.

whole socksAnd I’m just so incredibly happy with how they turned out in both how they look…

onAnd how they fit. They are the absolute perfect match for this skein and the perfect end for me to the Summer Sock KAL.

The end? Yes, the end for me! The last two months I’ve managed to get a pair of shortie socks and a pair of Turkish Bed Socks out of one skein, but these socks took up a bit more yarn with the more intricate pattern and the taller cuffs so I’m left with just about 135yards remaining. That’s not quite enough for Turkish Bed Socks for my feet. I thought about a pair of socks for my daughter, but she’s growing like a weed and I’d like to use the rest of the yarn to make something we can use for more than just a short time. I did a little Ravelry searching and I’m thinking I’ll eventually use the leftovers to make a pair of the Twigs and Willow Mitts by Alana Dakos. My daughter is always borrowing my fingerless mitts and these will be just perfect for her. They’ll be a little big at first, but that’s never stopped her before — between the pink yarn and the cozy pattern I think they’ll be a perfect match.

Just because I’m done, the Summer Sock KAL will go on through Wednesday, September 16th as I mentioned last week with winners of the prizes announced on Friday, September 18th. That’s still plenty of time to work up one last pair of shorties! I’ll still be cheering everyone on in the Ravelry thread & ooohing and ahhhing at everyone’s beautiful socks. I can’t wait to see what everyone knits up!

Work & Play

 I spent Saturday morning sewing a new top pattern (more on that later) and we then took the afternoon at the pool. I’m elated to share that we’ve reached a point where the kiddos and I have a system that allows me to actually swim laps again. The pool open hours plus the hours my husband works paired with homeschooling and the swimming skill levels and ages of the kids has made it pretty much impossible for me to swim laps since we made the leap to homeschooling. It’s been almost a year and a half that I’ve given up my own pool time, so it’s a big deal for me to be back at it. It feels amazing to be back in the water. As an added bonus, as I ease back into a routine that is currently only in the 20-30minute time frame, the kids happily swim for upwards of 2hours. That is a little quiet knitting time for me while I watch them play.

IMG_0459What a great addition to our days on so many levels!

With the help of Mr Knitting Sarah, on Sunday I worked on a schedule for school. One of my biggest challenges with homeschool is that I really want it to be a fluid — not a ‘school’s in’/’school’s out’ kind of situation, but more of a ‘learning is always happening’ kind of mindset. Daily goals are ever-present, lessons are scheduled out with definite plans, but I’m trying to avoid the feeling that we’re punching a clock on learning. That being said, I hear “are we still in school?” and “what’s next?”” about a thousand time per day from my darling children and it makes me a little crazy. As chillaxed as I want to approach our days, it seems my children require a proper printed schedule and that’s just fine. I hunted online for some free templates that I could customize and lo and behold by the time the rain passed around midday, I had created something that I think will work.

IMG_0477I have never been too handy with these types of computer things, but I’m really happy with how it all came out. I have weekly schedules for each kid and a weekly lesson plan (not pictured) for me all which can be edited week-to-week. I worked all three sets up through mid-September and I’m very hopeful that this approach will not only help curb the incessant ‘are we there yets’ from the kids, but also really help me stay on top of the things I need to have prepped for each week so that I will be doing less last minute scrambling. This week was pretty easy because we’re still just running easy half-days to get used to being back in school. Next week will be the big test when we really hit the books with full days. I feel pretty confidant we’re in a good position to really fly this year and what’s more, I feel more like our overall trajectory is pretty easy to handle and the minor additions that change from week to week are pretty manageable, especially with the expert help of my partner. Phew.

That completed, once the rains passed around noon we took our Sunday afternoon outdoors. Between my hubby’s schedule and his slow recovery from his back injury earlier this summer we haven’t done much hiking. It was a lovely late September day… or at least that’s what the windy, cloudy barely 65F day felt like!

IMG_0465

There were some beautiful wildflowers along this road-turned-trail and we got to see some beautiful Egrets, Sandhill Cranes, an American Wigeon, some Coots, and even a couple Black Necked Stilts off in the distance, just to name a few of the birds present. By the end, we were all lightly frozen and ready for the homemade chicken soup that was in the slow cooker at home.

We spent the evening huddled under blankets and I knit away on my Summer Sock KAL socks some more.

IMG_0467More on these soon, too.

We awoke to a pretty chilly morning. I’m wearing full-on wool handknit socks for the first time since early June and I’m thinking a whole lot about starting one of the many sweaters I have on-deck for this fall & winter. It was cold enough that Moose required an emergency implementation of “Operation Hot Dog.”IMG_0476We like to refer to this photo as his “Obi-Wan Moosenobi” portrait.

It was definitely a weekend that had a pretty good balance of work & play — I hope you enjoyed the same and are able to face this week refreshed and ready-to-go!