I am just a little north of CA, in Lakeview, OR, but lived in Red Bluff for many years. I know what you are talking about when you mention heat there. When I lived there, I used to plant glads in a front planter. They would bloom at about 6 am, but by 10 am they would be fried from the sun. I didn't have a tree shading the back patio, and the temp coming in the sliding doors would more often than not be 130 degrees. I did enjoy living there though, and still have friends that I visit in Redding.
I have seven grandchildren that I knit for, and am really enjoying working on a baby sweater set for the newest granddaughter right now. I am also working on a mini pancho, and hat to match from Drops, for my gd that lives in Wisconsin. I am hoping I can get it done before Christmas. Sometimes, I feel like I need an extra set of knitting fingers! :D
Have you tried the new Option needles from Knit Picks? I totally love them! I have most of the smaller sizes, and one or two sets of the larger sizes, but most of my knitting seems to be with the smaller size needles, and dk or fingering size yarns. Although I just finished a Drops Bolero, and hat that I knitted in Bamboo, Cotton, and elastic yarn from Crystal Palace, called Bamboozle. That was quite an interesting experience... you just bounce from one stitch to the next. Fun stuff!
Here is a link to some of the things I have finished recently. They are in the "Grandma's Knits" album. OH yes, the Nordic Knit sweater I did for my husband is knitted from Knit Picks yarn. I loved working with it.