I’ve been signed up to teach a couple of classes in May and June and preparations have already begun!  I won’t say much about the classes yet because they have not yet been announced and I think it’s only right if the shop owner announces them first.  I will only say that, as the photo above hints at, one class involves socks.  I’ve started on the demo socks already.

See those shiny new needles sitting on my laptop?  Those are my brand spanking new ChiaoGoo circular needles.  I have been using KnitPro wooden needles for sock knitting for the past several years but they are just too fragile.  They break easily.  I totally gave up using their 2mm size because they would break if I looked cross-eyed at them.  I had searched Ravelry for needle recommendations and decided to give these a try.

Since the above photo was taken, I’ve knit about half a sock with these 2.25mm needles.  So far I like them a lot.  What I like the most are the very pointy tips.  In fact, I LOVE the pointy tips.  They make knitting with small sock yarn so much easier!  Also, the metal has just the right amount of slip – not too much – just right.  The one thing I’m having to get used to is the cable.  The lovely red cable is actually plastic covered metal.  You can see the metal inside through the clear plastic coating.  They are stiffer than I’m used to.  The stiffness is not causing me any problems with knitting, it’s just something to get used to.  So far though, I really recommend them.

I also recently got a set of HiyaHiya SHARPS interchangeable needles.  I got the SMALL 5″ set, which gives you needles from size 2US through 8US.  Honestly I rarely knit with sizes bigger than this so it seemed like a perfect set.  Again, I got these as a replacement for my KnitPro set that kept falling apart.  And also with these metal needles, so far I love them!  The tips are nice and sharp, the metal has a very nice feel to it and different from the ChiaGoo needles, the HiyaHiya’s have a thinner more flexible cable.

The HiyaHiya set was a Christmas present from DB, but I didn’t actually get them until the end of January!  They were stuck in customs all that time.  What a pain.  He ordered them from a shop in the U.S. because he didn’t find them in stock anywhere locally.  Are you listening local shops??

So, I’m going back to my teaching sock knitting.  And I’ll post more about the class once it is announced.  It’s going to be so fun!

Look What Came in the Mail Today!

In order of appearance:  Madelinetosh 80/10/10 worsted weight in color Edison Bulb; Madelinetosh 80/10/10 worsted weight in color Sand Dune; Madelinetosh 80/10/10 fingering weight in color Spectrum.  The 80/10/10 is 80% merino superwash wool, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon.

It is really hard to capture the true color of this fabulous yarn.  It should be easier once it is knit up into something that is worn outside in daylight.  It was snowing this morning so no outdoor photos for me today!

The first of these to be used will be the Sand Dune and the Edison Bulb.  I’m designing a vest and will knit one in each of these colors plus another color, Terrarium – MT Vintage yarn.  I can’t wait to get started!

On the rest of the knitting front – I’ve finished the baby gift I’ve been knitting for a while but won’t post photos here until the parents have it in their hands.  Don’t want to spoil the surprise!

I’m also working away on my second worsted weight sweater in the 6-sweater series I’m designing.  I’m over half way done so should be finished and ready to look for test knitters just after Easter (first week of April time frame).  I think Andy will be finished with his manly version at the same time.

It’s been so cold here lately that everyone is 1) complaining and 2) still wearing lots of heavy hand knits.  I’m looking forward to warmer weather and cotton sweaters and lace shawls!

Winter in the Dunes

Yes, it is still winter here.  I don’t even see buds on the trees in the dunes yet and since there aren’t any bulbs occurring naturally here, there are no little flowers popping up either.  There are, however, lots of interesting tree shapes.

These photos were taken Sunday while DB was running and I was walking in Zuid-Kennermerland National Park, just a short 10 minute drive from our house.  If you continue west through the dunes you end up at the beach, either Bloemendaal or Parnassia.

I saw several trees with bark rubbed or cut off.  How did this happen?  I think either humans or the Highlands Cattle that roam around here did this.  I can’t imagine why a human would have wanted to do this but I can imagine that a bovine with an itchy head and horns would do this.  Or maybe the deer with new antlers.

After about 40 minutes of wandering around, DB came running up.  These photos make it look like we had the whole dunes to ourselves. Not quite.  There were actually a lot of runners on Sunday.  It’s a popular place to walk and run, even on a grey, cold winter day.

A Quiet Weekend Ahead

There are no photos in this blog post since they would just gross you out.

Yesterday, March 1st, a day that should be a happy turning towards Spring and new growth, was a day I spent in a dentist chair having old growth removed.  Who knew that you could have a badly infected tooth and not feel a thing?  Who knew that you could have jaw bone loss and not be any the wiser?

I went to the dentist 3 weeks ago for a routine checkup  and he found that one tooth that had an old root canal had become infected and needed to be pulled out.  He could tell this from an x-ray.  I felt nothing wrong at all.  He referred me to an “implantaloog”, Dutch for a dentist who specializes in implants.

(Digression:  I find it so amusing that the Dutch take foreign words and Dutch-ify them.  “Implantaloog” is just hilarious to me.  A Dutch friend informs me that “implant” is a perfectly good Dutch word, but I don’t believe him.  I can’t find it in a Dutch dictionary.  I do find “implantaat”, which is the Dutch translation from the English “implant”.  So, I guess “implantaloog” comes from the Dutch “implantaat”.  Sometimes English and Dutch are so close that it’s hard to know which came first, the chicken or the egg. /end Digression)

Yesterday I went to this Implantaloog, whose name happens to be Quaak (seriously), and he pulled my tooth.  I really have to give you the gory details.  Turn away now if you are squeamish.  Despite the fact that this root was badly infected and was full of puss and smelled bad, the damn tooth was really hard to get out.  He cut it into 4 pieces and tried to get them out carefully so as not to damage the bone further.  I swear he stood on my jaw with a crowbar in his hands prying these pieces out.  Eventually he managed it and only once did a piece of something land back on my tongue requiring a diving expedition to grab it before I swallowed it.

Then he cleaned it out and decided to immediately do a bone graft.  I didn’t even think to ask where this bone came from.  I’ve read online that the bone is either from the patient themselves (I didn’t donate anything), or from a cadaver, or from an animal, or artificial.  Next week when I go back to get my stitches out I will definitely ask him what it was.  Not that it matters, I’m just curious.

So, yes, tooth out, hole cleaned, bone substrate inserted, stitched up closed, a wad of gauze placed on it and hold it tight til the bleeding stops.  Then to get home I took a tram, the metro, the train and finally a bus.  Yesterday afternoon I felt exhausted and beat up.

Luckily I have nothing planned for this weekend.  It’s cold and grey outside, which perfectly matches how I feel.  DB is taking care of shopping and cleaning and I only have to sit around healing and, yes you guessed it, knitting.  My jaw is throbbing but this doesn’t keep me from using my hands and my mind.

I’m going to work on a design proposal for Vogue Knitting.  All I can say is that it involves some lovely shetland yarns, 3-ply.  Maybe in another 9 months I’ll have something to show for it!