Saturday, January 05, 2013

Guerilla Knitting in Tenerife (!)

Think what you may about knitting, I find it to be a relaxing pastime.  It keeps my fingers busy so I can't eat chocolate (or delicious Turron, a kind of praline in 150 gram bar form, which I became slightly addicted to in La Palma last year), and it just takes my mind off of work and whatever other trouble is going on.  It clears my head.  I'm very much an amateur at this hobby, up to now I've only managed a couple of scarves, some simple socks and pulse warmers, but still, it's enjoyable.  With each winter, I find myself more and more involved in knitting, but as soon as the temperatures rise, I'm finished.  So, contrary to my normal knitting habits, I decided to throw in a bag of knitting for our three-week vacation in the sunny Canary Islands.  I knew the climate didn't exactly lend itself to this pastime, but figured that the days are short, we'd be staying in the mountains for a couple weeks, so maybe that, combined with the fact that going out in the evening is a no-go with 2 small kids in tow, would give me a chance to do a little knitting.  And the stuff doesn't take up that much space in the luggage, anyway.

So I packed up my knitting bag and packed off to Tenerife.  The first week in Roque Negro in the Anaga Mountains was perfect for knitting:  the evenings were relatively cold, so we just sat around in the evening watching TV anyway (which was also something special, since we don't have a TV at home).  That's perfect for knitting.  I finished a sock.  The second week at around 800 meters above sea level in Isora, El Hierro, wasn't bad for knitting either:  cold evenings, no TV, and a sick kid to boot.  I got a set of pulse warmers started.  The third week in Puerto Santiago, Tenerife, much to my surprise, turned out to be my best knitting week.  I didn't get much done, but knitting on the beach is just plain awesome!  Soaking up the warm sun, knitting something that I know will keep me warm like the sun back home in the cold.  I'm not much of a beach person anyway, and the other beachgoers probably thought I'm a huge freak, but that's nothing new for me.  Again, it was that combination of keeping my hands busy while sitting with the kids, who are digging a hole to China or throwing rocks or something.  Knitting is better than reading, because my ears are open and I can carry on a conversation if necessary.  I can't do that while reading.  My eyes are also available while knitting, not while reading. Knitting can also be put down and you don't really need to mark your place or do anything special if you only do easy projects like I do.    

So imagine my surprise when we were out for a little walk in Puerto Santiago and I found that someone else had already been knitting where I was:

 Some funny person knit a hat and a scarf and put them on the sculpture near the Plaza Restaurant just across the street from our hotel!

I've read articles about guerilla knitting, and even witnessed some in Dresden (  In Dresden, it makes sense:  it's cold here, the trash cans and lampposts need something to keep them warm!  But in Tenerife?  And particularly in Puerto Santiago, where the temperature is around 20C or more even in winter?  It doesn't make sense, and it's just plain funny to see a sculpture on a blazing hot day with a perfect blue sky and a knit hat on.  

A couple days later, we were out for a walk from Puerto Santiago to Alcala along the coast on one of our low-key days.  This is a really neat stretch, the lava and water have created some interesting bits of coast along here.  It's not so rugged, but really varied.  Well, guess what we found here: 

A stone with a knit coat!

It seems to have been made by the same person who made the scarf, note the fuzzy yarn in the middle section of both.  We couldn't resist this rock, the little guy picked it up and cuddled it, he wanted to take it to bed and cuddle it that evening.  The knit rock really made me laugh.  Not only have we got the funny weather combination (a knit coat on a rock on a hot, sunny coast), but also this juxtaposition of something so hard and natural, with such a soft, fuzzy manmade mantle.  We kidnapped it and took it back to our hotel.  I lugged it around for a couple of days, trying to decide what to do with it.  It went to Santa Cruz with us and resided on the table in our room and in my backpack.  In the meantime, I knit it a baby:  a smaller stone with a blue coat.  I was tempted to bring the large rock back with me and replace it in its original home with the baby, but then decided that it's really not that pretty, so I returned it to its natural environment along with some friends. 

The original knit rock and its friends now reside along the coast a bit to the southeast of Alcala, between Alcala and San Juan.  While I was knitting, the kids kept piling me high with more rocks and shells that I should knit, but there was no way I could knit up a whole pile of rocks.  But at least the first rock is no longer alone.  And I even had time to work on my pulse warmers.  What a lovely last day on a lovely island (well, except for the little bout of puking on the street in San Juan--for whatever reason, Kid 2 became ill and tossed his cookies.  It appears to have been a one-shot deal, though, he hasn't thrown up again.)

Ah, and now I'm home, where there's no sun, but at least there's no snow, either.

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