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

wednesday yarn along and other things

Joining Ginny and Nicole.

This past week has been a whirlwind. I’ve been spending most of my time on the computer researching our new neighborhood and very little time knitting, which is sad, because I purchased some lovely yarn a few weekends ago and I am just itching to cast on ten different project all at once!

Initially I wanted to enroll Sam in another Montessori pre-school so that he could meet some kids his own age but every single school I contacted charged almost three times the amount we currently pay, which just isn’t feasible for us. I’d rather enroll the kids in extracurricular activities, like swimming and gymnastics. The local library hosts a lot of preschool events, and I’m hoping we can meet other families that way.

Speckled yarn seems to be all the rage right now, and I decided to use a skein of two-ply sock yarn that I purchased in Dallas this summer to knit up a pair of short socks to wear with my booties. I figure I won’t be wearing tall boots much after we move to Austin so I might as well knit up a few pairs that I’ll actually wear. I am really loving how it looks knit up; it’s a nice splash of color but it doesn’t feel as busy as I thought it would. The pattern calls for a pom pom on the heel but I feel a bit silly with pom poms on my socks so I’m going to omit that part of the pattern. Are you allowed to wear pom poms if you’re over 30?

We leave in less than two weeks. Can you believe it? Gabe will leave a few days before the rest of us so he can drive the van with a small trailer filled with the items that we didn’t want packed with the rest of our belongings. The kids, along with my mother and I will fly in early the next week. We thought about driving together but after completing a six hour road trip with our children this fall that felt like eternity, I promptly refused to embark on a three to four day road trip with any children under the age of ten. So fly we will.

What are you working on, my friends? Any new spring knits on the needles?

Happy Wednesday.

a new direction

Joining Ginny and Nicole.

A few weeks ago we put an offer in for two acres of undeveloped land just outside of Austin. The owners accepted it and we expect to close sometime in the next week or so. Everything is so different from what I’m used to, topographically speaking. The trees are shorter and bushier, and the grass is higher. The ground is dry and packed tightly with crushed limestone that glitters in the sun. It’s so different from the soft, damp grass-covered earth in Washington. The plot is in a small subdivision that consists of small acreage plots. While I can see my neighbors in front of us, (not something I am used to) the homes behind us are hidden by trees and the plot next to us is undeveloped. Austin is only twenty or thirty minutes away depending on traffic. It’s a nice compromise between homesteading and city living. We also have a bit of a view of Lake Travis, although as you can see, it’s only visible between two houses that are located in front of our property. I’m hoping we can obtain a more unobstructed view once we build a house with a second story.

It’s exciting to have an answer to at least one of the many questions we’ve been facing over the past few months, specifically “Where are we going to live?” We secured a rental ten minutes away from the property so we’ll be able to monitor the building process, whenever that begins. I have to confess I am a little apprehensive about our temporary living arrangements. The house is lovely and spacious (it has closets!) but we will be living in a subdivision with homes that are what I would call one step away from being sardine-packed against one another. We anticipate the build taking anywhere from 12-18 months so it won’t be forever, but it feels odd moving into a neighborhood where I can see my neighbors, hear my neighbors and well, not be able to escape my neighbors. It makes me sound so unsocial and ungrateful just thinking that way. I generally enjoy people and have been called a social butterfly a time or two, but I have always appreciated the escape route living in an isolated area has provided. It’s nice knowing that you don’t have to see people if you’re not in the mood. Gabe did point out that living in close proximity to other people will also make it much easer to actually meet them, which might come in handy after moving to a city where we don’t know anyone, so I think I am going to focus on that aspect of our temporary neighborhood.

Eddie asked me for a new hat a few weeks ago, so I chose some leftover Misti Alpaca Chunky yarn and knit her up a beanie with a hole for her top bun. I made up the pattern as I went along and I think it turned out pretty well. She was very eager to pose for her photos, as you can see. Someone loves her accessories as much as her mama. Sam decided to make an appearance at the end of the photo shoot and it always gets me that he hates posing for photos when I ask him to but once I start photographing someone or something else, he’s suddenly unable to stay away from the camera.

Happy Wednesday, friends.

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