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No walking, but knitting

Well the “I will go for walks!” portion of my “ME” program hasn’t been so successful in the first 6 days of 2017, but darn I’ve gotten a LOT of knitting and crochet done!

So first off, I frogged the horrible Mutton Sweater Wool Of The Andes baby sweater. It’s awful yarn. Will reknit the adorable Hyphen sweater pattern in some luxury superwash like MadelineTosh or something equally fine when I can afford it. Such a relief to just let myself off the hook for it. Lesson learned. Cheap yarn isn’t always a bargain.

But since I wanted to be making something for the baby, well, I started this.

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A simple hexie afghan, and yes, it’s really that blisteringly pink. Miss Aubrey LOVES pink. Like more than any other color in the world, and according to her mother, the brighter the better. I’m about 3 rows – 27 squares – in to what will ultimately be a 15 row – 135 square – blanket. Good for naps and watching Octonauts on the couch or what have you. It’s Caron Simply Soft in “neon pink” which I had leftover from the Pussyhat Project caps I knit for the march on Washington. It’s also very cheap yarn but oh so soft and I think suitable for a toddler blanket. If this pink isn’t bright enough, I don’t know what will be.

Captain Sexypants has a birthday coming up, so I threw together some odd balls of fingering weight yarn and started a Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf (pattern from Churchmouse Yarns).

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There’s some Koigu, some Sophie’s Toes, some Rowan. I’m about 2″ in to what is supposed to be a 6″ wide scarf. I love the fabric, love linen stitch, and LOVE this scarf – what a great way to use sock yarn you might not turn into actual socks.  I’ve got three more bags of yarn set up to do more of these when I finish this one. I think this is going to be a hot contender for the Christmas Gift Pattern Of Choice in 2017.

So what’ve you got on the needles on this rainy Saturday? And hey, if I know you from the good old days, where are you blogging now? Or ARE you still blogging? Where my knitters at these days?

C’est MOI.

I’ve been doing the “One Word” thing on NYE for a number of years now and I certainly like it better than making a lot of arbitrary resolutions!  I will say that I’ve found setting some goals and making a plan to achieve them is also really useful this time of year. I don’t know if it’s so much about doing it perfectly, or even achieving those goals, so long as you set yourself a benchmark to strive for, in whatever way “striving” looks for you.

Most goals being a point located somewhere in the future – if you get halfway there and realize you don’t want to go further or your priorities have changed, well, you can always renegotiate, right?

My word in 2017 is simple. “ME.”

This year I am putting my own needs, health, and well-being first. That isn’t always going to be fun – part of putting my health and well-being first means getting my ass off the couch and going for a walk every day, it means finally seeing a dentist, going to a doctor, dealing with meds that are long overdue for a change, calling an accountant and getting my finances – oh scary finances – sorted out… it actually means saving more money and spending less money on things I want. Because ME needs things like money in the bank and a retirement fund.

This ME stuff won’t necessarily always be fun, it means doing stuff that might be expensive and leave me less money for pleasure, it means committing to stuff that is going to take some work/time/energy.

Putting ME first means not always indulging my wants or going for the immediate gratification but asking if what I want is going to serve my goals and well-being in the long run. It means sometimes putting my goals and well being ahead of a temporary pleasure.

Putting ME first also means yes, sometimes I will go for the cake, or the short term pleasure, or the thing I want. Because it pleases me to do so. But I will hopefully do it much more thoughtfully.

Most importantly, this year, I’m getting quiet so I can hear my inner voice, and I’m not doing or agreeing to things that put me into conflict with myself. Even if that creates conflict with other people. There will be no more swallowing my voice, my thoughts, my sense of what is right, just so that other people can be undisturbed.

While “kindness” and “tact” are something I hope to always bring to the table in my dealings with other human beings, “silence at my own expense” no longer will be.

I plan to excavate a lot of territory, to find me again.

This year is about filling my own cup, putting on my own oxygen mask before anyone else’s, and putting ME at the forefront of every choice I make. My voice. My well-being. My creative process. My soul. My health.

I plan to be utterly selfish in all the ways I can be.

What’s your word for 2017?

Well that escalated quickly.

I have a sad confession to make. I really am not crazy about Knit Picks Wool of the Andes. Not even the super wash version. I want to like it. I want to love it. It’s cheap, comes in some good colors.  I just don’t love it.  This yarn, y’all. It’s scratchy. Let’s put it this way. I’m 4 rows in and thinking that this yarn was spun from a sheep who spent her best years hanging out in biker bars, chain-smoking Camels, getting into fights, and shooting bottom shelf whiskey straight from the bottle*. Is all I’m saying. This yarn? This yarn is The House Of The Rising Sun in a skein. It’s a cautionary tale of lamb to mutton, of bad life choices, spun, plied, and wound up.

