December 11, 2010

Done, done and done.

I knit for my family and friends. Like my mother. My finished projects in these couple of months proof that.

fall in love finishedPretty petalLil blue rose sidesKitten's face toeless
four pairs of toe-less socks (Falling in Love by Anni Design, Pretty Petals Socks by Jeanie Townsend, Little Roses by Linda Fisher and Cat's Face Lace Socks by Jennifer Fleury, respectively. All links, after these, too, to Ravelry pages.) for my PTA pals (well, the last one was for me, indeed),
sweater with frilly collar
a sweater for my daughter (s15-11 Jersey with raglan and texture pattern in 2 threads Alpaca by DROPS design. collar was made frilly by the recipient's request),
veggie mittens  in and out
a pair of mittens for my dear friend since collage (that means more than 20 years' friendship between us... oh, my. Well, pattern is Annemor #11 by Teri Shea, made into mittens instead of gloves by repeating main flower/snow patten twice and decreased on top, following one of skillful and kind Ravelrers' way),
Margaret warmer on leg
a pair of ankle/wrist warmer for my daughter's kindergarten teacher, who was diagnosed with breast cancer and returned to her work this summer. The pattern I used is part of Graph 44 in Latvian Mittens by Lizbeth Upitis, because the recipient was baptized Margaret recently and this had the most "margaret-like" look in my library.

And, I finished this stash-busting crochet halfghan.
wavy acrylic
All acrylic, roll-it-kick-it-hide-under-it afghan. The patten is Wavy Blanky by Stephanie Gage. It's a very soothing, sort of meditative pattern. I started it a little too ambitiously with a little too many stitches. The idea of this project was to use up as much yarn as possible, in a more or less sophisticated color scheme. I got a huge success by using up the yellow (tell the truth, ran out of it and added about half the row amount of off-white yarn) and used most of the brown (which is two-stranded fingering/sports weight). I have pretty good amount of green (green/black mix actually), which I am planning to use in another blanket/afghan/whatever-covers-me-up project.

The hectic end-of-the-year schedule doesn't stop me. I think this happens to many knitters all around the world. The busier you get, the more you need your knitting to take the edge off.
Last week, I had to attend at a 1-1.5 hour seminar/lecture thing (PTA-related, and had stinky political air as I had suspected. I hate politics.) Thanks to this project, I didn't start screaming fiercely during the seminar;
GOOD hat up close
Yum. Isn't it?
Child's Self-striping hat by my dear friend, Janet. With the exact yarn the pattern calls for. Procrastinating knitting it was my fault. My daughter's hat is almost as big as mine now, so I knit from top-down, increasing up to 120 stitches and knit, knit, knit until I ran out of whole one skein, and changed it to a white yarn of almost same weight to make long k2p2 ribbing.
GOOD hat on DD
Yeah, it looks little too big, but she could use some extra room when she has her hair "done pretty" (sigh.)

I'm in a mood for finishing WIPs right now. First up, Angora shawl for my mother (which I blogged in my 100th post.) Problem is, the yarn sheds like a sick cat. It gives me sneezes. I don't want to say this, but, I .... am not fond of angora.

November 11, 2010

"Tis the Season

Although Nov.23 is the holiday called "Labor Thanksgiving Day" in Japan, we don't consider it as a day (or a weekend) to celebrate with family member like in the USA. That means, our modern commercialized life is being filled by those red and green Christmas colors already, instead of brown and orange of turkeys and pumpkins.

It's the time of the year I give myself a good thinking about my religious view.

I celebrate Christmas. Partly because Christmas gives me a good excuse to indulge in cakes and good foods. And partly because I believe in Santa Clause somewhere deep in my heart (seriously).
And, partly because it's the birthday of Jesus Christ. He gives me the cue to my wandering into religious thought every year.

I am not a Christian, though.

I am not so uncomfortable to celebrate a religious holiday I don't really believe in, maybe because my religion (Shinto) is polytheistic. It's not that I consider the God in Christian (or Jewish, or Islamic) belief is "just one of our gods", but that I don't feel troubled to show my respect and awe to any holy power.

