Code Breaker Socks

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Bletchley Park, in Buckinghamshire, was the central site of the United Kingdom’s Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS). During the Second World War code breakers regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers. It has been stated that the “Ultra” intelligence produced at Bletchley shortened the war by two to four years, and that without it the outcome of the war would have been uncertain. The site is now an educational and historical attraction memorialising and celebrating those accomplishments.  If I ever make my way over the Atlantic to England again it will be on my list of ‘must sees’.

The theme this month in the Sock Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry is Science/Math/Computer Technology inspired.  Having just finished a BBC series on Netflix called Bletchley Circle I immediately wanted to incorporate code deciphering into a sock.  Bletchley Circle is about women code breakers in WW2 who continue to use their code breaking abilities to solve murders.  I enjoyed the two seasons I watched.

My creative juices have been all awhirl thinking about breaking codes, using deciphering machines and all the secrecy involved in code-breaking.  I am going to create some Code Breaker Socks with a secret name held within its stitches and I will create them using my top secret cipher.  My sock will be a stripe pattern with the width of each stripe determined by the letter in the name or code word.  The design pattern I will be knitting within the stripes will be my interpretation of breaking a code.

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I’m off to break my code with my top secret cipher and, when I am done cracking the code, I will pass the pattern on to you!

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z

When I am done cracking the code, I will pass the pattern on to you!

Not All Who Wander Are Lost – CLUE 1

Are you ready to start on our journey wandering through the Forest of Mirkwood?   I hope you join me on this little sock knit-a-long. Our mantra to chant is, “We are not lost, we are not lost, we are not lost….”

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MIRKWOOD Socks

CLUE 1

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‘Not all Who Wander are Lost’ because I am providing you with

Video Tips to Techniques Used in Clue 1

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Finished Foot Circumferences:

Small (7-1/2-8″), Medium (8-1/2-9″) and Large (9-1/2-10″)

Yarn

Fingering weight (Super Fine #1), 400 yds

Needles

U.S. Size 1 (2.25mm): circular (cir) or double point needles or adjust needle size to obtain correct gauge

Notions

cable needles (cn); markers (m); tapestry needle

Gauge

28 sts = 4″ (10cm) in stockinette stitch in the round

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Mirkwood

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RIGHT SOCK STITCH GUIDE

C6F – Slip 3 sts to cable needle, hold in front. Knit next 3 sts then knit 3 sts from cable needle.

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          MirkwoodLeftKey

Directions for the Right Sock:

CUFF

RIBBING

CO 56 (64, 72) sts.  Being careful not to twist sts, join for working in the round and place marker (pm) for beginning of rnd.

Work rnds 1-18 of RIBBING PATTERN as follows:

RND 1:  K2, p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to * last two sts;  end p2.

RND 2:  K2, p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to * last two sts;  end p2.

RND 3:  K2, p2, C6F, *p2, k2*: rep from * to * last two sts; end p2.

RND 4:  K2, p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to * last two sts;  end p2.

RND 5:  K2, p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to * last two sts;  end p2.

RND 6:  K2, p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to * last two sts;  end p2.

RND 7:  K2, p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to * last two sts;  end p2.

RND 8:  K2, p2, C6F, *p2, k2*: rep from * to * last two sts; end p2.

RND 9:  K2, p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to * last two sts;  end p2.

RND 10:  K2, p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to * last two sts;  end p2.

RND 11:  K2, p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to * last two sts;  end p2.

RND 12:  K2, p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to *last two sts;  end p2.

RND 13:  K2, p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to * last two sts;  end p2.

RND 14:  K2, p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to * last two sts;  end p2.

RND 15:  K2, p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to * last two sts;  end p2.

RND 16:  K2, p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to * last two sts;  end p2.

RND 17:  K2, p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to * last two sts;  end p2.

RND 18:  K2, p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to * last two sts;  end p2.

LEG

The ribbing will now change to a stockinette stitch.  The cable will continue down the front of the sock but the back will be knit in stockinette stitch. Work rnds 1-18 of LEG PATTERN as follows:

RND 1:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 2:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 3:  K2, p2, C6F, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 4:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 5:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 6:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 7:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 8:  K2, p2, C6F, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 9:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end.

