Fire Season

Anytime I mention my neighborhood I’m always gushing about how wonderful it is.  You may have noticed this in previous entries.  None come to my mind right now, but I know I’ve done it because it is absolutely wonderful here.  However, with all things like this, there seems to be a caveat.  Living in California alone puts one at high risk of experiencing an earthquake – hopefully not a big one.  I’ve been fortunate enough to experience only the hiccups.  If you’re near the ocean, there is always the chance of being washed away in a tsunami.  Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are also common in the sizzling hot California valley summers when the temperatures can hit the hundred teens mark.  I remember driving around in my sister’s little Datsun in July of 1978.  There was no air conditioning, so the windows were down.  It smelled like baking bread outside and air did feel like it could have been coming from a heated oven.  We drove by a bank that had a temperature marquis and I looked up to see the numbers 117.  Yeah.  Life is fraught with dangers of all kind, natural or manmade.

Obviously not my own picture...

Obviously not my own picture…

If you didn’t know, I live in the Sierra Nevada mountains, surrounded by trees.  Trees that have endured four years of serious drought and are now drier than ever.  In other words, tinder for a fire.  Right now there is a huge fire blazing that started about 5 miles from where I live, but because of the prevailing winds, won’t be coming our way today.  Sigh.  So, it’s this time of year that I happen to get a little edgy, watching the horizon for smoke, checking the CalFire website, or even taking deep whiffs of air to catch a hint of smoke in it.  All of us who live up in the forested mountains really look forward to the rainy season and are hoping that the meteorologists predictions of an el nino winter will actually happen because this really sucks!

 

Change of Schedule

Yuuup.  That's me all right!

Yuuup. That’s me all right!

In my last post I announced I was looking for a group of crafters to do a Crochet-A-Long on a simple afghan. Something easy.  I received a few likes, but no comments.  I took that to mean a  group of polite onlookers, which would be cool also; but, summer is bearing down upon me and I’ve found myself in a Hawaiian mood.  No, I’ve never been, and yes, I want to go.  I want a plumeria lei and a hibiscus tucked behind my ear, to take the pineapple field tours, walk the beautiful black sand beaches at sunset, go to a luau and drink cocktails with pretty umbrella toothpicks.  I want to be at the peak of Mauna Kea and see the curvature of the earth as the sun peeks over the ocean horizon and to pay incredibly inflated prices at the local McDonald’s because everything is shipped from the mainland.   And let us not forget the muumuus and brilliantly colored Hawaiian shirts.  I even want to hear the strains of Don Ho complementing the relaxing sounds of the waves susurrating as I recline on the beach in the middle of the day…underneath a huge umbrella with layers of SPF 50 sensitive skin lotion still shining whiter than my legs with its zinc content.  But most of all, I want to see the Kilauea Volcano erupt its low silicone, high basaltic lava and create the a’a rocks, so named because the natives cut their feet on the sharp edges of the cooled surface.  I also want to see the pahoehoe lava, so smooth it looks like a pudding set in the shape of ropes.  I want to see the lava drip into a steaming surf from a recently created shelf.  I. Want. To. Go.

Returning to reality, the odds are that I will never make it.

Yes, my shoulders slumped forward as I thought of this.

But that won’t stop me from being inspired by the tiny island state with a big heart that has stolen mine, sight unseen.  (Pictures don’t count!)  In choosing the yarn, I thought of the personality of the state, and the first thing that came to mind was:  relaxation.  I don’t know about you, but knitting something inspired by Hawaii could not be done in wool.  There are a few island nations where this does apply, of course, such as Great Britain and Iceland.  Wool is highly recommended there.  Hawaii?  It had to be one of three choices:  cotton, bamboo, silk.  For economy’s sake, I went with cotton.  No more $60 tank tops here…ahem.  If I stopped making those, maybe I could afford Hawaii!

Progression of color scheme

Progression of color scheme

When it came to colors, I wanted to stay with the relaxed personality range and I used my “go to” colors, blue and green, added some purple and a bit of white.  Continuing with the serene, easy-going theme, I have decided to make this a simple box – no ribbing, no shaping, no sleeves, with a little twist.  How I’m going to accomplish the one aspect of this is beyond me, but I’ll manage.

In the meantime, I will keep the afghan on the back burner.

Aloha!

Is Anyone Up for an Afghan Crochet-A-Long?

Click on image for link

Click on image for link

I don’t know if it’s me, but I’ve been in the mood for fairly simple projects, and this one really looks like a blanket I could use pretty much throughout the year.  I’m looking for some company with this one because it may be a bit tedious getting through all those easy steps – LOL!  I know, I know, I said I wanted simple, I’ve got it, and it now it may be too much.  Well, you all know what it’s like making an afghan, and if you don’t, join me!  It’s very gratifying when it’s done and you have a useful item for around the house.  And let’s not forget about the ooh’s and ah’s to assuage your ego that you will inevitably get when you casually throw this over the back of your chair at work or drape it over your neighbor’s fence to “air” it out.

