That kind of weather

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As I may or may not have pointed out here a few times that I live in California (and not the part that is on fire right now, still) and we get “weather” here. I mean don’t get me wrong, we do have nice warm summers and chilly winters. We do know what rain is, you would not guess it based on the way that we act when we see it (as a friend of mine stated it we start to freak out and say “it’s water from the sky”). But now we are in November and the mornings are in the mid to low 40s, which is chilly for us. In some parts of California, when it goes below 64 people dress like they’re in the arctic (I’m not kidding, I’ve seen it first hand). With that in mind, in the 40s is quite chilly for us and for me, since I’m used to this kind of weather (though I do like cooler weather). I’ve been trying to bring out my knit wear more and more, with a little sweater sized problem. I want to be wearing sweaters but all of my sweaters are for a 44″ finished measurement and I need a 40″ now. I have a feeling some of you are reading that and saying “stop complaining, I want that problem” but it just is what it. Yes that one sweater that needs the repair still needs it to be done. Yes I know that it won’t take more then a few minutes to complete the repair, but as I also may have mentioned, I don’t have that much time sometimes.

I’m frantically trying to squeeze any last brain filled, potential knitting time with just that, knitting time. Granted I do have the occasional I need to decompress, or remove the smoke from my lungs (it’s not as bad as it sounds here, but I am sensitive to bad air quality) with something that is not knitting but video game related. But once that’s done, the knitting comes out and then it’s time to sleep. I am just about to split the front for the neck on the Sandy Neck pullover and I can’t wait. Though I realize I still need to make those sleeves, but at least it will be less stitches then a front or back. Let’s hope I don’t have to play yarn chicken with this, hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself with the knitting fates.

I could just look at those cables forever, they are just so pretty (and yes I mean pretty, they’re handsome too, but they’re pretty too). The yarn is just so great and I think lol of it was a great choice, except for the small needles and finer gauge while I’m knitting on it. At least the socks are coming along too, I can finally start the toe in a round or two. While getting to that point I amazed some of my coworkers while I knit and read on a break. They were just dumbfounded that I could do that and not have to look while doing it. I think the muggles hadn’t seen me actually knit in front of them before, but knew I was a knitter.

With this weather I think of warm houses and baked goods to share. In the last post I mentioned I am a fan of baking and I purchased a new book recently. Another French baking book, but in my defense this one isn’t just about Macarons (even though there’s a handful of pages about them, I mean come on, it’s a French baking book). I’m already devising all kinds of things I am going to make to fill people with warm pastries and butter, lots of butter. But isn’t that what this time of year is about? Sitting with people you care about, good conversation, good wine (or insert beverage of choice), and some butter filled pastry that just makes your heart sing. That sounds like what I want to do in the coming weeks, as time permits. I’ll have to be back in the kitchen soon to make a few things. I’ll post more pictures as they come.

Yet again I am trying to simplify and streamline my workflow here so I can get these to you on a more timely schedule. Hopefully the picture are up to their normal quality (at least I think they have a sort of quality to them), if not please let me know.

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Too concentrated

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I have not been as good about posting on here, I know, and I always say that I will do better and things just don’t happen that way.  I think I am finally realizing why this is, content and concentrated.  I am concentrating on some other things in my life, moving out for the first time, finishing my PMI certification, and a few other things, to name a few.  A lot of my concentration is going to this and so when I think of something that needs to be done, I look at those other things first, instead of getting a post ready.  The content portion is due to the limited amount of time I have to actually knit.  I have this strange notion that if I don’t have any knitting to talk about I don’t have anything worth reading.  This strange notion tells me that if there’s nothing about crafts and no decently nice pictures, then there isn’t anything for me to talk about.  Even though a lot of other things may be happening in my life, I just feel that I shouldn’t talk about them here.  Then I realized, knitting is part of my life and the story that happens behind the knitting may just be the kinds of things I should also be talking about.  I mean there are other famous knitting bloggers that do this, when they talk about their life with no knitting content, it completes their story.  So I have decided that I will be doing this from now on, talking  more about my life, interspersed throughout the knitting content.  And that I will add more photos from other things as well as the knitting related content.