My openness to other religions comes from my curiosity, too. Curiosity. I know it's not really a good word when we talk about religious issues. But how else can I describe my excitement I feel when I learn about historic, traditional, and everyday life having been carried for hundreds of years in a far-away part of the world? The way people feel about life, and death, and what is right/wrong is so different but so similar. Sometimes I found myself agreeing the phrases in the Bible. Sometimes I get so fascinated by Jewish rituals or Islamic laws. I feel so connected to women lived way before me, and far away from here.

I was given advises after advises not to talk about religions with anybody so lightly, because it just calls for troubles, because I might lose friends, because I might become a target of a hate crime, etc.
But, boy, I can't stop thinking about how I live - how happily I live. When so many people believe in that the answer I search for is all in their faith, I would love to learn it. I just want to "just learn", without any promises for farther commitment. If I want to learn more, I would learn more. If I find "This is it!", I might change my relationship to my family and turn to "It".
The other reason I want learn about various religions is that I don't want to offend anybody by my ignorance. I don't want to offer hams to Muslim nor cheese burger to Jews. At least I want to have enough sense to ask what I can offer before I invite somebody who might feel uncomfortable on the stuff I take for granted.

I had opportunities to learn the Bible before. Every time, I was very impressed by the love I get from the words and between the lines. And every time, I found myself uncomfortable to be told to follow Jesus, just follow with all of my heart and soul. No. I can't follow somebody I don't really know. Yes, his words and deeds are in the Bible. No, I don't think they are all lies, maybe there're some degree of exaggeration, but it's written hundreds of years ago so it's OK for me. Yes, I found lots of good inspirations in it. But still, no, I can't follow a single person just because he is great and billions of people are following him.
And no, he is not my father.
Does he love me? Thank you. I kinda feel I like you, too, but that's all.
This year, the principal of my daughter's kindergarten (also a pastor) is giving us mothers a once-a-month Bible learning class. I enjoy it very much, and again, I don't think I would convert.

I had opportunities to talk with religious Muslims during my college days. They were students from Islamic countries studying science (earth science, to be precise.) I liked their attitude to Islam. They think Islam is a very well-considered guide to their daily life. It helps Muslim to avoid bad habits and temptations. Sounds like a good system overall.

I only read novels and basic books about Judaism and Jewish life. First, it seemed to me to be bound too tightly with rituals and rules. Then, I thought, if I was born as a Jew and have been lived as a Jew, those rituals must have become part of me. I would find that when I do everyday things comfortably, then it happens to be kosher. (Of course that would not be always the case, seeing there are endless arguments and Q&As about keeping kosher.)

Buddhism is familiar to me, since most of Japanese claims themselves as Buddhist. I thinks it's a good guide to live independently and helping each other, at the same time. Independently, because only how I live liberates me from the reincarnation cycles. Helping each other, because it's so hard to live through this life full of suffers, I would need somebody else's help in many occasions and I would like to help somebody else when I can. I ask the saints to give me the clarity of mind, and to lead us to a brighter and better direction. Sometimes Buddhism looks to have too much weight on deaths, and too less appreciations on daily joys, though.

Every time I think of how I live, what I choose to do, I think of my own father.
Am I doing what my father would be proud of? - this, is the very basic of Shintoism as I understand. It's a simple ancestor worship, and the closest ancestor is your father (and mother, of course). Parents are not perfect, so are not the ancestors before them, neither. But their thoughts, loves and cares, would be purified to become something we can rely upon after a long time. (This purification process might be the tendency of living humans to forget subtle errors, by the way.)
Yes, that's where I come back to.

Well, a long post.

These are the mind pathways I take while I sit and knit on the nights before holidays. They may cross or go parallel with my friends' paths. We see each other at the cross/closest point, and go to where we go. We might take separate ways, but where the road ends, we might find each other again.

I thank all of my friends and families, to share their love and thoughts with me. It's the essence of holidays, right?

Thank y'all.
I love y'all.


