The Holly Jolly-est Socks

Last week I finished my second pair of Christmas socks — hooray!

I decided to use a yarn that has been in my stash for a couple of years, String Theory ColorworksKinetic Energy on the Entanglement base.

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I think I purchased this back during the first Socks with Sarah foray in 2014, so I’m ecstatic to finally get around to knitting it. I’ve become a bit of a connoisseur of self-striping Christmas yarn lately and this one…

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I think it’s just the holly jolly-est.

These socks are for my daughter. She wears about a child size 4 shoe and I went ahead and did the same thing I did for my son — a vanilla toe-up sock created from the kiddo’s foot measurements using the calculations from Jennifer Donze’s Toe-Up Custom Socks in conjunction with the Fish Lips Kiss Heel. For those unfamiliar, I don’t really deep dive into the FLK Heel pattern because that baby is  l o n g , I just use it for the heel placement and instructions.  Oh, and I used Judy’s Magic Cast-on and Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. I’ll list the details up on my Ravelry project page for those wanting to know stitch counts and all the details. You’ll notice the legs on these are pretty darn long — since my girl’s still relatively small, I had loads of yarn, and I know she’ll love super tall socks. They’ll look awesome with her red velvet dress (because of course she has one with a twirly hem).

So. Would you like to see them?!

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You’ll have to pardon the lack of nice blocker photos — I don’t actually have sock blockers for children’s sizes and I’m not going to wash them before they are gifted to my girl. They are for family who know don’t care so much about the presentation. Also, I don’t want to deal with the worrying about them drying on time.

These socks were not without their *facepalm* moments….img_9120

I had this cuff all set to bind-off nicely in the dark green when in a moment of not thinking I cut the yarn tail… when I hadn’t yet started to bind off. Suffice to say, reattaching the yarn and and then the subsequent bind-off forced me into the white… sure, I could have gone through my leftover yarn and found the same green and made it look all perfect, but… that’s just not my scene. Those three stitches bound off in white are like my signature — “Mom made these. And she is not perfect.”

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I also managed to have that one random row of dark green stitches opposite the heel. Again, it was totally preventable, but…. it is what it is and that is ONE OF A KIND!

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All overly critical comments aside, I love how these turned out. They are seriously merry. and I think they will be perfect for my girl — the holly jolly-est socks around indeed!

 

 

 

 

 

Socks With Sarah Lives On

It seems like forever ago that a group of humble group of knitters agreed to knitalong with me in the Socks with Sarah KAL. I made so many wonderful connections that year and we knit a lot of socks. Personally I finished the year with 26pairs knitted and two years later, with such a robust rotation, I haven’t had to retire any. So I don’t really need to knit socks. Still, there are times when I just want to knit socks. Sometimes I knit them for my daughter or my mother-in-law. Occasionally I’ll knit up a pair for my son.  Once in a blue moon my husband OKs a pair for him. And sometimes I just knit up spares for myself and tuck them into my cedar chest. I figure one day I’ll need them or someone with the same size feet as me will just get lucky.

And thus, one day this fall, I just started knitting a pair of socks.

img_4722Partly to try out my Knitter’s Pride Nova Platina 9″ circular needles, partly because you just can’t deny that a good sock knit is so easy and travels so well.

img_5125And I just knit away. In the evenings, here and there during the school day — whenever I had a moment.

And then one day I discovered I was at the toe of the first sock. And then before I knew it I was at the toe of the second.

img_5175And today, I’m done.

socksFrom all the in-between moments, this pair of socks was born.

toesAs you can see, they aren’t matching. They are off by one color repeat and I kind of love them for it.both-socksYou can see the differences easiest in this photo. I think it’s kind of optical-illusion-esque and a million kinds of fun.

These are knit with String Theory Colorworks‘ Orbit yarn in the ETA Carinae colorway. I believe this was from one of the sock club shipments back when I was in the sock club (which was very fun!). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is one of my favorite sport weight yarns for socks and I have a little stash of it that I’m hoarding to attest to that fact.

So there you go! Socks with Sarah may not be in full swing like it was a couple years ago, but it lives on in a pair here and a pair there, from my needles and the needles of fellow sock knitters. Knit on, sock knitters!

