December 31, 2011

Peace on Earth

What a year it was.

After the earthquake and the successive nuclear power plant disaster, I found much of my belief  destroyed, too.
The people I believed to be professional look like not so.
The people I believed who know what they were doing, actually didn't.
My knowledge and understanding about what happened was limited.  I knew that and wasn't surprised nor disappointed by that.  But that's a pain nonetheless.

At the same time, I heard and saw mindful, wise, and effective moves made by many people, too.
I received a lot of love and caring words from my friends all over the world.
And I learned a lot, though I still have only so limited understanding about the technology and scientific background of all the stuff I take for granted.

I am OK.
My country is OK.

And I will not stop believing the good nature, of people I meet, people I hear of.
I will not stop believing that scientific mind can achieve a lot of great thing.

I believe in, the better angels of our nature.

Peace and Love, and A Happy New Year, to all my friends.


December 09, 2011

In the middle

The other day, it hit me that I am about as the same age as my mother was when I recognize how old she was for the first time in my life, like, when I was in the 1st grade.  I vaguely remember talking with my classmates how old our mothers were.  My mom was at the older end, and I remember feeling not-so-happy to have "old" mother.

So, I guess, me right now would be the first image of me for my daughter.  I have no idea how she feels about me being my age.

This idea does not depress me, thank goodness, but nudge me to run more often and watch more carefully what I eat.  Because I know from now on I am going only older and older.  A little effort to slow down that process can't turn out wrong.

Because, to see your own mother to be older is a pain from time to time.

My mother is now having some difficulty standing up for long time or walking.  Her "just sitting and talking" is a sharp contrast with my daughter's constant run/hop/climbing up and sing/finding something fun.
And I see clearly that I'm oh-so middle-aged.  I'm just in the middle of those two women, one in her seventies and one waiting for her 8th Christmas in her life.

This year, Kyoto is having a sub-par "momiji", or autumn color of trees.  It was unusually warm in November, so those leaves didn't have any cue to turn their color to vivid red and yellow.  They just are turning brown now as the temperature going down like normal wintertime.  It's an un-welcome situation for the sightseeing industry which this city depends on and disappointing to the teachers and kids who really wants beautiful leaves for their art project.

But, we know, we all know, that sometimes we have such year.  And the color combination of this yarn looks like a somber reminder of that fact.
imperfect autumn
Work in progress; Maple Sugar Socks by Karin Bole
Yarn; ONline Supersocke Sierra color, I think the colorway is 01 but may be wrong.
It's thin to touch and curls up horribly, but makes a good sock.  I am looking forward to see how wet blocking works.

Looking, touching and knitting this, I think of "down" year like this year, admit my imperfect self and think of rest "half" of my life.

To light up rather dull scenery outside, I started a new tradition (hopefully) of December.  I am making one small ornament every day, and put it on the...
advent calender 2011, day 9
Craft advent calendar, stuck on the inside of our front door.  The pocket is about 2 x 3 inches, so you got the idea how small they are.  I got the base at 100-yen shop, along with two magnets and the small wreath at the top.  The yarns I'm using for the ornaments are those bits and pieces of leftovers.  That means, this is a very economical project.

My daughter is having fun finding "what's new" when she comes home from school everyday.  It's a joy to me.

November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

My husband is on the road (in India, to be exact).  We made a small but good Thanksgiving dinner for just mother and daughter.
Thanksgiving 2011

A huge piece of chicken thigh (boneless but skin-on, over 12oz., just enough for us two), marinated in basil dressing for 30 minutes, and spent just 15 minutes in the 190C (I aimed 375F) oven side by side with broccoli.
Green salad with canned corn tossed with soy sauce dressing (mighty good stuff, store-bought).  My daughter's favorite salad right now.
I had two pieces of still slightly warm blue sweet potato bread as a side (well, one as a side and one with espresso coffee after the meal).  She, not so adventurous for food, doesn't even touch that thing.  She had one slice of raisin bread from neighborhood bakery.
I had a glass of Diet Pepsi and she had a glass of Hojicha (roasted tea).
No TV, no music, we just talked about her excursion to the Imperial Palace Park (to "find autumn". Cute, teachers.) today.

