Bring On the Solstice, Please!

It is that fateful time of year for me – you know how some people get cabin fever in the winter? I kind of feel like I have the summer version of it, especially right around the solstice. The long days wear on me and I get overwhelmed and listless and irritable because of all the time spent out and about, all the noise of summer. I honestly don’t even think my routine is all that different, but I feel like I’m constantly behind. Even simple, silly things, like preventing backslide from our monumental spring cleaning and running errands wears on me. I greet the solstice (which is next week — hallelujah!) with relief knowing that I’m finally inching back toward earlier sunsets, the quiet of autumn and winter, and the luxury of space & time to be able to think clearly again.

While I’ve definitely been chasing everything lately and most of my focus has not been with my craft plans, I’ve still got some irons in the fire, of course, or I’m sure I’d really lose it.

I’ve been knitting away on my Broken Wings shawl knit with Be Sweet Skinny Wool.

img_3550It’s lace so of course it’s not looking like much at the moment, but I’m nearing the end of the first chart which is very exciting. The texture changes dramatically with each chart, so I can’t wait to see it all unfold. The yarn has been beautiful to work with, so soft and silky — overall, really just such a little luxury!

On my wheel, I’ve been working on the latest challenge in the Three Waters Farm Ravelry group, the 1×6 SAL. The idea is that you take one braid and spin it 6 distinct ways. You can play with color or technique or both. I opted to play mostly with technique…

img_3547From L to R these are: n-ply (with colors rearranged), gimp, standard 2-ply, single, slub single.

There are some funny stories to go along with these, but I’ll wait until I can get these properly washed and get the crazy yellow ties out of the photo so I can really tell you about them and the experience as a whole. You’ll note I have 5 mini-skeins there, so I’ve got one still on the wheel. I’d hoped to have finished it yesterday, but there were complications so now I’m hoping that I can finish today. Cross your fingers for me!

In the realm of attempting to plan, the Tour de Fleece is coming up! It officially kicks off on July 2nd, but as I’ve mentioned I’ve already been working with Mary Ann from Three Waters Farm to help co-captain her team. If you’re a spinner and have some Three Waters Farm fibers in your stash (or you want to add some to it!), I hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be such a great group & a fantastic opportunity to spend some quality time spinning. There are also some awesome prizes to be won, so lots of good incentives — you can read all about the team “rules,” prize information, and join Team TWF here. As for me, I’ve been attempting to put together my small mountain of fibery hopefulness for the Tour…

img_3549I pulled these from my stash this morning and already I’ve realized I have at least 16oz more I need to add to the pile, including the official Tour de Fleece colorway from Three Waters Farm that I’m hopeful will be landing here today. It’s probably good that there’s more to add as this pile is very blue and that does not bode all that well for someone with such a short attention span. On the flip side, that’s kind of a lot of fiber for 3weeks of spinning… I’m going to not think about that right now though.

In other fabulous planning news, the first skein of the Feel Good Yarn Co Summer Sock Club arrived yesterday — hooray!

img_3545It is my favorite skein of SilverSpun yet! I’m hoping to wind this yarn today or tomorrow so I can get knitting. This month’s installment also came with a sweet Feel Good Yarn Co logo tote from Work + Shelter. Especially in summer, I can never have enough totes as I run out the door to one place or another. I love that this one is pretty simple and understated, it’s just such a perfect little bonus for the Summer Sock Club.

As I race around today to the bike shop and the grocery store and the bank and to our weekly volunteer gig at the local humane society and I try to squeeze in some time for writing and yoga and walking the dog and maybe even finishing that spinning project, I’ll be trying not to think about the sun as it sets too late in the evening. You can bet that I’ll be thinking about the solstice and it’s significance in my little day-to-day world, every cell of my being is leaning toward that moment when I can feel the shift to shorter, quieter days. I realize I may be in the minority, but I cannot wait. Bring on the solstice, my friends!

Summer Sock KAL Wrap-Up & *PRIZE WINNERS*

Well, the Summer Sock KAL came to its official end on Wednesday and like all good KALs it’s a bittersweet time. It’s always exciting for me to shed the requirements of a knitalong, to move onward and upward with an uncharted course of new challenges. Yet it’s also more than a bit sad to say  good-bye to a tight-knit group of knitters who’ve been knitting with a common goal, in this case summer socks. I’m very thankful for this summer’s KAL group — we had experienced and brand new sock knitters alike and it was such a fun & positive & helpful group. To each and everyone who participated I would like to extend a heartfelt, thank you. You really made the KAL awesome! And I’m so glad that I’ll be able to stay in touch with many of you via the Today on your needles thread in the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group.

