Biohazard Socks

Biohazard Socks

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Long run+recent snowfall+snowmobile trail =

Tired runner. Plan called for 10 miles. Agreed to meet a friend at a local snowmobile trail (middle of her 19 miles for the day) and test the trail out, knowing at the most we would do 1.5 miles before having the option to bail out and hit the roads if conditions were too soft.

Temperature when I got up: -4F. When I left home it was 2F. Not too bad, though the wind was a bit brisk. Good news was that it would be at our backs on the way home ;-> At least the sun was shining! The trail had been well traveled and seemed pretty firm so off we went. This trail is hilly and runs along a powerline... brings to mind a certain section of the Voyageur trail, though none of the hills are that steep, but a few are longer.

All went pretty well, no ankle rolls, sun was nice, and footing was pretty good. Hills were a challenge, but I am okay with a little power walking if that is what it takes. We passed one area where the groomer had gone by; the snow was very smooth and I was expecting it to be firmer... it was not! Plus you never knew what was underneath - inch of soft snow or three. Soon passed out of that area and headed on west, grateful for the firmer footing of the ungroomed trail.

Well... lets just say the groomer was very active that day. After the turn around point, we ran into him again. Soft snow for a mile or so. Got to an area he had not been to yet - yeah, firmer footing! When what do we hear? Yup, groomer coming up from behind (while we were heading up a hill!). So, finished the run on soft snow. Resistance training anyone?

So much for for any attempt at low heart rate training! I was pushing up against my max heart rate more than once and had to walk more hills on the way back then I would have liked.

Stats for the run:
Mileage: 8.4 - 10 miles (not sure of total distance at this point - felt pretty long by the end)
Time: 1:43:58 (49 mins at the turn around)
Avg. heart rate: 162
Peak heart rate: 176 (think this was accurate as I peeked at my watch whenever I had to walk)
Min. heart rate: 89
In zone: 1:12 ( H.R.: 162-183)

So, do I go out and try and make up the missing mileage or do I factor in the effort of running so many miles in soft snow?

Friday, February 27, 2009

This week in running - and sad news

First the sad news: a Minnesota author - poet and essayist - has passed away. A great loss. Bill Holm was from Minneota, Minnesota - son of Icelandic immigrants. Big guy, loud, in your face at times (had me sitting back in my seat at a reading years ago), opinionated, funny... We in the wildknits household are big fans. Own most of his books - loaned out and have had to buy a couple more than once. Coming Home Crazy... about his time teaching in China was my introduction to his writing. Moved on from that to Boxelder Bug Variations, The Dead Get By With Everything and then more collections of essays. Had to search for his latest book The Windows of Brimnes at Christmas.

Went to every reading we knew of in the Duluth area. Even brought the kids to one... not sure they were impressed at the time. I am sure they wondered why we dragged them to see some giant read and play piano ;-> Planting a seed....

Found out about his death yesterday at work. Got home, dragged out two books of poetry and sat and read in his honor. Reading about boxelder bugs brought back memories of these insects from growing up in the Twin Cities (I have never seen them in Duluth - and we had boxelders in the yard). Today I went to the library and checked out a couple more of his books that we do not own. Only seems right to spend some time reading his work and sharing it with friends.

On to other news:

In the last post I stated I planned on playing 1.5 hours of soccer on Sunday - and I did. Rolled my ankle in the last 10 - 15 minutes, hard. Hopped around for a bit, then back to the game. Didn't feel too bad, no pain but uncomfortable enough that I grabbed an ice pack before heading out the door for home. Iced it at home too. Woke up to a swollen ankle! Now, my right ankle is a bit of a mess to begin with and I roll it on a regular basis - with no pain or swelling in most cases. Needless to say I was a bit surprised by the swelling. What to do. Still no pain unless I really poked at the ankle, but nothing I would describe as excruciating. No pain when walking. Doesn't really fit the guidelines for sprains. Lucky me I work with doctors so asked about treatment. Confirmed what I was doing: RICE. Lucky for me it was a slow patient day, heavy on the phone calls, so could keep my foot up and iced most of the time. Tuesday: still swollen. Opted to not run and give it another day.