After dinner, I knit the last part of baby surprise jacket for my friend's newborn daughter.  Will be another post.
An evening, quiet and satisfying.  That's what I'm thankful to have.

Wish all my friends' Thanksgiving weekend be good and satisfying.

November 09, 2011


Thank you, my friends, to send me warm comments about my migraine.  I have not been attacked by any severe headaches.  Just a bit of throbbing in the back of eyes and "heavy head".  I feel I'm blessed.  SO FAR.

This morning, I checked my past posts and noticed I had posted about that pink socks on the one before last.  Apparently, my brain is not working properly.

Rather than I edit out the duplicate, I'll post this;
More simply in pink
Pattern; no pattern, just K3P1 rib all the way, and a frilly bind-off using knit-on cast-on every other stitch.
Yarn; leftover from Those pink socks, split in half by weight and used up as much as I can.
Needles; same as Those pink socks, JP #1 bamboo DPNs.

I made this for my daughter, and she loves it so much that I can't hunt them out when I want to shoot a pic. You know a 7-yr old girl.  Wears her favorite all the time but doesn't keep them so neatly.  If I can find any, it's just "a warmer".  I can see them as a pair only on her and when she dashes out to the nearby playpark.

She has been in her "PINK, ALL PINK!" mood for a quite long time, so these days, whatever she grabs off her closet/chest it has a high possibility of having some pink color on it.  That fact makes it easier for her to be so "coordinated" every day, matching anything she wears to her schoolbag, but sometimes makes my eyes blurry.  I secretly doubt THIS might be my sudden onset of migrainous vision disturbance.

And you know what?
I'm making a new pair of mittens, NHM#2 with a little twist in pattern (link to my Ravelry project page, sorry, no photos yet as of date 11/9/2011), in the color of ... yeah, mint green on PINK.

November 06, 2011

New, or Just-found friend

At this age of 42, I am just diagnosed with migraine.

Three weeks ago, I had a strange vision.  A part of my sight was mosaicked... and it didn't go whatever I do; see only with one eye (both left and right), close my eyes, cover my eyes with hands.  Scary.  Am I having a stroke?  Or is this the first symptom of something horrible, and am I gonna lose my sight?..
After 20 minutes or so, the mosaic slowly moved toward left side of my sight and went out.  I was left with mild fuzziness in my head.  No headache.  No blackout.  OK.

The next day, I visited a local general hospital and after a brief session at info/admission counter, I was squeezed in the pretty long waiting line at (the only one at the hospital, works only once in a week) neurologist's office. She asked how it started, how it gone, how I felt during and after it, and worried about the possibility that a blood clot in my brain giving pressure on my optic nerve.  She almost sent me to a larger hospital for a quick MRI in case I am in the danger of stroke or cerebral hemorrhage, and asked me once again how "the strange mosaic" looked, to fix a letter explaining my symptoms.
Me:"It didn't go even when I close my eyes, and look only with one eye, both left and right..."
Dr.:"Oh, even when you close your eyes?  (RELIEF)  It's just a migraine."
Me:"Migraine? But I didn't have any headache, bad or light."
Dr.:"Must've been only the premonitory symptom."

So, I got a CT-scan on that day and an MRI on the next week, cleared for any life-threatening disease.
Dr.:It's not so common you start having a migraine in your 40's. It means your blood vessels are young and flexible.  Congrat's!
Me:... Is there any possibilities that I have had it all the time and didn't notice?
Dr.:Oh, yes.  You might have been taking it as a part of your PMS.
Me:Hmmm. So, what can I do about it?  I mean, am I going to have severe headaches from now on?
Dr.:We can't predict that. But if you do, there are good medicines, just to treat your pain or to work on your nerves.  See, MIGRAINE IS LIKE YOUR BODY TYPE, RATHER THAN A DISEASE.  Let's just deal with the pain, and wait for the day it ceases when your arteriosclerosis goes far enough.  Ha-ha!
Me:Er, ... yes, thank you.

So, I got prescribed two three-day (expected) headache sessions worth of pain-killer (loxoprofen) to see how it works and how often I need it.
So far, I only need one dose, three times, which means my headache is not so severe. SO FAR.

