Hope you're getting through January swathed in hand knits. I certainly have been trotting out everything I've ever knitted as the temperature in Austin has dipped down into the upper 40s. Haha. That's a little joke for all of y'all up there in the North. Really though, it's all relative, and we've had a few days here in the 20s, which, I know, is not the same as the negative 20s some of you have to deal with, but to me, it's more than cold enough.
In addition to bundling up, the other thing I do is stay inside far more often than I like. Which means I have to keep myself occupied. Which, on the bright side, involves knitting and eating. So if I wanted to be creative, I could say that I am "in training" for the 2015 Knitting and Yoga Monhegan Island Retreat.
In December, while I was pretending to be in training, I was hanging out with my friends-- key members of my chosen family-- Bart and Doris Ann, and their kids Leila and Will. That's Leila up top in the picture. She asked me for a knitting lesson, and I so delight in sharing the healthy addiction that is knitting, that I settled in and got her going. Leila is, at the tender age of twenty, an amazing tattoo artist. Here's a picture of some ink she gave me back when she was still a teenager:
Leila is also a black belt martial artist. What I'm getting at is that her physical coordination and spatial relations skills are top notch. So she latched onto knitting very quickly. In fact, I started her in the round, on DPs, working on handwarmers made from some cashmere yarn I got when the Knitting and Yoga Retreat gang stopped at Tess in Portland last year.
Leila has gotten into knitting so quickly and passionately, that a trip to the LYS was needed. I'd passed along to her some of my stash but not enough to keep up with her knitting hunger. She had been to the LYS once or twice as a kid, but that memory was distant. I thrilled watching her take it all in, float from display to display. And I admit I thrilled a little in using my hopefully not too know-it-all tone to share with her some of what I've learned about yarn and knitting in the fifteen years since I started. We wound up leaving with an impressive starter stash.
In this picture, Leila's mom DA and I are, you can see, having a good laugh. This was shot on Christmas morning, right after I was gifted the sweater I'm wearing. It's a vintage, hand knit Cowichan sweater from a thrift store in Canada. DA is also wearing a vintage Cowichan sweater. Years ago, I knitted Bart (DA's husband and Leila's dad) a Cowichan sweater featuring whales and waves. That was such a tricky project for me and I was pumped that I made it happen. Here's a picture of that sweater in case you missed the earlier post about it:
Speaking of family, this month I got a great surprise. I knew my son, Henry, who lives in Brooklyn, was coming to visit me in Austin. What I did not know was that he planned to stick around for a couple of weeks. Even though he's staying with friends, just waking up in the morning knowing he's nearby makes me so happy. We meet up in the daytime and hangout. Yesterday was great because it had warmed up enough to sit outside at a cafe. I did teach Henry to knit once, many years ago, when we were stuck in the car for around seven hours waiting to cross the border from Mexico back into Texas. Sadly, he did not take to knitting the way Leila did. But as you can see, he definitely is into the whole arts & crafts thing.
And so we did what we have done so often since he was little, and all over the place from Mexico to England to Japan to countless points around the U.S. We just hung out and I knitted and he made pictures.
Which brings me all the way back around to reminding you about the Knitting and Yoga Retreats 2015, both the weeklong trip to Monhegan Island and the long weekend retreat to Quechee, Vermont. Both trips are excellent opportunities to chill out, hang out, laugh, craft, learn and share. I've been going on retreat since 2008 and so many people choose to return repeatedly that these folks, too, are part of my family. I hope you'll join us and see for yourself just what an amazing thrill it is to dedicate yourself to hanging out and pursuing your passion in some stunning natural locations.
All the information you need is at the Knitting and Yoga Adventures website.
See ya next month,