9 Random Things on a Tuesday

Since not all of you are necessarily all that interested in my obsession with the Tour de Fleece, I thought today I share a bit more of an all-inclusive post of random happenings in list form from my little corner of the world. You know, to catch up and what not. Those are always fun, I think.

1. We have a big bed of lilies that my hubby & his parents planted one of the first years we were at our house and they bloomed last week.

IMG_9846They used to be lilies & daisies, but the lilies took over and I’ve since moved the daisies so the entire width of our house lights up with these beautiful flowers. It always makes me thankful that they took the time to plant these flowers and I always think of my in-laws when they bloom.

2. This week Moose finally got a couple of his chew toys back. With his allergies, we had to take them away to rule out their being part of his allergy issues and now that he’s finally in a stable place (knock on wood), I thought it was time to reintroduce a couple toys. He carries them all over, so proud and happy.

IMG_0012I don’t have a photo of him with his toys, so I’m sharing this post-morning belly rub one instead. I might be biased, but he’s such a handsome guy!

3. Although I’ve been spending most of my time spinning, I have been sneaking in moments here and there with my July sock for the Summer Sock KAL.IMG_0010I’m about halfway through the foot or thereabouts. I’m using the super easy Rose City Rollers pattern. It’s just perfect for summer knitting.

4. A week or so ago I tried to teach my daughter how to spin with a spindle. It was literally the day I figured it out myself and I really did not have the language or skills necessary to teach another person, especially a 7-year-old with a limited attention span. Inspired by TdF teammate Jennie, from Kitchen Counter Crafter, teaching her similarly aged daughter, we tried again.

IMG_9997It’s still a little tough for her on her own — the whole when to draft, when to stop drafting and let twist up is not quite clicking all the time, but we’re getting there. For now we’re doing some ‘doubles spinning’, taking turns as a team so she can watch as well as try on her own without feeling like it’s all up to her. Plus, it’s good one-on-one time together. I call that a win-win!

5. We’ve had a bit of heartbreak in the garden this year — just like last year our cherry bushes started showing signs of disease about a month ago. A friend who has some connections managed to get an expert’s opinion who thinks it’s most likely a soil virus for which there really isn’t anything we can do. We let the cherries go while they produced fruit and this week I took the step that I did last year that seemed to help, cutting the diseased branches. It’s a lot of work and really very sad to do, especially since they were bad enough that I literally did not prune in any way for beauty, but just took the diseased branches and left the healthy so they all look like a spastic Edward Scissorhands was set loose to take care of them. Hopefully it helps the plants rally.

6. On the bright side, in a different area of the yard we have a black raspberry patch that has been slowly taking over and the berries started to become ripe about a week ago. The beauty of this patch is that we have ripe berries for a few weeks solid.IMG_9994This is a 3quart contained I picked the other morning — in addition to this, the kids and I probably ate 2pints and we gave a couple cups to our neighbors. Pretty much every meal I just go out and pick a cup or two for dessert. I send a little container in Mr Knitting Sarah’s lunches. My kids run and play outside a lot and I catch them popping over to the berry patch to snag a couple berries in between games. What a treat for us all!

7.  Our air conditioner seems to have met its maker, so we’re going attempt to make it through the summer a/c-less. There will be days that will be uncomfortably hot to be sure, but the vast majority of summer days here are pretty comfortable. We shall see how it goes. A local shop had all their water toys and pools on sale last week so I grabbed a cheap, but effective kiddie pool for about $8 (for which I also went back and got a backup) and a couple slip n’ slides for $3. Oh, and a great blow-up beach ball for $0.59.  The cheap water toys will definitely help!

8. On the topic of weather, I was awakened Monday morning around 2:30 with the first of a serious of alarms from our emergency weather radio including flash flood warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings culminating in tornado sirens going off at 4am. Thankfully we are all safe and unharmed (including the house), but the town just south of us was not as lucky taking a heavy hit from 70+mph straight-line winds. It must be summer in the middle west — wild, unpredictable weather abounds!

9. Of course, a July post wouldn’t be a July post without a little Tour de Fleece spinning. I got my June installment of the Cloudlover Fiber Club in the mail at the end of last week and I started spinning it just as soon as I finished my current spin-in-progress.

IMG_0005It’s called O’ahu and it was love at first sight for me. I split it in 3 equal parts and will do a traditional 3-ply with it.

Yesterday was a rest day, but I spun anyway. I finished up my 8oz of O’ahu and started in on a couple batts from Classy Squid Fiber Co. I heard about this relatively new dyer from the Handmade by Stefanie blog or Instagram account — I can’t remember which.

IMG_0007This is Cloudy with a Chance of BFL. It’s always an adjustment when going from spinning top to spinning batts and after getting going a bit, I’ve gone back and prepped this batt a little differently to really get the most out of it. You can see though, it’s a serious treat to spin. I love the mix of grey, navy, and black with splashes of color.

I hope your week is off to a great start!

June Summer Sock KAL FOs

With all the drama that occurred this month, this June flew by even quicker than it usually does. I had a small truckload of ‘musts’ to accomplish in knitting and spinning, too, which is always such a great ‘problem’ to have. I’m happy to report that all the June knitting that had to happen has happened — hooray! — and now I get to start sharing all the FOs from the last few weeks.

First and foremost, today I want to share my projects from the Summer Sock KAL. If you’re late to the party, I’m hosting a Summer Sock KAL sponsored by the Feel Good Yarn Company on the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group. Coinciding with the fabulous Summer Sock Club from Feel Good Yarn Co, we are knitting ‘shorties’ this summer. While anyone is welcome to join and knit any yarns with any shortie patterns, I’m knitting with the Summer Sock Club’s exclusive hand-dyed yarns.