RND 10:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 11:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 12:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 13:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 14:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 15:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 16:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 17:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 18:  K2, p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

CLUE 1 is now finished for the RIGHT sock.  Now it is time to work on the LEFT sock.  Since the cable is running up the outside of your foot there will be a whole new set of directions.  We also need to flip that cable around so it twists right instead of left.

Directions for the Left Sock:

RIGHT SOCK STITCH GUIDE

C6B – Slip 3 sts to cable needle, hold in back. Knit next 3 sts then knit 3 sts from cable needle.

MirkwoodChartRight      MirkwoodRightKey

CUFF

RIBBING

CO 56 (64, 72) sts.  Being careful not to twist sts, join for working in the round and place marker (pm) for beginning of rnd.

Work rnds 1-18 of RIBBING PATTERN as follows:

RND 1:  *P2, k2*, rep from * to * 3 (4, 5)  times; p2,k6; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 2:  *P2, k2*, rep from * to * 3 (4, 5) times; p2,k6; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 3:  *P2, k2*, rep from * to *3 (4, 5) times; p2,  C6b; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 4:  *P2, k2*, rep from * to * 3 (4, 5) times;  p2, k6; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 5:  *P2, k2*, rep from * to * 3 (4, 5) times; p2, k6, *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 6:  *P2, k2*, rep from * to * 3 (4, 5) times;p2,  k6; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 7:  *P2, k2*, rep from * to * 3 (4, 5) times; p2, k6; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 8:  *P2, k2*, rep from * to * 3 (4, 5) times; p2, C6B; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 9:  *P2, k2*, rep from * to *3 (4, 5) times; p2,k6; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 10:  *P2, k2*, rep from * to * 3 (4, 5) times; p2,k6; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 11:  *P2, k2*, rep from * to * 3 (4, 5) times; p2, k6; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 12:  *P2, k2*, rep from * to * 3 (4, 5) times; p2, k6; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 13:  *P2, k2*, rep from * to * 3 (4, 5)) times; p2, k6; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 14:  *P2, k2*, rep from * to * 3 (4, 5) times; p2,k6; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 15:  *P2, k2*, rep from * to * 3 (4, 5) times; p2, k6; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 16:  *K2, p2*, rep from * to * 3 (4, 5)) times;  p2, k6; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 17:  *K2, p2*, rep from * to * 3 (4, 5)) times; p2, k6; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

RND 18:  *K2, p2*, rep from * to * 3 (4, 5) times; p2, k6; *p2, k2*; rep from * to * to end of rnd.

LEG

The ribbing will now change to a stockinette stitch.  The cable will continue down the front of the sock but the back will be knit in stockinette stitch. Work rnds 1-18 of LEG PATTERN as follows:

RND 1:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 2:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 3:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, C6B, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 4:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 5:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 6:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 7:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 8:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, C6B, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 9:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 10: Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 11:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 12:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 13:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 14:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 16:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 17:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

RND 18:  Knit 16 (20, 24), p2, k6, p2, knit to end of rnd.

Mirkwood Clue 1 Left Sock

THAT IS ALL FOR THIS WEEK!  Stay tuned for Clue 2 next Sunday…….

If you prefer to have a downloadable clue then click here.  I’ve uploaded it to Ravelry and you can add a project page for your sock.  I can’t wait to see your progress!

Yarn Along on a Very Busy Day

Joining Ginny and her peeps this morning on a Yarn Along because, well, I love knitting and I love talking about books and this YarnAlong is the venue for both of those things!

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I’m re-reading the Hobbit by J.R.Tolkien at the moment.  His style of writing is delightful and I am totally immersed in his world. So much so, that I have a sock knit along starting next Sunday to knit a sock I’ve designed just for the sheer pleasure of keeping The Hobbit momentum going a little longer in my life.  If you are interested in participating all the details can be found here.

