wip wednesday

Preface: there is knitting in this post, I promise, but there is also a story leading up to this week’s WIPs. I tried to include lots of pretty pictures!

It’s been a long summer of not very interesting WIPs. When you live in a tent on a non-existent budget, it’s hard to get excited about knitting. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed what I’ve been working on, I am just as much a process knitter as a product knitter; even when I’m working on something “boring”, I still find it enjoyable. But it was my birthday last week, and for my present, my mom took me to Anacapa Fine Yarns, a real, genuine LYS! I’ve only once bought “nice” yarn that didn’t come from a box store, but it was still a multi-craft store and not a dedicated yarn store. Lots of inexpensive acrylic in my stash.

Stepping into Anacapa, I was overwhelmed by the choices! I only vaguely knew what I wanted to knit, but as this was a birthday treat, all options were suddenly open for consideration. This was the first time I was handling brands that I had read about online but never seen in person, brands that other knitters, knitters that aren’t flat broke hippies, get to knit with all the time! Debbie Bliss, and Noro, and Malabrigo, and Misti Alpaca were all there under my fingers and against my cheek. My mom asked if I felt I was meeting long-distance friends, like pen-pals, for the first time. I said I felt like I was meeting celebrities in person.

Source: anacapafineyarns.com via Luna on Pinterest

Let me briefly interrupt myself to give a shout out to this little store and it’s awesome people. I had been intending to visit this store for some time, but lack of disposable income and a 20 minute drive when I can never afford gas always kept me from going. And now that I’ve finally visited, I can happily say Anacapa Fine Yarns did not disappoint. If you’re ever making a SoCal yarn crawl, definitely hit this gem up (the above picture links through to their website). Now back to the yarn selection.

For a long time, I had wanted to knit my mom a lacy shawl. I love shawls for their coziness, but I don’t have a lot of use in my wardrobe for very fancy shawls. My mom, on the other hand, is several inches taller, a prominent writer in the children’s book community, and can pull off dramatic clothing very elegantly. My mom said buying me yarn to make her something didn’t feel much like a gift. I said we needed to work on her definition of gift, but I knew better than to start an argument, so I just started putting soft skeins into her hands and asking if she liked the color.

This eventually lead to us sitting in front of two big bins of Malabrigo Sock and Arroyo, with about six different colorway choices laid out for examination. Every time I reached into the bin and pulled out something new, my mother would gasp and make a grab for the yarn. It tickled me to no end seeing the universally magical power of lovely yarn. We finally settled on two skeins of Malabrigo Sock in Arco Iris.

Here it is all caked up from the store, and below is a photo of it in the skein. I think I’m going to attempt a Wirbel with this.

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Source: amazon.com via Luna on Pinterest

I also got three balls of Crystal Palace Mini Mochi. I have knit once before in this yarn, and I gravitated right to it in the store. I knew I wanted at least two balls of it, but I hadn’t decided on a project, so my mom insisted I go get a third ball (my mom used to sew and cross-stitch, I don’t have to sell her on the idea of having a stash).

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This is going to be a Sockhead Hat for myself, and any leftovers will go to my long neglected Mochi blanket:

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And finally we get to the actual WIP. My mom has a lot of friends who are having babies or grand-babies, so she decided to officially commission me for organic cotton baby washcloths. Now, I’ve been gung-ho to start an indie business with my fiber crafts, but babies aren’t exactly my thing. However, my mom was buying the yarn, said she’d pay me a reasonable fee if they sold, and as far as project difficulty is concerned, washcloths are pretty ace.

So we picked out four colors of Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Organic Fair-trade Cotton, and I started knitting washcloths:

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However now it feels like I’m tinking more than knitting; the past three time I’ve sat down to work on these, I’ve discovered mistakes in the pattern and had to tink at least two or three rows before I could go back to knitting. I’m starting to feel like I’m knitting the same section of yarn over and over and over. I really hope this come to some financial fruition for me, but worst case scenario is my mom gets a set of really soft washcloths.

To round out my trip to the yarn store, I also got two sets of needles and my first real project bag. The needles are Knitter’s Pride Dreamz circulars, size 3 and 5, two sizes I had lacked. And now I’m spoilt for life. I’ve always been fond of circulars, but I’ve only ever used metal or plastic from Michaels. These needles really live up to their name and are a dream to knit with. I totally know what I’m asking Santa for this year.

