July 31, 2009
July 30, 2009
Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?
The batting coat.
The batting wrap.
The batting dress.
The batting pullover.
One thing you can say about these is that they knit up really fast. But you know what's even faster? Buying batting.
Just grab your 40% off coupon, head to Jo-Ann's and be done with it.
July 29, 2009
Breaking Records and Winning Awards
July 26, 2009
Knitting Camp Recap
Thursday: We had a leisurely morning then drove to Marshfield in the afternoon. We checked into our room then had a few hours to kill before the welcome dinner. We realized we hadn't eaten any lunch so we decided to go to the microbrewery next door and get our favorite food--fried pickles with mustard sauce. Do not wrinkle your nose at a fried pickle. They are truly a delicious, decadent treat. We may have also eaten an enormous plate of nachos. Then, with very full stomachs, we trundled back to the hotel.
Coming into the dining room is a true summer camp moment. You start to scan the tables looking for friendly faces, trying to find a seat. We were to full to eat the dinner but I had to get a shot of the NEON sherbet that was for dessert. Bright!
After dinner we were let into the classroom, complete with yarn shop. We picked out our seats, looked around, sat and knit. Kim and I were roommates for the first time this year. We're both nightowls and were the very last ones to leave the classroom every night.
Here are a few brief video tours of all the knitting in the classroom.
Friday: Class with Meg began. Camp 2 has no set agenda. We submit questions or ask them on the fly. The conversation ranges from cast ons to twisted stitches to steeks to pockets to colorwork to just about anything. We break for lunch then do Show & Tell. I brought my Pi shawl since it's an EZ project knit in yarn bought at camp last year. I thought of it as kind of a nothing project but the campers all really liked it which was very gratifying. I think I helped sell a lot of Fairy Hare on market day.I also brought my Granny Smith cardigan. Then Kim yelled out to me to show off my Ravelympic sweater. (I was a bit flustered and confused at this point. I was wearing my Ravelympic sweater when I got up to do Show & Tell then changed into the Granny Smith so when she said to talk about the Ravelympic one I started talking about it as if I was wearing it. Everyone found this *very* funny. Especially Kim, who declared it her favorite moment from camp.)
Here's the Ravelympic sweater next to the inspiration sweater by EZ.
Meg and Amy Detjen demonstrated "four-handed knitting" in which two people work on alternating rounds of knitting simultaneously.
Saturday: More class, more Show & Tell then Market. Kimmet Croft was there and I got to show my shawl off to Jan Becker, the owner. Jennie the Potter was not only at the market, she was a camper. I sat across the table from her and got to know her a bit during camp. I love her work but decided that I would save any heavy pottery purchases for the Sock Summit marketplace, where she will be a vendor. But I couldn't resist getting one of her pendant necklaces. I also got some more Fairy Hare but don't have a photo yet.
Vicki came to visit Ann at camp so we all got to have dinner together. She was my swap partner about a million years ago and I've read her blog ever since. It was so nice to meet her in person. And Ann. I felt like I'd known her forever. We have the same sense of humor and both curse like sailors. Spending time with her was like a little visit home to New York.
Sunday: More class, more Show & Tell. Kim and I kept getting into trouble for giggling during class. We seem to reach a point at camp where we are just giddy schoolgirls looking for any excuse to burst out laughing. There were several points when we literally fell on the floor laughing. One moment was when I came out of the bathroom and reported that, on looking at myself in the mirror, thought, "Wow, how did I get that huge whisker?" I leaned in for a closer look and realized that it was just yarn stuck to my face.
Monday: We had a goodbye breakfast. I had a late flight so we took our time and were some of the last people to leave. We headed back to Wausau, visited with Kim's kids a bit and went out to lunch. I got the most insane burger in the world.
That's fried onions and fried cheese curds on that burger. Delicious.
And then I got dropped off at the airport and went home to my real life. Sigh. I miss camp. Luckily I'll get to see several campers and Meg and Amy Detjen in two weeks at the Sock Summit. I can't wait.
Labels: Knitting Camp
July 25, 2009
Self-Portaits Are My Weakness
July 24, 2009
Damn, He's Good
So Which is It?
We're about to have a heat wave (Seattle-style) but I'm getting some widely varying predictions. Sadly, either way it will be hot.
