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Weather Waits For No One

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no change from last time

My pretty Sky Scarf began on January 11th and I have kept up pretty well until mid-March when I reinjured my shoulder and when I finally saw someone about my ankle.

Apparently last year when I sprained my ankle (for about the 8th time) two days before my shoulder surgery I tore the cartilage inside and had an avulsion fracture. The bone has healed but the cartilage won’t unless I take *measures*.

Measures, meaning no walking, no exercising, wearing a big ole boot, contrast bathing nightly and possible surgery. I had a very painful cortisone shot that seems to have made things worse, and if it is not better in two weeks then it’s surgery time again.

I’m trying to stay very chirpy and positive during this time, therefore in that spirit I am happy to realize I may have lots of opportunities to knit in my future!

Up until now I haven’t felt like knitting mostly due to shoulder and to new injuries from using a cane and crutches. Time marches though and the weather waits for no one. I have dutifully been logging the weather every day for my scarf:

3/21 blue and grey
3/22 drizzle –
3/23 rain
3/24 rain
3/24 rain
3/25 stormy but dry
3/26 Blue sky & dark clouds
3/27 Grey and cloudy
3/28 rain
3/29 cloudy
3/30 torrential rain
4/1 cloudy
4/2 partial clouds
4/3 rain
4/4 clear
4/5 clear
4/6 cloudy
4/7 sun
4/8 sun
4/9 cloudy
4/10 rain
4/11 blue and rain
4/12 blue and rain
4/13 rain
4/14 sun
4/15 overcast

There is a lot of catching up to do!

Conceptually you would think of the changing weather reflected in the yarn would be interpreted as discrete stripes but I have been fascinated by the gradations in the fabric.

Our coastal patterns of fog followed by a few brilliant days of sun then a drastic awakening to moth-grey overcast and fog are predictable; the subtle arrival of our winter storm systems were not though. Perhaps it is a mechanism of awareness?

As I knitted this Sky Scarf I observed the fabric lengthening under my hands to display the breakup of blue skies to partial cloudiness, to light overcast skies, to multiple light and moody clouds then to sprinkles and showers, a subtle ombré of the sky bleaching out the blue and deepening into dramatic tones.

It is utterly fascinating and magical because we have no control over the weather, it just *is*, and most of the time city people don’t even register what looms above them in the sky, just a mental note. Do I need a warm jacket today, an umbrella, where are my sunglasses, or the inconvenience of it all when the weather changes and one does not have an umbrella.

I am more British than I care to admit and wouldn’t mind carrying a furled brolly over my arm on a daily basis. Perhaps the San Francisco brolly equivalent is a scarf, as my dear friend Anna never leaves the house without a scarf of some kind coiled around her throat.

Next year at this time I will be wearing this scarf cuddled around my neck and I hope to be reflecting on my hard earned perspective that my ankle should be pretty normal by then, and what a wacky couple of years it has been with me getting so very hurt over stupid accidents and how little it all matters right now. I will run my fingers over the seed stitch for the months showing March and April, over the beautiful shades of our rainy season, how the rain washed away my physical pain and where happy blue skies always pop up, suddenly, and then just as suddenly, fade to grey.

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Sky Scarf Update and a Setback

It has been 60 days since I started my SF Foggy Sky Scarf for the Conceptual Knitting sky scarf project.

Our past few days of rain is rather attractive, don’t you think?

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Everyone has been saying we haven’t had much rain this year but you can see by the bands of the grey mixed with black that I am using to depict rain that we actually have had a goodly bit of soggy weather and a lot of fog in a variety of shades.

This scarf is so soft and velvety, it is going to be a joy to wear next winter.

Today it has been a week since my accident on the bus where a woman fell on me, spraining my healing shoulder. This makes three times strangers have hurt this shoulder and I have had enough. I am lucky that she did no permanent damage, unlike the other times, and today I was able knit a few rows if I leaned in a certain way and didn’t move my right hand. It was rather a desperate attempt at achieving normalcy and I think I’m regretting it right now. Someday soon though I will be healed up enough to knit again.

Meantime I’m cuddling a gorgeous skein of yarn from Stitches West. Stitches West is an incredible compilation of yarn, designers, dyers, producers, spinners and stalls filled with knitting and crocheting accoutrement; if it’s about yarn they are there.

My pal E___ and I went and brought L___ along for her first visit and we had such a marvelous time. E___ and I came across this one particular stall resplendent with huge skeins of yarn bt Dyelot Yarn that were richly multi hued and incredibly fabulous.

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You would not believe the squeals of delight coming from us. It was rather amusing to the people nearby to see us holding the yarn and crooning, “Ooooh, feel this! Ooooooooh…”

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We decided to each get a skein of yarn from which we would knit large scarves. Each skein came with a choice of a pattern so we each chose a different one so that someday we could do a swap. The pattern I chose is an eyelet lace pattern knit lengthwise and the color way is Tres Santa Fe, how appropriate as I love SFe so much.

I discovered, much to my surprise, when I unrolled it the other day that it is enormous amalgam of six different yarns.

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Aren’t these colors luscious? E____’s skein is in shades of grey, so stunning. I cannot wait to have my shoulder healed up enough so I can actually wind up into balls and then start knitting.

It’s going to take about a month before the sprain heals and another few days before the feeling in my hand returns. But in the meantime I can squish and play with this gorgeous skein and pretty soon it will be under my needles. It’s yarn therapy! And I am hoping for more rain.

Sky Scarf – Day 18

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Day 18 of my Sky Scarf and it’s a pretty one: blue skies with pink and grey fog mixed in.

