slow beginnings

Joining Ginny for Yarn Along (Yarn and pattern info below)

* Yes, that is a dung beetle rolling deer poop. My kids think they are hilarious and insisted that I photograph one in action.

I wish I could say a lot of knitting has happened between now and my last post but that would be quite the lie. I haven’t touched my Rose City Rollers in over a month (despite the heat) and instead of tackling the the cowl and (another) pair of socks that I have on the needles, I decided to cast on a new project because, well, that’s just more fun. I decided on the Campside Cardi by Alicia Plummer and I am just SO thrilled with how it’s turning out. The body has so many yarn overs and K2tog’s that it took no time at all for me to knit the body. I’m just finishing up the bottom ribbing and then I’ll have the sleeves (sigh) and collar to finish and that’s it. The yarn is by Olann, a DK weight merino superwash, hand dyed in Ireland. The colorway is called Cognac, but it reminds me more of the burning embers you at the bottom of a fire pit the night after a good bonfire.

As much as I enjoy the color, I’m unsure as to whether or not I will actually knit with this yarn again. It has this awful detergent smell to it. Every single time I pull it out of my project bag, I wrinkle my nose and my husband asks if one of the kids got into the cleaning supplies under the sink. It’s that bad. It also feels..squeaky…like it doesn’t move smoothly onto my needles, if that makes sense. I would say that it feels like I’m knitting with acrylic rather than wool. I suspect that whatever soap was used to clean the yarn after the dying process left this awful smell and stripped it of every molecule of lanolin. The squeaky sensation I can deal with, but the smell…wow, it’s bad. Has anyone ever had this experience before? I hope that rinsing it with a lanolin-based soap during the blocking phase will solve this problem for me, otherwise I’m going to smell like the cleaning supplies aisle of the grocery store every time I wear it.

I was going to take some pictures of a few FOs that I finished in the beginning of summer. I made two linen tops out of Quince and Co Kestrel and one cropped tank out of my own hand dyed fingering weight superwash, but I haven’t had the chance to take photos…so, yeah. I’m hoping I can get a chance to do that this month; maybe when the evenings cool down a little more.

Last Monday we flung ourselves into the school year with great abandon. That was only a week ago, so while I would like to say things are going well, it may be a bit premature to make that assessment. Sam is in first grade (number grades are so much scarier to me for some reason…perhaps greater potential to fail?) and he is adjusting to the longer school hours. Last year we would only do about an hour. This year he will be doing school anywhere from two and a half to three hours a day. Compared to kids who go to pubic school, this is nothing, but for a kid that likes to build legos in his underwear all day, half days are taking some getting used to.

Max is crawling everywhere, and so we are back into the “Get that off the floor before the baby chokes on it!” phase. This is harder to manage this time around, because as anyone with slightly older children can tell you,  toys become smaller as children age, and Sam and Eddie now play with (and leave scattered around the floor) little legos/soldiers/doll accessories that in my mind were specifically designed to fit snugly in the windpipe of a seven month old. Oh, and Caleb is constantly handing objects to “Baby Mac” to play with, and it almost always comes from a kitchen drawer (HOW DOES HE GET PAST THE CHILD LOCKS?!) or the office, which is off-limits to all children, but Caleb doesn’t seem to care.

Gabe went to check on the land yesterday and install security cameras in some trees so we can keep an eye on the place. Construction site theft seems to be a common occurrence here so we thought cameras might be a good idea. The land has been cleared some more and leveled out. There are even more test holes in the ground for the septic and well. We’re not sure if that’s a good sign or a bad sign. I’m just eager to break ground. Living in a rental surrounded by boxes, with my knitting stuff piled in corners and my gardening tools shoved in a box somewhere…it just feels like our lives are in limbo right now. I can’t wait till I have a little knitting studio to call my own, and some dirt to dig in!

Rose City Rollers by Mara Catherine Bryner

Campside Cardi by Alicia Plummer

Olann (DK Merino superwash hand dyed yarn)

Quince and Co Kestrel (organic linen worsted weight yarn)

Just a pair of socks

Not much has happened in my little knitting world as of late. Temperatures here in central Texas are in the high nineties to low one hundreds and it’s just been too warm to comfortably knit any larger garments. My Opteka has been pushed to the side for now…at least until I can knit on it without serious thigh sweating (TMI? Perhaps). I finished my Two at a Time Sock class last week and I am now the proud owner of a pair of Speckled Space socks! I finished these socks in three weeks! That’s honestly a miracle (at least for me). I NEVER finish socks that quickly. I’m so done with a pattern by the time I finish the first sock that I never get around to knitting the second socks till about, oh, six months later, give or take a few months. The patterns really shows off the speckled yarn and I think they are so comfy. This yarn was so delightfully squishy. I have plenty leftover, so I will probably make a few shortie socks to use up whatever I have left. I included pictures of the caked up yarn because I think it is just so beautiful in both the knitted and unknitted states. Perhaps I will just sit the leftover caked yarn  on my dresser and stare at it…

The sock class also covered knitting from the toe up and the fish lips kiss heel. I’ve heard Molly from A Homespun House talk about the fish lips kiss heel on her podcast but this was the first time I’d ever tried it and I really like it. It’s a fun way of doing short rows, and I never liked picking up stitches for the gusset so the fact that I can omit this step using this method is definitely a plus in my book, but I am a bit concerned that the heel isn’t reinforced like it is when you knit a regular heel. I’m worried that the socks will wear through faster. I suppose only time will tell.

I treated myself to a little knitting notion splurge last month and I purchased some needle stoppers WHICH ARE AMAZING and these absolutely adorable progress keepers from a UK based Etsy store. This particular set is called Afternoon Tea and they include little tea pots, cups, saucers and tiny cakes and crumpets. I’m obsessed. If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve already seen some of the progress keepers but I’ll include their info below again along with the pattern and yarn info for this post.

Joining Ginny for her monthly Yarn Along. I missed participating in this. I love seeing what other makers are putting out into the world!

Pattern: Speckled Space Socks by Amanda Stephens

Yarn: Biscotte Yarns Lumos in Granite Rose (75% superwash merino, 20% nylon, and 5% stelina)

Progress Keepers: Afternoon Tea Stitch Markers by KoPoUK

Stitch Stoppers: Stitch Stoppers by CocoKnits

Fish lips Kiss tutorial found here

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