a slow return

School is done for the summer. Max is nearly five months. I’m getting (almost) a full night’s sleep. The house is staked out and the permits have been submitted to the county for approval. I have designated this summer “Operation Sarah Knits.” I feel as though this is the summer where I slowly begin easing into my new/old life, if that makes sense. More knitting. More garden/orchard planning. Chickens. Bees. Perhaps even a goat or two…All the things I have desperately missed since leaving Washington. Our house is scheduled to be finished by next spring. I’m hoping that we can slowly establish our urban homestead while the building process is going on, as opposed to after we move in. Once the concrete is poured and the brush is cleared, Gabe is considering setting up a few bee hives on the far end of the property. We are hoping he will be able to care for the bees without getting in the way of the builders and vice versa.

Now that I’m not waking up three times a night to feed the baby or doing lesson plans every week, I find myself with more knitting time in the evenings. I’m currently working on the Opteka sweater by Isabel Kraemer, and I am SO in love with this pattern. The body is done, and the only thing left to tackle are the sleeves. It’s supposed to have a looser fit, but the cables on the bottom half pull the sweater in quite a bit. However, I think this will be easily remedied with wet blocking. I’ve always enjoyed Isabel’s designs and I love it when a pattern calls for a technique that I’ve never tried before. I learned how to do German short rows while shaping the neckline and I have to say German short rows are THE way to go when it comes to short row shaping. I’m using this gorgeous silk-alpaca blend that I dyed with madder. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know the story behind the yarn. I was going for a deep red but ended up with this peachy pink instead. Oh well. It’s knitting up beautifully.

Side note: Does anyone else not realize how filthy their mirrors are until they try taking a selfie? Dear God, can you see all those tiny fingerprints? Ugh.

This month I am taking a Knitting Two Socks At Once class at my LYS. It covers magic loop, two socks at once, and fish lips kiss heels. I’m really enjoying the process so far and if this doesn’t cure my Second Sock Syndrome then I don’t know what will. I currently have four different socks on the needles, which is probably a little ridiculous. I can’t say this process is any faster than knitting one sock at a time, at least for me, but if I can get a pair of socks out of this process as opposed to knitting one sock and then waiting six months to knit the other, than I think it will be worth it.

The short socks are called the Rose City Rollers. My mother has made a few pairs and I thought they were cute. The toe is knit up in a 2-ply fingering merino super wash that I dyed with madder, and the blue spacey looking yarn is a hand painted yarn that I bought at a little shop in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Gabe and I stayed there for a few days for our one year anniversary, SEVEN years ago. I fondly refer to them as my “Anniversary Socks.”

Pattern and Yarn info below:

Sock Pattern: Rose City Rollers by Mara Catherine Bryner 

Yarn: My own 2 ply fingering superwash merino dyed with madder and Whimsical Colors Hand Painted Yarns 2-ply sock yarn in Lavender Ocean

Sweater Pattern: Opteka by Isabell Kraemer

Yarn: My own sport weight alpaca-silk blend dyed with madder

new school year and new hobbies

Hello friends, it’s been while.

September marks the end of our first summer in Texas. I have to admit, I had a hard time with the heat. August was just miserable, and I’m not far enough along to blame it on my pregnancy. I long for the warm summer days and cool nights that August typically brings in Washington. At one point the heat never seemed to end. It cooled down considerably two weeks ago and the days are finally hitting the low 80’s mark instead of the usual low 100’s. At one point I started frantically researching real estate in Idaho to see if it would be possible to own a summer home in less extreme temperatures.

Let’s just say I’m going to need to learn to adjust to the heat.

I’ve been assured by some women at the local yarn shop that the weather does indeed become cold enough for wool sweaters, and for that I am grateful.

We started our first official year of homeschooling last week. Sam is still learning his letters/sounds and I really like the program we chose, All About Reading. We are still using the pre-reading curriculum and supplementing with Bob books. We do basic counting and number recognition for Math, along with some memorization work of a weekly poem or nursery rhyme, which he performs in front of the family every week. Twice a week we will study science. I struggled finding a science curriculum that is both engaging and age appropriate for a 5 year old. I think I found it with Intro to Science by Elemental Science. Each unit is divided into 6 weeks with a weekly experiment. There is also a list of books for supplemental reading for each unit. Sam loves the science portion but doesn’t have much interest in learning his letters. I don’t want him to resent school time, so if I think I can hold his attention for five minutes learning a letter sound, I will, but otherwise we just end up reading for a half hour, which suits both of us just fine. I’m speaking of our homeschooling experience like we’ve been doing it for years but in reality we are only in our second week, but without any major meltdowns from mama or son, I’m declaring this year a success…for now.