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As far as knitting goes?  I am very busy in the design room.  In fact, it may have taken over my life so I need to pace myself.  I am finishing the mate to the short Cláirseach sock, I am working on Clue 1 for the All Who Wander are Not Lost Knitalong and I am ironing out details on a cowl design.  Busy, busy but immersed in two worlds I love – knitting and reading.

If you want to see what everyone else is reading then follow the YarnAlong link.  You just may discover a new book waiting for you to read or something clever to knit!

Not all Who Wander are Lost

Not all who wander are lost”

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

I am always a little sad when a series of movies comes to an end as the movies based on the J.R. Tolkien books recently has.  THE HOBBIT has always been among my favorite books and Peter Jackson broke the book up into three movies – The Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and The Five Armies.  

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I am not ready to say goodbye to Bilbo Baggins yet so, once again, I am reading The Hobbit and delighting in J. R. Tolkien’s delightful writing style.

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It has been many years since I have hosted a sock knit-a-long but I have designed a sock to commemorate the dwarves wandering journey through the dark forest of MIRKWOOD.  I would like to invite you to wander along with me over the next month as I release the pattern progressively on Sunday afternoons.

“Not all who wander are lost”  I will not leave you abandoned without help along the way.  With each clue I will provide helpful links to knitting techniques required to execute those clues.  Even if you do not want to tackle knitting a sock right now you might enjoy watching the process unfold and you may discover, as Bilbo did, courage to try something new and exciting (addicting).

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The sock will be knit top down on double point needles or 32″ circular needle for magic loop method.  The design will be a traveling vine which reminded me of the vines in the movie scenes.

I have chosen Sweet Georgia Tough Love fingering weight sock yarn in a beautiful shade that further reminds me of Mirkwood Forest.

Each Sunday afternoon (MST) I will release the clues starting next Sunday, February 1.

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The tools you will need to come along as we wander through Mirkwood together:

Yarn:
1 skein of fingering weigh sock yarn

Needles
US #1 (2.5mm) or size needed to obtain gauge. Pattern may be knit with 5 double point needles.

Notions
Removable pins or  stitch markers

Gauge:
Approx. 8 sts = 1” in stockinette.

I hope you will join me on this wandering journey!  

There is no need to sign up but should you choose to join me I would love to post photos of your journey or link them here to the blog.

Now it is time I return to my book and forget everything else just as Bilbo did whilst listening to the music of the dwarves.  And like Bilbo I, too, ‘shall be swept away into dark lands under strange moons, far over The Water……..’

The Story of an Irish Harp

IMG_7305 Whilst touring Trinity College Dublin a few years ago, I listened in amazement as our tour guide told us how Elizabeth the First banned all minstrels and harps from the land in Ireland.  All cultural systems had been broken down with the invasion of the Anglo-Normans, the Irish kings of high standing were replaced with English nobility and their harpers were forced to wander from court to court.  Before long the English suspected them of being spies and Queen Elizabeth decreed in 1603 that all Irish harp players should be hung and their harps burned!  As one who has lived in a country without a monarch and a country that began its existence to flee tyranny, this left me altogether bewildered and bewuthered. 2015/01/img_0063.jpg IMG_0064 Cromwell came along and did his best to finish off all remaining harpist in both Ireland and Scotland.  I suppose the English thought traveling harpists were a cause of rebellion amongst the Irish people.  What I found delightful at the end of this discourse was to hear that the harp is now the national symbol of Ireland and you can find it everywhere throughout the land.  And now you see the bit of rebellion in me that has flowed down in my veins from ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War.  What’s that? Tea? No thank you!

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The Brian Boru harp at Trinity college is named after the High King of all Ireland, Brian Bóroimhe, whoo lived from 941-1014.  It was presented to Trinity College Dublin in 1782 and has remained there ever since.  The harp has a complex series of legendary histories associated with it.