I’m really  in love with this darling Hyphen sweater and am currently knitting one for Miss Aubrey. The color I chose is the most perfect Aubrey-esque, coral-pink you could imagine. But…  scratchy.  This is not how I want Miss Aubrey’s handknits to feel. Let’s hope a soak in coconut oil hair conditioner wool wash helps…. after looking about at comments online and on the site, it does seem to be reported that washing and wearing softens it up, so I haven’t quite lost all hope.

Knit Picks, I love love love your yarn, as a rule but I’m disappointed in WoTA. Perhaps I just didn’t do enough research on this particular variety before I bought.

*I may be embellishing the sheep’s life story with a teeeeeensy bit of hyperbole.

 

Well not exactly like walking to Mordor. Better, actually, because there are no orcs and I’ve got Netflix, Trader Joe’s dark chocolate covered peppermint JoJos, and instant hot chocolate instead of lembas bread.

Ok, the analogy is a stretch, I’ll give you that.

Point is, lots of knitting and purling here. I’ve basically knit my way to Helm’s Deep, ok?

31531958631_54cfc41885_zKnocked off another holiday hat, one that will be winging it’s way somewhere for someone’s holiday stocking. 3 ply handspan from my friend Carrie, the ex Funky Carolina, that I’d had sitting around in my stash for years, and alpaca 2 ply from my aunt’s ranch. Really loving my aunt’s alpaca. It’s sturdy and warm, but still soft to the hand. I don’t think I’d wear it right up next to my skin in a sweater, but it’s nice for hats and outerwear!

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Pussyhat knitting for the protest on the 21st is progressing nicely. The latest (above) is made of leftover Noro Kureyon and some more of that grey alpaca yarn. A running stitch to make the ears, and it ties off with a cute bow on each side. I’ll be sporting this one on march day. I really love this method of defining the ears, it’s cute, fast, and gives the hat a bit of shape.

I cast on another Honey Cowl last night, because, Honey Cowl knitting is relaxing af and I need a break from knitting !@#!%&% pussycat hats kind of need that right now. I had these 3 balls of Manos Silk Blend in my stash and you know, it just seemed like a great mix of pattern and yarn.

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When I was going through my stash searching for pink yarn, I realized I have SO much yarn. Really nice, luxury fiber, love to play with it, yarn. Stuff that’s a pleasure to work with, stuff that delights the soul with rich color and texture. I like to work with the good stuff. Hundreds (ok if we’re honest maybe thousands) of dollars in yarn and spinning fiber that’s just been… sitting in bins, stashed, for years now. Maybe I thought it was too good, or I shouldn’t use it, I should hoard it and keep it in case there wasn’t ever “enough” of something. I shlepped these bins of yarn around for over a decade in some cases and several moves but I never touched the yarn! Because it was “good.” Because it was my retirement yarn? Fuck if I know.  Done with that. It’s here to be used and enjoyed. I’m digging in and enjoying my wonderful stash of yarns before the moths do.

Am I alone with that nonsense or is that something you catch yourself doing too? Buy something nice and then put it away and never use it.

I do it with clothes, too. I’ll buy myself new clothes that are “nice” and then keep wearing the same ratty jeans and tee shirts because I have to keep the “nice” stuff for some unknown, unspecified event that warrants “nice.”

31275183180_d87f415d6d_zWhere does that even come from? It’s ok to enjoy the nice stuff. Be grateful that you have it because tomorrow you may not. Don’t put it off. I know that sounds like a real downer but really. Just, do your living right now, don’t save it for later. To that end, I finally got ’round to hanging up curtains and cleaning up the screened in porch. It’s a bit of a morning sanctuary for me and acts as a catio for the kids, of course. We’ve got bird feeders right out in the trees and they like to hang out there in the sunshine and watch cat cable television. I’ve been putting off fixing it up. There’s still some painting to do on the back wall, and I’d like to put down some carpet squares eventually, but it’s coming along nicely, imo.

It’s okay to exist in nice places, in nice clothes, with nice yarn.

 

Resist. And Knit Kitty Hats.

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It’s no secret that I’m still struggling with the impending reality of Inauguration Day. With news coming out daily about election hacking, vote machine tampering, and other issues in key states, there’s this part of me that is holding out a tiny thread of hope for Dec. 19th, but honestly…  I don’t think the Avenging League of Hamilton Electors are going to swoop in like Thor and Iron Man and save us from the Dark Elves, er, Sauron, er, Paul Ryan, what’s coming.

