Sleeping, Spinning, Hiking, Spinning, Sleeping

I have so many great things to share with you this week, but first I kind of want to share a little bit about my weekend. It started here.

IMG_0905With a sleepy Moose. That’s where most of my days start, of course, but this was extra cute as he covered his nose and every breath sounded like a deflating balloon. He’s such a goof.

In any case, last week I had some pretty epic yarn mail that included no fewer than 4 projects that I am dying to get working on (and include some special deals for you!), not to mention the sweater I’ve been knitting for my son. After writing the spinning post on Friday and then doing the little spinning Periscope on Saturday morning, however, I was really inspired to do a little spinning myself. So I did.

I had just a few minutes after the ‘scope before I had to take the kiddos to a fall festival, so I grabbed these ‘puni style rolags’ from naturallyknitty.

IMG_0920I got them back during the Tour de Fleece when my expectations for how much I would spin were well beyond reality. They are a cormo-cashmere-falkland-firestar-merino-other-silk-corrie cross blend in a colorway called Grumpy Rainbow.

IMG_0896Using the purpleheart sperm whale Turkish spindle I picked up from Snyder Spindles at the WI Sheep & Wool, I instantly became completely hooked on this fiber and the new spindle. The rolags are beautiful and just really, really easy to spin. Wow, do I ever recommend them! In the interest of full disclosure, they caused me to immediately seriously consider getting myself a blending board to make my own rolags for spindling. I think I’ll put that on my Christmas list, for sure.

The spindle is excellent, too. At 1.3oz it was a little heavier than I’m used to, but it spins really nicely and I have to admit I just love the novelty of the sperm whale. The kids and I once watched the coolest documentary on sperm whales in which they dissect a beached whale and a comparative anatomist talks about its coolest features. It was so incredible that even though it’s been more than a year since watching it when my kiddos see me spinning with this spindle they immediately start recalling all these amazing sperm whale facts. It’s pretty awesome. And it makes me want to watch the documentary again. And maybe spin while watching it.

After a morning of fall festivities with bouncy houses,  wagon rides, and apple cider kettle corn (it sounds weird, but it’s delicious), I thought I’d earned a stop at The Woolgatherer’s. A family store that originated in Germany and then relocated to the US, this shop is where I got my very first basic spinning fiber so it seemed appropriate that I stop back in after having just taken that trip down memory lane of my early days of spinning. I was looking for a spindle to replace the one I’ve been letting my daughter use and I found a beauty…

IMG_0900It’s 1.65oz and made by Tracy Eichheim and it was love at first spin. It was recommended by Sara and Hans, the owners, complete with instructions that I be very careful with the hook which is slightly and strategically bent to make it spin longer. They were wonderful to chat with and I learned a ton — from how these spindles are somewhat rare right now since the Eichheim’s relocated to how commercial linen yarns are made vs traditional methods to how Icelandic Lopi is spun (so fascinating!). And of course, I asked about a good starter loom — something I’ve been toying with trying for a while now and will also be on my Christmas list — maybe not for this year, but for a ‘someday’ Christmas.

Alas, I just walked out with my new spindle and got right to spinning with it when I got home.

IMG_0902It’s a pretty simple spindle, but I kind of love it for that. The signature on the bottom is such an endearing touch, too.

The rest of the weekend involved a lot of sleep. I’ve been fighting a pretty sore throat and just generally feeling under the weather, so I’ve been trying to rest a lot. On Sunday, I did take the kiddos and pup out for a hike though to Horion Marsh. It’s a beautiful time of year, after all, and I was raised on the idea that light exercise in the fresh air is an excellent way to fight colds and other non-serious respiratory ailments.

IMG_0908It’s that time of year that all the colors are vibrant and the kids were happily bundled, running and playing despite a stiff wind.

IMG_0910Moose was a little confused by this trail since he had to 1) stay leashed and 2) not go in the water. He is actually an excellent off leash dog, so we tend to take him places where that’s ok, but I needed something a little more low-key so the easy, must-stay-leashed trail was it. As usual, he was pretty happy just to be with us.

I got home and spun a little more in between a bit of knitting.

IMG_0916As you can see I started to get a little braver, flexing my spinning muscles and changing up the yarn weight at will and creating a thick & thin single. This is the original fiber I started learning to use the spindle with this summer, so nothing about it will be uniform anyway. I thought I’d embrace that and use it to my advantage and really see what I could do as far as controlling the yarn I was making.  It’s a blast and I’m loving the range of weights this spindle lets me create with ease.

