Vita de Vie…times three?

Well, by the time I finished writing my previous post, I had pretty much decided that I was going to rip out Ursina, and so I did. And then my mind went to thinking about what other sorts of things I could knit with a little over 1000 yards of DK-weight yarn that comfortably knits to a 20sts/in gauge. The very next day, it was cool enough that I needed a sweater, and I wore my Tric cardigan, which got me thinking – that’s a pattern that calls for DK weight at 20sts/in, and would carry forward the “triangle” design motif from Ursina (but in a taller rather than wider triangle, which I think is also more flattering on my body). So perhaps that would be a good project for the Peace Fleece DK.

Then, the day after that, it was still chilly, and I paired my Vita de Vie pullover with my new green linen dress. I was really happy with how that pairing worked out, and that got me thinking…could I turn the Peace Fleece DK into a Vita de Vie instead? I was immediately skeptical, because I knew that both of my Vita de Vie pullovers were knit from Beaverslide Sport/Sock, which is a noticeably lighter yarn, and once I got home, I checked the gauge in my copy of the Pompom magazine and sure enough, it’s more than 20sts/in. So nope, another Vita de Vie was not going to work.

But then, on Saturday morning, I had a thought: don’t I have some undyed Beaverslide Sport/Sock somewhere in the stash? I remembered having gotten some back when my daughter was a toddler, with the thought of making her a white sweater with thin blue stripes like one of the characters in her books. Of course, life had other plans, but when I went digging through the stash, I found a full skein, plus what seems to be a full skein in ball form, plus a partial skein still attached to the beginning of a small yoked sweater. I *think* it’s enough yarn for a Vita de Vie, which I remember taking just barely over 2 skeins worth of the Sport/Sock. So, as you likely guessed from the title of the post, I cast on for my third Vita de Vie.

Knitting a Vita de Vie while wearing a Vita de Vie
Knitting a Vita de Vie sleeve while wearing a Vita de Vie

So far, so good – the Beaverslide yarn is actually a bit “whiter” than the Peace Fleece, and I think that means it’ll work even better over my ikat dresses that have white stars. And while Vita de Vie is not exactly a “cropped” sweater, the shorter length plays nicely with the shape of these dresses, and I quite like how it looks and feels layered over them. (I like it so much that I’m tempted to find fabric to sew a dress that will correspond in color to my light purple Vita de Vie the way the green Vita de Vie does to my green linen dress, but given how little time I have for crafting now that the semester’s in full swing, better to wait on that!)

Knitting a Vita de Vie while wearing a Vita de Vie
wearing Vita de Vie over my green linen dress, while knitting another Vita de Vie

So, the plan for now is to knit a third Vita de Vie with the Beaverslide Sport/Sock, and then possibly consider turning the Peace Fleece DK into another Tric cardigan. I am in fact a creature of habit, and enjoy knitting multiples of things – see the aforementioned Vita de Vies, and my Wardie Cardigans, and my Farmhouse Cardigans, and the Willow Cowls and DRK Everyday Socks, too. I’m also debating whether I would want to dye the Peace Fleece DK before knitting it. If I’m remembering right, that was what Past Me had originally gotten the yarn for in the first place, well over a decade ago (which is an easy unit of measurement when you have a 10 year old kid: if it’s older than the kid, it was over a decade ago!). I’m not entirely thrilled with the slightly yellowish tint to the “Antarctic White” color, so it might be fun to dye it, but if so: what color? I should be thoughtful about it, and look at both the stash yarn I currently have and the sweaters I already have to choose a color that would fill a gap in my wardrobe options. A fun future project, but not one for right now.

As for right now: gosh, I’m exhausted. The beginning of the semester has been quite intense, with multiple students out with COVID requiring various supports (which I try to build into my class anyway, but one of them – teaching the classes hybrid so those who are isolating can still participate – is really cognitively demanding to do well). And yesterday, I ended up teaching 5 classes in a row – my usual three classes, plus two extra workshops for one of the Optics classes I provide support for. It was a marathon day! We’re still figuring out routines for the kid now that her school’s back in session, too, and there are just so many things that we need to stay on top of at the beginning of her school year. Tonight is the 5th grade curriculum night, so we’ll finally get to meet her teacher and see a little bit of what she’s up to all day.

