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.

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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.

The Joker and the dropped stitch

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I have been working quite diligently on the Joker and the Thief shawl, going through all of the pattern with some decent speed.  I was looking at the amount of remaining yarn and I knew I could knit a bit of the last pattern repeat.  As I got closer to having to make that decision, I looked at the main color.  It might have gone for another half repeat and then I would have to immediately bind off.  This sounds like a game of yarn chicken, which you all know that I do not like doing.  So I went with the pattern as written and just bound off.  It is off the needles, with a significant amount of ends still needing some weaving, but a lot less then if I did not weave as I knit.  Once that is done I can wash and block this (probably will grow a bit) and I can immediately put it away until fall.  Summer is starting to really kick in here and wearing a Yak and Merino scarf sounds lovely, but not right now.

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With that off the needles I needed to figure out what to cast on next.  This ended up being a bit of a dilemma on my part, I have a lot of things I wanted to start.  One being the Atlas that I received the kit for, but I knew right now I needed something a little easier to work on.  I like having a simple and a more involved/complicated/more then just garter or stockinette project going on at the same time. So I went to my queue to see what peeked my interest and there were a few things. Sweaters would be nice, but I think 90 degree weather with no AC at home would not be enjoyable. There were some lace shawls that looked like fun out of colorful gradient fingering weight, but I kept going. Then I remembered something a friend of mine made and I searched frantically to find it in my queue. I found it and looked at its requirements, 2 skeins of fingering weight yarn in two good colors. I have a few good pairs in stash that I can use, so I started looking at the stash (online of course). I thought about a Madelinetosh combo that I have had for a little bit now, but I decided to save that for some brioche (and I didn’t want to dive into the big bin for it). Then I remembered I bought some yarn for a design that I just was not going to make. I pulled out the skeins and they were perfect for this project. One was a semi solid brown and the other this slightly multi teal with burnt orange that worked well with the brown (it should, they were purchased to work together). The yarn is Verdant Gryphon Eidos in the colorways Anubis and Epistemen which are turning into the Snood Barcelona.  This pattern is simple in it’s techniques, but you do have to pay attention when performing the short rows.

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Yes that is a Star Wars Slipper Stitch Studios bag (I couldn’t resist buying this when the email went out, I may have a problem) and the pattern is working up nicely in this yarn.  I hope I can make a decently sized cowl out of the yarn I have, which I should have plenty of yarn (famous last words).

 

The sweater is still on time out right now, I just don’t want to work on a full merino wool sweater in the summer.  I might pick it up again once I finish something, but I needed a new easy project.  Queue up the Vanilla is the New Black socks again, this time in the Stray Cat Sock Yarn in the colorway, Revolution.  Seemed fitting with July 4th just behind us and July 14th coming soon (if you don’t know, July 14th is Bastille Day in France).  I wound the yarn and I am super excited to start it up.  Side note, I do speak French (my second language, long story of how I became fluent) so it’s fitting I pay attention to the 14th of July.

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And the Tour de France has started, not that I am interested in watching it.  But the Tour de Fleece has also started and granted I have had a slow start.  I did a little spinning last night on my Lendrum out of some fiber from stash (a surprise I know, but this has been on that bobbin for a few weeks/months now) and I did a little light drop spindle spinning as well.  Hopefully I can do more spinning and weaving this summer, since nothing needs to be on my lap.  Maybe I’ll get a lot done during this tour, but only time will tell.  I am going back to my short rows and hopefully not messing them up.

Stubborn

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Yes I am talking about a machine today, it’s been over a week with it and it definitely has its own character. My Legare (which I don’t think I’ve shown here, but have other places) has his own character to him. He doesn’t like cotton or other non animal fibers, like most machines. Those fibers are not elastic and machines can have difficulty working with them. Not all machines, but some. This new machine gave me a scare a few days ago, I wanted to try out the 64 stitch cylinder to do some test socks for my mom, so I loaded in the cylinder with some lubricant and attempted to secure it it with the screws. The original screws are too big to fit this new cylinder. So I started to wonder what I could do, I have no clue what size of screw it would need or anything of that nature. So I went to someone who did, my father who thankfully had some screws. Then I got it mounted in the machine, so I tried to attach the ribber adjustment lever (aligns the ribber plate, so that the needles are aligned properly) and the screw was not long enough. Apparently the newer cylinders didn’t have a spacer built in, so I went back to my dad. Everything screwed in, I started adding needles, a few at a time. I cranked the machine to make sure it was not catching. About 8-12 needles in (every other slot, since I wanted to make a cast on bonnet which helps a lot) the machine would jam. I found the needles that did it and replaced them. Added some more, more jams, more replacing and finally I had half of the needles in. And the thing would jam every 1/4 rotation. I was freaking out, this should be ok, the machine was restored by a professional (not me, I only did my Legare).