I also have to extend a very big thank you to Feel Good Yarn Co who sponsored this KAL, including the prizes. I worked directly with Laurie who was kind and warm and fun to work with at each turn. I am so grateful for her generosity & enthusiasm and for all she puts into making the fabulous SilverSpun yarn. If you want to get to know Laurie a bit better  (and trust me, you do!), I encourage you to pop over to the Woolful Podcast where she & her SilverSpun story is featured in Episode 33.

And, of course, let’s oooh and aaah over the yarn a little one last time, the 3 gorgeous skeins of hand-dyed SilverSpun Sock.

June’s skein of Sea Glass…

Photo courtesy of Feel Good Yarn Co
Photo courtesy of Feel Good Yarn Co

From which I made…

sskaljune1A pair of Aero Socks by Sarah Jo Burch

and

tbsfullsome Turkish Bed Socks.

July’s skein of Tangerine Dream…

IMG_9832 From which I made…

sskal jul3a pair of Rose City Rollers

and

july tbs sideanother pair of Turkish Bed Socks.

And August’s skein of Watermelon Crush…

FullSizeRender
Photo courtesy of Feel Good Yarn Co

From which I made…

ona lovely pair of SpringTastic Socks.

These 5 wonderful shortie socks have made their way into my sock drawer and onto my feet. I’ve loved wearing them — whether it’s around my house on cool mornings or hiking on the trail with my family this summer, they’ve served me so well. I’m sure they’ll be favorites for a long time to come!

Oh, and I said there would be winners, right?! Of course!

From the pool of those who completed a pair of socks from SilverSpun Sock, the randomly selected winner of a skein of SilverSpun Sock or Sport is…

Ravelry ID:

cmjanz

And from the pool of those who completed a pair of socks from non-SilverSpun Sock yarn, the randomly selected winner of a mini-skein of SilverSpun yarn is…

Ravelry ID:

Suzipaint

Winners, please email me at knittingsarah[at]gmail[dot]com with your contact email address and I’ll get you on your way to claiming your prizes.

Thanks again, so much, to everyone who participated in the Summer Sock KAL!

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…

FullSizeRender

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!

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!

Every Last Bit

As you know, I’m co-hosting the Summer Sock KAL over in the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group and I’ve had the great pleasure of working with the skeins hand-dyed SilverSpun Sock from the Feel Good Yarn Co Summer Sock Club. It really has been an incredible treat. The yarn is such a special base and it’s been awesome to get to knit it up in some truly fun hand-dyed colors.

This month, I posted up a week or so ago about the Rose City Rollers I made with July’s skein.

sskal jul3They’re so cute & fun!

Well, as with June’s skein I had leftovers, but not quite enough for a complete second pair of shorties — my feet are just big enough to make two shorties from one skein not quite possible. Still, I didn’t want to let the roughly 190 leftover yards sit. I thought about making my daughter a pair of little ruffle socks, but I was feeling just a little lazy about deciding on a pattern so I decided to just do an encore of June and make a pair of Turkish Bed Socks with the remaining yarn.

july tbsI knit them up in just a couple days — even though I was traveling and didn’t have a ton of time for knitting. They are such a quick project!

There was a small hitch, however. Somehow, I managed to reverse my reverse stockinette stitch on the little heel edge of my first sock…

july heel whoopsieSee how the one on top looks nice and snug, pulling in a little bit, and the bottom heel top rolls? Yeah, the bottom one is wrong. Whoops! It remains to be seen how this accidental modification will wear — if it’ll be a problem or not — but since I didn’t notice until the toe, well, I decided I’d deal with that only if it turns out to be an issue.

They are undeniably super cute regardless of my minor mishap…

july tbs sideAs with the Rose City Rollers, these are pretty seriously variegated. As you can see the first has more of the dark hues than the second, but I kind of just love that about this skein. It’s totally unpredictable and 100% fun.

I’m so loving these little shorties this summer and I’m looking forward to not only wearing them in warmer weather, but also in my slippers this winter. One more month to go in the Summer Sock KAL, one more skein of the Summer Sock Club is headed my way. You can bet that just like the last two months, I’ll be using every last bit!

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!