Last week was the Chinese New Year. This would have been an excellent trip destination which I would have enjoyed, indeed, in China or anywhere the Chinese New Year was celebrated. But I was in Georgia, knitting and crocheting baby blankets. On 23 January 2012 (or year 4710 under the Chinese calendar) the Year of the Dragon began. It started 15 days of celebration by over 1.3 billion people in China, millions more ethnic Chinese around the world and many other nationalities. The Year of the Dragon is one of the most revered years in the Chinese calendar and considered the luckiest.
Celebration picture taken in Beijing, China (courtesy Feng Li/Getty Images)
Dragon by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Japanese 1797-1861
In Chinese tradition the Dragon is not the demon from western literature but a symbol of intense power and good fortune. It is regarded as a divine beast. Those born under the sign of the Dragon are said to be innovative, enterprising, self-assured, passionate people who are free spirited, colorful, confident and fearless. That’s the good characteristics and the only ones I’ll mention since I was born under the sign of the Dragon! Some of the people born under the Year of the Dragon are Florence Nightingale, Sigmund Freud, Salvador Dali, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Lennon. You can Google “Chinese Zodiac signs” to read up on each of the 12 Animal signs.
Dragon by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Japanese 1797-1861
I am not planning any trips right now but have been busy knitting or crocheting baby blankets. My mother was a talented seamstress (see post on her here ) and taught me how to saw and embroider. She did some crochet work in later life but I was taught how to knit and crochet by the mother of my childhood Armenian friend in Paris. We must have been 4 years old at the time as I remember it was before I started kindergarten.
Painting by Lillian Westcott Hale, American 1880-1963I knitted a rainbow blanket for my first grandchild as well as two “car seat” blankets – little blankets to be placed around him in a car or in his small seat. Then when he entered daycare I knitted another blanket in the blue variegated tones. Here he is below hiding behind his blue blanket.
When the second grandchild came along I again knitted another rainbow blanket and crocheted a couple of car seat blankets. Here he is below lying on the blue blanket and later on sleeping with one of the car seat blankets.
Every year since I retired in 2008 I have been watching the Tour de France live on television. I watch it from about 8 am to 11:30 am each day for three weeks! I use this time to knit or crochet then I don’t watch much TV the rest of the year. In 2010 one of my daughter’s best friend and his partner were having a little baby boy. My daughter’s friend said that he would like a blanket in the form of the French flag. I was happy to make one and also a small car seat blanket.
I enjoyed using the French “bleu blanc rouge” (blue red and white) instead of the usual blue colors. There are so many beautiful yarns to choose from really – when we were in Oslo I would have liked to purchase some of the lovely yarns displayed there.
Norwegian women knit intricate gloves, hats and other items. I admired many in various shops, like below.
After looking at the daycare blankets I had knitted and crocheted for my grandsons, the receptionist of the daycare told me that her area was kept very cool and she would love to have a blanket of her own … in the pink and purple tones – hint hint. I was pleased to make one for her – she was totally overwhelmed when it was given to her as she did not expect it.
Then my daughter said that she would love a heavy scarf to go with the embroidery on her dark winter coat. She selected the colors.
After that it was time to knit a sweater for the eldest grandson. I made it large so he could wear it a couple of years, maybe.
My daughter has an Iranian friend whose baby boy had difficulty breathing so he needed a blanket with loose stitches. I made the one below for him. The dark stripe is green.
A third grandson came along last July so I knit another rainbow blanket during the Tour de France – slightly different. I also knitted a car seat blanket but in brilliant colors. I placed the little suitcase lock near the blanket to show its relative size.
Below is the blanket around its little owner.
I knitted another car seat blanket for the third grandson – 4 large squares in yellow and green. But since I had so much yarn left it was fun making another two car seat blankets for the other two grandsons.
January 2012 came along - time for the third grandson to start daycare and time for another blanket. I did not have time to wait for the Tour de France in July so I crocheted one while watching Downton Abbey on week-ends and Comedy Central with Jon Stewart. I finished it in two weeks. Here is a picture I took without a flash – it shows more depth.
With flash the colors are more vibrant.
I put my yarn away and thought that I was done making baby blankets for the year, but then…. a friend announced the birth of her new grandson….. I swiftly returned to some pretty blue Turkish yarn I had…
and promptly made another car seat blanket. To show its relative size, I placed it with the 1880 edition of the Complete Poetical Works of Alfred Tennyson, Poet Laureate. Maybe this baby may grow up to be a poet?
In addition, I crocheted another car seat blanket for him in more vibrant tones. I placed a French paperback this time on the blanket. It is “Enfance” by Nathalie Sarraute. It has been translated into English under the title Childhood. Here it is below with close-ups of the blankets.
I don’t see any more baby blankets this year.
Knitting by Harold Knight, English 1874-1961
This break in needlework will give me more time to read the two new books I received this morning: "Novel Destinations – Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen’s Bath to Ernest Hemingway’s Key West." I have been to both places already but will read the rest with interest. The other book was written by my bloggy friend Cloudia of the blog Comfort Spiral . It is entitled "Aloha – Where you like go?"
There are still so many places I’d like to know – I’d better start reading…
Reading by Gerald Gardiner, English 1902-1959