Just so everyone knows, I am not near the fire that is going on right now.  That is about 2 hours north of where I am at the moment, probably a bit further to be honest.  I am in the effects of the fire, the entire bay area has bad air quality right now, so it means staying inside more.  I know there is a dyer up in that area that lost everything and that is heart breaking.  Her entire studio gone in the blaze and fleeing her life there.  I saw this news on Instagram, where someone was showing they were raising funds to help her and her family get through this situation.  I am always touched by the generosity and kindness of knitters.  I know this person and their family were grateful for the help from the community, I would be if I was in that situation.  At this time that fire is 25% contained and is still doing damage.  Let us all hope that no one else has to flee and loose everything like so many already have.

On a lighter note I am working on the sweater still, getting ready to do the neck and shoulder shaping.  I don’t have much more then that and some progression on the vanilla is the new black socks, just passed the heel turn.  Something that you may not know about me is that I like to bake, like a lot.  I didn’t bake for a long time because of me doing it too much when I was young.  After the car accident I started to get the desire to bake again, probably because of all of the baking shows that I was watching.   I had to wait a little bit before I could bake, sine I was recovering, but after that I did a little bit.  I made some cake here or there, but nothing too crazy.  Then I got a crazy idea to make something that is a little challenging to make, Macarons.  So I did my research, learned the tips and tricks to make the perfect batter and waited for the opportunity to make them.  When I had the house to myself for a bit a little while ago, I decided it was time to make macarons.  If they didn’t turn out then only I would know they were a disaster.  But I made one batch and brought those in for my coworkers, who loved them.  Then I made two more batches, able to go through the process with ease.  The second batch was phenomenal, better then the last, the third batch however did not turn out (something about me and lemons with baking don’t get along).  Because of my being out from the accident, someone I knew at worked helped keep some of my stuff going, so I owed them.  And they’re French, so I figured a nice way to thank them again, would be Macarons.  So i got the bit of ingredients that I needed and went to town.

I made 180 shells or 90 total cookies and they’re delicious (I eat a shell that is broken or exploded to make sure they’re ok).  I decided for a dark chocolate ganache with a shell made with dutch processed cocoa powder.  I’m going to save the ones for my coworker and then the rest will go to my coworkers tomorrow.  I think I might do baking for gifts instead of knitting this year.  I have a few different recipes that I want to try and I think doing gift boxes of macarons could be fun.  I guess we will see, back to the front of that sweater I need to finish.

Not the normal

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Before you ask, yes I am still working on the sweater. It’s going well actually, I am just past the underarm bind off and traveling up the front of the chest. Hopefully I’ll get this piece done in the next week or so, but I’m hoping for this weekend so I can power through the sleeves. Since they’re plain I think it’ll go quickly and while I work on those I can wash and block the semi pieced body. Then it’s more blocking, ends, the neck, and I can finally wear it, just in time too. Fall is in full swing here, well sort of. It is still low 70s during the day, but in the morning it’s cool and the days are getting cooler so I can wear a nice wool sweater.

I have been wearing a scarf in the morning if I remember to bring one. Or if I decide to be a little fancy and wear my leather jacket in the morning. But generally not much more, most of my sweaters are too big now and the one I want to wear I keep forgetting to do the fix on the ribbing.

I did buy some yarn that I normally would not have purchased. Before you jump me and take me to a nut house, it’s not acrylic. Put down your pitchforks and straight jackets, it’s wool and nylon. I kept hearing about this yarn when I listened to a podcast, one of the podcasters in this duo knits a bit with this yarn. She says she likes it and so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try it. I forgot a friend of mine gave me two balls of it but I ordered two more sets so I could try at least one and have my mom try one.

I’m hoping they work out because I might have found the yarn for machine knit socks to sell and help charity too. Only time will tell for that.

Back to the sweater, I need a new sweater and a project off the needles. I’ll fantasize about the next thing I’ll knit.