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I thought it fitting to design a sock pattern with a complex Celtic design that I reminded me of the harp, let’s call it a belated ‘souvenir’.  The Gaelic name for an Irish Harp is Cláirseach so now you have the story behind the name and behind the inspiration. IMG_0368 IMG_0370 IMG_0371 The sock can be knit in two lengths, short and tall.  And, I have written the pattern for Toe-Up (orange sock) or Cuff-Down (blue sock).  The pattern is knit with a fingering weight yarn, my choices were Malabrigo Sock and Wollmeise 80/20.  I knit mine on one long circular needle using magic loop, my latest favorite way to knit socks.

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Happy Knitting!

Elf Knitting Revealed

Christmas is over and all elf knitting has been gifted and , I think, well received. It will be nice to pull out some projects I had set aside before the Christmas knitting and get back to them again. My mind has been a whirl of new ideas for the upcoming year. I will let them simmer in my brain over the next week and share them when the new year rings in.

My daughter looked beautiful in her Christmas hat today. She says I’m biased but I don’t agree with her. Some people are made to wear hats and some are not. She is one of the fortunate ones.

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The pattern was one of Jane Richmond’s designs called Pasha. I used Sublime Cashmere DK and it was a dream to knit with, very soft. The neutral color she chose will work with just about any outfit.
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Hubby got a new pair of socks for which he is always grateful. This man loves hand knit wool socks and what knitter can resist a request for socks instead of one for expensive gifts.

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Now I must confess that I sorely missed the mark on these socks. I planned to knit the Classic Socks from Two at a Time Socks but got hopelessly tangled in the tails from said socks as I tried to knit them the Magic Loop way on one very long circular needle. Hats off to any knitter who is able to do this. If I ever meet you I will take you to Starbucks and treat you to some delicious concoction of your choice and sing you highest of praise. Me on the other hand? I failed miserably and pitched one of the socks and knit them one at a time on that long looped circular needle which actually broke before I was finished.

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I also had a problem with the pattern. The smallest size would have been huge on my husband’s size twelve feet. I had to downsize the numbers by one repeat. I suppose I could have gone down to a size zero needle but really dislike using anything under 2.25mm.

My mother said she liked her beaded shawl. She likes sparkly things and I think it will sparkle along with her pretty blue eyes.

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Do you have special knitting plans as you wind down 2012? I do. I’m going to work diligently on the Colorado Sunrise Hat and finish it up. The colors in the sunrise are different in the wintertime so I’ve new colors to add. I’m going to watch some of my Craftsy classes to inspire me all over again. One class has a cardigan project and one a lace shawl, both need finishing. And there is a photography class to finish watching with a final project that will take a year to complete.

What do you have going on this last week of the year?

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A Snowy Day

The first snowfall of the year is always exciting and this morning, when we woke up to several inches, it proved no different. The snow has been falling softly for several hours now and is simply beautiful. This was Kenzie’s first encounter with snow and she was quite taken with it.

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Kenzie wants to go out and play but I am quite content to stay in my new flannel pajamas with newly finished socks on my feet.

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Of course, I have an early birthday present that has totally captivated me. I’m Stumbling and Flip Boarding (my favorite apps) through cyberspace. And, I am adding your blogs to my Flip Board so I can do a better job reading about your life.

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A snowy day is also a great time to pull out the knitting needles and watch the best football team in the SEC, my alma mater!

Mystery Monkey Sock Revision

Monkeys always bring a smile to my face – anywhere, anytime and any kind.  These mismatched Mystery Monkey Socks make me smile every time I put them on my feet.

The original pattern was always a little loose on me so I re-worked the pattern to offer a smaller size.  I like my socks snug on the foot portion on the pattern.

The yarn I used was mostly Knit Picks with the exception of the gray jacquard that I found at Jo-Anne’s.  It is called Jo Ann Sensations Soles & More.  All of these yarns seem like they will hold up well.

The solid gray sock uses the same pattern with a waffle stitch variation.  Silly monkey socks.  I need to write that variation into the pattern and, sigh, I guess I need to learn how to make a pdf file for Ravelry.  It appears that one of the editors set up the pattern on Ravelry and linked to my site.

Speaking of which, there is a tab at the top of my blog for anyone interested in knitting this pattern.