Wednesday I ran 5.2 with no pain, then when I got home iced the ankle. Thursday ran 2.7 (run to work day) on icy roads with a dusting of snow. And that may not have been a good thing. Because of the ice and the hill I ended up running on uneven snow in an attempt to not go skating down the sidewalk - rolled my ankle just a little. Ouch. But, again no real pain and ankle felt fine the rest of the way. Glad I had arranged for a ride home as Duluth got a bit of snow and it would have been a treacherous run home. Lots of accidents and difficult driving - no time to be a pedestrian.

Friday was a day off of running, but got in an hour walk (wussed out and hit the skywalk for that - it is cold out!). Tomorrows plan: 10 miles on snowmobile trails. It is time to get off the roads. Hoping the snowmobilers have been out packing the trail - the below zero temps will help the snow set up nice and firm making for good footing.

Getting to the point where I need to bring along food and water. Will be below zero in the morning, so I will get to see how long it takes to grow ice in the water bottle and freeze a cliff bar.

On the knitting front:

Continue to work on the socks for my niece. It is interesting working on something so small. Next up may be a pair for my nephew who will be two in a couple of weeks. Nothing like quick projects!

Take some time to go look up Bill Holm and do some reading (or listening).

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Run

This week was a step back week - long run only needed to be 6 miles(ironically a distance I had already run earlier in the week). This has been complicated by a lack of healing of my right heel.

Saturday's plan was to go on a 4 mile hike (SHTA group hike in Knife River - love this section of trail) and then run later in the day. Well, less than half-way through the hike my heel was hurting. Found a nice sunny spot with no snow on the bank of the Knife River above a waterfall to sit down and take a look at my foot. Not good - a little bit of blood and a nice crack across the back of my heel. Got out the bandage and tape and set to work - wishing I had packed some bacitracin to moisten the skin.

Funny thing about river ice - either folks are scared of walking on it or they aren't. I used to fall into the former group but with more time spent outdoors exploring north shore streams am becoming more sure of the ice and willing to walk out onto a river. And it is worth it - especially if you can be out there on a sunny, quiet day. Stop moving and you can hear the water gurgling under your feet. Hang out near a waterfall and you can see things like this:


It was neat watching the water level in the hole ebb and flow.

Other interesting sights during yesterday's hike:


Notice the 'tracks' - we were theorizing nose prints, but from what????

Found along the trail:


As we came along the trail I thought - interesting fungus growth (no contacts or glasses yesterday) than as we got closer I realized what it was - a skull someone had perched on the branch. Skull of what??? Any theories? Button buck?

Can you tell I had fun with the new camera?

Anyway - about that not-so-long long run. By the time I got home yesterday afternoon I was not too fired up about running - my heel hurt and I was a little concerned about doing more damage and not being able to play soccer on Sunday. Decided I would run Sunday in between church and soccer. Then started thinking that maybe I should space the two out a bit more and decided I could run to church. Got on gmaps pedometer to figure out a route that would be 6 miles long (I live about 4 miles from church) and would not involve too much downhill running - or uphills for that matter. My shins have returned to their usual state of 'tender to the touch' that seems to be a result of too much pavement, complicated by the nature of running in Duluth when you live 3/4 of the way up the hill.

I am fortunate to live about 300 feet off of the Superior Hiking Trail and a few blocks below Skyline Boulevard. So, by heading up from my house I could reach the trail which would take me to Skyline and head east from there to church. Throw in an extra loop up towards the colleges and around Chester Park and by the time I hit the church parking lot I was at 6.08 miles. Perfect. The route included quite a few hills: a nice warm-up climb to the SHT; rolling hills along Skyline (I always joke it is uphill both ways on this road); a one mile gradual uphill about half way through; ending with a steep descent to the church.

Heel felt fine the whole way. My secret: Bandaid blister pad. Yes, same thing that took the skin off earlier this week - but just the ticket for keeping the skin moist and protecting the cracked area from rubbing. I plan on leaving this on for the near future and re-evaluating my heel when it comes off. Though that could change after soccer this afternoon.

Training for the past week:
Monday: 0 (3 mile walk)
Tuesday: 5 in 53.09
Wednesday: 6 in 58.14
Thursday: 0
Friday: 0
Saturday: 0 (4.2 mile hike)
Sunday: 6.08 in 56.47 plus 1.5 hrs of soccer (planned)

More days off from running than on, but all of the runs have felt pretty good and no major aches or pains. Goal is to keep it that way. From here on out mileage will be building. Would be nice to hit the trails again and do more running off of pavement, but the recent melt and freeze has made the trails treacherous - with lots of holes where people punched through on the warm days, now frozen and waiting to cause ankle turns (as happened during yesterdays hike leading to me hopping down the trail for a minute or two until the pain subsided).