Bad at this

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I know I have been gone a while and instead of boring you with the same working a lot and forgetting lets just get back to the knitting.  I have been working as diligently as I can on the Sandy Neck pullover, even though I am so ready for it to be done.  I am enjoying the knitting, it’s interesting, the yarn is lovely, and overall I will be very happy with it when it is done.  The problem is the decision I made to go from a worsted weight yarn to a sport weight.  Don’t get me wrong, the change will be very nice and allow me to wear this sweater for longer, especially with the California cold we get here (which is not that cold at all for some).  It is just taking a while and match that with limited knitting time, it’s going to take a while.  I keep looking at other sweaters on Ravelry, longingly wanting to cast them on.  But I keep pushing forward, but the thought of a nice worsted Brioche sweater keeps jumping into my head.

On an un-related note, I was trying to find a sweater that I knew needed a repair for some strange reason.  I wore it maybe once to discover that the sweater had a break in the ribbing, which was near the bind off.  So I could just rip back and repair or just do some surgery and get fixed really easily.  I decided to do the second option, but I couldn’t remember where I put it.  I knew that the yarn was in the Madelinetosh scrap bin and yes I have a bin dedicated to Madelinetosh scrap (which made me want to start the bee keeper quilt, but I digress).  So I went into the knitwear storage bin, the largest of them, which meant removing the sweater quantity bin from above it.  So I saw yarn I forgot I had and all in sweater quantity.  I think I know where I am going to pull yarn from when I start the next sweater.  But now that the sweater has been liberated (I put it somewhere else safe, somewhere I was sure I would remember it) I can now do the repair.  Again that time aspect plays into effect.  I just need to use some of my knitting time in the morning and do some repair time so I can wear it.  The mornings have been quite chilly here and I like wearing something warmer in the morning.  And yes it’s California cold and not like other places cold.  At least the front is going fairly well, I should be ready to bind off the underarms in the next 2 weeks or so maybe.  Maybe I’ll have a sweater by the end of the year (I actually wrote yarn, that makes sense too actually surprisingly).

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But look how nice the front is coming on my sweater.  I need to take a vacation to knit like crazy, maybe I will.  Next time I will tell you about some yarn I picked up, for knitting science.  Do not worry, it’s still wool.

Falling Down

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Recently I have been not knitting that much, maybe 30 minutes a day, sometimes none at all.  Life has gotten quite busy for me again, so unfortunately knitting has taken a quick break sometimes, even though I wish it didn’t.  It is a great way to relax in the morning before going to work, doing chores that need to be done, or what not.  Especially with a cup of coffee or two if I have the time, sometimes I just make the second cup at work.  I have made some decent progress on the sweater I have been working on, which is the Sandy Neck Pullover.  This pattern called for worsted weight, but I found a great color in a sport weight, so with some quick math I bought the yarn for my birthday.  I have been making slow progress, but still progress on it.  I am just about to reach the shoulders on the back.  I forgot how long this would take me, if I had done worsted weight, it would have gone much faster and I would probably be almost done with the body.  With that said I think that the change to a finer weight yarn was a good idea, since it does not get that cold here and it will be more wearable for me.  The yarn I chose is Swans Island Washable Wool Collection Sport in the Dove color.  It’s a nice grey white and still shows off the cabling quite nicely.  Of course I have made some mistakes on the cables as I am usually not up to my normal brain power when I am waking up.  I did a set of twists on the side cables the wrong direction, repeated the center pattern an extra set in a specific spot, and purled when I should have knit a few rows down.  I made all of the corrections and it is looking nice.

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Maybe I’ll have this done just in time for summer next year at this rate.  Hopefully not, I really want to wear this in the next few months.  Though I have a lot of different sweater quantities of yarn that are calling to me too.  I saw a lot of it in the beginning of this week, I went through a lot of the stash, getting rid of scraps I no longer needed, and some stuff that I just couldn’t use and no one else could.  But then a package arrived last week, I knew it was coming but I forgot what all of it was.  I had my first bit of yarn amnesia, I knew it was yarn, just didn’t remember how much or what colors I ordered.  I mean it did take about 3-4 weeks to arrive since it was being shipped from New Zealand, but I should have remembered.  When I opened the package I started to remember what I ordered, 5 skeins of Stray Cat Yarns in a variety of colors.  I remember wanting to get more self stripping sock yarn from them, but they were closed when I looked.  So I signed up to know when they would be back and looked at other yarn but decided against it.  Then I got the notification and purchased these beauties.  The five colors I purchased were, Electric Avenue, Brass Tacks, Rescue Cat, Silver Star, and Aotearoa and they are even nicer in person.