October 27, 2010

glove 2010 in and out

glove 2010 in and out
Originally uploaded by O'Chica

This morning, the low got to 9 degree celsius here in Kyoto. I watched weather forecast last night, and hurried to finish these gloves (one had been done, and the second was just 1/3 of the palm and fingers & thumbs to be done).

Pattern; I frankensteined Annemor #11 (cuff) and NHM #10 (palm) from Selbuvotter, and Butterfly sock by Coriander like I did before.
Yarns; KnitPicks palette (pink, blue and lilac) and Patons Purple Heather (7099, yellow) in my stash.
Needles; KnitPicks Harmony DPNs, US #0

My daughter didn't wear them when she got out of the front door at 8:20. Then, on the street in front of our apartment, she realized her hands were cold. We went back home, got gloves, and her hands were warm.
For, maybe three and a half minutes.
After that, they got too warm and the gloves got pulled off and tucked in her bag.

But, I am so proud of being a knitter and stayed up extra one hour to finish them, to keep her hands warm, even only for three minutes, on the first "really cold morning" in this autumn.

My sleepiness payed off.

October 20, 2010

Healthy egoism

Mom's new bike

Here's my new partner. Yes. My bike.
(The one next to mine is my daughter's.)

Thousands, no, tens or hundreds of thousands of mothers who have small children in Japan does her daily running-around on bikes like this, on busy streets like.... (I tried to find a good pic on the net to show how our neighborhood street looks like, but failed. I think this movie comes close enough. First 20 second or so is inside the Kyoto Univ. campus, but after that the camera comes out on the streets.)

When we came back to Japan, my daughter was already 4 years old, weighed about 15 kg (33 lb). Before Japanese kids grow up to that size, they are usually well adapted to be carried around on mom's bikes. My daughter was not. And I was not fully confident about the safety, me myself have not ever be carried on my mother's bicycle, neither. And my neighborhood has everything within 15 minutes' walk. Grocery stores, post office, banks, doctor's office, kindergarten, play parks, subway & railway station, bus stops, you name it.
So, I happily postponed purchasing my bicycle "until the time comes."

My daughter appealed to me again and again how faster and happier she can go to the kindergarten if only I buy a bike with big carrier on the back and carry her. Like her friends' mothers do.
I just kept saying no. I wasn't sure I can safely give a big girl like her a ride. All these walking to and back from the kindergarten makes our legs stronger, and we can have a lot of fun along the way, like poking the ice on a very cold winter day, like doing word games (almost always shiritori).

Now, the time has come.

My daughter wished for a bicycle last Christmas, and the wish came true. Her bike had those small supportive wheels, and her riding speed didn't go too far faster than my walking/light jogging. This summer, she suddenly decided to get rid of the support (I am very sure it's related to witnessing her friend's riding technique.) and had achieved it. Now she rides faster, farther and oftener. I needed some technological support to keep on safely chasing her around.

I went to a good bicycle shop (on foot, of course) and talked with the bike-loving guy there for almost half an hour. We agreed that;
1) I don't need a child-carrier. (I waited for two full years just to avoid that.)
2) I don't need an electric bike. (It's just too heavy to put up on the upper rack at the apartment bike space.)
3) I ride inside Kyoto city area, which has busy streets and lots of narrow streets crossing each other, that I need a bike that stops and starts easily, hence, smaller wheels.
4) I like it "sporty". (More than a quarter on my "follow" list on twitter are pro bike racers.)
5) I have a good supportive bike store (which I was in at the moment) very close by.

His recommendation, and my choice, is Pulmino made by Gios. (HP doesn't have it listed on their "bikes" page. Maybe it's only for exports to Asia.) My first Italian vehicle in my life.

I needed a front carrier basket, but they didn't have a matching blue one. I would have plain metal one but then, my artist daughter said firmly, "NO, mom, this green one is much, much cuter."
We tried it on my light blue bike, and surprisingly, the color went along so pretty.

Thank goodness, for her artistic sense.