Good side? I finished this when I was waiting for the appointment.
simply in pink finished
Pattern; LionBrand free pattern, on the back of the label.
Yarn;LionBrand Sock-Ease in Cotton Candy
Needles;JP #1 bamboo DPNs

And made a great chunk of this;
Pattern;Joanna's Poncho by Laura L. Green.  I tweaked a bit to fit to my daughter and her school bag.
Yarn;Hamanaka Wanpaku Dennis in my stash.  Color choice and arrangement was done by my daughter, our house artist. On the collar, a ball of fancy and soft yarn is knit on to stop the itchiness.
Needles; JP #6 (3.9 mm)bamboo circular needles

Note; My daughter loves it. And I made it in time for chilly mornings-but-not-so-cold-daytime autumn days.  Phew.  But, you know, I can't tell if one or two of my headache was caused by the intense knitting session for this poncho.  Boy, I need a Shiatsu.

October 18, 2011

2nd Anniversary

I realized that it's two years since I bought my Kindle, when I got an E-mail noticing me of the release of YarnHarlot's new book.
(OK, I think I should use "publish" for the word "release", but Kindle book looks more like music downloads than real book.  Hmm.)

I accidentally arranged my "library" in "Oldest 1st" order, and there was the first download, anti-dramatic "Kindle's User's Guide, 1st Ed.", with the date Oct. 19, 2009.

Thank you Kindle.  My reading is not faster nor more in quantity  because of you but I feel more relaxed to buy English books and read it.

Now I'm reading a story about growers of giant pumpkins.  It's the season, right?

Speaking of the season, it's officially sock season for us knitters. Yeah, I agree, it's sock knitting season all through the year, but, hey, it's this cool weather that knitters and Muggles appreciate the magic nature of hand-knit socks... warm, comforting, handy, soothing and at the same time, beautifully complicated if knitter chooses to make it so.

So, I made this.
simply in pink
Pattern; The one on the label of the yarn.  This.
Yarn; LionBrand Sock-Ease, in CottonCandy.
Needles; JP #1 bamboo DPNs, my go-to sock knitting needles.

These are for my mother.  I used about 2/3 balls, and the leftover will make a great legwarmer for my daughter.

October 06, 2011

October 5th.

It's 21 years since my father passed away. There was a year I totally forgot the date, just called my mother on a whim (or so I thought) and found out it was the anniversary day.  There was also a year I couldn't think about anything but about him.
The dead is unchanged. The livings change.  Improve, decline, up and downs, wonder about.

This year, I noticed the date didn't call to my mother.  Just spent the day like other "ordinary" days in the year.  Mom sent me the usual text message first thing in the morning (proof of life) and I returned a tex mentioning weather.  It was jut another Wednesday, except for a headache that sent me to bed early (thanks to my dear husband, who took care of our daughter perfectly and my lovely and smart daughter who knows what to do and when.)

This morning, I woke up without a headache but with a slight backache likely because of too much lying down, did what I do when I start the day.
And found out Steve Jobs passed away.  On US time, on October 5th.

Of course I did not KNOW him. Like other billions of people in this world, I'm just another user of Apple product.  I'm one of the people who was changed their life forever by Mr. Jobs, with not so much knowing about that when the change happened but now notice that.
I. Feel. Sad.

It's a great loss.
We had lost him officially when he resigned the CEO of the company.  But sadness came, at least for me, only today.

It may be because I just finished my listening to Harry Potter audiobooks yesterday, but it seems to me that we just lost one of the greatest wizards of our time.

RIP Steve Jobs.  Or, go ON.  Like other wizards who chose to do so, not remaining in our world as a ghost.

macintosh apple
8 years ago, we found a "real" McIntosh apple at Kroger or WalMart near our apartment and got excited(we don't have them on the market in Japan).  Fun memory.

September 22, 2011

Summer Wrap-Up

A slide show. Sort of.

This summer was the first after my daughter goes to the elementary school. Three months of school life have add more to her already-good ability to enjoy, learn and learn more in new situations. We are very happy parents to have a smart and active daughter, and good teachers for her.

First half of her summer break was rather slow, made mostly with swimming class at her school, homework (She writes! She can do math! Addition and subtraction!! Sob.), counting the number of flowers and watering her morning glory pot every morning.
morning glory brownish pinkmorning glory pale pink

After visiting my in-laws, we together traveled to Kiyosato, Yamanashi, to escape from harsh heat.