On to knitting content:

Finished the half mitts in time to wear them on yesterday's hike - at least part of the time. Started a pair of socks which need to be finished within the next few weeks. Should be easy enough to accomplish even though they are a size 11. Why? Well, they are a child's 11. All of seven inches long! It has been many years since I have knit socks this small. They just fly off the needles.

For the birders out there: our feeder mostly attracts chickadees, red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatches and northern juncos. I thought nothing of this till I mentioned it to a local birder who was surprised I had juncos. Admittedly I did think it was odd I was still seeing them as I thought they did not stick around for the winter, but then, robins aren't supposed to stick around either and we see them from time to time. So, I have juncos at my feeder - think I will make it onto the birder hotline? This week we were visited by redpolls again. They are about the size of chickadees but rounder, with a speckled breast and a red spot on their foreheads. Very cute and I love having them visit the feeder. No owls this year (that I know of). We are still battling the squirrels and I am being reminded how destructive red squirrels are and that I shouldn't tolerate it's presence no matter how cute it is. I nod in agreement but probably will not be as vigorous in chasing it off.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Break

Ran 6 yesterday - not fast but I am blaming it on the north wind gusting 20+ mph and the previous days hilly 5 miles. Yup - it was a bit breezy out there on the Lakewalk last night. Best part: sun was shining and it did not get dark until near the end of the run. Sunset over the hill was fantastic; lake was beautiful - even saw a duck or two out there amongst the bits of ice.

I had bundled up as the temps were in the single digits with windchills in the subzero range and I have (well-documented in previous posts) issues with the cold. The whole time I was thinking I was overdressing, but didn't really care. Layers included: long running bra, Sporthill 3SP top, sugoi hoodie, fleece vest, wind jacket; Warm Skin lotion to face and hands, balaclava, hood from hoodie, wool hat, polypro gloves, thin wool/silk mittens, wool mittens; tights, Sporthill 3sp tights, wind pants; large bandages for heels, Darn Tough thick wool socks, shoes. Turns out I was not overdressed. Didn't remove the top layer of mittens until the turn around, unzipped a bit then also as the wind was kind of at my back. Kept waiting for the wind to be truly at my back and push me along the way it had slowed me down on the way out. Never felt like that happened.

Have to admit that I get tired of the wind, but keep telling myself it is resistance training ;->

Right heel felt pretty good until the last couple of miles when it would 'catch' occasionally and I had to resist the urge to change my stride to avoid causing pain. Walking uphill/upstairs was a bit uncomfortable later that evening.

Got home to a fired up sauna - nothing like 180+ degrees to get you right with the world. Great place to stretch too (and browse through a new knitting catalogue that had arrived ;-> )

So - break from what??? Running to work. Had gone to bed planning on getting up early enough to eat and run to work. Woke around 4 am with my heel hurting. By the time I got up and limped around the house a bit I decided that a run today would not be a good idea. My plans for the weekend include: Saturday - 4 mile hike on the SHTA; 6 mile run (step back week); Sunday - 1.5 hours of soccer. None of this was going to be pleasant if I did not allow my heel to heal. There is a small crack that goes through the layers of skin and I decided an extra rest day may be the only way I was going to make it through Sundays' soccer game. Bandaged up my foot with a little bacitracin and headed to work where I have 'modified' my Birkenstocks to be clogs for the time being.

Tonight Northland Runner (www.northlandrunner.com) was hosting movie night at Lake Superior College. They showed Prefontaine. My little heel injury is nothing to running with 10 stitches in your foot! They are hoping to make this a monthly event, rumor has it Chariots of Fire is next up. Keep an eye on the Northland Runner website for updates on movie night.

Took time during the movie to finish up the first half-mitt I started last weekend and cast-on and knit two inches of the second one. Organizers had the lights up just enough that I could even rip back a thumb and pick up stitches during the movie.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Remember those blisters I mentioned?