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And finally the project bag:

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This was an impulse purchase by my mother, the sheep on it was too irresistible. That, and she couldn’t stand the idea of me keeping my projects in grocery bags hung on the closet door handle. And I will say, it does make me feel rather like a grown-up knitter.

Check out Tami’s Amis for other WIP Wednesday posts!

music on monday

My best friends Apollo and Moonflower showed this video to me last week. I’m fairly certain I’ve heard the song somewhere, some time before, but this was the first time I’d really paid attention to the lyrics. With so much at stake these days (Apollo is about to become a dad!) this song really reverberates with my friends and I.

One Day – Matisyahu

This song really taps into the emotional reasons for why I became and artist/activist. It also gives me some comfort, because I often feel there is so much more I could be doing, but as long as I am helping spread communication, creativity, and love – even if it’s just on a local scale – then I am still doing my part.

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image found on FaceBook

I’m not the most steady when it comes to routines, but Sunday has always been a good day in my book for getting things started. Usually Friday and Saturday are go-out-and-have-fun days, and Sunday is a sleep-in-clear-my-head-get-ready-to-face-the-week day. I often do laundry and cleaning on Sunday.

This Sunday, in addition to my regular chores, I’m dusting off my blog, and my writing skills. I’ve been meaning to for a while, and this weekend seemed like a pretty good time to put intention into action. There has been so much this past week that I’ve wanted to write about, I won’t be short of blog ideas this week:

  • I went shopping at a LYS (local yarn store) for the first time!
  • I saw yarn bombing in person for the first time
  • I had my 26th birthday on Thursday, and it was the best freaking birthday ever
  • I got my crafting mojo back, and even started watching knitting podcasts again

But most of all, my lover and I are back living under a roof. Our summer of transient living has come to a close, and oh my, I did not realize how much I would miss it. I don’t mind being in a more temperature controlled environment, I don’t mind having access to a kitchen and running water and showers whenever I want, but I do miss being surrounded by nature. I miss going to sleep to coyotes, and waking up to birdsong. I miss the simplicity of tent life, the freedom. It’s a hard life, no doubt, but it’s a good life if you make it so.

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However, I’m not one to get stuck in the past. I’m under a roof now and that comes with its own responsibilities and opportunities, and I plan to make the most of it. Wanna stick around and follow my journey?

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Where has the time gone? I guess I forgot, the transient lifestyle doesn’t exactly lend itself to much regularity. Things have been strange this week, a lot of drama with friends, some personal emotional upheavals. Lover and I have been talking about how our life might be different, and I know I’ve started thinking about ways to make things better.

I’ve still been cranking out mitered squares. I haven’t gotten bored with them, and I’ve been using up my less-than-loved acrylic stash. I’ve worked through odd balls of grey, brown, blue, purple, and yellow, and I think I have more blue buried in my stash bag. I don’t even know how many squares I have at this point, but I’ve decided to make a patchwork bag out of them, double layer for strength if I make enough.

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I also finished knitting a little pouch that I found in the car as a UFO. It’s based off of Simply Notable’s tea tote, modified to be larger. I still have to weave in ends, stitch it up, and find a button, but the main knitting is done. Awesome stuff, because I hate having UFO just sitting around holding my needles hostage.

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I’ll leave you with a picture of a surprise guest we had the other morning:

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Check out Tami’s Amis to see other WIP Wednesday fun!

Where has the time gone? The past few days have been so lazy. We’ve spent a lot time camped out on a friend’s floor; it’s been so hot we haven’t been motivated to do a whole lot. There have been lots of naps:

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A little bit of horseplay:

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I swear it’s oregano!

And more naps:

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The only way I know time is actually progressing is by the growing stack of mitered squares:

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I still love knitting them, they are just so quick and simple. I think one of the things I like best is about them is each square has a definitive ending point; you start out with as many stitches as you will need, and then knit and decrease until there are no more stitches to decrease and you’re done! I still don’t know what I’m going to do with the squares, I’m kind of curious to see how many I can make out of all the acrylic odd-balls I have floating around my bag and my car. Blanket/throw or patchwork bag are my top two ideas.