And, she named my bike, too. It's a boy, and his name is Gino.
I'm so happy she has good linguistic sense, too.

October 06, 2010

Summary of this Summer

I had intended to post to this blog AT LEAST once a month. It's a shame I skipped September, and didn't noticed that until today.


I got some knittings done.
Ishbel blocked
Pattern; Ishbel by Ysolda Teague, in Whimsical Little Knits, mine is an autographed copy, gift from my dear knitting friend.
Yarn; Dainihon-KeitoUniversal HI STAR (lace weight), colorway 135, 55 g , which used be in my mother's stash and adopted by me (very happily).
I think this yarn is at least 30 years old, and surprisingly in good condition.
Needles; JP 5 (3.6 mm) 60 cm (24 in) bamboo circular needles

I made this shawl in this delicate grey yarn right as a preyer for my husband's grandmother, passed away in June (in this post). I finished it before her "49-days service" and gave it to my mother-in-law.

During the hottest-in-100-years summer this year, I could hardly touch my wools. My hands reached for some cotton, and for the first time in my life, stainless yarn.
iron scarf in progress

This test piece scarf is made from Avril stainless-silk(grey, thinner one - naturally) and cotton (pale green) yarns, double stranded. I brought it around to everywhere because the pattern is piece'o'cake-y easy and memorable, and the yarns are only one skein (small cone, actually) each. This pic was taken when I went to a baseball game with my daughter.

On the contrary to my first plan (just take a look how this stainless yarn behaves and move on to next project), this 20-stitches wide scarf took forever to knit - and actually, not yet to finish.
reason 1);The cotton yarn feels like paper, which itself is not so bad, but needs a little care to pick up with the needles.
reason 2);The stainless yarn began to tangle badly after my careless tugs at 80% progress.
reason 3);I was busy to teach sawing to my 6-years old daughter.
Amazing piece
This, is her first sawing swatch. I taught knitting before and she liked it, but holding two needles is a little bit too much for her little hands. Sawing needs only one tiny needle to manipulate. She LOVES sawing now.
During the summer break, she made several "pockets" and "mini-bags", and embroidered this bag;
Aika's bag
Aika's bag detail
See the stitches?
Blue line shows the ocean, and the yellow circle above is the sun. (by the stitch artist)
Yellow "pocket" is "to put in various small stuffs - train ticket, hair ties, and candies!"

I love this little crafter/artist in my family.

While she was at it, I made these (and the bag on pics above, for the record);
cupcake smock
A new smock, and
PrettyCureSunshine hair accessory 1
a humongous hair-accessory.
She wants to be strong and cute like Cure-Sunshine.

Now, having a couple of weeks of autumn-ly weather, I'm back to my wools. Between the meetings and organizing a seminar on 10/30 with kindergarten PTA pals, my little non-toe socks projects are being done.

Little by little, one by one, as always.

August 18, 2010


These couple of months, I'm trying to lose some weight, not really so successfully. Maybe I set my target too far away, to achieve too slowly (lose 8 kg = 17.6 lb until next spring, means, one kilogram per month). Maybe I'm taking the way too ineffective (No meal replacements, No fasting, No non-anything like non-carb/non-oil diet).

Or, maybe it's my life.

I have a six-year old, healthy and active girl to whom I want to show that "Life is good." It's very important to eat right, and, eat with joy. It's OK to have ice cream. It's perfectly OK to have doughnuts. Unless you're having too much of them (sigh.)

So far, my daughter is picking up good eating habit (fresh fruits after the bath) and good shopper's literacy ("Mom, I'll have this yogurt 'cause it says 4.2g of protein, which is the most in this shelf."). Doing oh-so good. As of today, she's about 21 kg and 113 cm (46.3 lb and 44.5 in). Right in the middle of the growth chart.

As her parents, my husband and I want her to keep on growing, keep on putting healthy weight. I heard some of her classmates at kindergarten talking of "getting too heavy on thighs" and it's so unhealthy of a six-year old. We want to and need to set a good model for her.

Problem is, we are both overweight.