Enjoying the Sunshine & Finding Peace

We had a beautiful weekend this past weekend. It was pushing 70°F both Saturday and Sunday and with rain a a cool down headed our way this week, it was the perfect time to clean up the yard. On Saturday, we worked. I cleaned out gutters while the kids raked leaves. I tend to rate cleaning gutters in the realm of dealing with toilet malfunctions on the disgusting meter, but slopping the leaves and general sludge is so much less awful when it’s warm & sunny out and the water from the hose doesn’t quite feel so cold.

img_5130And it helps that the daisies and echinacea and snapdragons are still blooming in my yard, too.

I rounded things out by starting to tidy up our “Boat House” (a fancy way of saying the shed where we store our boats [and the lawnmower, and other random odds and ends]). Since my hubby sometimes takes the kiddos out there to read and enjoy cocoa and the fire in the winter, I try to make sure it’s ready and comfortable for these events.

I’ll admit that after all the up and down on the ladder and having lifted the ladder all around the house, I was a little tired and sore. I managed to somehow pull something in my shoulder walking the dog earlier in the week and I think sometimes favoring an injury like that taxes your body more than the injury itself. I rested a bit and did some cleaning inside the house. And then I felt as though I’d sufficiently earned some time with my spindle.

img_5076This is a project I started about a year ago and largely ignored most of those twelve months. I’ve been picking it up here and there though and I had just an ounce or two left to tackle. And that’s just what I did. The spindle was seriously overloaded and not working all too well at the end, but I got the last little bits of fiber on it. I’m planning to wind it and the bobbin I wound off previously into a center-pull ball and then create a nice thick and thin 2-ply yarn with it.

Our work finished, on Sunday we played.

img_5079We started the day off with a beautiful hike. Oh, how I love the long shadows of this time of year!

img_5119And our hike ended at a playground for the kids. Mr. Knitting Sarah edited some photos he’d taken with his phone and I did some spindle spinning in the beautiful warmth of the sunshine. After about 30 minutes my husband turned to me and said, “Gah! I can feel myself getting sunburned!” And I knew it was time to head out.

We got home and had an early lunch. And then I did some spinning on my Three Waters Farm ‘Stand of Trees’ on Finn.

img_5121Oh how I love these blues! My husband’s been working some long hours lately so he was interested in a fair bit of relaxing. I took full advantage and spun my little heart out.

And when I started to get a little tired and my back got sore…

img_5125I switched over to knit a few stitches on my current sock WIP. The yarn is from last year’s String Theory Colorworks Sock Club and it was the perfect opportunity to play around with my new Knitter’s Pride 9″ circular needles. I really love my Nova Platina DPNs, so trying out the 9″ Nova Platina circs seemed like a logical step. I will write up a full report on those soon, I promise.

Monday morning I awoke and decided it was high time to pick my handspun Featherweight Cardigan up again…

img_5128I’m within about an inch of the ribbing on the sleeves and then just the neckband is left. I’m sure that once the stitches are picked up it will fly.

It was a peaceful, productive weekend followed by a peaceful and productive Monday. And today… while I know there is something very big happening out there in the big world (something that I attended to last week), today I hope we can enjoy more of the same. I hope we all have a peaceful and productive day.

Like a Freight Train

Life truly does keep moving on and on… like a freight train. Doesn’t it? And now we’re so deeply entrenched in the “must soak up as much sun and nice weather as possible” mode that being inside during the day for stretches of time beyond school & rainy days is a rarity. The crispness of the morning air is an ever-present reminder that winter is on its way and we have much to do before it arrives, so balancing indoor tasks and outdoor fun (and chores) is a very delicate dance. We’re muddling through, though, as we always do.

Despite being a little late to the game, last week we made our way to the Wade House for their Civil War Reenactment weekend. We actually spent two pretty full days there — Friday with their “school day” and Saturday at the actual reenactment event. The school day is really cool and I’m so thankful we were allowed to sign up even though I called just a couple days before. They break you up into groups of 20-30 students and you move through stations that highlight different aspects of the war.

img_4487You hear Abe Lincoln talk…

img_4488Get to hear some period music… And a bunch of other very informative things. Our kiddos are at the perfect age to soak up the info in this type of environment and it so enriched when we went back on Saturday. We really had two gorgeous days for it and I’m so glad the kiddos got to experience this incredible event.