Note to non-Seattle people: Most places here don't have air conditioning. Once it gets over 80° we all start complaining.
July 23, 2009
The Internet Ate My Blog Post!
Sorry, I'm a dumbass. I've got the right date on the post now.
Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?
Don't forget your $225 sweat shorts to go with it. You could also jazz it up with $285 "Baggy Denim Shorts."
My bit of fashion advice to you, avoid anything called "Baggy Drop Crotch." Just a suggestion.
July 22, 2009
Favorite Camp Photo
Which is why I love this picture.
Joyce modeling a hat she purchased on a recent trip to Peru.
Labels: Knitting Camp
July 21, 2009
And This One Time, at Knitting Camp
July 14, 2009
Panic Pack Again
- Clothes (did not forget pajamas this year)
- All my circular needles
- Graph paper and pencils
- GLMC (so bummed this is not even close to done)
- Georgie's sleeves
- Baby hat knitting stuff*
- Book, DVDs, iPod
See you all next week!
*A friend is giving birth to triplets(!) in the next few weeks. I'm making a trio of baby hats from a '04 IK in Smooshy.
Labels: Road Trip
July 13, 2009
It's only in NY and Seattle but will be opening in more cities in the next few weeks.
Hollywood could learn so much from this movie about how to create real characters who are far more engaging, funny and poignant than anything you'll see in a studio movie.
*It's a real contest held in Seattle.
July 12, 2009
A Small Taste of Tokyo
Other things I miss from Japan:
- Green Tea Diet Coke. I am a Diet Coke junkie and the little green tea flavor was really delicious and refreshing on a hot, hot day. There's also a shiso-flavored Pepsi but I don't like regular Pepsi so I didn't try it.
- Delicious, cheap food. What I wouldn't give for some of this right about now. With a Shoju sour. (It's Shoju with soda then they bring you fresh citrus fruit to juice into it. Wonderfully light and refreshing.)
- Clean public toilets. Toilets in Japan are practically an art form. It's always an adventure heading to the restroom to see just how many buttons are on the toilet. Many have built-in bidet but one restaurant had a motion sensor toilet that raised the lid for you as you entered and turned on a light. Unfortunately a lot of these toilets have heated seats which is lovely, I'm sure, when it's cold out but extremely unpleasant on a super-hot summer day.
- Clean streets with no grafitti.
- Great public transportation. The train and subway system in Tokyo is confusing but operates efficiently. It offers you a clean, safe way to get all over the city. Seattle is lightyears behind even most American cities in public transit.
There are a lot of things we don't miss about Tokyo too. Like the oppressive heat and humidity and cigarette smokers everywhere.
July 11, 2009
Little Silly Thing
It's a silly thing but it cheered me up.
July 10, 2009
"Do you have enough money for it?"
I nearly laughed when he said it but I'm very happy he's thinking about what one can afford vs. what one wants.
July 9, 2009
Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?
I'm just waiting for Magenta and Columbia to show up so we can all do the Time Warp together.
July 7, 2009
Someone Needs to Get Pregnant Right Now
So very little knitting talk on this blog lately, huh? Hang on. I'm going to take some pictures.
Okay, I finished the fronts on Georgie. I've knit just a few rows on the sleeves.
Everyone stops me to look at this sweater. The cables and the yarn and the color all really like each other.
I got to knitting last night and reached into my bag and pulled out...huh??
My sock yarn scrap blanket. I had brought this to the movies on Sunday night. Can you tell I normally knit it in the dark? I meant to bring the GLMC which is much-neglected and will most certainly not be ready for camp.
Coraline is at the "just started" stage. I've knit the hem to the body and am now in the beginning of a long stretch of stockinette.
I love the Cascade Pure Alpaca. It's so soft and floppy.
And just because I had my camera out, here is the yarn I bought at Sheep Meadow in Kichijoji.
No idea what it is or how much is there in yards. I know it's 220 grams and was told it was "summer wool." Which I think is code for "cotton blend."
In crappier news, Older son has a staph infection. We were slow to realize it because he has eczema and it's not unusual, especially when it's hot, to get a raw spot somewhere. In Japan he developed a bad spot between his fingers and I treated it like eczema. When it spread over his entire finger we got alarmed and took him to the emergencey room. In the meantime he sprouted new sores in other places. He's on antibiotics now and is feeling completely fine. Please DO NOT leave me any comments about infection horror stories or other gross medical stuff because I will have a total breakdown. Just think non-infected thoughts for him and the rest of us while I go wash my hands again and try to remember not to touch my face.
