And greetings to you from the sunny southern shores of California! No more Celtic Vests for the nonce, socks are the subject of the hour and indeed the week, and you wouldn't believe the saga that has gone into them already (yes you would, you've been there, done that, got the scars on your heart, right?)
Discovering that the very first round of SockMadness would require a skein each of solid and variegated fingering was a bit of a hiccup, as somehow we chez Celtic Memory had thought the inaugural round would be a one-colour job and had wound up two neat balls of Cherry Tree Hill in emerald fleck so as to be ready for when the pattern was downloaded on Saturday morning, by which time I would be in California and it would be late Friday night if you get my reasoning. The organisers helpfully suggested that most needs could be assuaged on the Net, but they clearly didn't know too much about postal times and living in the depths of rural Ireland. No, whatever I needed would have to come out of the stash somehow. Desperate trawling brought only one yarn to the fore - that lovely blue silk/cashmere, which is more or less a fingering weight. Thursday afternoon, in between frantic typing bouts on a dozen pieces which had to be written up and filed at the paper before I left Friday morning, I wound up one ball and then skeined up another and overdyed it in a sort-of-variegated slosh of blues before hanging it hopefully to drip dry.
Friday morning at dawn it was still, of course, wet (this being Ireland for heaven's sake, where nothing dries until July and sometimes not even then), so it was draped over the back of the seat in the car on the way to Shannon (DH is really patient at times like this, even with damp silk-cashmere dripping little droplets of blue water down the back of his neck - luckily I'd had the forethought to lay out a blue shirt for him, wasn't it?)
It hung over the back of the seat on the plane too, for eight and a half hours en route to Chicago, and it quite liked that because it could look out. It was damp-dry enough to wear as a chic fashion accessory at O'Hare...
and finally dry enough to wind up just before the flight on to San Diego. The pull handles of the carry-on bags were really useful here.
I crawled out of a jetlagged haze and went hunting for the pattern in my email at about 4 am Californian time. Seized the circular and the yarns and got started.
It just didn't work. I needed to go down a needle size for definite, and lovely though the yarn combination was, it was not right for these socks - too thick after all. Nope, new materials were needed and fast. Heck, other people were probably turning the heel by this time! Rushed out as soon as shops opened to hunt for a size 0 needle but none of the haystacks in San Diego had it. And needless to say fingering yarn wasn't in evidence either. It wasn't until we reached the gorgeous old-fashioned seaside town of La Jolla (and yes, I do know you pronounce it La Hoya!), that I discovered Paradise in the shape of Knitting In La Jolla.
This has to be the best yarn store EVER! I'll give links and things later, but it's 3 am now and I need to keep going before the Net connection gives out. You can find it easily online. Not only did the wonderful Suzanne have Addi Turbos in size 0 (she had them down to triple 000 would you believe?) she also had the most incredible range of fingerings. Fell totally in love with Panda bamboo/cotton from Crystal Palace. Bought it. Spent the rest of the breezy sunny day happily knitting away while DH photographed the cutest baby seals on the beach.
Knitting on the go is quite easy if you have a bag to hang over your arm, and this being California nobody thought it the slightest bit crazy. A lovely young Mexican woman was fascinated with the Magic Loop idea and watched closely for ages before exclaiming in triumph that she'd got it, and heading off to buy a long circular herself. And two glamorous young women were knitting in the cafe where we took a break - well DH did, I kept right on knitting. I had some catching up to do.
This is as far as I got this evening before crashing out (last night? A week ago? What day is it?)
Working with this bamboo/cotton is like knitting with cream. It's pure pleasure. I even broke off my knitting stroll along the seafront to dash back in and buy some two more sets, in a hot pink and a vivid green combination . Will show pictures of those later. Oh and a good back issue of Interweave Knits - the one with incredible cables - and the new Rebecca. That shop is good! And being able to get the right materials with which to work makes all the difference. (But it did take an eighteen-hour flying marathon, a hotel, a car, and a fairly energetic morning's searching to get them!)