It does seem that autumn is more or less in full swing here and we’ve been spending lots of time outside, soaking up all the wonderfulness that is the season. We took a wonderful meandering hike yesterday…

img_4531And there were all sort of signs of the season.

img_4690Trails littered with fallen leaves…

img_4693Chilly woolly bears…

img_4539And those moody, end of summer/beginning of autumn colors.

img_4710My hubby created a nature checklist for the kids to keep them engaged and help point out some seasonal changes and it made for a pretty wonderful morning. Mr Knitting Sarah was also kind enough to help out with taking some FO photos, too, so those will be coming soon — let’s all say three cheers for his help! We had a mid-morning picnic and then made our way back home for the afternoon. Unfortunately my hubby seems to be catching the upper respiratory situation (which we now assume was likely pneumonia) that I dealt with over the last 6 weeks, so had a chillaxed afternoon.

I was able to work on my Three Waters Farm Summer’s End singles…

img_4717And finish them up…

img_4718I love that this spinning project has a totally different mood depending on where you are in it.  I plan to chain ply this and I’m really excited to see the results.

I also managed to buckle down and get some Spinzilla prep done.

605c2055-7d1e-4ebe-9b21-9cdc43f8776aPardon the plastic baggies — they aren’t pretty, but they are helping me keep things in order for the busy week ahead. I do have a couple more braids I hope to prep — whether I get to them for Spinzilla or not is kind of a moot point since they are next up on my list anyway.

Of course, having finished up two knitting project over the last few days there was also some casting-on that happened…

img_4722A simple vanilla String Theory Colorworks stripey sock using my new Knitter’s Pride Nova Platina 9″ circs to fulfill my need for mindless sock knitting.

And…

img_4721A colorwork hat.

Having written all this, I’m beginning to wonder if it isn’t life that is moving along like a freight train. I always tend to look at it this way, but I make the choices that keep me this busy, don’t I? As all the beautiful scenery moves by step-by-step on our hikes, as I truck through project after project and school subject after school subject, perhaps, just perhaps, it’s me that’s moving through life like that big ‘ol freight train. Either way, I’ve got brownies coming out of the oven and math lessons to correct and maybe some stitches to sneak in here or there. It doesn’t look like I’ll be slowing down any time soon.

Talk Nerdy to Me

I hinted earlier this week that I had some more to share about my love affair with String Theory Colorworks and today is the day! Or at least one of them. In any case, let’s travel back in time to last December. String Theory Colorworks announced their 2015 Sock Club and I was sorely tempted. It’s the kind of club where you get to select your base and in winter I absolutely adore knitting up socks in their Orbit base. As I’ve said before and I’ll say again, it’s one of my all-time favorite bases. An 80/20 SW merino/nylon sport weight and always in fun, vibrant self-striping colors. These socks are the ultimate in instant sock gratification and they are wonderfully warm to wear in our cool house. Alas, with other expenses around the holidays and attempting to curb my yarn intake, I passed on membership to the club.

 Fast forward to this spring. With only one skein of Orbit left in my stash, when the opportunity to join the second half of the sock club presented itself in June, I went for it. I knew I’d love it, but I could never have anticipated exactly how much I’d love what arrived in my mailbox.

capacitorMy first installment included a super cute project bag and the Capacitor colorway in my selected yarn weight with a coordinated mini-skein for the heels and toes. That wasn’t all though. It also came with this super cool page-long story behind the colorway. You see, the brains behind String Theory Colorworks are Caitlin, who studied biology, and her husband, who is an electrical engineer. Being scientists by training, they thought it was only right that their yarns reflect their own science backgrounds. For this month’s installment, not only does the info sheet talk about what a capacitor is and how it’s made, it talks about how they arrived at the colorway by combining two scientifically related items for which they already have colorways. It totally speaks to the science nerd in me; the girl who loved building circuits in physics class, who loves to understand how things both great and small work, and who routinely watches science documentaries over the latest rom-com.

The absolute best part of this set, however, is the coordinating stitch marker. Did I mention each skein of String Theory Colorworks yarn comes with a coordinated stitch meatier? Well, Capacitor came with this one…

capacitor 2It’s a teeny-tiny capacitor!

Nerd. Mind. Blown.

The only thought I had when I opened this up was that I was a fool for not subscribing earlier. I emailed Caitlin just to convey the “WOW” factor I experienced and mentioned that I should have joined right away. She just happened to have extras of each colorway in my base from the first half of the club and asked if I’d be interested.

IMG_0566Suffice to say, I added them to my to-knit pile along with a skein of Mercury, a colorway that includes red stripes, for my son loves red and adores the Mars Orbit socks I knit for him this spring. And Caitlin included a copy of the print-out for each installment. I can knit and learn new tidbits about science? Now you’re speaking my language.