We had great food,
Towering burgersizzling Salisbury steakGrilled chicken with herb

My daughter rode pony twice ( "just make a round" kind)
pony ride #1
Pony ride #2

and made her mind set to "grow up, taller and taller" to ride a "real" horse next time.
Our parental advises are;
-Keep on running and playing outside.
-Eat protein (yes, we actually use this word), and more veggies than protein. As much rice, bread and noodle as you like, but not too much sweet stuff.
-Don't give up your love for broccoli and apples.
-Sleep well. Verrrrry well. You grow up while you're asleep.
Which, she is eager to follow.

She also had good "just Gramma and me" time.
Gramma and me

We are sorry the sky was cloudy during the night and didn't have good starry view on both nights. The B&B we stayed have telescopes with whole observatory and everything (It is one of Grandad's favorite places to stay. He is a retired high school science teacher.), but there was no chance.

There was a competitive three-generations match which Grandad won by just one stroke.
three generations match

I had pretty good time with these;
sheepy woomorning knitting session

My husband had a well-deserved soul-cleansing, visiting a major shrine (Suwa Taisha).

Now, my daughter and husband thinking of returning there (she, to ride bigger horse, and he, to visit the main shrine we didn't have time to go this time, and rather secretly, to move to the area one day).

And now, I'm ready for autumn. WIP on the road is finished.
acrylic legwarmersas fingerless mitt / armwarmer
Pattern; Tyrolean Stockings by Ann Budd, in Interweave Knits, Fall 2007, made only the leg part
Yarn; Academy Plum (70% Acrylic 30% Wool), looks like fingering to sports weight, originally was in my mother's stash
Needles; JP #1 (2.1 mm) bamboo DPNs
Note; The pattern is beautiful, love the stitch definition and heathered look of the yarn. Problem is, it's itchy. Sigh. I will have to wear them over long sleeves.

To touch something more comfy, I finished these.
basic cotton
Pattern; Back to Basic by Deb Barnhill, in Knitty, Fall 2007
Yarn; Hamanaka Paume Kusakizome in colorway 73, two balls and a little more
Needles; JP #1 (2.1 mm) bamboo DPNs

Next one is going to be wooly.

August 29, 2011

Taking a deep breath

It's more than three month since I posted here last time. This is the place I correspond to my friend, on a not-so-regular basis, so followings are (pretty random) messages to y'all, guys.

1. My mother is doing OK. Considering her kidney condition and age, it's more like "well" than "OK", but, well, whatever. I had a text message this morning from her and I almost prepared myself to rush to her neighborhood hospital (where she stayed for two months this spring), but she was at home and it was just a thank-you mail for some local pickles I brought her from our vacation. She sends me (and to my sister and brother) every morning a text from her cell phone, just to prove that "she's alive", and we all return to her, just to prove that "we are doing OK". One of my friends says it's super cool of my mom (again, considering her age) to use text message like that. I am not sure about that, but, I know enough that if my friends say so, she really is cool.

2. My daughter is doing much more than just OK. She loves her school. I guess that's more than enough reason for me to be happy.

3. Right now Pokémon is the main thing my daughter has on her mind. We don't possess any Nintendo DS in our household, so it's just TV anime (every Sunday) and card game. She is having a very good time playing the game with her Dad, like, three times a week. Thank goodness the man I have married and had a child with is a right guy.
And I ended up making this;
pokémon card game field

4. I didn't have much time to knit, but not that I had no time.
Ahoy! scarf
Pattern; Sailing by Teresa Boyer, in Nursery Rhyme Knits: Hats, Mittens & Scarves with Kids' Favorite Verses (linked to the Ravelry page)

Little snakies
Pattern; Rattlesnake Creek Socks by Anne Poddlesak, made only the cuff part

Both are knit with the yarns that used to be my mom's stash, now mine. These are "good" yarns, you know, fingering, 100% wool, and need to be hand-washed (ugh).
There were tons of acrylics, too, and I made a decision this summer. NO FINGERING ACRYLICS IN MY STASH. I don't like them. And we don't have extra rooms for anything I don't like to use in our tiny apartment. They had to GO. AWAY.
.... And then, I found out this pattern.
Maybe, would it be nice to have a new rug or two on the bathroom floor?

