I got the newest (Sept. 2012) Knitscene yesterday. Had to run to the Mart of Wal for a couple things, was feeling really meh and sad for some reason, so I thought: I'll either buy another blindbag pony or two, or check the magazines. I was really HOPING they had some ponies, and really REALLY hoping for the second or third "waves" (which are supposedly available here now, though I haven't seen them. Supposedly one of the newer waves have a Big Macintosh figure, and I really, really want a Big Mac, he's another non-Mane-6 pony who has really grown on me). But no ponies at all. Just a sad empty Wave 1 box.
But they did have the new Knitscene. Which helped a little.
I liked Lisa Shroyer's introduction in this one: "We've been waiting. We've been waiting for the fall knitting. We've been waiting through spring's slow ascent, through the edges of summer, he heat rolling in....Maybe we wax too poetic about fall, we knitters."
But yes. I GET that. I understand that. ("I know that feel, sis").
I'm beginning to feel "meh" about summer. Tired and worn and sick of the heat. And ready for it to be fall - to be cool enough to wear my wool socks again, to be able to find new-crop apples that haven't been jetted in from Australia or some ridiculous distance, to have some variation in the weather. (Though I must admit that this past week we DID get some rain, which was greatly appreciated.)
And really, my love of and longing for fall doesn't have THAT much to do with being able to pull out the woolies again - I've always loved fall, always felt on some level that the first cool day of fall, rather than January 1, should symbolize the start of a new year. Loved back-to-school, even when I was a kid going back to school. Loved the idea of harvest, and pumpkins, and apple cider. Loved for it to be cool enough for soup to seem like a good idea again.
And Ms. Shroyer's introduction reminded me of an essay in KnitLit (Too) by Betty Christiansen:
"The winter I moved from New York to Minnesota, I armed myself for a cold and colorless stretch with loads of colored wool....I knew what to expect: long days of dormancy, with tired, empty light. The predominant color ouside would be white or (more often in recent years) gray-brown."
A Minnesota winter shares more aspects with a southern Oklahoma summer than you might think. For extended periods of time, going outside for any longer than you must is undesirable. In fact, in both Minnesota winters and Oklahoma summers, you could probably very likely die of "exposure" if you had to stay out in the elements too long. (Well, "heat stroke" rather than "exposure" in Oklahoma, I guess).
And the colorlessness. While we've had it marginally better this year, most years we don't get summer rain. Everything dries up (unless you water, and some years you're not permitted to do that). The vegetation dries up and turns a bleached tan, especially on the roadsides. And I find myself longing for "cooler" colors - dark blues, soft grays, gray-greens - WINTER colors. (I don't think it's coincidental that one of the yarns I was drawn to buy in my last order has a color name of "Winter Twilight" - dark blues with hints of purple). In her essay, Christiansen writes about how she seeks out color - either yarn or quilt fabric - as a balm to her soul in the winter. I think I do something similar in the summer. In fact, I notice that I tend to long for colors a "season ahead" - I start thinking about fall colors, golds and oranges and greens, in the early summer, and then as summer wears on - the chilly colors of winter appeal to me. (And in winter, especially in gray rainy years, I find myself seeking out pale pinks and baby-leaf greens).
(Christiansen also writes about being drawn to color NAMES: "...those skeins of daylily and rhubarb, those balls of creamy white and warm brown-gray with names like Moonshadow that make me swoon." I will confess that there are yarns in my stash that I bought mainly because I liked the color name the dyer gave it, or because the color name called up happy associations in my mind)
I grow really tired of the light, also - it's not the tired, empty light of a Minnesota winter, but it's got it's own harshness. I've described it in the past to friends and relatives who don't live here as a "metallic" light. There is something almost artificial-seeming about it. It's hard and bright and relentless and it makes my eyes hurt. I spend lots of time in the summer (at least, middays) indoors, often with the blinds drawn if I'm at home. Those first few days of fall when the slant of the light changes (surely, it has something to do with our position relative to the sun, and to the relationship between the direction of the Earth's tilt relative to its angle to the sun - as we approach the equinox I begin to notice it ). The light becomes more golden, a bit softer, and I begin to rejoice, because I can finally "feel" fall on its way. I'm sure it's not quite as extreme a sense of relief as the builders of Stonehenge felt on the days after the winter solstice, when the amount of sunlight slowly began to increase - but it's a similar relief. Somewhere, in some very primitive emotional part of my brain, I begin to believe that the hot, dry summer will never end, that it will be 100 degrees and baking sunlight forever, and I feel like I can't take it.
I also find myself wanting to start new projects as summer wears on. I think that's, in some way, a fight against the "Groundhog Day" feeling I get in the summer: that every day is a carbon copy of the previous one, and little changes, even though the summer seems to drain away even as I feel like I'm stuck in it. Or I wind off balls of yarn from the hanks I've accumulated. (Even when you feel you can't start something new, there can be great comfort in winding off skeins of wool. And it's almost BETTER when you're not seeking to start a new project immediately: you are less impatient, less "Let's get this over with so I can swatch" - it becomes a more meditative task and an end in itself).
I suspect many knitters long for fall and winter. I know many "muggles" would find us a bit odd and perverse. (And I will be quick to point out that long before I was a committed knitter - goodness, even before I was a committed quilter - I longed for the fall during summer's long days. And as I said earlier, much of my joy in fall has nothing at all to do with the ability to wear wool once again.)