Fairest One Of All

Or, at least in my home she is.

We’ve been back from South Korea for two and a half weeks now and we’ve hit the ground running with an almost-5-year old and a 13-month old in the house. Life is both good and hectic for us these days. Our son YM has discovered that anticipating his baby sister MR has a flip-side: sharing Mom. From the moment they first met, they were thick as thieves and they truly enjoy eachother, however they are both facing the new reality of no longer being the sole center of attention as they each had enjoyed previously before they were brought together under one roof.  If only I’d known that instead of buying YM new toys, all we had to do was bring another child onto the scene for him to rediscover how special his old and long-forgotten baby toys really are.  MR is adjusting much better than we’d expected and she’s a lot of fun.  It’s a whole new world figuring out what she’s going to wear everyday, although I’m no fashionista, and trying to get her hair from getting food or nose-goo in it and trying to get barrettes to stay in it (they keep sliding out).

I hope to follow-up with additional posts about the trip, but these days I can’t promise much, except that tomorrow the sun will rise and there will be dirty diapers and laundry to wade through.

On the knitting side, I was pretty realistic about how many knitting opportunities I’d have on the trip and brought just two active projects, Bird’s Eye Shawl and Shawl Neck Cardigan, and I actually made some progress on both. By the way, I’m kicking myself these days for my never ending attraction to projects that call for small needles/gauge. I also brought a new Wine and Roses Mitts project that I sort of started months ago, and haven’t done much more than about 5 rows. I didn’t work on Wines and Roses, but I brought it along as my if-all-else-fails project, since I’m using US 0/2.0 mm needles for it, I figured that if security had issues with my other two projects (unlikely) on the plane they’d have a hard time justifying taking the needles for this one, because they’re bamboo and thinner than a toothpick. Whenever I fly I always make sure that: the projects I take on board are thin-needle projects (though most of mine are), that I always transfer the projects to bamboo needles ahead of time, and that with the exception of sock or glove projects, I use circular bamboo needles, and for the sock/glove projects I use short double-pointed bamboo needles. Also, I don’t use the two-circular needle method on a plane because it attracts more attention, and I figure that if I really want to be able to knit, it’s best to keep a low profile.

Thank you all for your support, prayers and well-wishes in our endeavor to adopt MR.  It seemed like such a long, never-ending ordeal and it was at times very uncertain for our situation, but in reality, in the scope of international adoption, the time-span we waited was not bad at all.  It just seemed longer.  One thing I can say about the process is, that with the adoption of both our children, once we had them in our arms any frustrations about the wait just melted away.  Whew!

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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?!”

Details
Pattern:
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.

Gauge-o-rama

I thought it would be nice to make another pair of fingerless gloves for my mother to replace one of the pairs I’d made for her that she lost on a trip.  I’d kept her waiting long enough and I was feeling guilty knowing that she was down to only one pair now. So I started Wine and Roses Mitts from Interweave Knits (Winter 2006 issue) on April 1 but it took a good 10 consecutive days of knitting just to get gauge. I often have a problem getting gauge and it’s hard to say why, but this was by far the worst it’s ever been for me. If it weren’t for the fact that someone else on Ravelry had used the same yarn for Wine and Roses, I would have given up and either found a different project for the yarn or different yarn for the project.

What were the needles was I working with? I started with U.S. 2 (gauge turned out too big), went to U.S. 1 (still too big), went to U.S. 0 (still too big), went to U.S. 00/1.75 mm (way too small), back to U.S. 0 (now too small), to U.S. 1 (too small) and back to U.S. 2 (too big). I don’t know, maybe I was just too preoccupied or something to get good gauge. So I went all the way back down the numbers of needles, down to U.S. 00 again, and finally settled on U.S. 0/ 2mm. Sheesh!  I’m almost done with the first one and they fit me nicely, which means they’ll fit her loosely and the way she likes them so that she can keep her arthritic hands lightly warm when she sleeps.

I have a new side-line:  website (it’s really a blog) administrator for my high school graduating class.  I decided that we needed someplace people could go to for information for our reunion this summer.  Somehow, I ended up on the planning committtee for the reunion (my second reunion to help plan), which is really funny given the fact that I was among the least popular (maybe a better description is that I just didn’t get in anybody’s radar, so I was invisible) and most introverted of my 400+ classmates, and I had no social ties with any of these people.   No, I didn’t come from the neighborhood of the more popular kids, my parents weren’t members of any clubs, and being the child of divorce, I never had the chance to maintain ties with any classmates through the summer because I spent my summers visiting my father and family in New England.  I know, “poor little me,” but at the time, going to New England was something of a death sentence for me, even though I would now love it dearly to go there.  So here I am, recruited into the committee by the guy who cleans our gutters (a classmate I happened upon by accident one day), and running a website for the class and sounding all enthusiastic about the reunion to my fellow classmates, an apathetic generation.  It’s really funny, but I figure, if it’s some way to keep people connected, why not?  The downside is that the second blog was severely cutting into everything and every aspect of my life for the past month while I worked on getting it up to speed.  Hopefully, when the reunion is done, that blog can chill for a bit.