I haven’t been meditating lately, or practicing any breathing techniques. I haven’t been very mindful of my emotions or thoughts, or how I manifest these emotions. I have been taking my thyroid meds, but not necessarily all the vitamins I need, and while I eat as well as I can, I’m still eating far more gluten, refined sugar, and processed food-like stuffs than is ideal. And all this neglect is taking a toll. My emotions flare up in angry, frustrated spikes, and I find myself clenching my teeth and digging my nails into my palms. Lover tries to point out that I have control over my state of mind, that frustrating things may happen to me and emotions may get triggered, but I ultimately have control over how I manifest my reactions; I haven’t been listening to him very well.

This morning I decided to be more conscious. My newest frustration is something a friend said the last time we hung out, something I felt was ignorant and judgmental. But instead of letting the comment and the emotions it inspired rule my morning, I picked up my knitting and put on my Best Of Enya album. The tag line at the top of my blog, “Learning to love through creation” kept rolling through my mind, like a mantra of peace and calm. Every time I felt a surge of emotion, I met it with a deep, centering breath. I said to each little rebellious thought, “I acknowledge you, but I cannot harbor this negative energy.” And I’m pleased to say it’s helping. The repetitive motions of knitting provide an outlet for excess emotional energy, leaving my mind free to consider it’s contents more rationally.

The mitered squares are still coming along, and I’ve started making one in a mystery brown acrylic I’ve had forever. It feels good to be making something with these yarns that have sat unloved for so long, even if I’m unsure of the end result. The logical end would be a scrap acrylic mitered square blanket or throw. I guess I’ll see how many squares I end up with. I also have a new ball of lavender yarn for a gift project, and I’m just itching to get started. It’s 100% polyester, so it won’t be the nicest yarn to work with, but it came from the 99 cent store, it’s the perfect color, and it’ll be hard wearing which is what I want.

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There’s a new liter of kittens in town, and three of them came to the park today.

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I finished two mitered squares and started work on another, same grey acrylic. I don’t have know what I’m going to do with these squares, but I love knitting them; I’ve nicknamed them “Sanity Squares” because knitting them is such a peaceful, zen pastime. The garter stitch means I don’t have to think about the pattern, and the occasional decreases and interesting geometry of the mitered construction keeps me from getting board.

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I picked up my needles and yarn for the first time in nearly four months. I haven’t been feeling the urge to create in a while, but then again it’s not so easy when you’re living out of your car. The big bag of yarn is still buried somewhere behind the passenger seat, but earlier in the day I was able to recover a set of US 7 needles and a ball of grey mystery acrylic. And I did what I do best: I cast on a random number of stitches and started knitting row after row of garter stitch. I’ve missed this. The acrylic is really quite cheap, I can’t think of a single suitable project for it, but it doesn’t matter, I’m knitting again. It’s like taking up meditation again; I feel better.

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And here I am writing again. I didn’t realize until tonight that if I’m not knitting, I’m not writing either. Picking up the needles again felt like it dislodged a block in the system; knitting allows me to be active while still just sitting with my thoughts, I can examine them at leisure and let them percolate. For a while now, I’ve been running around being active in body but lazy in mental discipline, you can’t help it when most of your life is focused on survival. What are we going to eat today? Where are we going to sleep tonight? Are we even sleeping tonight? What new crisis is around the corner, and what can we do about it? When not focused on survival, we indulge in escapism, reading novels, watching movies, playing Magic with friends. But I have not taken much time to sit with my thoughts and consider them.

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Lover and I have traveled a fair bit the past four months, but tonight I find myself once more in a place of sentiment and comfort, a friend’s front porch where we have frequently sat and philosophized, and where once more we gather again. It was in this house that I last knit a stitch, and here I am again as I pick the needles up again. Life arranges itself in patterns, delicately shifting and morphing, but always circling back on itself, like a nautilus shell. And so it makes perfect sense that I am knitting and writing again; I missed all this, but I knew the desire and the drive would eventually come back to me.

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As I knit back and forth, the grey fabric grows between my fingers, soft from age but far from luxurious. I rip out and begin again with a different number of stitches; I kind of want to try something new, I’m thinking mitered squares, I’ve never done that before. Rip out again, cast on a fresh lot of stitches. By now we’ve tip-toed inside from the chilly front porch to the upstairs bedroom. A gently snoring cuddle puddle forms next to me on the mattress; I count stitches again as Lover waxes poetic on several winding topics. And as the sun rises, I look around and ponder the changes I’ve seen in the past four months, a sentimental feeling takes hold of me, something saying “Everything is okay.” It’s been a very long time since I sat up knitting, and talking, and writing. I’ve missed this more than I knew.

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