The schedule for this would probably be the month of August.  Don’t roll your eyes!  When you see the pattern you’ll see this is done in piecework, and it doesn’t come together until the end.  Use the thick blanket on your legs during the hottest part of the summer as motivation to finish.  Good idea, right?

I want to hear from interested parties, so don’t be shy!

In Memorium

He took full advantage of the GI Bill to forward his education.

As a young man in the U. S. Navy. He took full advantage of the GI Bill to further his education.

Yesterday early morning, my uncle passed away.  It wasn’t an unexpected event; he had been placed in hospice the early part of June.  Brain tumor, the same thing that took his father.  I hadn’t seen him for last 35 years but had remained in casual contact through Facebook and email within the last decade.  You wouldn’t think that the passing of such a person, relative or not, who had virtually no presence in my life would affect me the way it has.  Of course, I feel sorry for my cousins, Ken and Chris, and their children who had such a wonderful grandfather.  It must really be hurting them.  But me?  A distant niece?  Surprisingly, yes.

While I was driving around carrying out some mundane errands today, it hit me:  he’s gone for good.  And I started crying.  I cried for missed opportunities and the distant memories I had of him.  He was a decent man who treated his sister’s children, my mother, like regular children and not the evil spawn of the demented sister.  His higher education and inventions gained him a comfortable living, but he didn’t allow that to change him.  He visited his parents often and his youngest son, Chris, who was closer to our age, was always fun to play with.  His employment with an oil company allowed them to live in exotic places.  They would come back with cool stories to tell and neat gifts to give.  It was always fun visiting him and his family.  When he was able,

Here he was at 84, still flying.

Here he was at 84, still flying.

he learned how to fly and purchased a plane.  I remember when we were staying with him in Valencia, we went to the local airport and I got to fly for the first time.  He took us to California City where we had french fries at the airport cafe, then went back home.  I was never afraid because it was Uncle Bill.

But life went on, and my rebellious teen years landed me in the Air Force.  That was last time I spoke directly to him.  It was a Saturday.  I was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base and I was in the middle of my technical training to be an air traffic controller.  I just felt like talking to him, so I called him.  We had a nice conversation and he got a kick out of my choice of career field.  I was all of 19 years old, though, and had to drink, cavort and sow wild oats.  And all of a sudden, it was 30 some odd years later and through the ubiquitousness of Facebook, the older son Ken, found me, and we were in communication again.

So, I’m done crying – mostly – and just wanted to say good-bye one last time.

            Bill Smith  11/12/1925---7/1/2015

Bill Smith
11/12/1925—7/1/2015

Just in Time for Summer

4

Au naturel.

I really enjoy my finished knit or crochet items, but the larger they are, the longer it takes me, the less likely I’m going to complete the project within a reasonable amount of time.  Point in case, this simple construction of this Fitted Top.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Well, I did know that I wasn’t slim like the model, nor young like her, so I made a few modifications.  Well,

Their version

Their version

My version

My version

basically, I used the published stitch and most of the sizing, otherwise, I made it my own.  I figured it would be wiser to change the neckline altogether by bringing up the decolletage, lengthening the whole top and making the straps thinner and thereby, more appropriate as a summer tank top.  I used HiKoo’s CoBaSi yarn in Indigo and Natural Olive that I purchase at Got Your Goat because of the wonderful mix of cotton, bamboo, silk and elastic nylon, perfect for hot temperatures.  And it took me months to finish this.  I am happy with the results, though, and intend to wear the heck out of it.

National Knit in Public Day

Redheads must always protect themselves!

As ever, the lovely Kris of KC Johnston Originals.

As ever, the lovely Kris of KC Johnston Originals.

How far would you go to a knitting event?  Today I drove a total of 120 miles, round trip, to be a part of a “do” in Sacramento under the shade trees in the park at the Capital building.  A group of us intrepid knitters sat in a circle working on our various projects, gossiping about everything and anything, watching the busloads of tourists with their cameras running to catch their ride.  We kind of laughed at that, wondering what kind of sights would someone see in Sacramento, and it was deduced that this must be a multiple city tour they were on!  The weather was surprisingly pleasant and since the original plan to meet on the steps of the building was usurped by a McDonald’s sponsored event with microphones and people in suits and chairs and clapping hordes, the venue was modified to the northwest corner of the grounds underneath the mature trees.  Except for the seating arrangements

Ooohhh!

Ooohhh!

(my wide behind didn’t protect me from the hard ground!), it turned out to be a better locale. I was actually able to park my car within 50 feet of where we were.  That’s impressive for downtown Sacramento.

As for driving the 120 miles for two hours of yarn communing, because of my remote location, I do close to that kind of traveling every week for my grocery shopping.  Living in the forest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range has its drawbacks, but they’re so worth it!

How did you spend your day?