Well, covered them with blister pads before skiing on Sunday and thy gave me no real trouble. Weren't bugging me yesterday on my 3 mile walk. Right one a little tender this morning, but headed out for a 5 miler anyway. Could feel it a bit on the uphills (which there were plenty of) but no real pain. Got home, hiking up the 36 steps was a bit awkward, but not awful. Took off my shoes, socks and then the blister pads to find:


That ought to be fun for the rest of the day! Will need to figure out another means of padding this for the work day and the rest of this weeks running. Blister pad took off what skin was there, though the left foot still has intact skin.

Funny thing: I am the "foot care" nurse at work ;-> My feet would be a nightmare if I were diabetic! Blisters, calluses, dry skin.... Guess I should apply some of those skills I have learned and honed over the past few years to my own feet.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekend getaway

No running this past weekend - actually my last run was to work on Thursday morning - bit icy that one! Glad I took the time to put the screws back in my shoes.

Headed north to Grand Marais and snow for a weekend of cross-country skiing. They had received 5 inches+ of new snow and the skiing was fantastic! Stopped on our way up to ski the Sugarbush system off the Sawbill Trail. Got in 15k of nice diagonal on some hilly trails. Didn't look like anyone had been on the SHT in that area. Photos from that day:





Pretty sure a wolf was using the trail - what do you think? Sorry for the lack of reference object in the photo - but you could consider the ski track your reference. Tracks were almost as large as my hand - not that that is saying much ;-> (hand is 6" from base of palm to tip of longest finger). Look carefully - do you see nail prints??? That would be a distinguishing feature between canid and feline options.

Saturday was also the day I was reminded that skiing beyond a certain distance means blisters. Glad we skied with packs and I had the first aid kit with. Had to stop midway and patch up my heels. Nothing like stomping down a spot in the woods with your skis, then stepping off and sinking past your knees! Ended up 'perched' atop my crossed skis, with boots off trying to tape up the backs of my heels. Of course the hotspots were towards the lateral sides of my heels, hardest to see and reach easily.

Tape applied I climbed back out of the snow and onto my skis and took off. By now I had cooled off just a little bit, but overall felt warm. Unfortunately my glove/half mitt combo was wet and on the subsequent downhill I went from feeling okay to losing all circulation in my fingers. Not good - Raynauds is nothing to mess with out in the woods. Quick stop to switch out mittens (Mr. Wildknits kindly loaned me an extra set of his choppers as I could get to them with numb fingers quickly vs my extra pair buried in my pack). A vigorous ski soon reestablished circulation to my fingers and we finished out the day with all digits intact.

We spent Saturday through Monday at a friends place on Lake Superior just outside Grand Marais. The Lake was just outside the door - and so were the deer. Sunday morning we woke to a little herd browsing the lichen off the birch and the cedars and basically lounging around. View out the window:


Sunday we headed for the Deer Yard Trail. Located northwest of Cascade State Park - we had a fun time finding this trail as the directions we had did not match up with current road names. Great trail system - very woodsy, nice hills (though I once again proved I need to work on my snowplow turns as I "missed" a turn and headed right for a large birch - saved only by the deep snow which stopped me inches from the tree. I am nothing if not a source of a good laugh when skiing) and a beautiful lake that can be reached by a short side trail. We opted not to do the "advanced" loop after my little detour off trail.
View into the woods near the fateful curve

Trail system map:


Instead we headed to Pincushion Mountain and skied the Pincushion Mountain Loop (for a total of 17.9k). Of course, we couldn't drive near an airport without stopping in to see what was up (Mr. Wildknits being an airplane mechanic and pilot). Apparently I missed out on some really cool airplanes when I opted to wait in the truck while he headed into the shop ;->

View from Pincushion Mountain trailhead to Grand Marais Harbor:


Saved my best fall for last. As we were finishing up at Pincushion I managed to trip over my own poles on the flat ground and give myself a slight pull to a hip flexor. I'd like to blame it on the lack of tracks and sloped trail, but to be honest the more tired I am the klutzier I get on skis.

Headed into town to soothe the bruised ego with a beer and some tacos from Hughies Taco's. Then back to the apartment to settle down with a good book, truffles (left over from Valentines Day) and some arnica gel.

Home today to find my porch under attack from the neighborhood grey squirrels. They can't get up to the bird feeder but they can get into the galvanized garbage can we keep the seed in. We keep devising systems to keep them out, they keep outwitting us. Needless to say, we are not on friendly terms with the grey squirrels. But when this little guy shows up....