All in all, it was an awfully nice, mostly low-key weekend that even though it involved an insane amount of sleep it was pretty productive. I could not be any happier with my little acquisition and even though I’m still not feeling 100% yet, I’m glad I was able to do some spinning and that we got a nice hike in, too. Oh, and of course there was some extra fun knitting that happened, as well. I’m totally addicted to my latest project and I even have a new coupon code for you should you want to try it out, too. I’ll be sharing that soon– I promise! — So stay tuned!

And the winner is….

Just a quick post today to share the winner of last week’s giveaway. You know the one…

weekendOne lucky reader will be receiving a hard copy of Jen Geigley’s brand new book, Weekend: Simple, Modern Knits. Full of gorgeous & fun quick knits for the whole family, we all know my Sliver & Retrograde

retrograde + sliver… won’t be the last items I knit from this wonderful collection.

Before I share who that lucky reader is, I’d first like to thank everyone who took the time to check out Jen’s new collection and enter the giveaway. I’d also love to thank Jen for inviting me to review her fantastic book, sponsoring this giveaway, and just for being awesome in general.

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

The winner is…

shellssells

My dear shellssells — CONGRATULATIONS!  To claim your prize I just need you to email me at  knittingsarah[at]gmail[dot]com with your preferred contact email and mailing address. I’ll pass the info along to Jen and your book will be on its way to you.

For those who did not win, I want to remind you that you can purchase Weekend: Simple, Modern Knits as a hard copy of the book + a free PDF on Jen’s website here. You can also purchase individual patterns + the PDF ebook on Ravelry here. It’s also available on Amazon here, should that be your preference.

And of course, I encourage everyone to show Jen some love by following her on Instagram and Facebook.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated and congratulations to shellssells!

In Review: Weekend: Simple, Modern Knits + *GIVEAWAY*

As a resident of Wisconsin where winters are often bitterly cold, super bulky accessories are a must have. Whether you have to brave the cold or you’re huddled inside, there really isn’t anything better than the smooshy, uber-warmth of a giant scarf and big thick hat to keep you warm. If you’re like me and you love a great super bulky knit — both for the warmth and instant gratification — Jen Geigley‘s new book is for you.

Weekend: Simple, Modern Knits contains 12 beautiful bulky knits. From sweaters…

debut 2

undone 2To scarves…

retrograde and floorTo cowls and even a little hoodie-scarf…

valhalla and minnie

This book really has it all.

Setting this collection apart from others, there are designs for the whole family here including a hat & cowl specifically sized for children. With the exception of the sweaters (which include sizing all the way up to 3X), these pieces are appropriate for ladies and gentlemen alike making them absolutely perfect for outfitting your whole gang. What’s more, they’re designed to be simple, easy knitting — knits that you can whip up in a day or two without a lot of fuss. Who can argue with that?!

Last weekend, I thought I’d take the book out for a little test drive…

weekendArmed with a few skeins of Madelinetosh ASAP in the Steam Age colorway, I printed out the patterns I wanted to knit up. I love how neatly the individual patterns printed — just one sheet that folded at the middle, I could easily tuck the pattern in my project bag for on-the-go knitting. I found the patterns to be exactly as promised — simple, well-written, and fun to knit. I’d call that true weekend knitting!

I started with Retrograde, a super long reversible scarf that has a wider section in the middle that acts kind of like a cowl for extra coziness. It’s a genius design, trust me.

IMG_0756-0If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen a lot of gushing about this yarn-pattern pairing over the weekend. The twin rib stitch pattern creates the smooshiest, softest, just prettiest scarf ever. As you probably know, ‘super bulky’ is kind of a wide-ranging category, it’s worth mentioning that my yarn was not quite as super bulky as the recommended yarn. Since it’s a scarf and fit isn’t an issue, I focused on knitting the prettiest fabric I could and that ended up being a bit tighter than the recommended gauge.

retrograde detIt turned out pretty freaking fantastic. Usually scarf knitting is pretty much my the bane of my existence, but not this one. I loved every stitch.

And when I finished. I had just enough yarn that I thought I should go ahead an make a matching hat. Who doesn’t love a matching hat, right?!

sliverThis is Sliver — a very basic hat, save for the lone drop-stitch detail that looks…

bundledSo rad when being worn! (I swear I was smiling in this photo.)