Yes, it is.
knit grass rug

And the crochet version is nice and fun to make, too. Actually, I like crochet version better.

5. Major house re-organization is under the way. Due to the limited man-power (only me, basically) and operation time (half of my week is consumed to teach and prepare for the class), it's a slow process, but our house is looking better and regaining its original relaxing atmosphere.
These are my own summer project. For Home.
ribon boardeco bag wall pocket
And this throw/afghan/whatever has been finished and found its place.
PC room afghan done and used

6. I have four weeks before my fall term class opens.

7. So today, I finally found time to take care of my "nuka-doko", fermented pickles "bed" made with rice bran and salt (and some more, naturally). My mother's side is from northern Kyushu (Kokura area, to be exact), where fermented pickles is one of the staple food. Mine is a descendant of the one my great-grand mother brought from her mother's kitchen when she gets married. It would be more than a shame if I kill something which has at least 100 years history. (note; edited to fix grammar. If not fixed, please send me a comment. ) Like a good sourdough starter (well, I have never kept a sourdough starter myself so it's just a guessing), you don't need rocket science to keep good pickles bed go on, but you have to love it. My daughter doesn't fancy its smell. Yet. We'll see.

8. We had an awesome summer vacation this year. That'll need another post.

May 06, 2011

Just for fun or practical use

We had a good time at my in-law's this "Golden Week" (end of April - first week of May holidays). My mother's kidneys had changed their minds and start working again (rather slowly though), the medicines began to kick in, so we had not so much worry to leave behind.

My husband's stay was only for 3 days because his company moved some non-working days in this month to lengthen summer "Obon" holidays in August, to save energy in hot days this year (some of its factories are in TEPCO area). My daughter and I stayed with them 7 days.

We travel light. No need to bring around heavy coats, but my clothes choice included these wool;
Mine socks side
leftover broccoli socks
Yeah, socks. My hand-knit.

My sock knitting started in 2007. Soon I found out that;
1. I love wearing wool socks even during in summer (I mean, in Texas and in Kyoto).
2. I'm one of those few happy people who don't get Second Sock Syndrome.
3. I prefer knitting toe-up socks.
4. But prefer wearing cuff-down, heel-flapped socks.
5. I love DPNs. Not that I don't see the beauty of magic loop, though.
6. I don't like knitting two socks at once, but if I need to, I can.
7. Or, I'd rather re-wind yarn in two balls with the help of my trusty digital kitchen scale.
8. Socks are my comfort, not my field of challenges. That means, I love knitting simple ones.
9. Not that I refuse Cookie A. I adore her designs.
10. I like knitting stranded colorwork socks, but not so wearing them.

My socks drawer is getting less full. I have been knitting socks, but not so much of mine these couple of years. I decided this year is going to be my-sock knitting year like 2007-2008, but things are not going as I planned. I got distracted by those leftover fingering yarns, my used-to-be-my-moms' stash (means classic, not-so-soft, non-superwash yarns). My bath tab reading with my daughter ended up casting on this scarf for her;
Ahoy WIP
pattern; from Sailing by Teresa Boyer, in Nursery Rhyme Knits: Hats, Mittens & Scarves with Kids' Favorite Verses
yarns; classic fingerings from my stash
needles; US #1 (2.25 mm) metal circular

My first time try for stranded colorwork in straights (using circulars but like straights. NOT in rounds.) I was afraid of tangling and puckering, but not really different from knitting in rounds.
Actually, I brought this project to my in-laws and made a good progress on it.

This summer, we're visiting in-laws again, hopefully longer. Which project would I choose to bring with me? Biological Clock by Janel Laidman (in The Eclectic Sole)? Herringbone Rib by Kristi Schueler? Celtic Triad by Kathleen Sperling? Sandalwood by Caitlin Stevens?

Or all of the above?

April 25, 2011

round and round

To all who kindly asked about my mother this week.... She's doing OK. Her kidneys are giving up doing their jobs, but she found a new friend named dialysis. My sister, aunt (my mom's youngest sister) and me, and sometimes my brother (he is living a bit farther from the hospital than me and sis) , my sister's grown-up son and daughter are visiting her, doing errands for her.

Thank you, my friends, and I'm so sorry I don't send y'all e-mails personally.

