Tuesday, April 25, 2017

At long last knitting... plus simplicity in tea and packing

It's true, this is a picture of a handknit!  On a knitting blog!

I almost forgot I write one, and not just because I hardly get to post more than once a week right now.

Again, this is the same fingerless mitt pattern I've been working on for - what, 18 months?  Yeesh.  Well, the house is nearly done and after I have packed us up and moved us there, I will have more time for writing Hugs.  Also, I will have a beautiful and bright space to take Huglike pictures in.

The yarn is what really makes this project, in my opinion.  The mitts are fun to knit - just repetitive enough to be mindless for TV watching, but with regular shifts to mark your progress, and a pretty speedy conclusion so you feel you've really accomplished something.  But when you do them with Viola yarn... well, that stuff looks so beautiful in plain stocking stitch, and there is plenty of that in this particular pair.

(I would like to apologize for again linking to Emily's yarn shop when it has no yarn in it.  Her stuff sells out so fast, what can I say?  and probably she is holding on to stock ahead of the annual Knitter's Frolic here in Toronto, which I am missing, because I will be packing to fly to Frankfurt, and yes I am apologizing for that too, to myself!  I can't BELIEVE I am missing the Frolic. AND the season premiere of my guilty obsession, The Good Witch.)

Knitting these mitts got me more excited about knitting than I've been since Christmas 2015.  That is a LONG time not to have knitting mojo don't you think?  But at this moment, if I could justify not typing, I would cast on a second pair in my 'Jasper' (aka brown) Viola sock yarn, since I have some caked.  It was that nice to work with the blue.

Speaking of which: the blue was a one-off.  Sometimes Emily experiments with colourways and doesn't like them enough to make them official. If it were up to me, this one would be a Forever stock item.

I only have a few days left before I have to wheel a suitcase out the door and you know what, I am not really ready.  In my dreams, I am a person who can travel with next to nothing and just pick up what I need en route and wash the rest in Soak in the hotel sink, and every time we do a big trip like this I try to get closer to making that a reality.  And I find this confusing, the heartfelt hopefulness that drives me - because who aspires to do laundry on a daily basis??

I had a friend years ago who aspired to that kind of mobility and trained himself to drink tea without milk so he could pack more easily for camping.  I thought he was taking things a bit far, but recently I stopped putting sugar in my tea in an attempt to cut back my overall consumption and the world did not end.  I mean, milk does have some natural sugars in it.  Then the other day I read that the many health benefits of tea are pretty much washed out when you add milk to it, because of some chemical reaction I didn't understand, and I thought, Right Then.  No Milk Either.  Pretty sure the world survived that shift as well and now here I am, drinking my tea without anything in it but tea and water.

You know those awful diets they put you on before you have a specialized medical test, or after surgery, which feature black tea or coffee?  Whenever older relatives had to comply with that I was horrified, but now here I am, able to drink black tea on a daily basis.  Life skillz!

But I digress.  Because I will not have time to stop and shop for things once I arrive, I decided on a travel wardrobe made up entirely of black and white clothing that features three cardigans - one is a thin linen blouse, one is a linen/cotton cardi, and one is a heavy Merino wool sweater - and three pairs of pants, several of one particular T shirt to wear under one of two smock things, and three sleeveless linen tops that I can wear as a base layer or even solo, on a warm day.  This feels like a LOT of clothes to me but then I glanced over at the pile they created and thought - really?  Because there was still space on the sofa to sit down beside it.

Then I did a test run packing my carry on bag.  My carry on for this trip is a RUME All bag - a small reuseable tote that folds into your purse, which I like because it has a zipper and two pouches at the ends for a water bottle.

Actually it's this exact bag, because I got obsessive about the black and white thing.

RUME bags weigh nothing and hold 50 pounds, and the ALL is not very big - it's about half the size you're allowed to carry on.  So you wouldn't expect to fit a lot in it.  I packed it with enough clothes to get me through three days without deprivation on the off chance my checked luggage is lost, and then I put in what I will need for the river cruise we are taking to kill time until our hotel lets us check in.  And then I thought - really?  Because there was still space in the bag for my Ziploc of liquids and my makeup AND my purselet, which I plan to wear cross body during the flight as it's just roomy enough for a book, my iPods and earbuds, my phone and its charger bank, and a few sweets.

So - I feel like I might be getting closer to the dream. What was left on the sofa after I packed all that will fill about a quarter of the suitcase I am sharing with Pete, even after I throw in the socks I cast on to knit on bus rides.  The secret may be "lightweight linen", but I prefer to take the credit for myself.

Where, you might wonder, will the fingerless mitts go?  Neatly inside in the pocket of my smock thing, to clutch or meditate over during takeoff and turbulence.  Them, and a tiny stuffed bunny, of course.  Can't fly without a bunny.

So: today's lesson is, you can make do with a lot less than you think you can.  Less stuff in your tea, less stuff in your suitcase, and - shockingly - less stripes in your knitting.  Amazing!