This month’s colorway was called “Sea Glass”

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

And as you can see is a beautiful teal-y, seafoam-y, blue-green.

I cast-on Aero by Sarah Jo Burch

IMG_9587This textural shortie is pretty basic as far as socks go, but had a really lovely and simply stitch pattern. This is my first pair of shorties and — I won’t lie — they knit up very quickly. We were laughing in the group, however, that because the socks themselves are so quick the little cuffs felt like they took FOR-EVER. A ridiculous hang-up for such a quick knit, but still pretty funny.

In any case, the shorties took me about a week to knit up and I’m so pleased with the fit & design.

aero setI really love the simple knit/purl motif…

aero detailAnd did I mention that the texture is asymmetrical?

sskaljuneYep, it is. Such a fun touch, I think.

aerofullWhen I finished these up I had roughly half the skein remaining. It’s a bit hard to get an accurate weight to calculate since the humidity shifts quite a bit here these days, but roughly half the skein left is pretty on the nose, I think. In any case, I didn’t really care to play yarn chicken trying to eek out a complete second pair of shorties, so I went to an old stand-by, Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Turkish Bed Socks. The ones I’d made previously were well under 200yards, so I knew I’d be safe making this pattern with the yarn I had left.

IMG_9780-0The teacher in me loves this pattern because there are so many great techniques you get to use in it.

Another nice, quick knit I finished these up in between time spent spinning and playing outside with the kiddos in just a couple of days.

tbsfullAnd one little detail shot, just for fun.

tbsdetI actually really like the SilverSpun Sock for this pattern as the elastic nature of the yarn really helps to keep these little slipper socks in place.

I got word that July’s installment of the SilverSpun Summer Sock Club is on its way to my home and so begins my search for just the right pattern for the new colorway. I can’t wait to have it in my hands and on my needles!

Summer Sock KAL: In Full Swing

As of June 1st, he Summer Sock KAL featuring Feel Good Yarn Company‘s Summer Sock Club that I’m hosting in the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group has been up and clicking. It’s had a bit of a slow start as knitters working with the Summer Sock Club yarn await the arrival of their club yarn which shipped around the first of the month, but it’s been very fun to see a few other yarns and patterns start to emerge. It’s definitely not too late to throw your hat in the ring — for details you can check this blog post or just hop over to the Ravelry Group. We’d love to have you join us!

I truly lucked out in that since I’m leading the KAL the folks at Feel Good Yarn Company were kind enough to drop my skein in the mail a few days early so I could get a little head start. Fair warning, the remainder of this post will have SPOILERS for those in the Summer Sock Club. This means I’ve got some photos of this month’s skein. If you want to be surprised, stop reading now!

That being said, I had a few patterns dog-eared for this month’s skein, but I’m very much a “I’ll know it when I see it” kind of knitter so I put in a pin in my favorites and awaited my skein. My main goals were that I choose a pattern with some texture because I know SilverSpun Sock really shines when paired with textural elements, but also to pick something that wasn’t too complex. I’ll be ‘away from my desk’ for a week this month and I knew I needed something a little on the simple side plus I didn’t want a pattern that would overwhelm other knitters right out of the gate should they opt to knit with me.

Well, I got my skein. This is the official ‘beauty shot’ from Feel Good Yarn Company

beauty shot
Photo courtesy of Feel Good Yarn Company

This color was hand-dyed by Backyard Fiberworks and it’s a delicious shade that instantly made me think of seafoam and the glimmers of silver a the sun reflecting off the water. Beautiful. My skein did not remain in hank form for long…

IMG_9486It was a center-pull ball in about 3seconds.

And after a little thought I settled on Aero Socks by Sarah Jo Burch. I liked the simple knit & purl texture and I found the pattern to be written well & easy to follow. There’s a chart, but it’s very basic. All in all, it was exactly the pattern I sought.

IMG_9587And in line with expectations for this shortie knitalong, I cast-on Saturday night and despite working outside almost all day Sunday, being out hiking with my family the majority of Monday & Wednesday, and also getting a load of spinning done, this morning I’m already though the second heel. True, I’ve gotten through a pair of full-sized socks in a week, but never when I’ve been this busy.

I thought I’d share some finished photos of the first sock, just for fun. First, so you can see the design…

sskaljuneFor each sock, the texture flows the opposite direction, but you could easily make them match if you felt so inclined. They totally remind me of little waves lapping at the beach which absolutely fits in with the whole ‘seafoam’ feel of this colorway.

sskaljune1Aren’t they just the cutest?! And the fit is great, too. I can’t wait to have the pair off the needles & on my feet! I also can’t wait to see how much yarn I’ll have left after this pair is done. My feet aren’t small — a ladies US size 9 — so I doubt I’ll have enough for a second pair, but I have hopes of working some scrappy pairs from multiples leftovers or maybe if I’m super lucky I’ll have enough leftover for a pair of Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Turkish Bed Socks. I’ll just have to wait & see!

Remember it’s not too late to join our little Summer Sock KAL — just hop on over to the Ravelry group, say hi, and get knitting! And while the hand-dyed beauty of this sock yarn is available only to Feel Good Yarn Company’s Summer Sock Club, you can still get that free shipping offer for orders over $42 — just use the coupon code SARAHKNITS when you check out.

Many thanks to Feel Good Yarn Company for sponsoring this KAL!