Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a chicken. (With apologies to Peter Steiner.)

02 November 2007

Mitten Progress. And A Story.

Besides all the hooraw over Halloween, the double-knitted strikke-along mittens were waiting for me to figure out what to do at the fingertip ends.

Traditional Scandinavian mittens are decreased at the sides and come to a point. I've worn a pair of these, and they fit very well. But I'm not planning to end these mittens that way because I want to fit in one more whole snowflake without snipping it off at the edges.

So it was back to the graph paper to figure out how and where I was going to decrease, and how that third snowflake was going to fit at the end.

I think I've got it figured out, and have started gradually decreasing. The current plan is to decrease down to eight stitches, front and back, and graft the end shut (inside and outside). Then I'll pick out the scrap yarn and pick up stitches for the thumbs, an adventure in itself.

I probably won't join "NaNoBloPo", but the slogan "Let's All Post Until the Internet Explodes!" does make me laugh. I like Amy's idea of posting on gratitude in November. I won't promise to post every day, but when I do post, I'll try to include some of the things I'm grateful for.

One of the first is our son. This is the time of year I think a lot about how grateful I am to have him, both because it took us a long time, a really long time, to have a baby, and because this is the time of year he was conceived.

I don't think I've ever told that story here. (No, no, hush, it's not THAT kind of story!)

Nine years ago now, during the summer, my mom called me at work. She had come into some unexpected money (that's a story all of its own), and she wanted to go to the Netherlands where some of her grandparents came from. My dad is at least as much of an introvert as I am, and a homebody, and he didn't want to go. So she called to invite me.

Now, I'm not a person who loves travel. I get homesick. I miss my dogs. I miss my privacy. I miss staying in one place. But I couldn't turn down a paid-for trip overseas. So I said yes.

My husband said, "If I pay for my own plane ticket, can I come?" My husband loves to travel, and the man has a sense of direction that would shame a GPS. (His sense of direction also comes with a whole set of stories.) My mom said yes.

So we got our passports, arranged for a dog sitter, got our plane tickets and hotel and car reservations, and went to the Netherlands in October for two weeks. We landed at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam in the rain after the longest flight I had ever been on.

We went to the Rijksmuseum. We went to Leewarden. We went to Breda. We went to Sexbierum (waitress: "Why would you want to go there?"). My mother happily browsed genealogy records and met up with a distant cousin of hers she had met via the internet. I learned to navigate Dutch roads, including once when I said to my husband, "I don't think this is a road," and he turned out to have turned on to the fietspad!

I ate uitsmiters, mussels in Colinsplaat, lots of Dutch and Belgian chocolate and discovered the wonderful Brie pistolet. (Fresh Dutch Brie has to be tasted to be believed.) We walked miles and miles, drank orange juice in the Dutch McDonald's (shut up! it's the biggest orange juice you can buy in the Netherlands in the morning!), and I gained . . . four pounds. (I credit all that walking.)

On our last night in the Netherlands, we had a tiny, tiny, tiny hotel room in Amsterdam. My husband had a few Dutch guilders (this was before the switch to the Euro) left, and he said he was going out to use them up.

He came back an hour or so later with a bemused look and a toddler-size formal jacket, the kind of thing you might put on a very little boy in a wedding party. He said he went to give the last ten guilders to a street person he had noticed earlier in the day, and he ended up talking with her for a while.

After he gave her the money, she pulled this little jacket out of a bag she had and insisted on giving it to him. Absolutely insisted. He told her he had no children, and she gave it to him anyway.

Some time shortly after we flew home, probably during that "It's 9am in the Netherlands and I'm wide awake, even though it's only 3am here in Michigan" period of jet lag, our son was conceived.

By Thanksgiving I was starting to realize it might be, possibly, that after six years of trying, I just might be pregnant. I kept quiet because, you know, things can go wrong. But I was floating in a regular sea of gratitude and possiblity.

This frosty season of the year always brings me back to that lovely atmosphere of hopefulness and gratefulness.

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Blogger Cindy said...

Oh, I love that story! It's one of those, "you never know when you might be talking to an angel" kind of things. Call it serendipity, coincidence, or whatever, it's a lovely, lovely story and I hope your son passes it along to his children down the line. :)

2:51 PM  
Blogger amy said...

Thank you for sharing, alwen. I feel like every baby reminds us in some way that children should never be taken for granted. Every single one of them is a treasure.

(It is good to remember this when your children are not fixing the beds they just ripped apart, like you asked them to, but are instead destroying the rest of their room....I need to go investigate now...)

4:24 PM  
Blogger Rose Red said...

That's a great story Alwen, thanks for sharing.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Bells said...

Oh wow, lovely story. I love it. After six years, it happened just like that? Isn't the body amazing?

I'm back on my fertility drugs now and feeling just a wee bit emotional so stories like this are all the more touching.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Georgie said...

Thanks for sharing Alwen - such a beautiful story.

5:08 PM  
Blogger DEEP END OF THE LOOM said...

That's a wonderful story I love it. What a great surprise for you both. Tell us did your son every wear the little jacket?

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Wendy said...

Did you get snow?
Yesterday they were predicting frozen mix for us today and now we have a lake effect alert for 5-7" by tomorrow morning. Yea, knitting weather.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Did I ever tell you that was my birthday wish that year? Yes, people were wondering why I was taking so damn long to make that wish, but I wanted to be very specific. You know how tricky those wish granters can be if you are not specific!

I don't remember that he ever wore that coat, but you still have it, right?

12:09 PM  

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