Thank you all so much for all your kind, lovely comments on the Hanami! I do like it much better now that it's a beautiful finished project sitting docilely on the coffee table. I'm even almost (almost!) tempted to knit another one with the remainder of the yarn!
Meanwhile, I've temporarily put aside some of my other WIPs to attempt a pair of socks again. I got these two little skeins of Artyarns Ultramerino4 a while ago (I even think you can see them in my stash-at-Bandit's-place post last summer), and I planned to make myself a pair of plantlife-inspired socks. Now that I've propitiated the sock gods with my giveaway offering, I'm hoping this sock curse has been lifted from me. I'm testing the waters with Francie, the pattern that I've attempted for Pickle's socks three times now.
Now, Francie is a beautiful, well-written pattern that produces beautiful, uniquely-shaped socks. But because of the shaping, it's only written for one size. It so happens that this size works well for me, with my little size 6 feet. Not so much for any of the guys I know, whose shoe sizes are all in the double-digits. This pair of socks is working up beautifully, with a very nice fit, but I'll definitely have to do some pattern tweaking when I knit it again for anyone else.
I'm knitting these two-at-a-time, on two sets of DPNs, for two reasons. The first is that I want to make sure that I do exactly the same thing on both socks, in terms of counting rows, picking up stitches, and so on. The second is that I started out with a pair of 4" DPNs. Four inches, as it happens, is exactly the right size for the nonworking end of the needle to stab me in the palm with each stitch. After a day knitting with a protective bandage on my palm, I decided to just buy another, longer, set of DPNs. And since I now had two sets, I might as well put them both to use, right?
I plan to use the leftovers from both balls for contrast toes and cuffs for the next pair of Bandit's socks.
He picked out this skein of Zitron Trekking XXL for himself. It's got some fascinating colors in it - forest green, dark olive green, hints of muted lime-green. I can't wait to see how it knits up - whether it's self-striping or whether it's more evenly variegated.