In the book, this hat is styled in a slightly larger, slouch-style…

Img_0692_small2

But again I had to make some minor adjustments for gauge because of my yarn. For this one, I doubled up and held 2strands of ASAP together and knit for a snugger fit. I love that it still has a gorgeous modern style and it’s wonderfully warm.

All in all…

IMG_0802I am going to be one happy, snug, cozy, warm lady this winter…

retrograde + sliverThanks to my beautiful new accessories.

Now, I promised a giveaway, didn’t I?

I’m so happy to share that the author has very generously offered to giveaway a hard copy of her new book to one luck winner here on the blog.

To enter:

1. Hop over here & browse through the patterns in this fabulous book.

2. In the comments below share which pattern is your favorite.

That’s it!

One entry per person, please.

Entries will be accepted Wednesday, September 23rd through Sunday, September 27th at midnight CST.

I hope you love this collection as much as I do — I can’t wait to see *your* Weekend knits!

For those who just can’t wait, you can purchase a hard copy of the book + a free PDF on Jen’s website here. You can also purchase individual patterns + the PDF ebook on Ravelry here. It’s also available on Amazon here, should that be your preference.

In addition, I encourage you to show Jen some love by following her on Instagram and Facebook.

Many thanks to Jen Geigley for use of her photos, for asking me to review this book, and for sponsoring the giveaway!

True Weekend Knitting

This Saturday morning started out first thing in a flurry of origami. Yes, you read that right, origami. After being inspired by my sister-in-law who has both skill and patience for the craft, my son really, really, really wants to be an expert with origami. Of course, I want to support his interest so when he mentioned wanting to try his hand at origami dinosaurs, I picked up a copy of Origami Dinosaurs for Beginners and some paper and this morning we cracked into both.

I have to say that I try so hard, but I’m afraid I’m not a natural. I’ve got mountains and volcanoes mostly down and my pteranodons aren’t too bad, but when it comes to the more exciting dinos… well, suffice to say the learning curve is proving to be pretty steep. I’m going to place most of the blame on those darn squash folds — I just stare at them for-ever until I can sort of kind of wrap my head around what is happening in the drawing and then spend the next 15minutes fumbling through trying to get them right. In any case, we spent the morning mostly making a mess…IMG_0746but a few dinosaur-ish paper sculptures did turn out (thank goodness).

Beyond the origami, I’ll be taking some time this weekend to compile my review of Jen Geigley’s new book, Weekend: Simple Modern Knits. It seems like appropriate knitting for the weekend, doesn’t it? For me, writing a review of a collection of patterns ideally incorporates trying out a pattern or two to get a feel for the author’s pattern writing style. Despite the fact that my ball winder was out to get me last night, I have some very lovely skeins of Madelinetosh A.S.A.P. wound and ready to go for a couple quick projects.

weekendI’ve super excited for some instant gratification knitting with this beautiful super bulky yarn and I can’t wait to tell you more about this fabulous book next week. Oh, and if you like what you see, keep your eyes peeled because there will be a little giveaway to go along with the review.

In addition to this fun project, work will continue on my Narwhal Needlework Mystery Skein KAL socks.

weekend knittingAs you can see, I’ve rounded the heel and I’m decreasing the gusset stitches, so I’m almost in the home stretch. I’m using the Atlantic Current Socks pattern by Melissa Sibley for these and I really love how it’s working with this lovely variegated skein. It’s my favorite kind of pattern, too, a little unique and interesting, but easy to memorize and knit on auto-pilot.

And of course, there is spinning. I’ve been doing a great job of spinning daily — my minutes of zen each day — and I have 3 projects ready to ply.

weekend spinningI have my wheel all set-up, but just haven’t quite had the energy to get started yet. We’ve been fighting back the annual back-to-school colds and just the fatigue of getting back into a full-time school schedule and I’ve found myself just mentally d o n e  at the end of the day. The idea of maintaining the focus required to get a really nice plying job underway has been a little daunting so I’ve just been putting it off.

Well, it looks beautiful outside and since knitting is wonderfully portable, I’ll be taking the knitting outside for some true weekend knitting. I hope you have a sunshine-y weekend with a dash of knitting (and maybe not so much the dinosaur origami) ahead of you, too!