Getting too close for comfort.

With Christmas two weeks away, I’m starting to feel the heat of meeting the big deadline. The Christmas photocard order was placed just a few days ago and won’t arrive until the 15th, which means I’ll be sending cards up through past Christmas. We’ve had the Christmas tree up for 10 days and it has only lights on it. The evergreen tree outside (that so delighted my neighbors when I put white lights and red ornaments on it last year) currently stands unlit with just one set of lights on the top third of it, after throwing my hands up in frustration because I couldn’t reach around the top when I tried decorate it yesterday (you’d think the tree could at least stop growing for once!). All but a few gifts have yet to be determined and no clue in sight, meaning that I’ll probably be wrapping gifts around midnight on Christmas Eve, again. I haven’t ordered the beef tenderloin for our Christmas dinner yet.

On the bright side, I put the Ikea star lights up in the kitchen (my annual fave), at least the inside tree does has lights on it, the stockings are hung on the mantle with care, we have the advent calendars for the kids, and I’ve actually finished knitting a gift for my mom before December 24th!

Pattern: Susie’s Reading Mitts, by Janelle Masters
Yarn: Baby Blatt from Annie Blatt
Needles: 3.75 mm / U.S. 5

The Baby Blatt was leftover from a hat that I made for my son when he was a baby but he never wore because he didn’t like wearing hats.

Baby Hat

[Unfortunately, I can’t find the pattern for the baby hat, but I’m quite certain it’s from Interweave Knits in an issue from about 2001-2004.]

With all the yarn I have stashed around the house, I could have chosen almost anything to use, because I had just 25 grams of Baby Blatt to use. I guess the yarn just spoke to me and I was determined to make mitts for my mother with it. Employing a good kitchen scale and dividing the yarn fairly evenly, the mitts end-up shortened through the cuff, and this should work for her because she doesn’t want something too heavy on the warmth spectrum. That’s one gift down, so many more to go.

I had to lie.

The other night I went to a play with my mother and sister and knitted Wine and Roses Mitts through the whole thing.  I even finished the mitts there, despite having to lie to my mother and sister by saying I was making them for myself, which is usually a good cover because I almost always knit for myself (hey—I need things to wear!).  I had the feeling they weren’t buying it.  My sister even asked me if I was making them for our mother—and I lied.  Lied, lied, lied, knowing that if I told her the truth she’d tell Mom.  She does stuff like that for entertainment, I think.  My relationship with my sister is very Lucy and Charlie Brown:  she gets me thinking I can trust her with a secret and then she turns around and pulls the football away just as I go for the kick-off and ruins the surprise.

I feel a bit guilty, but not as much as I do knitting through the first play I’d been to directed by my cousin visiting from the East Coast.  This is my mother’s cousin’s daughter, whom I held as a babe in my arms when she was born a year before I graduated from high school.  My, how time flies, and now she’s all grown up and a successful theatrical director.

Okay, maybe I don’t feel that guilty about knitting through the whole play, after all, anyone whose play (my cousin didn’t write it), concert, or dance that runs longer than 2 hours (2.5 hours in this case) on a week night deserves to have audience members saving their sanity by doing something to get through it, even though it was a very entertaining production.  Because if I’d felt really guilty, what should have been the clincher was knowing that the performers could see me knitting in the audience, even though I kept a low profile.  They were probably backstage between scenes comparing notes, “Can you believe that woman is still knitting?!”

Wine and Roses Mitts by JoLene M. Treace from Interweave Knits, Winter 2006
Yarn: Stella (bamboo) by Naturally Hand Knit (one skein)
Needles: U.S. 0/2.0mm

I really enjoyed this well-written pattern and would definitely make these again.  It probably is a pattern that would challenge the beginner, but I recommend it if you want a mitt that is light and lacy.  However, I can’t recommend using the yarn because it snags easily, and once it snags, there’s no fixing it.

So, we’re in Ocean Shores, Washington right now, renting a cottage at Seabrook for a few days again.  It’s clamming season and everyone seems to have clambered here for some tasty razor clams, except us.  I am the only shellfish aficionado in the family, so there’s not much point in gearing-up, besides I don’t like being cold and wet digging for the razor-fast razor clam, and I like my mollusks under 2″ in length.  But I did eat razor clams at the restaurant last night and I found this pretty shell left after someone’s clam dinner on the beach.

This is our first vacation since our trip to Europe early last fall and our last before our family gets bigger when we bring our daughter home from South Korea in the next month or so, and we really needed it.  We did our last bit of required business for the adoption on our way out of town to the ocean on Friday, driving far south of where we live with our son in tow for an 8 a.m. appointment with Biometrics (fingerprinting) at the brand-spanking new Homeland Security building in Burien.  I have to say, I don’t know which is worse, visiting that facility or working in it.  Except for the occasional announcement of the next number for waiting visitors, the place is dead silent and the walls in Biometrics are painted beige, not a soft beige, but an institutional beige.  Decoration?  Absolutely none.  No pictures on the walls, no desk personalization, no pictures of an employee’s children, nothing.  It’s all probably for a reason, but I would go stark-raving mad if I worked there.  Anyhow, with this done, we just wait some more, for an unknown period of time for the day we get to bring our little girl home.