Thankfully, we can all rest easy now. I am assured that this winter our toes will be warm, the science-nerd in me will be inspired, and we will have some amazingly bright and fun socks to wear. Just talk nerdy to me & let me knit socks and I am one super happy lady.

School Days, School Days

While many families are heading out to orientations and grabbing the last few items of school supplies off their lists, we are doing our own sort of school preparations, so I thought I’d share a bit about that today. This will be our second year of homeschooling our two kids and I am happy to share that the start of this year is much less terrifying than last. Last year there were so many unknowns — from how the kids would react, to what grade level our daughter really needed to be at, to how I would handle going from having my days free to manage the house and do chores to being not just a full-time mom, but a full-time teacher for our two kids at two different levels, too. This year we’re going into the year with both kids happily on-board with homeschooling, my daughter finally seated in what feels like the right spot academically, and the knowledge that as long as I take a short break around mid-day to recharge my introverted self, well, the only anxiety I really have is that I’m still not very good at long-term lesson planning (that’s a work in progress). It’s a huge difference.

Where we live, the laws have certain requirements for what we have to teach, but we are very free to decide how we want to meet those requirements. Because of this, instead of just purchasing a set curriculum we build our studies piece by piece based on what our children need. There are certain subjects, like math, that are easy because we purchase a pre-set curriculum. It’s pretty simple to just work a lesson per day when it’s all set out for you. That’s what we had thought we’d do for language arts, too, but we weren’t able to find a program where the reading and grammar components fit our children properly, so we’re building that component our selves – from novel studies to grammar to vocabulary to writing.

Thankfully, I have a very good partner — where I have loads of patience for the day-to-day execution of tasks, Mr Knitting Sarah is much more skilled at long-term planning and lesson-building. We talk constantly about our long term goals, what skills we really want the kids to have as strengths, and then we work toward charting a course to reach those goals. We’ve settled on the grand arch of where we’re heading this year — that’s the easy part — and we’ve been spending evenings and mornings talking through the finer points, bookmarking and printing printables, and penciling in our calendars. In addition to all our basics, we’re planning to really dig in to history and geography this year as well as introducing foreign language. I love language, so this is certainly a treat for me. It’s all a lot of work and the to-do lists (like my knitting one from my last post) feel never-ending, but it feels pretty incredible to know that we’re outfitting our kids with a truly personalized education that is both challenging and fun.

We’ll be starting our lessons soon, but when not planning — and sometimes just as a time for meditation to allow me time to quietly think through certain aspects of our school plans — I’ve been chipping away at some knitting and spinning projects.

IMG_0384I try to sneak a few minutes every day to make progress on my Dyeabolical Falkland in the Fate, PhD colorway. When I say ‘minutes,’ I mean it — this is really slow-going at the moment, but progress is progress.

IMG_0394As I mentioned yesterday, my lace shawl is beyond ‘bathing suit’ size and I have to admit that I’m really loving the knitting at the moment. I feel confident in the pattern and it’s proven an excellent pairing for watching the Star Wards Trilogy with my son at the hottest part of the day during our little heat wave we’ve been having.

While at the pool the other day, I finished up the first sock of my String Theory Colorworks Inertia socks in Oeneology.IMG_0386I cast-on sock #2 for good measure, but haven’t gotten any farther than that because this arrived…

IMG_0396The August skein for the Summer Sock Club from Feel Good Yarn Co! Of course, I’m on a bit of a timer for this one, so I’ll be pressing pause on my stripey sock for a bit to work on this project.

IMG_0399I’ve settled on Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter‘s SpingTastic Socks. I would be farther, but after a long hot day outside in the sun I misread the decreases on the chart last night and had to tink back a couple rounds to the start of the chart. I do have to say, in addition to being a really fun pattern & a 100% awesome color what I love about this project is that the chart is nice and big. The blue shawl I’m working on has a really small chart that makes me think I really need to get my eyes checked. The SpringTastic Chart is huge and so easy to read — it makes me feel young again!

 Well, my weekend is looking more and more like time spent planning & acquiring a few small school supplies, time by the pool (it’s going to be in the 90F ballpark here), some knitting time, and throw in a bathtub repair for good measure (because life always has random curveballs). Time to get to it — none of my to-do lists are taking care of themselves!