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!


Kathy said...

And here I am about to pack a suitcase for my imminent trip to France. The difference is that I'm driving so I will do my usual and just throw everything in.

Here in the UK the weather has been bright and sunny - warm in the sun but with a chilly wind. The south-west of France however is warm and sunny. There if the sun is out it the morning it is safe to go out for the day in short sleeves without a jacket or cardigan. Here I wouldn't dare.

It's an art and a skill to pack economically, with weight restrictions to boot, for a trip embracing all seasons and I'm glad I don't have to worry too much about it. Plenty of layers and toning colours are the order of the day and you sound as though you have it down pat.

Enjoy your trip and then enjoy the move. I love moving house. Good luck.

Kathy said...

PS - re your rain poncho post. (So funny incidentally!)

Curtains are *really* eaasy to make. Don't be cowardly!

Laurinda said...

Those are some great packing goals to aspire to! There aren't any vacations in my near future, but I need that bag...
Also, those mitts are so lovely!

Mary Keenan said...

Laurinda that bag is just genius - if you find one, you will use it a ton. I'm on my third, I think. My first was purple and got converted over to a knitting bag, and I can't find my second, which was plain black... I think it might have sewing in it now ;^)

Mary Keenan said...

Kathy I remember that cardigan dilemma well from when I lived in London... I have so many pictures of myself in summer, always wearing a little cardi and a scarf! I may need them in Germany as well, because it looks like we will get a lot of rain and that can just feel so cold. I never did find a good pair of walking shoes that are also water-resistant so I'm making do with a pretty intense walking shoe from New Balance that has a mesh top. Oh well. My backup shoes are water resistant Mary Janes ;^)

Mary Keenan said...

CURTAINS. I forgot. Yes, and I've made so many curtains over the years. All of the ones for the house and for the cottage as well. I'm not great at them but they passed muster! I just dread doing it with the 'real' fabrics we've chosen for the house - we are really splurging this time instead of our usual habit of scoring deals on mill ends and discontinued designs. But I may have to, heh

Mimi said...

Now I want to go somewhere just to see if I can travel light, like you. Good tips. Have fun on your trip!

Mary Keenan said...

I would be so flattered by that Mimi if I hadn't fallen on my packing face right before we left, and bought a suitcase to take just for myself ;^) Oh well, I tried! and we did have fun, too.