July 5, 2009
Every Little Step
Wes and I just got back from this very entertaining documentary. If you were a fan of A Chorus Line (I was a girl in NY in the 70s; I was a Fan) or even if you're not, this will make you want to do a little song and dance.
July 4, 2009
Japan Part III
When I left the museum the weather had gotten really bad. It was dark and raining pretty hard. I had planned on going back to Harajuku to see all the Cosplay kids. Instead I took the train to Shinjuku. With a map in hand I found my way to the Muji store there. Reading maps and finding places in Tokyo is very difficult. First, streets don't have names. Second, Tokyo is a maze of small alleyways. It's very hard to know what constitutes a "street" on a map. So finding a shop on a map in the rain was a major accomplishment. The Shinjuku Muji is huge. It covers several floors and has a restaurant. I wanted to try lunch there but there was no English on the menu and there was a very long line for lunch. I knew there was another Mitsukoshi store nearby so I decided to go to the food court there for lunch. After finding the store (another proud moment) I realized that that location had all the boxed gift food but no hot food.
However it did have a craft store. Having a sale.
I got a few amigurumi kits.
Gaspard and Lisa is a favorite series of mine. And it is huge in Japan. Everywhere I went I saw Gaspard and Lisa on coffee cups, fabric, toys (I also found a lip balm case and cell phone charms). I had to get this kit. It has everything from the crochet hook to the eyes to the needle to sew on the nose. And the kitty with the dead fish? Had to have it.
I also snatched up some too cute fabric.
I went back to the hostel for my son's drop off (without any lunch). His family called and said they would be later than expected so I ate some gyoza from the grocery store and waited. When he got back he was so happy and excited to tell me about the trip. He told me all about the hot springs near his host family's house and going to see the older son participate in a Special Olympics game.
On Monday the kids were all invited to visit a Tokyo public elementary school. There was a morning assembly then tours of the school. We all got the school lunch which is a very healthy, hot meal prepared in the school kitchen. It's then wheeled on carts to each classroom and the children serve one another and eat at their desks. The lunch we were served had broiled tuna, white rice with edamame, mixed greens with bacon, miso and the best bottle of milk I have ever tasted. Then the children clean the school. They sweep the classrooms and the halls and scrub the floors with rags. Our students all got to go to one class. My son's class went to PE which was a lot of fun. Then there was a goodbye assembly and we walked back to the hostel.
We went to Akihabara which is also known as "electronics town." The kids all knew about it before we got to Tokyo and were itching to go. We went straight to Yodobashi Camera which is nine stories of electronics and toys! My son got the newest Kirby game, a really cute action game with a little blue penguin in it and a game to learn Kanji all for his DS. There are rows and rows of hundreds of coin machines with little toys in capsules. We got a few Nintendo-themed trinkets for my kids and I got myself a Kapibara-san phone charm!
My son and I both fell in love with this character. My son got a small plush toy too. So cute!
We stopped at the Akihabara Muji location too. I'm obsessed. I know.
Tuesday was our last full day. We went to Kichijoji to go to the Yuzawaya store. It's a massive craft department store. There's yarn and fabric and toys and everything else crafty you can imagine. We only had an hour. I could have spent all day there. You know you're someplace good when the sign has a knitting ram on it.
I had the address and telephone number of a nearby yarn shop called Sheep Meadow. I asked a friend of the trip coordinator, who was helping us all get around, if she knew where it was. She offered to take me there. We headed off walking and she called the shop for directions. After a few blocks she called again, "Moshi moshi! We're at the Tokyo Department Store. Oh, okay!" We walked a few blocks. "Moshi moshi! We're at Unico. Okay, thank you!" We walked and called again. Finally we found the tiny shop with no sign. It was maybe 12 feet square with a table taking up most of the shop. All the yarns were cottons. I asked if there was any wool and the owner pointed to one basket of yarn and said it was "summer wool." I dug out what I thought would be enough for a scarf. We weighed it and she agreed that it would be a good amount. There were no signs or prices on anything so I was a little nervous to find out how much the yarn would cost. Expensive, it turned out, but not crazy expensive. I asked if I could take some photos before I left.
