Moving on. Visiting the rainy city required air travel. I won't bore you with the details, but involved were a seatmate repeatedly getting up and down while somehow simultaneously oozing further over into my seat, a dude warbling off-key to his iPod, a woman with epilepsy, and a cat. I've provided the set-up, I'll let your imagination come up with the punchline. What could I do? I pulled out my sock materials (I was ready to start the second sock, finally) and tried to go to my happy place.
Here it is, my moment of zen:
From zero to sock cuff in one travel segment flat.
I realized that it made me feel better because I was at least controlling one aspect of what was going on. As in "That lady might be having a tantrum and delaying everyone's flight, but I can still make a hell of a sock!" When you think of it that way, it seems wrong somehow--but if knitting is a vice, I think it's on the benign end of the spectrum. I mean, I could have stabbed the lady with my knitting needles instead. I think that would have been worse (but maybe we could have taken off earlier).
Aside: One observation I've made consistently during my approximately bi-monthly air travel is that non-knitters are extremely impressed with double-pointed needle (dpn) knitting. The fact that five needles are in play must look intimidating or something. Oozer seatmate said "Wow!" when brought out my knit tools. He also later asked if it was going to be a sock for a baby, so I let him see the circumference and observed that it would have to be one big-ass baby. He agreed.
The airline experience was tempered by beautiful weather, skiing with the copilot (unfortunately, it wasn't cold enough for him to give the ski gaiter another test run) and a trip to a Seattle yarn shop called Stitches. It's a combination sewing & knitting shop, ~2/3 the former and 1/3 the latter. It's also next door to a sex-themed store, so you can do one stop shopping (because a bird in the hand is worth two bushes...if you know what I mean).
They had a wide variety of needle sizes in straight, dpn, and circular, but if you don't like Clover bamboo needles, you're out of luck (Clover needles are my favorite, so I was in lots of luck). They had a small yarn selection, but it was all good stuff, it spanned almost the entire Cascade line and offered many beautiful colors. They had some pretty sweet buttons too, but with no real need for buttons (and under the watchful eye of my copilot) I abstained. I did get some yarn for an idea that's been rattling around in my head for a new pattern, but I want to finish up the Infinite Cabled Hat (and possibly the South Face Hat, but I'm feeling intimidated by the two-color stranding after my lousy swatch) and get the pattern written up. I think I'm going to offer this one for free as well, since it was an easy design. I've been reading some forums on Ravelry about design, and it seems that some designers resent free patterns offered by hobbyists and people trying to get their foot in the design door. What do you guys think?