I went to the ravelry group, thinking they might know if it was an issue with a piece that makes the machine change gauge and knit. Then I thought to bring out the Legare and try the cylinder on there, which would eliminate that gauge piece. It jammed on the Legare too, but I noticed something. That cylinder wobbled, as if it was not mounted at all. Then I realized the screws were not all of the way in, so I removed it and put it back into the auto knitter. Screwed in and backed up, then repeated until it was tight. I added needles like before and low and behold it was fine. So it works, user error and the whole time when I realized it I could hear the previous owners voice telling me “well duh.” The previous owner wouldn’t say that, but this machine has that attitude, as they can. So I did some test knitting and it’s all working, besides the ribber I haven’t tried it yet. But I know how to work it and do all of the necessary things with the machine.

The Joker and the Thief you might ask if it’s still going. And yes that is, but it is small. I think I’m going to add another section of the last/first section to use more yarn, it’ll be a lot of stitches and more yarn used (and ends, oh boy) but it’ll be better. It’ll be done just in time for summer.  But now that I am one more repeat from the end, I think it might be big enough, just to wrap around the neck once.  I’ll decide soon, maybe I’ll do a quick block before I decide to knit more on it.

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A new addition

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I mentioned before a good friend of mine passed, which I am finally feeling better about. The sting of not being able to see them at knitting group has subsided. When she passed she had a lot of yarn, tools, and other crafty supplies remaining. About 3 years ago, she asked if I would bring my sock machine to the shop so she could see it in action. I of course obliged since I did talk about it a bit, my machines name is Robert (with a French Canadian accent since that’s where he was made). I brought him in and she was hooked on the idea of making a pair of socks in an hour. She asked about different machines, my thoughts about them, and what machines to consider buying and from where. I mentioned NZAK was an option, being a new machine it wouldn’t need restoring and timing of the ribber and main knitting piece (the cylinder). I told her that my machine I restored and timed myself which took some time and if she was up to it, go for it, but know it will take time. I recommended an eBay seller who does all of this for you and you receive a fully functional machine. She ended up buying one from them and started learning how to use it.

It turns out she did use it a little and was starting to learn how to get it to make ribbing, which is a complicated feat in the beginning. Then she passed and the machine was there. There was someone who was interested but was hoping it was an NZAK and not the original machine. They decided to not take the machine home and I knew it would not go anywhere. The poor machine needed a good home, so there were two choices, let it sit there wanting to make socks or take it home. I had to think about it, I don’t need another machine. She did have some pieces it would be hard to get and I might be able to find, but it would be hard. These machines aren’t big, but they have a lot of parts and all of my tools and yarn are taking up space and I’m running out of it. But an idea came to mind, I’m working on getting my online knitting business going again, focusing on socks for now and maybe doing more down the line. I thought of an idea, any socks made on my machine would be normal (not that the others would not be). Socks from her machine would have part of the proceeds donated to research for the disease that she was battling. So I knew what to do, I bought the machine. It’s home with me now and it’s gorgeous. Needs some oiling but should knit with no problems, she kept good care of it.

So that’s what I’m going to do with it, make socks in her memory and pay it forward. I am also considering doing custom orders from other knitters to make socks on either machine, giving the choice of my machine or hers. Letting them know that I will donate to that organization if they choose hers. It’s what I am going to do and I think it is the best way to pay it forward and remember her.

If anyone is interested in this I can let you know when everything is ready to start production.

I did give it a quick cleaning and oiling last night and out some yarn through it. Knit just like it was supposed to, though I might have gone a little overzealous with the tension and it was not happy with such a tight gauge, but I got it knitting again. I was going to try one of the new cylinders, these pieces determine the number of stitches in a sock, but realized I needed new screws to hold that one in place. But I got it working on one of the original cylinders and that’s something. I’m going to get the screws and make sure the ribber is still going alright. Maybe I’ll crank out some socks for my mom shortly.