I feel lost, and scared, and part of me wants to put my head down and focus on my own paper and the rest of me feels like that’s how we got ordinary Germans looking the other way as their neighbors were carted off to Auschwitz.

Better just to keep my eyes open and act accordingly, then.

I’m worried about my mom and how she’ll weather the cuts to Social Security and Medicare that Satan Paul Ryan is planning to make.

I’m worried about my kids, and how they depend on the ACA for their health insurance and hell, how I depend on certain provisions of the ACA for access to health insurance.

The list is long and I could go on.

Suffice it to say, I’m worried. I knit when I’m worried.So right now I knit pink hats during TV time, for the Pussyhat Project, to send to Washington DC since I can’t get to the Women’s March in DC. And, I’m making some for the march in Los Angeles on January 21st. I’ll probably have a few extras so if you see me there, hit me up.

Like safety pins, when it comes down to it, making pink hats with kitty ears won’t do a damn thing unless we’re willing to back our symbols up with direct action. So be the person who is willing to take that action. Step up. Help your neighbor. Help a stranger. Collaborate. Strategize. Network locally. Educate yourself. Wake up. Pay attention. Resist. On January 21st, whether it’s in DC or a city near you, march.

And knit. In the very least it’s soothing. Knitting this yarn, which is Caron Simply Soft dyed a rather eye-popping shade of neon pink and acrylic to boot, is not soothing in the slightest. But the act itself, of knitting? Good therapy in uncertain times. And it makes me happy to think that some folks will have hats on march day.

Honey Cowl

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After seeing this pattern referenced on Mason Dixon Knitting and finding it on my long-ignored Ravelry queue, I decided that I needed to knit myself one. I live in Southern California again, and, while not exactly a nexus of polar vortex, it does dip down a little bit at night here in the “winter” months. And by “down” I mean, it’s been getting into the high 40’s at night, which is basically a pretty balmy spring day up in the mountains.

I don’t, actually, miss that part.

Shortly after we moved to Mi-Wuk 3 years ago, I cast on a shawlette in some unknown silk blend, thinking it would make a nice winter scarf. Heh. Reality quickly disabused me of that notion and it went into the Basket of Shame while I cast on something warmer, in alpaca. While it might have been a little bit light for the climate there, the DK weight silk blend is perfect for the climate here. Sadly I’ve lost the tags, so I have no idea what exactly this blend is made of, who dyed it, or where I bought it. The colors remind me a little of a soft Impressionist painting, though, and I’m utterly delighted with the results.

Et Viola, I present the Monet Mystery Honey Cowl. The First. It’s a great, repetitive, two row pattern, one of which is knitting and one of which is purling and slipping. It’s easy enough to do while watching a movie or having a conversation with a friend.

Thanks, Mason Dixon Knitting! I probably wouldn’t have knit this one without finding your archive of Honey Cowls. And now I have a new favorite go-to gift project.

When in panic, I knit.

Still reeling from the results of the election and dealing with a lot of anxiety about the well-being of myself and my fellow MoT, our Muslim-American neighbors, the LGBT community, #BlackLivesMatter, and in general the nation and the planet, in the wake of November 8th.  Pretty much every single day brings a new headline that adds to my current existential angst, and I can’t imagine that’s going to change or improve anytime soon. So what does one do when one is having panic attacks about a Trump presidency and dreading the inevitable civil rights nightmare that will shortly follow inauguration day?

Well there’s been some knitting. Rather a lot of knitting, actually. Which, while not as effective as a Xanax with a Pinot Noir chaser, takes some of the edge off.

Given the rapidly approaching winter holidays, I did knit up rather a respectable stack of gifts.

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From the bottom, that’s a Porom in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Peru and another in Knit Picks Andean Treasures, a Norie in Peru, a beanie in leftover Noro and Classic Elite Wynter from last year’s Christmas knitting, and some striped socks in Sophie’s Toes. I do enjoy the simple knits. I’ve got a Honey Cowl in some unknown silk handpaint from my stash on the needles now, and that’s been fun.

This blog started out as a knitting blog and I feel like it may be turning back into one. Which is fine because, that means knitting.

In other news, I’m a Postpartum Placenta Specialist now. Which means if you have a baby, you live in Southern California, and you want to have your placenta encapsulated you can call me, I’m your girl. It’s been a really nice thing to add on to being a labor and postpartum doula and I’m happy to be able to provide it to my clients.

Omg, hey, Captain Sexypants and I made it to Kansas and got married! He wore hand knit socks to say “I Do.” You know, like ya do when your wife is a knitter…

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