Monday, March 29, 2010

Knitting in China

"The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing ... not healing, not curing ... that is a friend who cares." (Henri J.M. Nouwen, Out of Solitude)

As I mentioned, I saw women knitting all over China, especially in Jiangxi Province. And every child was wearing a hand-knit sweater. They were always knitting in the round with very long (about 18 inches) double-pointed needles.

Our guide in Jiangxi  was surprised that I was a knitter. She said knitting was not popular among young people; it was mostly "Grandmas" who did it. In fact, her mother-in-law had already knit many things for the children she and her husband hadn't had yet! (Since she and her husband are both only children, the government allows them to have two children.)

This is a woman knitting at the yarn store in Nanchang. More about that in the next post. Let's just say I came home with some yarn!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The purple sweater

"Even when they call us mad, when they call us subversives and communists and all the epithets they put on us, we know we only preach the subversive witness of the Beatitudes, which have turned everything upside down." (Archbishop Oscar Romero, assassinated 30 years ago today)

This is what I was doing just minutes before we got the knock on our hotel room door to meet our daughter for the first time. Yes, I was knitting. I had just started the Daisy sweater for Sophie in some nice lavender wool.

A few moments later I was snuggling with the sweetest little thing, who had arrived wearing (among many other layers) a hand-knit purple wool cardigan sweater.

Most likely her foster mother knit it for her, and given how many women I saw knitting in China, that's entirely possible.

Not only is this something that will go into her "China treasures" box, but it's a lovely coincidence that I was knitting her a very similar sweater, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Airplane knitting

"Do not memorize anything that can be looked up; save the mind for creativity." (Albert Einstein)

It seems so long ago that we left for China--it was only a month, but our world has changed since then. It was so hard to say goodbye to Sam, who stayed with my sister and her family while we were gone. Once we were on the plane, though, it was nice to have 13 uninterrupted hours to myself, even if it was in coach!

I got out my airplane knitting, a sock on thin plastic needles (just in case, because you never know what the knitting needles rules are in other countries), which I keep in this cute bag my mom gave me. This sock is just a plain one, but knit with this (cotton) yarn that makes a pattern that kind of looks fair isle-ish, which my mom bought me at the Rosemont knitting convention a few years ago.

Before this trip, I had done the ribbing, On this trip, I turned the heel and almost got to the toes. Of one sock. Sigh.

Movies to knit by: The in-flight selections weren't the best, but I did watch a few, including Bright Star, the love story about Keats. Also, The Boys are Back, about a sportswriter who raises his sons after his wife dies (this did not help with missing Sam). Then I watched the first part of the National Parks documentary, which was excellent.

I also started (and finished while in China) John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany, which was recommended by my friend D'Arcy. What an excellent book! Here's an interesting article about it on salon, and a reader's guide here.

It will probably be a long time before I get to read a book for pleasure again!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Back in the USA

"There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it." (Chinese Proverb)

Three of my favorite photos of our new girl, Sophie, from our trip to China. We're home now, so happy to be re-united with Sam and adjusting to being a family of four.

Believe it or not, there was knitting in China--and yarn buying! Pictures to come.