Knitting Up a Distraction

There's only four more days before the election is over. Just ninety-six hours before we know the results. There's only one thing to do.

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Vote.

You thought I was going to say knitting, right? Well that's helping too. We have some big fights at the ballot here in California, including ones in the city where I live. It's a mess out there people. We're still recovering from 2008 and folks aren't anywhere near back to before they lost everything. The nineties seem so innocent in comparison.

Here's a better picture of the yarn I'm working with. Love the mottled teals. 

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Try to keep it together everybody.

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As much as it feels like this election might solve something, it feels more like it's just another battle finished before the next one. 

Because Mad Tosh

If anything was going to drag me back into blogging it was going to be three skeins of mad tosh.

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It was the one yarn I had never tried. The one yarn I had lusted after for years and never bought. Then I was at a convention for my other job and there was a yarn shop booth across from mine. There was a whole pile of Madtosh sport weight for me to stare at all in colors that I could not refuse. I let the yarn sit for a while because I didn't know what to make with it. I knew I wanted a shawl, but I didn't like any of the shawl patterns I could find. They just didn't work for me so I took Dream Stripes by Caillieau Berangere and changed the striping. I wanted big thick stripes so I could see Mad Tosh's mottled colors.  

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I'm tempted to knit a star applique in a pink or a yellow to put at the top of the shawl. We'll see. 

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It's nice to have time to knit amongst all the crazy. 

A Blanket for a Chair

You can knit rainbows. You can knit a blanket for a chair.

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So yeah, the cotton chenille rainbow chevron blanket is finished, ends woven in. It now sits in its permanent home on the best knitting chair on earth. I'm very happy with it. It puts the happy in the phrase "happy place". I didn't think I could love this chair more, but now that it has a handknitted lumbar pillow and a blanket I feel right at home sitting in it. Now if only I could find my little pouf. That's what I use to put my feet up while I'm sitting and I'm sitting in the chair as I type this. One of my children must have stolen the darned thing. One thing's certain. I am not knitting a pouf for this chair. I might be crazy. I might even be knitting crazy, but I'm not that crazy. 

Or am I?

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No, really I'm not. I'm just knitting a pair of socks. Finally got out of the weeds and started knitting the second sock. It's only taken me practically a whole year to knit these socks. Most of the time it only takes me two weeks. I'm back on a roll again and perhaps, just perhaps I might get these done by the time the school year ends.

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What are you knitting?

Knitting Rainbows

 I went through a bit of a rainbow phase when I was five years old.

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 I guess I never quite grew out of it.

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The blanket is actually done, but the photos of the finished object aren't, so for now you can see continued progress. We're up to lavender in these photos, a long timer favorite color of mine, dating all the way back to kindergarten when I got a lavender crown to my birthday in the classroom. 

We're only a few weeks away from summer vacation, which I'm looking forward to even if I have few childcare plans for my children the whole summer through. No summer camps. At $300-$400 a week forget it. I'd rather get to hang out with them myself. It's the last summer before both of them are elementary school students. I'd best enjoy it. 

What are you up to?

Green to Blue

Nice weather has a way of making a knitter feel guilty.

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It's been spring for a few weeks now and among knitters, well at least with this knitter spring brings a new kind of longing: the onset of autumn. Yes, you would think that with winter just ending that one would not dare wish to see cold weather ahead again anytime soon, but not so with knitters, and not so with knitters who live with mild winters.

Winter in Northern California is a quaint affair. Californians love to pretend it's cold and enjoy bundling up in hats, scarves and even mittens in 50 degree weather. When you first move to California, it's hilarious, but over time as your body acclimates to the mild weather you too begin to feel a chill at the slightest hint of cold and suddenly you want to wear a shawl in 55 degree weather. Then you realize that longtime Californians aren't pretending. They're actually cold.

However Californians, at least coastal and midland ones are absolutely clueless about the tyranny of a true winter. You see, the chilly evenings and mornings give way to a manageable mild afternoon, and so it's never chillingly cold for a long time. Nor is there any snow to shovel or drive through. We know nothing about the suffering of a true winter, so of course we only see the benefits of winter and for Californian knitters there are two: 

1) You finally get to wear your handknits.