I did want to thank ALL of you who left sweet comments for a speedy recovery with my neck/shoulder.  I continue to go to physical therapy twice a week and he tells me I am about 60% recovered.  I am gradually adding a little bit of knitting back in to my life but am careful to stretch periodically  – and YOU better be stretching, too my friends!

Meanwhile, THIS amazing book arrived in my mailbox yesterday.  I had forgotten that I had pre-ordered it last year when I found out that Stephanie Van Der Linden was translating one of her books into English.  There are some very beautiful stranded patterns in this book and I am finding it difficult restraining myself from startitis…..starting with the pair of socks on the front cover!  The book is called Around the World in Knitted Socks ( Amazon link).

Autumn is in the air, especially up here in the mountains where the aspen are already starting to turn golden.  With the turning of the leaves comes a severe (and I mean SEVERE) case of startitis to this mountain girl!

Come on Autumn, work your magic on me and let me become entangled in the magical web of creativity!

Sock Innovation ~ Glynis

One of my very favorite sock designers is Cookie A.  When she announced the pending publication of her book called Sock Innovation, I went straight to Amazon and pre-ordered it.  Last June I knit Angee, followed by Rick and then, just as suddenly as the sock bug bit my desire to knit socks subsided.  But this last month browsed through Sock Innovation and felt a stirring deep down inside to knit a pair of socks…..which lead to another pair.

Cookie A. named this sock after her mother-in-law, Glynis, who was terrified driving along rugged coastal roads. Cookie thought this was a perfect pattern “for trepid knitters interested in lace.”

This was an interesting pattern to knit.  I omitted a repeat in the leg because I wasn’t sure if I would have enough yarn having dipped into one of the skeins to knit my cat mittens.  I think I would have preferred the cuff  a little longer.

Pattern:  Glynis

Designer:  Cookie A.

Source:  Sock Innovation

Yarn:  Louet fingering in GINGER

Needles:  2.5

Sadly….No Bluebonnets

We just got back from visiting family in Texas and sadly, there were no bluebonnets to be seen.  There were signs of spring everywhere but no bluebonnets.  It was nice to go outside without bundling up in coats, scarves and mittens!

Mom and I sitting in our front row seats for Phantom

Allison and her Nana at a Cajun restaurant in Dallas

The positives were spending time with family, taking my mother to see Phantom of the Opera, visiting old familiar places in Dallas including the church where my husband and I met and were married.  The negatives were visiting the Urgent Care for a bladder infection, getting addicted to Words with Friends and realizing that I’m not as good a runner as I thought I was.  The latter was discovered when I attempted my running routine on hard pavement.  It is much easier to run on a treadmill!

A trip to Texas is never complete for me without a visit to the LYS, Rose Path Weavers.  There being absolutely no room in my carry-on suitcase for stash enhancement, I had determined beforehand that I would not purchase any yarn.  But when my mother saw a ruffled scarf she wanted me to make I couldn’t resist.  What is one little ball stuffed into a suitcase?  The scarf she wants will be knit with this crazy yarn and the method is ingenious but more on that in another post.

Last month my daughter gave her Malabrigo Koolhaas away to an admiring friend so I let her pick out yarn so I could knit a replacement.  She chose  a gorgeous Manos del Uruguay yarn in a brick red shade.  Replacement yarn doesn’t count as a ‘real’ yarn purchase, does it?

My mother bought me a Lantern Moon project bag.  A simple bag for a small project.  Hmm….maybe I should use my Kaffe Fasset fabric to make some more…….

Actually, this little bag is already stuffed with yarn for my next sock project waiting for April Fools Day to arrive.

I’m really looking forward to knitting those stranded color socks but for now, I will continue working on the Seraphim Shawl. Gosh, it sure is hard to stay focused but it does help to have a pretty pair of Harmony needles!

This shawl is being knit with the exact Dream in Color Smooshy that the pattern features but at this point I am not too enamored with this yarn.  I’ve about decided that I prefer lace-weight yarn for shawls.  Here is the designer modeling the Seraphim Shawl so I’m hoping mine will look like this.

Home again, the husband is getting the firewood in the fireplace ready for another snowstorm…..sigh.