Sunday, December 31, 2006

Year's End

I have started on a Merino wool hat in bright pink. (The color is called "That's Pink," which is charmingly translated also into French as "Voila Rose!") I'm knitting it in the round on size 8 needles, based on a pattern I copied from Knitting for Peace. It's really just a shell of a pattern--a basic rolled brim hat which can be altered or adapted in many ways. Should I do it half in pink and half in bright turquoise? Should I add turquoise stripes? Should I return the turquiose yarn and get red instead? (Do they have red? This was half price at the little Japanese knitting shop in Gardena.) Anyhow, it's coming along and I can decide as I go. Since the knitting shop won't be open till at least Tuesday, I might get too far along to change colors.

Kristen finished *another* little bag to be felted today. She knits so fast! Actually, we were both knitting last night, and I think stitch for stitch we knit at pretty much the same rate. But she has greater powers of concentration than I do. She kindly noted that I was getting up to help Papa with his skin cream and various other interruptions, while she just kept on knitting. But she does have a great ability to focus (is that the up-side of OCD?) while I have a great ability to distract myself 20 times an hour. She's going to felt the bag today and give it to her friend Mariel. And then she can concentrate on knitting her cable mittens!

Yes, cable mittens! Can you believe it? She came home 3 weeks ago today, not knowing how to hold knitting needles, and in the interim, she has made a hat, a scarf, 3 felted bags, a little rabbit, and a partridge in a pear tree. No, not that. But she has got the cuff done on a pair of mittens. She went to L'Atelier in Redondo Beach (el snobo yarn store) and bought cashmerino wool in a gorgeous wine color which coincidently *exactly* matches her purchased sweater-jacket. (And which coincidently exactly matches the University of Chicago's crimson color.) And we found a pattern online for cabled fingerless mitts, and a picture of someone's adaptation of the silly fingerless mitts into full-grown mittens. (Just keep going and add an end!) She started on it twice, trying to work out the cable, and now has it off and running.

Let me also mention a funny story she told me. She was at school last month, watching her roommate knit fingerless gloves for her boyfriend on 4 double pointed needles, and she wanted to figure out how knitting worked. But she had no yarn or needles. So she found two nails and unraveled a piece of string from a towel to practice with. Doesn't that sound like some pitiful tale from a concentration camp or something? Anyhow, the urge was there, and has now been fulfilled.

Yesterday, we went all over town shopping for the food to make for Japanese New Years. Our favorite store, Pacific Market, has no chicken tenders and worst of all, no cut up chicken legs. So we went to Nijiya Market and they had the chicken tenders for the Ozoni soup, but also no cut up legs. We tried the Chinese Market (Ranch Market), but no luck. So we decided to brave Marukai. Marukai is over-crowded and hard to park on an ordinary day, and they also require a membership card, which I don't have. But we were getting desperate.

We pulled into the parking lot and circled several times, but no place to park. So then Kristen said, Why don't I go in and see if they even *have* this essential chicken? So she got out, and I circled the parking lot for 10 more minutes. Then Kristen called me on the cellphone--"I finally got to the back of the store, and it's here! Plenty of packages of it! But I don't have my wallet!" Ok, so she put down the precious chicken, shoved her way back to the front of the store, and I pulled up by the front door and handed her some cash. She went back in, got 4 packages of chicken, paid a $1 fee for a temporary membership card, and came out, then phoned me again to tell me that she saw my car and would I stop circling. Phew! We felt like true hunter-gatherers!

So now I'm going to make the Ozoni (rice cake soup) for breakfast today (and again tomorrow), and then start cooking the New Years food. I feel sad that Kristen will be leaving before the crack of dawn on Tuesday the 2nd. Her time here flew by. Anyhow, onward!

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