Instead, here's a picture of my on-the-go project.
donuts/scale vest WIP
It's another use-up-leftovers project. I haven't decided yet it's going to be sleeveless or short-sleeved, how its neckline would be shaped (other than it will be steeked), nor how long it would be (tunic or vest?). I'm just knitting round and round, and round.

Week comes, week goes. Mom's doctor looks a leeeettle bit more relaxed.

Oh, and Mom likes this light blue (at the top). GOOD.

April 15, 2011

Everywhere I go

What a hectic week.

Monday, my mother was hospitalized. She had been having "a prolonged session of coughs after a cold or pollen allergy or whatever" for a couple of weeks or so. She knew her already weakened kidneys decided "to cut another level of their works" over last weekend, went to see her doctor first thing in the Monday morning, and he didn't let her go home. Her heart isn't working so good, neither.
She had one pair of pajamas in her bag "just in case". What a woman.

Tuesday, my first day at work. My husband got a day off for my daughter coming home (after her first school lunch!) and for himself recovering from nasty cold (bronchitis, I suspect) he had last week. I could have time to visit Mom straight from my work, thanks to him.

Wednesday, my last meeting at kindergarten PTA in the morning. After that, to the public library to return books, and my daughter's swimming class.

Thursday, after my no-worry-I'm-in-my-school-for-one-full-week daughter went to school, I hurried to a mass-selling appliance store to buy a small radio for Mom. She has an old AM radio in her hospital package (she had made beforehand and my niece picked it up at her house and delivered to her on Monday), but it doesn't work somehow. Now, after one month after the massive earthquake, almost all portable radio which works with AA battery is sold off. No date for re-supply. D and C battery is pretty thin on the market right now, so it's no use buying bigger plays-everything type boom box. I found one of just three of those pocket palm-sized AM/FM radio (in 980 yen. Score.), got extra batteries (AAA) for it and brought them for Mom.
Found out that either radios can't get AM wave because of noise from hyper-tech hospital machines or whatever, but FM broadcast sounds clear like in the middle of a park. The old one, which my father was using at his hospital even during his last stay, is now in my possession.
I hurried back again, but at almost home, got a message from Mom's hospital. Her doctor needs a form signed by family member to give her some farther treatment. After a couple of calls, I reached my big sister she said OK to go to hospital after her work.

Today, my big bro is visiting Mom. Thank goodness it happened to be his day off. My daughter comes home at 13:30, and after that, her gymnastic class. It's once-a-week chance to see her old kindergarten friends and release their tensions at new schools.

All through this week, I am rubbing and squeezing this.
cell phone carrier, Selbu (raven side)
It's my cell phone cozy. Has ravens.

Pattern; Annemor #5 by Terri Shea, in Selbuvotter
Yarn; Diana Collection Fiore, colorway 01 and 02 (white and black)
Needles; US 1 (2.25 mm)
Finished; January 2010

cell phone carrier, Selbu (pigeon side)
On the back side are pigeons (just an exchange of colors).

Before I made this, I was using small fabric bags. My last knit one;
cell phone case
which I was using in US was too small for my Japanese cell phone, and happily adopted by my mother-in-law.
Pattern; from Hiking Socks by Nadia Severns, in Vogue Knitting On the Go: Socks
Yarn; Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury Sock, colorway SY-32 (little lirac) and SY-17(purple splendor)
Needles; US 1 (2.25 mm)

My mother's condition needs very close watch. Yet she is still cheerful and can't stop talking. It's our family joke that she can't breeze without talking, like sharks can't breeze without swimming.
Talk, Mom. We'll hear. From time to time (: P)

April 09, 2011

Done before starting

It's not my old unblogged project. A new one.

commuter sleeves

Pattern; Siren Sleeves by Kelly McClure (free download from Ravelry)
Yarn; Nikke Victor Solfa, colorway; 401, 2 balls = 1 for each sleeve
Needles; KnitPicks Harmony socks DPN #US 2 1/2
Note; I wanted to use up whole ball to knit one sleeve. So, I made a short one (from garter band to knuckle), picked up at CO edge, knit in stockinette stitch for 40 rounds, and switched to k2p2 rib until the yarn run out. ... Actually, I miscounted and make one sleeve with 40 rounds of stockinette and another with 45. I can live with that.