Moving along, gaining meters

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As many of you know there is an event going on right now called Stash Dash, I hinted to it a few posts back. This event every year is to challenge yourself to knit as much of your stash and complete projects languishing on the needles. It’s not just knitting, spinning, weaving, and even machine knitting make an appearance in this event. While listening to one of my knitting podcasts a few weeks ago while driving up to Berkeley (I do this every week), the KnitMoreGirls talked about stash dash. I remember them talking about it in years past, but never really decided to participate. This year when I heard them talking about it, I decided this was the year to do it. My stash has grown so much recently (the past 2 years or so) that I am out of storage space. With the looming reality that I will be moving out and the idea of having to move the stash freaked me out a little, I knew I needed to knit it down. The machines will play a part in this of course, but I need to do some spinning and hand knitting too. The socks I just finished count towards this, about 340 meters. That’s a good start but I need more meters to get through more of the stash.

Remember The Joker and the Thief I started recently? It’s going quite nicely, I’m really hoping that it grows like I think it will when I block it. I think it will but it has about 900 meter potential when it’s done. That’s pretty good, I have the rhythm of the pattern going and it’s pretty good autopilot knitting, except for two rows I have to pay attention to. Super happy with how it’s looking though and I’m doing something I always try to do with multi color knitting, weave in ends as I go. There are a lot of ends already, I’m really glad I started weaving in the ends as I go.

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But that’s not enough meterage, I’m falling behind in how much I want to have done by the end. I think I’m going to need to get the machines going again. I haven’t used them in a while, but they’ll blow through yarn like crazy. The sweater I started a while ago just needs the collar made and then attached. Also needs a sleeve added into the body and the ends woven, but that is almost 6 skeins of yarn to count towards the goal. Maybe with the remaining bits I can make some socks and get the full meterage.  I think I’ll have some good ideas to get a lot of meters for this challenge.

Moving Forward

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When we last left off I was working on some swatches for fun and for some other purposes.  I can tell you they are all done and I like how they all turned out, except the first it needed to be redone.  I don’t know what it is, but I like to swatch, maybe a future project will be just to swatch everything in larger blocks and make a swatch blanket.  That sounds like a great idea to have something useful and functional in multiple ways.  I get the swatches I need and then over time I can have a blanket, I would need to coordinate the colors a lot to do this.  With those done I could concentrate on some other knitting that I have wanted to do.  Remember those socks I forgot to photograph?  Well here they are in all of their sock glory, yarn is Stray Cat Socks in their Denim and Dandelion colorway and it’s such a fun color.  I am glad I chose this pattern to knit this into, though I think for the next few pairs I might make a few vanilla is the new black socks, something about that pattern makes me happy.  I think it’s the stockinette paired with that ribbed heel that makes me excited and a great pattern for grab and go knitting. Enough talk about patterns and socks, lets see these happy socks.

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The yellow is a little brighter in person, but all of these colors are just so happy and cheerful.  The heels are a little pointy, I know but they do fit over my heels.  That’s what counts and maybe one day I will actually wear my hand knit socks, instead of just making them and storing them away.

I did start something new, I don’t think I told anyone about that.  When these socks came off the needles, I knew I needed to start something else.  I was still burned by the Nelson Pullover, which when people saw the photo of the surgery they freaked out.  Not to worry, it is still ready for it’s sleeves.  I just want to take a break from it and I will pick it up again shortly.  The weather is still holding as much as it can, I might have a chance to wear it. That we will just have to wait and see what happens at this point, I am really enjoying working on something else right now. Oh did I not mention I have already replaced this project on the needles? Well yes I needed a second project, one that was not so large, so I started a The Joker and the Thief out of some Canon Hand Dyes Bruce I bought at Stitches this year. I’m really trying to knit through my stash and what I bought at stitches. This yarn base is delicious to say the least, with a blend of 70/20/10 Merino/yak/nylon, what isn’t there to like. It feels so good when you just grab a skein or when you’re knitting it. I’m using the natural as the background color and a set in 80s dance party for the 6 colors.

Isn’t this pretty? I think this will be a nice addition to my scarf collection. I’ll have it just in time for summer.