 

My parents also just came back from a trip from Washington. They said it was a great trip, lots of beautiful scenery.  They did visit an Alpaca farm and they both said they were cute, which we knitters knew that.  But they decided to pick something up for me while they were there.  The first was a nice skein of 2 ply handspun alpaca, which was spun by one of the owners.  My mom was talking with her about me and my wheels, she asked her what I had but she didn’t know.  But I also got a nice bit of blended alpaca roving.  I might spin that up in the future and will weave something out of it.  Not sure yet, but it is nice.  In the mean time I need to finish what I am spinning on both wheels. The Lendrum is going away I think, I just don’t us it anymore.  Time to get back to knitting and spinning.

 

So little time

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I have been MIA for a little bit and there is a good reason for that.  Mainly I went back to work after the accident, which took longer because of some paperwork (not my fault, but still).  Now that I am back and at my normal amount of work, my time has been limited.  I have to do a lot of things I need to do and not a lot of time to do it.  I need to do a lot of cleaning, cooking, and care of the house, which all takes away from knitting.  I have not touched the socks in a little bit, I have not needed a simple pair of socks to work on.  Yes they are good for auto pilot knitting, but I have not been that out of it.  Usually my time is spent on another project.  The sweater I think I mentioned last time, is going well.  Adapting a sport weight for a worsted weight is making it go slower of course, but also making it more wearable for me.  I will need to do some checking once I reach the underarm to make sure it will fit just right.  Just the nature of adapting patterns for different gauge yarns.

 

This is just a quick update, I will have some photos and more knitting/spinning talk later.

Knit Storm

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I have a lot of yarn, for me that is, and the stash has gotten to an over capacity for the space I have allocated with it.  I think I have enough yarn to get me through maybe 2-5 years of knitting even with using the machines occasionally.  I know I have said it before but this time I mean it, I need to go on a yarn diet.  The limited time that I have had because of working a lot doesn’t help me get through the stash.  Recently since my injuries have healed and I am just waiting for the ok to return to work, I have been knitting.  I have been knitting quite a bit actually.

 

Those Vanilla is the New Black socks out of Stray Cat Sock Yarn in Revolution are done.  They are all blocked, ready for when the cooler weather comes.  Which right now we are having some nice mid 70s F here (21-25 C) and it looks like summer might be cooling down already.  I really hope that it doesn’t have another heat spike, I don’t like those one bit.

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Speaking of cooler weather items, the Snood Barcelona out of Verdant Gryphon Eidos (which she is no longer dying, maybe you can find some in some stashes) is complete as well.  I was really hoping that I would get 12 repeats of the pattern out of the yarn, to make it a little bigger.  But with the remaining weight of yarn and yarn needed to complete another repeat were equal, which did not include the bind off.  So I stopped at 11 repeats, did an invisible seam on the two ends and it turned out quite nicely.  Another one for the, when the weather is cooler pile.

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Oh and a project I started and finished since the last time I was here, the Sports were started and completed.  They’re out of some left over Spud and Chloe Sweater I had from a sweater I made years ago.  I only needed some contrast color for it, which I picked up maybe a year ago.  They’re currently drying right now, but fit like a glove.  I think I can deal with another heat wave, if I wear these and a tank top.

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With three projects done, I needed to get some more things on the needles.  I did cast on another Vanilla is the new Black socks, to your surprise.  It is out of my last skein of Stray Cat Sock yarn and will be perfect for Halloween.  But I did purchase yarn, before I looked through the stash again, since it is my birthday month.  I picked up a sweater quantity of Swans Island Washable Wool Sport in this very subtle Dove color.  I had a pattern in mind, though it called for a worsted weight yarn.  But with some very quick calculations, I knew I could use the upper two sizes with a thinner yarn to make a sweater in my size.  You can’t tell but in this photo, I was already swatching for the sweater.   I am hoping it will turn out, I need to figure out a few things myself, since I’m doing this modification to the pattern.  Those will come later, I need to knit to that point, so that’s what I am going to do.  DSCF0057