Vita de Vie the third, sleeve progress.
This sleeve would not make a very good mask!

I’m a little nervous about curriculum night, though, because it’s going to be CROWDED, and my guess is we will be some of the only people wearing masks there. I hate this phase of the pandemic, where we’ve given up on mutual care. It sucks for so many reasons, but it really sucks to navigate it as a family where both parents have autoimmune diseases and one of them has a damaged lung and dysautonomia (that’s me). I know that the President has declared that the pandemic is over, but it is not over for us. But now our options are to either not go anywhere (which, you know, we’re kind of homebodies anyway, but going from “rarely” to “never” is still hard) or to take on risk that we don’t have any control over, and hope that our good masks do enough. But one-way masking just isn’t as good as universal masking. And the powers that be can go on and on about how we all just have to make our own decisions and our own individual risk assessments, but that’s not even possible when we’re no longer providing free testing and tracking cases. I’m a fairly mathy person, but what numbers am I supposed to plug into my “personal risk assessment” equation?

I’m so grateful for the spaces in my life where mutual care still is the priority. Basically, that’s my church, and my chamber orchestra, and literally nowhere else in my life. I’m opting-out like crazy, but I don’t want to opt out of meeting my child’s teacher. I don’t want to deprive my kid of the chance to show off her schoolwork to her parents. So we’ll be going tonight, and I’ll be hoping so hard that we stay healthy. I get my bivalent booster and flu shot this weekend, and I’ll be so glad to have that extra layer of protection. But while I’m grateful to have added protection against death and severe disease, what I want is to not catch COVID at all, because I have no reason to believe it would play nicely with my immune system and autonomic nervous system, even in its “mildest” form.

And I just don’t understand why it has to be this way. Why can we not require masks in public spaces? Especially those public spaces, like classrooms and public transit, where we do not have the option to opt-out? The able-ism of all of this is just so infuriating. Why should I have to reveal things about my health issues to get someone to care about me? And to reveal those things to have someone STILL choose not to mask around me is just so gutting, and I really do wonder if the administrators suggesting that we disclose our risk factors in order to further “encourage” masking have thought at all about the moral injury being done to us by disclosing at all, but especially when the disclosure is then met with a lack of care. I want them to sit in a classroom, with students they adore, after the mask mandate was lifted, and tell those students that they are high-risk, that they will be staying masked and would so appreciate others in the room masking as well, and have even brought a box of masks to class to share…and then have literally none of those students move. I will never forget how awful that felt. I will never be able to un-know the things I’ve learned about people (in general, and in specific) in these last few years.

But in happier news: tomorrow is the Fall Equinox! And my kid is getting a VERY exciting present: her very own Lego Mindstorms robot. She’s been saying how much she wants one since she did her first Science Center robotics camp three years ago, prior to the pandemic. We told her “they’re really expensive, so you just need to enjoy the ones you use at camp.” To which she responded, “If I save up my allowance, can I buy myself one?” And of course the answer to that was YES! But it didn’t actually seem like something that would happen, given that she had a tendency to spend her allowance as soon as she got it on whatever trinket caught her eye while we were out and about. Well, turns out a pandemic, while terrible on so many levels, is actually really great for a kid like mine to build up their savings, because never going anywhere means never having trinkets catch your eye. And so a few months ago, we did the math together, and we figured out that by the time we reached the Fall Equinox, she would actually have enough money to *almost* pay for a Mindstorms Robot, and the amount left over was something we were comfortable paying as her “something to do” gift for the Equinox. She’s going to have her very own robot, one that she knows how to build and code, and I’m really proud of her for setting a goal and working towards it (with an assist from the pandemic).

Vita de Vie sleeve, on the deck with early Fall leaves

Here’s hoping for a good Fall!

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