My husband is doing pretty good. He walks to a farther train station, about 3 kilometers, most of weekdays. On weekends, he goes to driving range and once a month, goes out to golf. Or takes that active six-year-old to a nearby playground. He eats less carbs than his feeling wants. He has lost more than 6 kg since January. It's about halfway to his target weight.

Me? Uh. Lost mere 1kg in 2.5 month. It's still a long, long way to my target weight.

I bought a new pair of walking/running shoes. I never say "No" to my daughter when she wants to go to playground as long as we don't have any weather/air-pollution condition to stop us. I am keeping this policy for about a year already, but the major change recently is, I don't take my knitting to the playground any more. I do stretch, light exercise and jog instead. This seriously affects my productivity (.. or not really..), but I feel my metabolism is getting improved. Just feeling. It doesn't show, oh boy, it's so frustrating.

I eat smaller than before. Just I don't cut anything. I eat three times a day, and when I feel too hot, I even eat popsicles. Every time we eat, I talk with my daughter about what food does for us. Some food, like chicken breast and lean beef, make us muscle-er. Some, like doughnut, make us happy and energized. But they could make us chubby if we eat them too much.

I would try walking and jogging more if I don't need to take her with me everywhere I go (Summer break!). I would try harder diet regimen if I don't need to eat with her. And I would lose weight more effectively.

But, without her, I wouldn't have tried to live healthier, to live longer.

I feel OK not so successful about weight problem right now. It's not the number shown on the scales today. It's about my health twenty years later.

Because if my daughter becomes a mother at the same age as me, I'll be seventy years old when I hold my first grandchild. I'll have to be a very healthy old-ish lady to have lots of fun.

About the productivity, I would be able to knit more if I live longer.

July 12, 2010

Mittens and more (The one with a lot of links)

Since I gave up knitting Watermelon Cardigan, I now have 4,287 yards in total (minus half a 4-yr sized sleeve, but it's usable, too, in need), 13 colors of Knit Picks Palette.
This amount of yarn can be a burden. Or a joy.
It's simply a joy for me. Naturally.

One of my favorite knit designers, spillyjane uses Knit Picks Palette a lot. I did a quick pattern research, and found 23 mittens and socks of her design with Palette. So far, only a couple of them (Swedish fish and Willistead) are on my queue. My Palette stash is very heavy on greens and purples because, before Watermelon, I tried Tulip socks as a practice piece (sad over-preparation.) I don't have a lot of vivid colors such as orange and red. But I have a good amount of accent/background colors such as two balls of black and more than one and a half balls of white.

I thought I am out of my stranded colorwork phase, but, apparently, I'm still in there. My favorite designers list on Ravelry (SpillyJane, Kathleen Taylor, Nanette Blanchard, Eunny Jang, Tuulia Salmela ...) tells me so.

July 09, 2010

Let it go.

My daughter has turned to six years old. I still remember the blue clear sky I saw from the hospital room window just before the delivery. She came to this world in the full blast of Texas sun (of course the room was ACed, though).

This year, our home baker (my husband) was not available (just couldn't make the day off, didn't have to stay extra-time on his daughter's birthday. Not so bad deal as a Japanese office worker.) He, got a piece of artisan from a patisserie nearby his office.
Birthday cake 2010Birthday cake 2010
(Am I a paranoia to edit the pic to erase her name on the chocolate plate? Maybe. Maybe not.)

The cake was only 12cm in diameter, so we figured out it's the right size for us, family of three to clear it up on one sitting. It was good. VERY good cake, with a perfect balance of sweetness, bitterness and fruitiness. It was moist, delicate and light.

But still, my husband is determined to bake his own for his daughter next year. His baking is, a sort of, like my knitting. He does it for himself and for the family who appreciates it.