I stop everything and take pictures. What can I say - red squirrels are rare in my neighborhood, so therefor they are cute and tolerated. Besides, it is fun to watch him/her looking for intact seeds amongst the shoes and stuff on the porch.

Did have some knitting along, though no pictures to prove it. Worked on a pair of half mittens out of fingering weight wool. One (almost) done, one to go. Think I may wander back to sock knitting soon - have a request for socks for a 5 year old - should be pretty quick knitting after the latest ventures into knitting for people with really big feet.

Total training for the past week:
Monday - 0 (no surprise there)
Tuesday - 0 (sense a trend?)
Wednesday - 7.58 m (in 1:09, slow but steady)
Thursday - 2.7 m (icy, 26:10)
Friday: 0
Saturday: no run, skied 15k
Sunday: no run, skied 17.9k

Today I walked three miles. School is out this week so will only have one job to get to which means plenty of time to run tomorrow before I head in to work at 11:30 am. Tested the snowmobile trail today on my walk so think I will head there and run west, aiming for an hour run. The trail is very hilly; a good workout and a nice break from pavement.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hartley Hat

Why is this hat named after a park and nature center in Duluth???

The original Hartley Hat was designed for a silent auction fundraiser back in the days when Hartley Nature Center staff (including me) worked out of the trunks of our cars, offering environmental education programs to school children throughout the Twin Ports area and up on the Iron Range. What was the fundraising for? Programing, equipment and a building. I stopped working for Hartley Nature Center about the same time the building became a reality - went back to school and changed careers ;->

Patterns include: Latvian Braid; Heart Crook, unnamed pattern of my own design for the crown, and i-cord knot to finish it off.

Pictures of the finished hat blocking:





Glass head from Pier 1. Not sure what it's real 'purpose' was, but it is great for blocking hats. Usually sits atop our piano decorated with a green cloth top hat and a tiara. Yeah, we are rather eclectic decorators. Tonight it will sit atop the heating vent in hopes that it will be dry by morning (really want to wear it on my run to work and show it off - did I mention I am in love with this hat?).

This week in running:

Not much to report.

Sunday: Soccer (1.5 hours) where I received a lovely bruise on the medial side of my right lower leg, from knee on down to mid-calf. Took me a while to figure out what caused it: hard blow to the shinguard from a soccer ball fired at me as I guarded the goal. Stopped the shot at least.
Monday: 0 - my day off after a weekend of running
Tuesday: 0 - skipped my run - it was another "ice day/rain day" and a bad day at work - opted for a pint of Beamish and the company of good friends instead.
Wednesday: 7.57 miles - usually do 5.2, but got sucked along into an out and back and out again by the promise of a ride back to my car and the guilt of skipping Tuesday's run. Could also work as my long run for this week if the anticipated ski weekend materializes, assuming all the snow hasn't been washed away.

On the knitting needles:

Nothing yet (hush, we do not mention the lace curtains in polite company!). Thinking about a pair of fingerless mittens in some fingering weight that surfaced the other day. Pattern idea, needles and yarn all packed away waiting for me to cast-on.

Planning on having a couple of friends over in a week and a half for a stash dive. Will open up the bins and 'free' myself of some yarn. The key will be to not go through it ahead of time and hold too much back. Though I am secretly hoping neither of them loves lace weight the way I do. A comment was made by Mr. Wildknits that I shouldn't free myself of so much yarn I have to go shopping. Good point. Will need to find a balance point there I guess.

Monday, February 09, 2009

"Ice Day"

Funny, it isn't even raining anymore...

All Duluth schools are closed (didn't know that as no longer have kids in school, though does explain why the commute to work was relatively child-free).

Opted to get a ride to work today, anticipating ice accumulation and an inability to get back home in the evening with my car (new tires are crap on snow and ice). About 10:00 am our clinic decided to close due to the weather! So, yeah, it was raining when I headed to work but that was all - no ice accumulation. Took us awhile to shut down as we needed to see the patients that were actually present and contact everyone scheduled for today (and tomorrow - just in case). Walked outside at noon: no rain, almost dry roads!!! Granted, it is a little icy up at my house (higher on the hillside) and I did have a patient report ice at his place over the hill; but enough to close down?!?!


A rant could be forthcoming about how wimpy we all are and how I do not remember closing down due to predicted bad weather when I was a kid, but what would be the point?

