Early Christmas Gifts, Trail Cam Discoveries, And Some Knitting & Spinning, Too!

I hope each of you celebrating Thanksgiving had a wonderful holiday and got to spend some quality time with friends and family. Since Mr. TKS works on almost all the holidays, we are generally hosting my parents and a few others and this year was no different. I’m not much of a cook so I have always been a little terrified of the big holiday meals, but after taking the reins since our move I’m now to the point that I kind of enjoy the cooking. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still got a long way to go until I can start bragging about my holiday meals, but I’m no longer just overwhelmed by the prospect. I find that getting more familiar with some of the recipes to the point that I don’t mind incorporating some news things has lightened the stress level quite a bit and made it much more fun.

Alas, part of my learning curve — because the learning curve is ever-present — this year was a reminder not to use a mandoline while trying to have a conversation.

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Yes, I managed to slice a bit of my thumb off. It bled an alarming amount which is the main reason for the giant bandage. In reality the cut was pretty small and while I opted to take that night off of knitting and spinning, I was back at it the next day.

In fact, I grabbed a new pack of fiber to test out the ol’ liquid bandage remedy.

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What a pretty way to recover! This is Vivid Choosing on Falkland from Three Waters Farm and it’s sheer delight. I’ve got just one small nest left to spin of it, so clearly I’ve been flying! After the long sweater spin, it was fun to just spin to spin.

Speaking of the sweater, I finished!

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My Tecumseh sweater is done and drying! I bound-off the final sleeve Sunday night and put it in the bath straight away. I’m not sure yet if I’ll need to lengthen the sleeves, so I left whatever ends I’d yet to weave in as is just in case I do want to add on some length. The sleeve length was close, so I’m guessing the relaxation brought about from the bath will do the trick. Usually I just knit them longer and roll the sleeves, but I thought I’d try something a little different this time. We’ll see how it looks in a few days — with the colorwork the drying is going to take some time!

Beyond these two projects, I’ve been working on my sock blank socks a bit, wrapping gifts, and — oh yes! —  I must not forget, I got an early Christmas gift! I went to run the dishwasher after dinner on Saturday night and apparently it have given up the ghost. We tried some troubleshooting, but it’s quite old and it was just fried. So in one of the world’s most exciting (is there sarcasm there, I’m not sure…) surprise joint Christmas gifts, Mr. Knitting Sarah and I treated ourselves to a new dishwasher! Try to control your enthusiasm!!!

I grew up in a house where we had no dishwasher so for 18 years I was a designated dish dryer while my sister washed. Maybe it wasn’t all 18 years because once I had a job and other obligations in high school I don’t think my parents expected much dishwashing out of me… but you get the idea. In any case, I don’t take it for granted and I fully recognize the dishwasher as a “want” not a “need” when it really comes down to it. While I may be a little sarcastic about my excitement for my Christmas gift, I am indeed very thankful for it. Perhaps the most exciting part, however, is that my dishwasher will no longer be called the “Quiet Partner” — I don’t know why, but that name has always been weirdly disconcerting to me. The new one will have a “name” that’s a bunch of numbers and letters — I’m much less creeped out by that!

And in one final bit of news from the Knitting Sarah homestead, I checked our trails cameras today after almost a week of not touching them and in between a zillion pictures of squirrels and deer, look at what I found!

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At first I thought it was our friend the Red Fox, but my friend asked a furbearer biologist she knows and was told it’s actually a Grey Fox. The good news is it’s a fox in the yard again (because YAY!), but the bad news is that Grey Foxes and Red Foxes don’t generally share territory, so as long as this guy is around, we aren’t likely to see our friend the Red Fox.

And that, my friends, is the latest from Knitting Sarah HQ. I hope your holiday was grand and that you are all recovering, enjoying leftovers, and maybe relaxing with some knitting & spinning, too!

A ‘Stylish’ Option

In my last post I shared that I was ready to start my handspun sweater! One more indulgent look at the handspun? Yes, please!img_4396

Of course, as is old news by this point, I’ve been spinning this yarn to create my own handspun Tecumseh SweaterAs it snowed and rained and sleeted Sunday morning I finally buckled down and got it all wound and then I got to knitting another swatch.

You may remember I swatched earlier with the first skein of Sunshiney Day when I was making sure I was close on the weight of the yarn. So why do another swatch, right?! Well, it’s simple. I wanted to do another swatch with the main color to double check where the remainder of the skeins were with regards to weight. I’d aimed a bit lighter after the initial skein and I was hoping that despite doing the math to accommodate the heavier yarn, maybe I’d lightened up the yarn just enough to be able to use the pattern without my calculations. Sure enough, a quick swatch with just one needle change got me right on the listed gauge and with a fabric that with which I’m quite pleased. Perfect! 

Having set my swatch aside, Mr. Knitting Sarah finished up some work and we dashed out for a quick drive through the rain and sleet and snow to see what we could see. We didn’t see much of anything because — let’s face it — not much wildlife likes to be out in that kind of weather, but what we did see was pretty fantastic…

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We saw 3 Whooping Cranes. As Mr. KS — who took this photo said — it’s always a special day to find one, let alone three, in the wild considering that at one point they numbered just over 20 living birds in the world. Now, while they are still listed an endangered, there are 757 living Whooping Cranes. This was by far the closest I’ve seen them in the wild. We spent a good long time just watching them rooting around in the fields for food, looking mostly undisturbed by the unpleasant weather. They are always such a regal, magical sight.

After this sighting, we turned and headed for home as the temperature fluctuations were wreaking havoc with our tire pressure sensors and — being in the middle of nowhere — we did not feel like getting stuck with a tire issue in 30 degree rain and sleet. We got back to town, dealt with the tires, and headed home for a warm cup of coffee.