Because I need more hobbies, I’ve become obsessed with natural dyeing. The muted colors that come from plants are stunning and I love the idea of using common plants to create a variety of colors and shades.  I found a local sheep farm that sells the most luxurious wool and I’ve been turning my kitchen into a makeshift dye lab. I’ve had one bad session with avocado stones…instead of a light pink, they turned my yarn into a disgusting flesh color that just plain creeped me out. Otherwise, my sessions have gone remarkably well. I adore every shade of purple that logwood creates and I also found a batch of prickly pears and dyed some sock yarn with them. There is little info on dying with prickly pears, other than what I could find on Ginny’s site, but with a bit of help from her I was able to create this lovely dusty rose color with different veins of pink throughout. It’s not a deep magenta like Ginny’s yarn, but I absolutely love it and plan on collecting more prickly pears before the season ends.

I’m using the logwood dyed yarn in worsted weight to knit the Antler cardigan for Eddie. I adore the cable pattern across the yoke and I plan on finishing it with yellow buttons to contrast the purple.

I’ve dyed more yarn than I need so I’ve decided to sell some on Etsy. I’m not looking to become a master yarn producer/dyer but if it helps supplement my yarn addiction hobby, then I will be happy.

It feels good to pop in and say hello. Happy Thursday, friends.

p.s. I forgot to mention that I’ve started experimenting with new scents for my homemade deodorant. I used to use only tea tree oil, but I became bored with that scent and decided to branch out. My newest batch was Lavender and Mandarin Orange. Anyone else experiment with homemade deodorant? What is your favorite recipe/scent combo?

regrouping

So. It’s been a while.

We’ve been here for three months now. It doesn’t feel like we’ve been here for that long. Well, maybe it does. I’m not sure. We’ve been so busy. We are settled into the rental home as much as we can be. We don’t plan on being here for very long, maybe just another 18 months so or, so I have made a point not to do anything to this home, decor wise. We live amongst boxes, our furniture is sparse (the new owners of the farm decided to buy most of our furniture) and we have farm equipment strewn about our backyard covered in tarps.

It doesn’t feel like a home, to say the least.

We chose an architect and we are hoping to have the final building plans complete within the next three months. Then it’s just a matter of choosing a builder that is reputable but doesn’t break our budget (which may be difficult to find). The kids are enrolled in swimming lessons and sports. We attend story hour at the library and we’ve even met a few neighbors that have kids around the same age and so we do weekly playdates as well.

I’m making it sound like life is more chaotic than it really is. We have a pretty decent routine, at least for now. I’m a few months pregnant with our fourth and final child, which is exciting, scary, and oddly enough, a relief all at the same time. Exciting because, well, a new baby! Scary because who in their right mind has four children age five and under!? A relief because there is a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. I’m kind of glad that we’ll be done with bottles, breastfeeding, diapers and midnight feedings. I want to burn my maternity clothing. Or at least give it away to someone who would want it.

Lately I find that I’ve been really homesick for Washington and my farm. I don’t miss the smallness of the house and the feeling that comes along with it or Gabe working 15 hour days. But I miss my land. I miss the trees and deer in my orchard. I miss knitting on my couch and watching the rain fall. I miss my friends. I haven’t felt any inspiration to knit since we arrived here. It’s hot and living in a subdivision surrounded by boxes just isn’t very inspiring. In fact, it’s a little depressing. I know I shouldn’t complain because I still think moving was the best decision for our family. But I hate this in-limbo feeling. I want my craft space back. My raised beds. My orchards. I know I’ll have all those things back eventually. We won’t have the sheep that we dreamed of having, but we’ll have a garden and a nicely sized orchard. Gabe is hoping to restart his bee hives and I am excited for him to be able to continue his hobby. But sometimes it all just seems so far away…and I wonder what to do with myself in the meantime? I bought some books on natural dying and I am planning on attempting my first batch this month. I think I may design a sock pattern because, well, what else do you knit in this heat? Certainly not a sweater. Then there is the new baby to consider. So I suppose I do have a creative spark left in me. I think it’s just a matter of putting the effort into fostering it.

I’m not sure how much time I will spend on this little space of mine. I need to think about it a little more and decide if I want to periodically drop by or if I should just take a break until we finally move into our new home. I just don’t know yet.  Regardless of what I decide, it did feel good to get out some of my thoughts that I’ve been keeping to myself for the past few weeks. It’s one of the best things about this blog. Throwing my thoughts out there and seeing the responses from some of the readers. The connection is what makes it all worthwhile, really.

Happy Thursday, friends.

 

 

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