On the other hand... I have a LOT of work to do for the boards I am on, so will take this "free day" to get at that stuff during daylight hours (and maybe head out the door for a run - once I put the screw back in my shoes ;-> ; and/or fire up the sauna)

Drive safe if you are in the zone of icy weather!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Miscellanea

Not much going on around here, lots of work, lots of board work, some running, some knitting, little housework.

Weather has been variable in the Duluth area. Warm, then cold, then warm again. Personally, I would rather it stayed in the 20's and we got some snow, than the threat of "freezing drizzle"! Haven't cross-country skied since the last thaw (hate using 'peanut butter' on my skis). Hear the local trail is in good shape though, so may give it a try in the morning when it is cooler.

Runs this week:

Monday: 0
Tuesday: 0 (usually run, but between Job A and Job B have only an hour and due to other stressors opted to accomplish a few errands instead vs adding yet another one)
Wednesday: 5.2 miles (amazing sunset over the hills of Duluth)
Thursday: 2.7 miles (Run to work and first time I have used the nano during a run, turned down low)
Friday: 0
Saturday: 7.3 miles (nice, hilly run from home up to Skyline, out to Oneota and back)
Sunday: planned - 1.5 hours of soccer, possibly a ski in the morning.

All of my recent runs have been on pavement. Time of the year - hard to hit the trails right now with my schedule. Do manage to slip in a short section of trail on my way to work on thursdays. This week I really did slip on that section of trail! Had taken the screws out of my shoes as the roads were pretty clear, but with the melt/freeze cycle... lets just say the trails are a bit slick!

The last few long runs have been from my house, heading west on Skyline Boulevard. Leaving my house I encounter a small dip, then it is relatively flat for a few blocks. Have to cross a four lane 'highway' which is always good for getting the heart rate up as I try to predict if a car is coming around the blind corner or not. Another couple of flat blocks and then I need to head uphill if I want to get to Skyline. It is steep and goes on for three blocks before I can take a short reprieve on a gentler slope. Once I reach Skyline I loop back two blocks to meet my running partner (it beats adding those two blocks onto the steep uphill part!). From then on we stay on Skyline, heading west to the Oneota Cemetery, which for now is my turn around point. Skyline is one of those interesting roads in Duluth: uphill in both directions; built on an ancient beach left over from Glacial Lake Duluth; winds around a lot of rock outcrops and creeks; mostly undeveloped on the western portions; and a favorite hangout of teenagers and folks who like to drive fast on curvy roads. All the hills and curves make for an interesting run. The teenagers and other folks hanging out at the overlooks in the summer mean I usually run with a partner or my cell phone - just in case.

On the way back I never seem to notice the downhills as much as I did the uphills - that is until I get closer to home and have the 4+ blocks of straight downhill running. Of course that is all undone by the little dip a block from my house - now a steep incline! All of this followed by the need to climb 36 steps to get into the house - who needs a stairmaster?!

Discussed the Isle Royale trip with my usual backpacking partner (third annual, in September) and may head out there in May to check out the wildflowers. I had been asked about the wisdom of paying the ferry fee to see what I could very well see on the mainland, but confirmed today that there are species on Isle Royale that cannot be seen along the north shore. Settled. Will head out to the island after the Superior 25k and before the vacationing hoards (and black flies) descend. Mr. Wildknits is interested in coming along even though this falls during a busy time of year for him. He has much experience, though none recently, hanging out while I get all geeky over flowers ;->

Got a new camera last week - lighter weight and more portable than my other digital. Plus has a great macro feature that will allow me to zoom in on those flowers! Expect to see more photos from spring runs. In the meantime enjoy some photos of my latest knitting project:




"Hartley Hat" Fingering weight yarns. 180 sts (9sts/inch). Debating how deep I want the hat - over the ears, or a bit shorter so it works better when I wear it indoors (in other words, I can hear)?

Had to go diving into my stash today to find just the right shade of teal to match a friends sweater that I was darning. I am usually not much of a darner, but this was a little hole on the elbow that I had pointed out to her and should have been a fairly simple fix. It was in the end, but it took a few tries to get a decent looking patch. In the process I found all kinds of fun yarn and patterns that had gone missing! I really need to spread all of my yarn out and see what I have. May invite a friend or two over to take away some yarn at the same time. I have a lot (really a lot - like a paper grocery bag full) of partial skeins of sock yarn. Not sure what to do with it. If you have any ideas feel free to post them in the comments.