Black Lives Matter

Because silence is complicity.

I have vivid memories of being in Grade 3 and doing a unit on racism. We talked about racism, what it meant, why it is BAD, and everything else you would learn as an eight year old on topics of prejudice and race. Granted, I also have memories of my parents teaching me not to be a hateful person going back WAY before 8 years old, but for some reason, that unit in Grade 3 somehow stands out, making a lasting mark on my young mind.

And yet, here we are.

I didn’t post last week, because it wasn’t my time to talk. There are far bigger and more important conversations happening than me talking about what’s on my knitting needles.

Black lives matter.

These important and very complex conversations are still happening, which they should, and will likely continue for some time, again, which they should. I know that what is happening is part of a larger system in place, far more complex than what was taught to a bunch of 8 year olds many decades ago, and I have to acknowledge that through the years, my white skin has earned me a number of privileges going through this system. These larger conversations will do a far better job at explaining it all than I can ever do.

But, I felt it was important for me to take a minute, acknowledge what is happening in the world, and clearly state where I stand.

Black lives matter.

Real talk.

Okay. Real talk. This is the sixth week, sixth week, that life has been abnormal. Since March 16, I’ve been working from home and doing everything that I can to limit my outings to once per week to restock on groceries and other essentials. My best friend and I have had a handful of rather cold front porch visits, and I’m zooming/FaceTiming with other friends. 

It’s starting to get to me.

All in all, I’m coping ok. I really am. But I miss old habits, of going to coffee shops, actually visiting with family and friends. I’m also grieving losses, like the trip to Boston my BFF and I had planned for July. I’m 99.9% sure at this point, we’re not going. I also LOVE camping, and at this point, there’s no news on when campgrounds will be reopened for the season.

What I am missing and what I’ve lost is nothing. It really is nothing. I am healthy. My family is healthy. Not going to a coffee shop, in the grand scheme of things, is nothing if it means I am doing my part to keep my community safer.

But I’m allowed to feel blue for my currently abnormal life.

It may sound silly, but one way I’m coping is by challenging myself to a self-appointed #madebyme challenge on Instagram.  A few weeks ago, to get out of my oversized sweatshirts, I wore a sweater or shirt, every day, that I made. This week, I’m challenging myself to wear cowls every day that I’ve made.  Silly, like I said, but every morning, I’m continuing with what is a regular routine: waking up, showering, getting dressed for work, even if ‘work’ is in a corner of my kitchen. That would be my regular routine pre-quarantine, and going through the motions really does help.

Finding some semblance of ‘normal’ in this unusual time is what I’m sticking to and what I’ll continue to stick to until we’re given the green light to cautiously resume our regularly scheduled programming.

So here’s to health, safety, and any semblance of normal.

Kindness and Patience

Social distancing. Before last week, this was a term I can safely say I had never heard before. One week later, and it has become a new normal. 

First, and foremost, I wish everyone health, wellness, and ease of mind as many of us are adjusting to a new normal.

I did very little this past weekend beyond helping move a mattress, binging TV shows, and knitting. A lot of knitting. I’ve been working on simple projects, enough to keep the hands busy. With little to do in the evenings, I’m hoping to have a three year project finished later this week.  I’m also happily working on a pair of fingerless gloves and a hat, all made out of a skein of Handmaiden Casbah. The colours of the yarn as the same colours of my co-ed softball team jersey, so they will be perfect for the late spring and early fall games we play (that we will hopefully still play this summer).

Gratuitous yarn picture to follow.

A number of local knitting festivals have also been cancelled, so I’ll be checking out a number of the dyers who were supposed to appear and see about making some purchases online, which I would have made in person at the festivals.

Earlier this year, I said I was going to be mindful about the purchases I made – to that end, I’ll see how I can support the LYSs in my community. Whether it’s going in person to buy some yarn, or perhaps I’ll see if any of them will do gift cards over the phone with a credit card. It’s going to be a strange few weeks, and we all need to do what we can to help one another.

