Friday Gauge Check: Welcome to Autumn!

Happy Friday, everybody!

As you may have guessed, I like rituals of transition. Saying goodbye to the old and hello to the new, whatever it might be, is important. Today is doubly important, because it’s not only Friday, the end of the week, but the first day of autumn. It’s time to say farewell to the summer, and prepare for the transition into the dying time of the year.

I have kind of a funny relationship with autumn, though. I’ve lived most of my life in the southern half of the United States, mostly in Arizona, and the desert doesn’t really have an autumn. The transition comes at the end of October, and what it brings is the end of the heat. Fall and winter are the growing season there, the time when people come out of their air-conditioned homes and enjoy the outdoors.

Here, though, there is a true transition from summer to something else. Walking down the street yesterday, I saw someone’s front-yard garden mostly harvested except for a vine of swelling pumpkins, still streaked with green but mostly orange now. The farmers’ markets only run for a few more weeks. The rain is coming.

Today, though, was glorious, a last burst of summer to prepare us for the rainy months to come. It was hot in the sun, though beautiful in the shade, and Jack and I walked down to the banks of the Columbia river to say hello. (The Columbia is the river that separates Vancouver from Portland.) We stopped by Voodoo Donuts downtown, and I had a maple-bacon bar, which tastes like fall on a donut, rich and smokey-sweet. Later went down to Sellwood Park and waded in the Willamette, and people-watched. Oaks Amusement Park was having an Oktoberfest celebration, and we went down and rode the carousel and the Ferris Wheel and had a wonderful time. It was a celebration in the truest sense of the word – we enjoyed everything we were doing, but especially that we were doing it together.

I can’t explain it or describe it better than this, but Portland feels like the home I never really had. I was a military brat, and we moved around a lot, so Phoenix became my home due to the sheer number of years I spent there. Portland, somehow, makes me feel like I belong.

A part of this is the explosion of creative energy I’ve been feeling. I’m designing a pair of cabled fingerless gloves (when I’m done, it’ll make an appearance here, never fear). There are other projects lurking around the edges, getting nibbled on. The sweater. A shawl design. Maybe a podcast. (Would you guys be interested in listening to me blather rather than just reading it?) A little bit of writing – and I feel like the words are there when I reach for them.

Another thing I’ve been doing is reading a lot. I’ve finished a couple of books, and am still working through a couple more, both fiction and nonfiction. Reading is something I’ve always loved, but it wasn’t something Isabel allowed me to do. It wasn’t that she disallowed it, exactly, so much as I couldn’t sit uninterrupted for more than ten or fifteen minutes at a stretch. I loathe being interrupted while I’m reading, as you do, so when she interrupted me I was grumpy about it. Being grumpy at Isabel is unacceptable, so I gradually got out of the habit of reading.

For a while I was reading knitting books – pattern books, and essays about knitting, and the occasional novel about knitting – but gradually I’ve been introducing non-knitting books into the mix. One of the books I finished this week was a book about knitting as spiritual practice, but the other was a short story collection that had nothing to do with knitting at all. I’m reading Elizabeth Zimmerman, and I’m reading Diane Duane. It feels like healing in a way I can’t quite explain.

I’ve been spinning every day, knitting on the Pine Forest blanket and the Conwy socks, and of course the cabled gloves I’m designing. I also pulled the Codename: Wintergreen gloves out of the UFO bin (remember those?) and finished them! The right one came out shorter than the left, but they look the same when I put them on, so I suspect I can fix it in blocking. I was motivated to do this by the cold, wet weather last week, when I discovered that I didn’t have fingerless gloves that fit tightly enough to keep my hands warm. My hands are super-tiny and delicate (I can wear vintage gloves, to give you an idea), so the pretty alpaca hand warmers I bought at Sock Dreams were just too loose at the top to work as well as I want them to. (A thought: pick up and knit a ribbed addition? Maybe in a bright color?) A benefit to handmade items is definitely that you can design them to fit the places you want them to. At least, so long as your gauge isn’t wonky.

Tomorrow, though, is the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. I’m as excited as a kid on Christmas Eve, you guys, and I will probably make a reaction post by the end of the weekend. I will probably also FLOOD YOUR TWITTER FEEDS, just to warn you. (I’m @amberswansong, if the thought of being spammed by pictures of flocks and fiber doesn’t intimidate you.)

Tomorrow. Be prepared.

What are you excited for? Let me know, or check your own gauge. Of course, you can check your gauge at any time during your project, so it doesn’t have to be Friday to join in!

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~ by Amber on September 23, 2011.

One Response to “Friday Gauge Check: Welcome to Autumn!”

  1. I wish I felt excited, but fall for me brings a sort of dark turning of the stomach. It’ll get better though.

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