2) You don't feel guilty knitting at home when it's rainy and chilly. 

The rest of the year I'm waiting for knitting season: when you're supposed to bake pumpkin stuff and dress like one of the models on the cover of a knitting magazine. On beautiful sunny California days, I knit guiltily knowing that I should be outside on a beach or something, having a barbecue, or prancing around a park, when all I want to do is unload my entire yarn stash onto my bed and fall backwards onto it, whispering to the cotton chenille and the wool tweed. It feels worse when I combine the love of knitting with tv bingewatching. It might be all Kimmie Schmidt all the time while I'm knitting, but I can still see the gorgeous sun shinning and the floating hummingbirds teasing me to put the darned needles down. 

But that's why the universe made porches and benches.

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There's much less guilt when you knit outside. 

But I still can't wait for autumn.

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Color Me Amused

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From Pema Chodron's Taking the Leap:

"The fundamental, most basic shenpa is to ego itself: attachment to our identity, the image of who we think we are. When we experience our identity as being threatened, our self-absorption gets very strong, and shenpa automatically arises. Then there is the spin-off-such as attachment to our possessions or to our views and opinions. For example, someone criticizes you. They criticize your politics, they criticize your appearance, they criticize your dearest friend. And shenpa is right there."

Knitting has taught me many things. Patience, generosity, friendship, consistency, courage, persistence and kindness. 

It seems to me that there are a lot of people out there who could benefit from learning how to knit. 

Cotton Chenille Part Deux

Remember this?

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Early last year I knitted a baby blanket and I was sorely tempted to keep it because it looked so good in my room. It was a bright ray of color that made me smile and those of you who read this blog know that I really needed the smiles. However, who was I to deny that kind of color to a newborn so I coughed up the courage to let go of the blanket. It was the right thing to do and I know it's gone to a good home. That said, I still wanted my own. 

Lucky for me I've got more Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille Yarn than any sane person, let alone a knitter should have. Now that I have my dream knitting chair and I've finished the lumbar pillow for it I thought it was time to also make a throw blanket for the chair.

Yes. I am knitting something for a chair.

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That's how much I love this chair. I am going to knit a cotton chenille chevron blanket for it. I love this chair so much that I have kept my bedroom clean and vacuumed for more than a week. I love this chair so much that I have kept our entire living space clean. People, I started cleaning out a closet because I love this chair so much. This chair does not deserve to live in a shlubby bedroom as a glorified laundry rack. It deserves to be sat in, knitted in and loved. It certainly does not deserve to have tea dropped on it (though that has already happened in drops and never will again).

Why am I rhapsodizing about a simple chair? Because I live in a ridiculous housing market where despite my family making good money we cannot afford to pay rent here. It sucks driving around and knowing that the only way we could afford to rent here is if we wanted to live in a glorified shoebox and paying top dollar for the privilege, all the while unable to enjoy good meals, going out with our family, forget about vacations. I may not be able to afford housing here, but I can afford a fancy chair (that I bought off of craigslist). I've made this little corner my true home. No matter where I go, I can bring this chair. From now on, home is wherever this chair is. 

It's not any wonder that yarn shops are closing across the bay area. Two closed in the East Bay in the last year. Nine Rubies closed on the peninsula and Bluebird in Marin County is on the verge of closing. All of them are closing for different reasons, and maybe business was good for them. Many of them were around for more than five years, but the writing is on the wall. When you're paying 50% of your income on rent, you can't spend your money on non-essentials, so yarn purchases are the first to go out the window. The sad thing is that there isn't a chair pretty enough in the world to replace the joy I get from a friendly, well stocked yarn shop that has regular knit nights. Sadly in the Bay Area such shops are in short supply. :( 

I *do* have a knitting group I enjoy and hopefully we'll get to meet more often in the coming months, but for now it's me, my knitting and my chair. 

Welcome Home:

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Thanks for stopping by. Don't be a stranger. If you liked what you read, leave a comment. :)

 

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