It knit up too fast. I mean, I was going to make this project as my "commuter project", a small mindless project to carry around. It just finished itself (sort of) before my commute starts.

My job to teach Microsoft Office ® (am I using this symbol correctly?) to freshmen at a local college is starting on coming Tuesday. It gives me a 20 x 2 min. train ride and a 10 x 2 min. bus ride. About 60 min. of promised knitting (& hopefully audiobook) time.

I'm excited to have a job (it's not just some knitting time. Paycheck!), and at the same time, I'm feeling nervous, naturally.

It's about 7 years since my last working days.
My daughter is a new 1st grader (Japanese school year has just begun, you know.) I need my mother's help so someone is at home when my little school-goer comes home, until her school time extends into afternoon (in a couple of weeks). Thank goodness my mother is keeping herself healthy enough.
I'm TEACHing. More than 100 youngsters.

For my peace of mind, I'd take this is a good omen. I mean, my (hand)work, materialized more easily than I expected.

And I'll start something mindless for my train time.

April 02, 2011


I started this blog to talk about my finished knitting project, basically. "Basically" because I was going to talk about not-yet-projects, mere thoughts and anything gives me inspirations & motivations to my knitting.

On the other hand, I'm keeping track of my knitting on Ravelry. The record there is more precise and whole, naturally. Ravelry is a database (and some more, of course). This is a blog. There's no rule that I have to post on every project I finished. I can just pick up some favorites and write whatever innocent, and let it flow away into the cyberspace.
The other day, the "collector in me" has made a list. According to it, there are still more than 40 projects (that I know of) yet un-blogged.


I'll start crossing one project by one off the list.

One post (at least) every week, I'll promise. Starting.... next week. Maybe assigning a day of the week for this blog helps me to get the peace of mind, and rhythm of life.

March 21, 2011

One more, before going back to "usual".

Thank you for the supportive messages to my last post.

What happened nor what's going on do not allow us to be optimistic. But reconstructions are beginning. Nuclear reactors are getting cooled down. I'm not panicked.

Thank you for your kind heart and rational mind, fellow knitters.
Please, read this.
And send money to MSF and Red Cross / Red Crescent of your country.
They know who needs help the most. I want to thank them to remind me that earthquake victims are not the only one who needs to be helped. It's another shocking truth.
I'll send my money to our fellow Japanese through Japanese Red Cross Society, because it's where my heart goes the first. And I'll keep on doing my annual donations to MSF and UNICEF this year, too. I believe they know better than me in deciding how much to go whom.

March 15, 2011

No, it's not.

I was thinking of posting about the wonderful gift package (this for my daughter and this for me) from Janet. But before that, I think I need to talk about the earthquake.

As everybody knows, on March 11, 2011, a mega-size earthquake hit the Northeastern to Eastern part of Japan. Its magnitude was 9.0. In less than 10 minutes, tsunami, more than 10 meters high, hit the coastal area. I was just lucky living far from the area and staying unaffected by it. My husband's family lives in the area of rolling blackout. His sister's husband is from Ishinomaki. His family is OK, but it took 3 days to hear from them.

Some people use the words like "God's Wrath" or "Punishment" to describe the disaster. I don't think that's right.
People who are suffered, killed or lost their houses were not ignorant. Nor reckless. Nor arrogant.
They are not punished.

Japan is in the geological setting which is inseparable with huge earthquakes and tsunamis. Coastal areas have been struck by a tsunami once in several decades or so for long time, like longer than written history. Those who lives in the affected area had accumulated the know-hows to survive. There were local alarm broadcast system, seawalls, evacuation map and everything.
This time, what happened there was almost the worst thing in the history, beyond preparations. Who in the world would be fully prepared to an earthquake which makes GPS grid distort by 8 ft. and make a whole city area sink 25 inches?

Earthquakes happen in our country. This time, the impact was beyond our imagination.
Now, our own pride technicians, police, armed forces, municipal workers, medical stuffs and care workers are working with more and more aids from the countries all over the world, even from New Zealand, who was also hit by a big earthquake recently.
To save lives.
With all the wisdom we have.
It's no time for accusations nor begging for mercy of God.

Difficult time is going to follow. Survival is one thing, and recovery is another.
Please think of Japan, of the people who suffered.
And support MSF. Please. They know who needs the most.