On her 6th birthday, I made up my mind on a difficult issue in my stash/WIP.
It's my Watermelon Cardigan project. I fell in love with it, My daughter saw the picture and said "Cute." I got the pattern and all the yarn I need for the largest size (JUST in case I am not so quick) and made half a sleeve. Then, it started to seem... she doesn't like melons as food. She says it's "too sweet" or "not sweet enough" every time I give a piece for her. She "doesn't like the softness."
A while ago, I asked her if she wants the cardigan, and she said no, she'd rather want a slice of knitted watermelon toy.
Even after it was clear that I can't make the cardi for her anymore, I couldn't do anything on my Ravelry project page or the yarn. Until yesterday, when I noticed that she almost outgrew the largest size in the pattern.

It's over. I'll let it go. The yarn could have a better way to go than a overdued, grown-out sized, not-finished-at-all-even-one-sleeve cardigan. Sad. But a good dicision, I guess. (sob)

Now, it's time to hit Ravelry pattern search. (grin)

June 22, 2010

lace issue

About a month ago, I read this post on YarnHarlot's blog. Since then, I have been thinking about what makes a lace knitting a lace knitting.

In one sentence, for me, it goes this way;
To knit lace, you have to take care of what you going to have.

When I make a yarn-over, it creates; 1) a hole, and, 2) one stitch width of space.
When I make a ssk (or sl-k-po, whatever) or k2tog, it creates; 1) a bump, and, 2) one stitch less width of space.
If I want don't want to change the width of my project but want to have a series of decorative holes, I need to make the same numbers of ssks and k2togs combined as the yos. If I want to change the width to make it grow or shrink triangularly, I need to make more or less ssks and k2togs, at the same rate on both sides of the project. I need to keep track of those, mindfully or mindlessly, and systematically.

A hole-y fabric produced by too-thick-for-the-yarn needles lacks those works of mind. I can see the beauty of holes of that meshy project (whew, I spelled it correctly. Didn't double "s".) , I can't call it a lace.

It's like a garden. I could grow (by just not pulling) whatever seeds the birds scattered in my backyard (uh... pots on the balcony) and find whatever weeds coming up as beautiful as the most expensive orchid plant on e-bay. But it's not gardening. If I want to "garden", I should plan and make it materialize (at least, should try to make it happen). Even if the flower doesn't bloom in a color on the package, even if the only thing I harvest is one dried-up fruit of strawberry, that's gardening.

Seeding yos and k2togs sophisticatedly, and harvesting those (when purling through the WS) carefully with love, you can have a beautiful lace piece.

Summer. It's for gardening, and lace.

June 19, 2010

Living through

My husband's grandmother, Chiyoka oba-chan, (Gramma Chiyoka) passed away two weeks ago.
She lived a long life - Survived the Great Kanto Earthquake, lost her husband in the World War II, lost a son by an accident during climbing. Had three sons (lost one), six grandchildren (three boys, three girls) and four great-grandchildren (two boys, two girls).
I only met pretty long after she moved in to live with her third (youngest) son (my father-in-law). Only she and I were in the "could you pass me the soy sauce?" league when the family have deep-fried fish for dinner (the other family members likes Worcestershire sauce over soy.)

The funeral was a sad but peaceful one. Families, relatives, friends gathered together and remembered a great lady. All the people there remembered her saying "Thank you." a lot, her smile, and her good appetite. (I remember her happily eating "just a half" of a slice of toast AFTER eating whole bowl of ra-men noodle for lunch. I think she was 85 years old or so at the time.)

We miss her so much.

Before going to her funeral, I finished this pair of non-toe socks.
fall in love finished
Pattern; Falling in Love by Anni Design (link is to Ravelry page)
Yarn; Patons Purple Heather 4ply, originally was in my mom's stash
Needles; KnitPicks Harmony DPNs US 1 1/2 (2.5mm)

What are these? Socks without toes? Leg warmers with heels? or Ankle warmers? Anyway, these are Christmas present #1 of 2010. For one of my friends at PTA. The room where our paper works and meetings happen is on the ground floor of the kindergarten chapel (built 80 years ago and made of wood). It is easy to imagine how cold it would be once the summer heat is gone. And I somewhat can't wait that weather.