Kindness and patience, friends. Kindness and patience.

The 2010s was when I fell in love with knitting

As the decade comes to an end, it seems like as good a time as any to reflect. The 2010s is when I started knitting and fell in love with this craft.

Thanks to Facebook memories, I know the exact date when I first picked up needles and yarn with the intention of creating a knitted fabric. On March 8, 2011, I posted:

This was back when Facebook gave the automatic status where your name started every post. Ah, the simpler times.

This post is filled with supportive comments and friends offering to teach me. A few YouTube videos and a Knitting for Dummies Book later, and I was knitting. Needless to say, I haven’t stopped. The frustration faded away once I got the hang of the process, although it often rears its ugly head when trying new techniques or a pattern doesn’t do what I need it to!

Knitting, this simple craft of creating a fabric out of loops, has brought so much to my life. It has brought warmth (she writes with woollen socks on her feet). From socks, sweaters, afghans, mittens, scarves, and all the cowls, I’m rarely not wearing something I’ve created. With the winters in Canada often being as cruel as the stereotypes portray, I’m thankful for my warm, woolen accessories.

Knitting has also brought me new friends. From attending a knit night at a local shop, I have met the most wonderful people whom I am so lucky to have in my life. It’s highly unlikely my path would have crossed with these amazing individuals had it not been for knitting. It has also reinforced relationships with friends, having a new passion in common. Not to mention, the people I’ll chat back and forth with in blog comments. I don’t think I would be blogging if not for my knitting addiction! I am so very grateful for all of these friendships.

Finally, knitting has brought me calm, relaxation, happiness and my own form of therapeutic release. There is something so satisfying about the process of creating, of taking sticks and string and making something out of seemingly nothing. I get great joy, relaxation, and comfort when knitting.

I am a capital-K Knitter. Over the last decade, this has become a fundamental part of my identity, all because I wanted to try something new. Almost one full decade of knitting, and it amazes me to reflect back on where I started and how far I’ve come.

Travels Through Space, Time, and Along the I90

How far have you travelled to see a concert? A few weeks back, my best friend and I, who love seeing live shows, travelled from the east end of the GTA to Cleveland, Ohio to see the ’90s band Crash Test Dummies. It may not be the ’90s anymore, but CTD are still playing and put on a great show! When the show was announced, it was being opened by another Canadian band, an alt-indy group from the East Coast called Port Cities, but due to some shifts in the band, they had to cancel (another East Coast musician opened and was amazing). Despite half of our reason for the travels not being there, we still had our four days in Cleveland and had a blast.

BFF did the driving, and as I sat in the passenger seat, helping the Maps app with navigating, I kept my hands busy with knitting.  My 4th Doctor Sock Yarn had been sitting in my stash since this year’s frolic, and I wanted something simple to work on while road tripping.

After over 10 hours in the car and extra time at home afterwards, my lovely cowl was finished just last week.

Can you tell I really love these bandanna cowls?

The pattern I used was kind of ‘by the seat of my pants.’  One of my favourite ‘back to basics’ knitting books is Knitting Rules by the Yarn Harlot, because she has a number of ‘recipes’ contained within, the basic steps needed to create a thing.  I followed her Triangular Shawl Recipe #2: Increasing Triangular Shawl until the cowl was 20″ across the top, joined in the round, and continued the increase at the centre spine but ceased the side/now back increases. It was a wonderful plain stockinette project until the bottom rounds, where I switched to the contrasting skein (intended as heel/toe contrasts) and used the brown to work 10 rows of garter.

Before we left Cleveland, BFF and I did some shopping, and naturally, I asked to stop at a yarn shop.  We ended up at Around the Table Yarns, a fairly new shop in Shaker Heights.  My budget was basically blown by this point, so I was good and only bought a skein of worsted for my travel afghan, but I couldn’t resist this branded stitch marker.