Recovering

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I’ve been quiet on here lately, I have been recovering from whiplash, which let me tell you is not fun at all.  I’ve been at home for a over two weeks, not being able to do much.  Under normal circumstances if I had this amount of time at home, there would be a lot of different things I would be doing.  I would have been doing a lot of machine knitting and tuning of the new to me sock machine, but I was not able to lift anything more then a pound or two.  I could list all of things I could have been doing, but that list was longer then I care to tell.  I thought I could knit and spin to pass the time, sprinkling in Netflix and relaxing, but I came to a realization over a week ago.  Knitting and spinning uses a lot of fine motor skills that require lots of muscles and nerves. It turns out that knitting for more then 30-60 minutes a day, caused the whiplash to stay static.  I was not knitting or spinning for long periods in the day, but throughout the day, which I had to stop.  I had to limit how much I could do either one and so every morning (or whenever I woke up) I would knit for 30 minutes in the morning and then not again the rest of the day.  My hands would itch to pick up some needles or fiber, but I knew I couldn’t.  I wanted to tell you all more about what was going on, but typing hurt too.  So I dealt with it, it was not fun to say the least, I binge watched a lot of Netflix, YouTube, and some time on videos games (mainly console, didn’t aggravate my hands/neck/arms/back).  After giving it over a week, I am able to do more now.  I am able to type, the pain is pretty much gone, with only some tense muscles and slight discomforts, which I am working on now.  I have been able to knit and spin a little more thankfully.

 

I have been able to spin a little bit, but not on the Lendrum.  The Hansen has been doing a lot of the work for me, since I don’t think I can move the Lendrum either.  That and I think the treadling and manipulating fiber would not be good for me.  The greenwood fiber that I have been spinning has had it’s difficulties right now.  I decided when I started spinning it that I would not pre-draft any of it and spin it from end to end, drafting as needed.  It’s a mistake right now, since I am limited in my movements.  Lets just say pulling Superwash Merino and Nylon (which is not as smooth as some, but still great to spin) isn’t easy for me right now.  I am moving along though, spinning a little bit every few hours, giving myself lots of breaks in between.  I am hoping that by the end of the next week or so I’ll be ready to ply.  And for that I am ready for my first yarn to come off the Hansen.  I did buy the Aker Kate because I liked the idea of a flat, easy to tension kate for spinning.  So far I like it, but I have not plied with it yet.  Some of my knitting group has the same one and they are very happy with them.  So I am excited to try plying with it.  I am nervous there is not enough twist in the singles, but I can remedy that if needed.

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There has been some decent progress on the Snood Barcelona but it’s still a little slow for my liking.  I think that I am nearing the end, the balls of yarn are starting to fall apart.  That’s the kind of state that I am sure that they most knitters know about, their yarn running out and the balls of yarn looking deflated.  Yarn deflation is a real thing, if you don’t believe me, knit through a ball of yarn and you’ll know what I’m talking about.  I am almost done with it thankfully, I might be able to get to 12 repeats, but I will have to verify that.

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The socks are going fairly well, not much progress from a week or two ago, when I turned the heel.  Once this sock is done, then I need to start thinking of what to make next, same with the snood.  Once they’re both done I’ll need projects to replace them, I’ll start looking through the stash and queue.

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Yarn can’t hold that together

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I have another post I was going to release on Monday, but that plan got derailed.  I have not been having a lot of good luck in my normal day to day. There was some of my accounts being hacked, a bit worse then some of my other accounts. I have had a few of my accounts compromised before and now it’s getting slowly worse. So I am taking the next step and getting everything secured as much as possible.  If that wasn’t enough, Monday was not my day.