Every morning I have something to look forward to.

Status Update: Brain Hat & Crazy Winter Socks

I have been working every day to add a row to my Sky Scarf and the weather is cooperating nicely by being different every day. As soon as there is enough fabric to look interesting I’ll share another picture.

The Brain Hat is well underway – isn’t it amazing that this mess will become a hat some day?

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But after weekend of applying myself it is starting to shape up.

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The brim of the hat is a 1 by 1 ribbing then it’s folded over and the cast on edge is added to the live stitches – its sort of miraculous how if works out but it looks nice and will be comfortable on the head. After the hat is done then I start the fun part of knitting i-cord which will represent the nooks and crannies of the brain.

I hate these knitting needles though. My usual size 2 needles are malingering on my neglected Kauni cardigan so the only thing I could find in my needle basket was Prym circular needles with a 29″ inch cable of pure hell. No matter what I do the cables will not relax. Yelling, “Just RELAX!!!!” is not helping but I do it anyway. It makes what should be an easy peasy project into wrangling cobras.

I’ve got a headache that won’t quit and my brain hurts so it’s time for a brain break. To distract myself I started a new sock for myself. Selfish knitting!

Truthfully most of my socks have holes in the heels or need an entire new sole repaired and with this dreary, foggy weather it just seems like no fun. So I pulled out a crazy colored ball of yarn and found my size 0 needles and away I went!

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(the Crazy Zauberball by Schoppel, made from kleiner Fuchs 75%, Schurwolle sw filzfrei 25%, Polyamid crazy outfit. Crazy outfit? )

This yarn is stern stuff, very woolly feeling, not elastic, more like hiking sock yarn but I adore the colors. The bright red mixed with lime green in a two-ply is like color therapy against our dirty marshmallow weather.

My favorite sock pattern is the Simple Sock by Cat Bordi and uses two circular needles. Thanks to my pal Elaine I’ve been obsessed with socks ever since she gifted me with this book in 2006.

The first few rows are the hardest but after that it’s a breeze.

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There is something really soothing about knitting a simple sock. The quick round and round of 30 stitches on each needle, the brainless 2 by 2 rib forming a little skirt of fabric under my fingers, the anticipation of the color changes of the yarn and the purring cat sitting across one of feet, half under my chair. A cup of tea by my side and a classic French Resistance versus the evil Nazis on television makes for a relaxing afternoon.

If only this migraine would ease up. I blame the storm that is coming this afternoon. Time for more tea.

If I Only Had a Brain and Other Mindful Knitting

Last week I saw a fun tweet from a friend who found a hat pattern on Ravelry and wished he knew someone to make it for him.

After my shock of seeing that a non knitter and a dude at that knows about Ravelry naturally I had to check out the pattern.

It is a knitted brain hat.

It’s such a cool pattern so of course I offered to make it. A brain hat! The best part is that it’s designed by a med student and the small pattern cost is helping her pay for med school. The nerd in me was touched. Being a medical student she provided clear examples of the brain folds in each hemisphere for realism in the hat design.

My friend wanted it in grey – grey matter – of course! I hopped off to the local yarn store, Imagiknit. Surprisingly, light grey yarn the color of brain matter is not easy to find in fingering weight, but I did find 2 yarns. Sadly the best colored yarn only had 3 skeins in stock and I would have needed about 6 so that was out, but the other option had more yardage per skein and they had 2 skeins left. Whew, what a relief.

I also had an ulterior motive to shopping.  A Twitter friend mentioned another nerdy project where you knit a scarf for a full year, a row a day, based upon the colors of the sky. The project is supposed to help bring mindfulness and conceptualization of our surroundings to knitting.  Each participant is registered with the project and the collected images would represent the world’s weather as viewed by knitters. You can watch the project’s photo group and see how the weather changes.  How fabulous is that?

The Sky Scarf Project has a big following on the net and most people started January 1st and this was just the 11th so why not, I thought, what are a few days?

Back at the yarn store a few days later, I again had a hard time finding yarn with the right colors, in lace weight this time, but then my eyes landed on a display of Malabrigo lace.

Ah, Malabrigo, how I love this yarn. It is so soft, like a puppy’s ears and although I have knitted projects with it I’ve never kept one for myself. I certainly don’t need another scarf but this would be a special treat with this velvety soft stuff.

Given our weather patterns I deliberated for a day about what weather I would choose to represent in the scarf. I knew I would have to weight my palate more towards the greys to represent our fog.

If you are not from the Bay Area then perhaps you aren’t aware of our standard weatherman’s forecast: “cool and partly cloudy in the morning clearing to midday sun and wind, fog and cool temperatures in the evening.”. Repeat for 350 days. The remainder of the year is either rain or our few precious days of Indian summer.

So what should I do, knit the morning sky, the afternoon clearing skies or the fog and sunsets? I cogitated and realized the weather that most affects me is in the morning. What I see out the window as I get ready for work sets the tone for the day, and my wardrobe and to a large part my mood.

So here is my morning sky palette:

  • A soft grey with a touch of pink for those fog streaked rosy mornings
  • White for clouds
  • Blue for those rare clear skies
  • A mixed black/dark grey/light grey for rain and those dark foggy mornings
  • Lastly, a shimmering taupe for those mornings when the fog glows with an powerful diffuse light like an illuminated marshmallow.

Sky Scarf - foggy SF sky palette

Instead of doing a garter stitch as the pattern suggests I chose seed stitch and cast on stitches to represent my age this year – it is the perfect width!

Sky Scarf

I’m looking forward to watching it grow. And I’m looking forward to making my friend his brain. It might even be Abby Normal.

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