ETA; I forgot to write down the most important thing I have in mind. THANK YOU, WORLD. I feel we're not alone.

March 08, 2011

baby baby baby

baby baby baby
Originally uploaded by O'Chica

These are for my friend's family. They were expecting a baby boy, who safely came to this world on February 16th.

For the baby, a pair of newborn sized booties (with string tie) and a pair of bigger size grown-up-looking socks. Stripe & solid (the yarn is mix of yellow and white, so not-so-solid actually) cloth is a double-knit wash cloth.

And a little something for the rest of the family, Mom, Dad, big sister and big brother (who is a classmate of my daughter). Sock charm, with the same yarn I used for little Reiki.

Yarn; Avril M-1056 organic cotton(brown) and N-9042 cotton twist (yellow/off-white).

Needles; KnitPicks Harmony DPNs, US #0 (2.00 mm)

Pattern, or no-pattern; Universal Toe-Up Sock Formula by Amy Swenson in Knitty summer 2006 for the booties and socks. Small sock charms are made cuff-down, with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's sock recipe. Washcloth? Who needs a pattern for a plain rectangle washcloth?

I'm looking forward to hear of the arrival of another little boy. His family has a skilled and loving knitter/crocheter, so I won't knit for him... I just send yarn :-)

January 05, 2011

A new year, Old yarns

My last 4 weeks was a combination of rushes (some planned, some not so) and calmness (some planned and pleasant, some not so and kinda tense). Very holiday-like.

On the 14th of December, My daughter's kindergarten had the Christmas celebration. She was in the choir and very happy because Daddy was in the audience. I was busy helping the whole management on that day with my PTA comrades, and very happy with our job.

Well, I was happy partly because I had finished this beret the day before.
sweet honey beret on the knitter
sweet honey beret flower
This, is my Christmas present for my daughter this year. It's a little too big for her, but she wanted a slouchy beret in PINK and didn't care if it's a little too slouchy.

Three days after that, my daughter had a viral infection, very likely with Norovirus. We had to cancel all the Christmas parties she was going to. We stayed in at home for five days after all. I went out for groceries in the evening while my husband was at home with her, and tried on-line grocery store once (which was pretty usable). Between the countless trips to the toilet with the poor girl (and thorough hand washing after each time), had plenty time for knitting.

After she recovered, it was already time for the year-end cleaning, intense cooking
Christmas dinner
For Christmas, and
Osechi (new year's special) 2011
and for the New year's morning.
And the time for serious relaxing plus visitings, to my mother's and to a nearby Shinto shrine.

Anyway, I finished That Angora shawlette for my mother.
Angora shawlette
Angora shawlette back

I had a remarkable progress on my long-neglected Traveler's life Afghan.
Traveler's afghan
(This picture is old, but the afghan doesn't look much different.)
I am no longer making it with "randomizer" and going with my own whim and randomness, because the yarn variety is not so big now and because I want to finish it. Badly.

I've started a baby project for my friend's 3rd child with this lovely cotton yarns.
baby,baby,baby, before CO
Can you see a couple of pairs of booties/socks through this picture?

Except for this last project, my 2010-11 projects used my mother's and my long-time stashed yarns. They are absolutely usable, no, in excellent conditions (well, that angora yarn seemed a little fragile, but I guess it's partly from the short angora fiber itself; it's not the age, it's personality).

It's a good point, right? Old yarns, can turn into goodies.

So, here's my resolutions for 2011;
1. I'll knit every day. Even only one stitch a day.
2. I'll stop buying yarns. I had this in mind for a while, but this year, I'll say it loud. I. Would. Not. Buy. Yarns. (I am not saying "I'll not get any yarns". I accept very gratefully any yarn gift :-))
3. I'll FINISH my projects.

This year, will be a year of magic. Wooly (and acrylic) magic, that is. "Those stuffs under the bed and in the box" will turn into socks, mittens, hats and even sweaters. (See the optimism in plurals?)

And I'll lose weight :-p
(Really, not so a joke. I've lost more than 3 kg = roughly 7 Lb since last summer and keeping it. Some more, say, 5 to 6 kg = 12 Lb? Doable. Optimistic? Yes. But totally doable.)

A happy happy new year, my friends!