 

The worst of it happened on Monday, I was coming home from seeing my partner. There was some traffic and I was being diligent, cautious, and paying attention. I was almost at a stop, when I hear a noise. This noise is one you don’t want to hear, a loud screeching coming from behind me. Before I could look in my rear view mirror, I felt the impact. I think this is the hardest I have gotten hit. I am ok, just for the record, a little sore and bruised on my right hand. But in one piece and the same for the other driver, which I am glad they are ok too.  They were pretty shaken up and we got through everything.  Then I needed to get home, which was not going to be fun.  I was about 30 minutes from home and needed to get there, the car was still running ok as far as I could tell.  I pressed the bumper back into place and started driving.  Not even five miles down the road (8km for those who use metric) I could hear the bumper grinding on the road.  So I pulled over again and secured the bumper even more, that lasted about the same amount of time.  I had an idea, a slightly crazy idea that only a knitter might think of.  I had yarn with me and before you make any judgments, I knew I would have plenty of yarn for the project and it was a stronger sock yarn.  I used some 75/25 Merino/Nylon yarn that I have been using to make another Vanilla is the new Black.  I tied that bumper back down and prayed.  It miraculously stayed for a good 10-15 miles (16-20 km) and then had the same issue.  So I took that off, got it on again, and picked up some duct tape.  I was able to get home safely and that car mostly in one piece.

 

Lets bring this into perspective, this yarn was not going to last for the whole 30 minutes on the freeway, holding that bumper in place.  But it did a damn good job, given it’s circumstances and a testament to how strong that yarn is.  That yarn is Stray Cat Sock yarn and I think it will hold up just fine to normal sock wear, which is it’s original intent. So with that being said, when the shop re-opens I think I will be buying more of their yarn, when the stash has shrunk a little more too.  The first sock is done and the second is about halfway through the heel, getting close to having another pair of socks done.

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That first sock is not blocked yet, but it is sitting on the foot model really nicely.  The only thing I am not super happy with is that single line of grey right after the heel turn.  I didn’t want to cut the yarn for that small little bit and I’m glad I didn’t, mostly.  I don’t like how it pokes out as it is, mocking me that my color repeat was not perfect.  Perfectionism is for someone who actually cares about it, right now I am not that person.  I should be able to get the second sock done this week and then I need to figure out what is next.  Maybe another pair of socks, I know how exciting that would be.  But there is a skein of yarn I have been wanting to try for a bit now, maybe I’ll do that one in this pattern or in a more patterned sock.

 

Speaking of patterns, the Snood Barcelona is still going well, though a little slow.  The effect of all of the short rows is quite stunning and I think it will be great when it’s done.  I should have plenty of yarn to make it a decent sized cowl (famous last words).

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No spinning to talk about at this moment, I haven’t dared try it after the accident.  I’m having some discomfort in my hands that makes some tasks difficult.  Knitting is ok, in short increments, but I am trying not to push that either.  Maybe I’ll gently pull out the Lendrum and see if spinning is an option, knitting in this heat is becoming not that fun.  Going to rest a bit before I try that, I should be back to normal again in a few days, I hope.  I guess we will see what my doctor says, just as a just in case measure.

Flat Tire

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The Tour de Fleece is not going very well, sort of.  I am working on both of my wheels, but they are not going as quickly as the knitting is going to be honest.  On my Lendrum I am spinning some Miss Babs Merino/Bamboo/Tussah Silk in the Shaken Not Stirred colorway.  I am spinning this as a nice thin single from one end to the other so that I can chain ply it into a gorgeous continuous colored yarn.  It’s spinning like butter, but superwash merino with bamboo and silk should spin like butter.  I am excited to get this plied and knit/woven into something, though I think I might ply this on the electric spinning wheel.  Speaking of the electric spinning wheel I have worked on that a little bit too.  I haven’t picked this up for a while (lets not talk about how long it’s been) and started to spin some Greenwood Fiber Arts Superwash Merino and Nylon fiber in a colorway I couldn’t tell you.  One because I did not log it in Ravelry (one of the many things I am finding I need to add) but also because I am trying to get this post ready, since I am very behind.  You guessed how I’m spinning it, a thin single ply that will be a chain ply when it is all done.  Do you see a theme here?  I must like plying this way because I have a lot of that ahead of me.

Knitting wise the socks are going very well, I am just about to start the toe decreases on the first sock.  I really think this is going to be my go to pattern for plain socks with fun yarns.  I have one more skein of the Stray Cat sock yarn, that I think will be one of these.  As for the snood Barcelona, it’s going rather slowly.  The larger stitch count, short rows, and attention that is needed to make this pattern does slow me down a little bit.  But still I must persevere and continue knitting. No pictures today, I’ll take some soon.