After that, I casted on Ishbel by Ysolda Teague (in Whimsical Little Knits, which was sent as a part of Janet's care package - Thanks again, Janet!) with light grey lace weight. This yarn was in my mom's stash, too (- hey, I'm doing good on stash-busting!).

This Ishbel shawl is a personal prayer for Gramma Chiyoka. While I knit it, I think of her.
Grey Ishbel on the way

May 25, 2010

Running around

Finally. Finally, I got a time to sit down and write here. Write, about this;
Love shows its various faces
The care package from Janet, that is. I received these goodies (and some more for my husband) about a month ago, briefly thanked her over twitter and just got caught by a swarm of meetings.

I am assigned to a board member of the parents' association at my daughter's kindergarten. Well, I think I am supposed to use the word "chosen", but that oh-no-inescapable feeling I got when I picked up the phone call from the teacher... I won't say I don't feel honored. But....

Anyway, with an exception during holidays (Golden Week, from the end of April to the first week of May, when we visited my husband's family), not a single week has passed without meeting with other board members (four of us, including me). It's a joy to work with these wonderful ladies - I'm already thinking of Christmas presents for each of them - but a huge portion of my mental power and time have to go outside my house.

And, I had to visit new Avril store at Sanjo, Kyoto, of course.
Avril Sanjo new store
The store moved one floor above of old place and got a bigger space. My daughter and I had a wonderful time with my newly-met friends from Holland. As usual, I was overwhelmed by the variety and beauty of their yarn and bought only a couple of hair-tie kits.

It's an awful excuse, I know, but I just couldn't find time for the blog.

But again, this doesn't mean I don't have any time to enjoy the gift. Thank you, Janet - I think I'm going into a "lace phase" this spring / summer.
My plain leaf scarf got a blocking today.
simple leaf lace

I think I'm going to have less time with blog this year, but not so less time with knitting. Some of meetings shall allow me to have some extra knitting time. Hopefully.

April 12, 2010

Spring has come, at last.

We had a pretty cold March this year. Had snow twice, even on 30th.
I was so glad to have a light but warm pullover, and wore it every day under my micro-fleece parka from UNIQLO. Yes, I got some pilling around the hip and underarms. That's wool.

Morning temperature stayed low even after cherry blossom season has begun. Thanks to that, we had one of the best cherry blossom seasons in years.
Sakura 2010 Kyoto

Sakura 2010 Kyoto

And, my daughter and I found out that ankle warmers are great to wear. Whenever a little more warmth than a pair of wool socks and leggings are needed, they are perfect.
They are small, so, knitting-wise, it's a good opportunity for a challenge. No heels, no fingers nor thumbs, just a tube. Can be knit in any weight of yarn.Selbu anklewarmer
happy leafy arm/leg warmer

Using just two balls of Noro-ish color, 50% acrylic 50% wool worsted yarn (260JPY per 40g/80m ball) and several hours of mindless work, I got these.
Mom & daughter leg/arm warmer
A pair for my daughter, another for me.

As Yarn Harlot says, legwarmers must be back. If you doubt, start with anklewarmers.
Just cast on as many stitches as you need for your mittens/socks, knit 4-5 inches of tube. That's it. If you want a pair that match each other, repeat once more. Or not. Not a big deal as non-matching pair of socks.

March 07, 2010

Kitty, kitty, knitty kitten

I, can't be more proud of myself right now.

I have finished this, my "Raspberry Chocolate Kitten" pullover ;
Pattern; Colette Pullover by Veronik Avery, Interweave Knits 2007 Winter.
Yarn; 8 balls (1 oz. = 28 g, 100m per ball) of Patons Purple Heather in colorway 75 (brown), and 5.6 skeins (50 g per skein) of Osaka TOA Prism in red. Both were in my mother's stash (now mine), and at least 30 years old. I strongly believe both yarns are discontinued.
Needles; US 3 (body and sleeves) and US 2 (cuffs, collar and plackets) circular and DPNs (Clover Takumi bamboo US 3 circs and KnitPicks Harmony circs and DPNs US 3 & 2)

It took about a year for me to complete. I am extremely satisfied by what I have achieved.