It was then that I grabbed my freshly wound handspun so I could cast-on (for real!) my handspun Tecumseh sweater. Now I did wind all 11 skeins of yarn and needed a place to keep all the yarn, of course. Thankfully I’d just gotten my brand new Stylish Hermit Project Bag in the mail at the end of last week!img_4411

This fabulous bag comfortably fits all 11 skeins plus my project on the needles!

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I absolutely adore the size, first and foremost. Big enough for a sweater project, but thanks to its deep V design, you can easily tie it down to smartly accommodate a much smaller project, too. The luxurious linen folds down very neatly as well to create an open basket feel for knitting in action.

Having dabbled in sewing myself, I find the seams a really elegant way to present a no-catch project bag…img_4414-1

They are as beautiful as they are practical.

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Thanks to this bag, but sweater is ready to travel anywhere! In addition to knitting projects, this bag will also be perfect for holding prepped fiber for spinning projects. I may need to pick up more!

Stylish Hermit bags are currently available in two autumnal hues — Moss Green and Bordeaux Red —  through Three Waters Farm.

 

The designer-seamstress behind these lovely project bags is none other than Mary Ann & Stephen’s daughter, Liliana Pagano. Liliana has a BFA in Costume Technology and these project bags are her most recent collaboration with Mary Ann. Combining the talents of these two talented women, it’s no wonder these project bags are so wonderful! I for one can’t wait to see what they dream up next!

In the mean time, I suppose I’ll keep knitting on my Tecumseh Sweater. It might be a drag to tote around such a large WIP, but thankfully I have a ‘stylish’ option. It makes all the difference — there’s definitely no better way to carry around a sweater knit in the making!

 

 

 

Ready, Set, Knit!

Oh, this feels like it’s been a long time coming, this latest handspun sweater project. The idea started somewhere in August when the Three Waters Farm Handspun Sweater-along began and I hemmed and hawed a bit getting started on it because it felt, well, honestly, it felt  d a u n t i n g.

I spun one skein early to get a feel for the right weight…

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And then I did a little light swatching…

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To make sure I was on a good track. And then I waited for Spinzilla.

Spinzilla, I knew, would be a good combination of motivation and time to push through a good portion of this spin.

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And it really did do the trick. I managed to spin through 20 of the 44oz I was planning to spin for this project (hopefully way more than I need) during the week of Spinzilla. Adding in the original test skein, that put me over the halfway mark. As you might guess, that was a mental hurdle that I was happy to clear!

Rather than take a break from the tonal grey, I spun on through the remaining 8oz of grey and then alternated — blue, yellow, blue for the finish. Singles spun first in one long run, gathering full bobbins in a basket and then one nice long final plying extravaganza. And then straight into the bath for a wash and set!

And today, today everything is dry. All my sweater yarn is ready to go. I just have to wind it!

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Although I kind of just want to stare at it for a while because I just love the color combination.

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I have to admit that I still have worries. I stare at the beautiful pile of yarn and all I can think is… “OMG, what if I don’t have enough after all that?!” and “Are those colors really going to look OK together?!” You know, just a little mild panic.

Thankfully, now that I’m done taking pictures like this…

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In order to record this sweater spinning feat for posterity, I can just get it wound and get knitting. I will know the answers to my questions soon enough!

 

 

Not That I’m Getting Ahead Of Myself…

Yesterday, Mr. Knitting Sarah and I had made plans to go out bird-watching with a friend. As we always do, when making the plans we both checked the weather and found it was predicted to cold — in the mid-30s — and cloudy. Chilly, but not bad when you are armed with hot coffee in the car.

We awoke early Sunday to make said coffee and I went to put a little bird food in the feeders for the day before we left and I could swear it felt like maybe it was raining. But it couldn’t be. I had checked the weather. I chalked it up to me being crazy and imagining things, you know, as one does with rain so often — lol! When we’d finally packed up and headed out, we didn’t get more than a couple blocks from the house when it started to rain in earnest. Rain turned to sleet which turned to snow that didn’t stick to the ground which turned to snow that did stick to the ground…

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We got less than an inch total, but it coated everything in a beautiful white glow this morning…

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Set off by the truest of blue skies that you get when you have weather like this. The bird watching expedition may have been pretty quiet thanks to this unexpected (at least for us!) weather, but I think it was worth it for the beautiful outcome. And what does snow bring out in the knitter and spinner in all of us, but knitting and spinning, of course!

I’ve been almost singular in my pursuit of the end of my Tecumseh sweater spin. I started with 44oz to spin well beyond plenty yardage for this oversized sweater and I’ve got just about 7oz left of singles to spin and then ply. In the grand scheme of things, I’m so close and oh can I feel it! To keep myself motivated, I’m now spinning both of the contrast colors — one on my Schacht Reeves & one of my Jensen Tina 2.

Sunshiney Day on my Schacht Reeves…

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And Iron Blue on my Jensen Tina 2…

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The singles for the remaining Grey I have for the main color are finished and waiting to be plied…

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This has become my plying basket as I intend to finish all the singles that remain and then ply and finish everything all in one go. All these fibers are spun from Three Waters Farm colorways on the 80/20 Merino + Tussah Silk base. It is safe to say that I am beyond pleased with myself on the progress of this project!

It wouldn’t be me, however, if this was all I had in the works. I’ve also been slowly but surely plugging away at my AndreSue Sock Blank socks…

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I’ve got about an inch left to go before I hit the toe decreases on sock #1 here.

There you have it, my nearly single minded pursuit of all things handspun sweater. And if you didn’t think I was crazy enough for my handspun sweater obsession, I want you to envision Andrea Mowry’s Nurtured, in this….

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I may have the fiber sitting here ready to go for it… Not that I’m getting ahead of myself or anything.