Yes, I made a mistake which I finally decided to live with.
raspberry kitten on the way front
(between the second and third kitten rows below BO/CO for steek, I skipped one row in red. )

But cutting my first steeks for a garment and picking up collars were fun.
Colette, steeks cut and coller picked

And I found beautiful buttons.
Buttons for Colette

All in all, I had an unbelievably good experience knitting from a magazine pattern, using my mom's yarn and actually FINISH it.

I am still too excited to describe all my feelings about it. I just love this sweater. It's light (weighs less than 500g) and warm. It needs to be handwashed, and it deserves to be done so.

February 07, 2010

When I grow up...

When my daughter (5 years old) is asked "what do you want to be when you grow up?", she answers "A professional baseball player." These days however, she says she thinks it would be very nice if she can marry to one of her classmates (I'll keep it anonymous). But another girl in her class wants to marry him, too. Uh-oh.

The other day, on the way home from the kindergarten, my daughter said,
"Mom, I want to be an angel. I want to help the God's work."
(We talk in Japanese, by the way. )
Since Christmas, she must have been thinking a lot about angels.

So I answered, "Well, my dear, I'm afraid it's going to be really hard for me and Dad to see you if you become an angel. We are going to miss our little girl so much."
Daughter; "Hmm."
Me; "Besides, there are a lot of other ways to help the God, by making people happy, by doing your job."
Daughter; "Hmm. ... A-ha! Like a soccer player?"
Me; "Soccer player? .... Y.. Yeah, exactly! You can make the team supporter very happy when you win a game."

Apparently, she is thinking a lot about her job opportunity.

Anyway, it looks that the last thing she wants to be when she grow up is an office worker who is bound to her own cubicle/desk only.

January 13, 2010

The way I think right

bag with a cause

I bought this bag at H.E.B. grocery store by the Market Street in The Woodlands, TX. It's made by the women in developing countries and sold at "fair price" to support them. I just liked the color, fabric, and the size (though now I feel it's a bit too small) of the bag, and felt the happiness that I can buy it. I used and used and used the bag so the shoulder strap finally started to break apart.

Now, if buying these bags really help the fellow women, I should just throw it away and buy a new one so I can do my share of helping more, shouldn't I?
But, the body of the bag is still good enough for everyday use. I don't want to trash it.
The torn fabric of the shoulder strap reminded me of a small tip about productivity.
When you find a small paper clip on the floor of your office, don't pick it up - your wage during doing so is higher than the cost of one small paper clip.
I don't want to live like that. I would rather pick up all the paper clips on the entire floor and make a funny hedgehog out of them.

I patched the strap. Doing so doesn't pay to the women who makes bags, but I feel more connected to them.

So, this is my "paper-clip picking" project. I have a couple more.

My husband wore this cotton shirts out. He gave it to me "to use whatever way you like" - cut into wipe cloth, clean the bathroom, whatever.

So, I patched it.
Now I got a soft, nice spring coat / work shirt.

Next? I'm going to frog my daughter's fit-perfectly-last-year-but-now-it-is-way-too-small socks and reknit pairs for her again. One frogged, two more to go.
for re-knit
Best part is, that my daughter wanted me to do so.

January 06, 2010


My resolution for 2009 wasn't so ambitious, but a little too much for me. This year, I will concentrate only on ... losing weight.

No, it's not a joke.

As the first step, I signed up for an online (on-cell-phone, more precisely) fitness program. It costs me only 210 yen per month, but it's not free. I think paying money (how little it is) gives me a good motivation not to drop out. I can do yoga or Pilates right here in my living room, right at the moment I got 5 minutes before picking up my daughter. I got no excuse not to do any workout.

For knitting, I decided to make NO plan this year. I'll knit anything I want, at any pace I'm comfortable with. I'll make no promise to anyone, including myself, to make something.
Only exception is to plan and attend once-a-month meeting with Kansai Knitters Meetup Group in Kyoto.

In short, "think small" is my motto for this year. Yes, I want smaller me.