On our way back I had to stop to take a picture of one of the hydrant covers.
After that the kids wanted to go back to Akihabara so we did.
We only had a few hours on Wednesday morning before we left. I took my son to the Tokyo Museum of Modern Art. It's not a great museum space but the collection is very interesting. I'm not familiar at all with early 20th century Japanese art. It was really fascinating. Sadly the Gaughin exhibit which was advertised all over the city didn't start until the the third. No naked Tahitian ladies for us.
We walked back to the hostel one last time, got the Narita Express from Tokyo station and our Japan trip came to an end. We both had such an incredible time. I hope we're able to get back to explore more of Japan.
Labels: Road Trip
July 3, 2009
Japan Part II
We had lunch then caught the train to visit the Great Buddha of Kamakura. It's really pretty amazing. You can go inside the statue but I chose not to since I was already hot enough.
On Friday we went to Harajuku. It's the heart of street fashion in Tokyo. We strolled down the Takeshita-dori and looked at all the shops. Sunday is the day when kids get really dressed up and strut their stuff so there wasn't as much to see when we were there.
On Friday night the kids got picked up for their homestays. I met some other parents in Nippori to visit Tomato. This was the first time I traveled anywhere by myself and I was unduly proud of myself for getting where I needed to be on time with no mishaps.
Tomato is incredible. It's 6 stories of fabrics, notions and trims. And that's just the main store. There are several other locations within a block or two that carry home decorating, discount (100 yen/meter!), notions, buttons, etc. I got some Echino fabric which is available in the states. I just really wanted it. I also got a great two-sided linen print and some other things I haven't had a chance to photograph. It was really crowded with loud rock music playing. The guys at the cutting table were all pretty young and punk. My guy had a Bad Brains t-shirt on.
Most of the parents checked into the Shinjuku Hilton which was offering an amazing promotional rate. After sleeping on my thin mat on a hard floor for three nights, the king size bed was heaven! A large group of us ventured into Shinjuku for dinner. This is the Tokyo of movies. Neon four stories high, giant tv screens, music blaring and a sea of people.
Since we didn't have the kids with us on Saturday, four of us ventured to Ginza to experience a Tokyo department store. Ginza is well-known as an upscale shopping area. We went to Mitsukoshi Department store. Most impressive were the two floors of food. One floor was filled with candy, pastries and gift food items. There were aisles and aisles of food beautifully boxed up. Then the floor below had an immense food court. We also stopped at Uniqlo which is like the Japanese H & M. The kids had all become obsessed with a Japanese soda called CC Lemon. So the boys all got t-shirts. We also stopped at Muji which I love. It's kind of like Ikea. It's no brand, inexpensive with a great, simple design aesthetic. They have housewares, stationery, clothing, furniture, food...everything.
We also happened to luck out and stumble into the nicest little restaurant for lunch. We ate a delicious, peaceful meal. Someone suggest taking the train to Aoyama-dori and walking to check out the shops. As we strolled along I managed to spot La Drougerie and a small quilt show! Then we began what would later be known as the "Tokyo Death March." Someone in our group was studying the map and said, "I think we can walk back to Shinjuku from here." So we agreed. We ended up in Harajuku pretty quickly which gave us a false sense of confidence. We walked to the Meiji Temple and continued through the park into Yoyogi and the walked and walked and walked through a rather dull, seedy area until we landed back at the Hilton.
I need to organize more of my photos and videos. More later.
Labels: Road Trip
July 2, 2009
Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?
This photo has been in my WTHIS folder for some time. I haven't posted it because I just don't know what to say. I kind of see a horse's head up there on her shoulder. What do you think?
What the hell is this?
Japan Part I
First some background on our trip. Students from my son's class were going to be participating in a five day homestay during which they would attend school. At the height of Swine Flu panic--back when Japan had only one confirmed case--the principal canceled on us. We started scrambling to reimagine our trip. Only a few days before we left our trip coordinator let us know that she had located enough families to take our kids for a two-night homestay and we would spend most of the rest of our time in Tokyo.
On Sunday, June 21st we left Seattle at midday. We arrived in Narita in the evening the next day. The kids did not sleep on the plane. They were all exhausted and wired and frankly so were the parents. We had plans to spend the night in Narita instead of trying to get the whole bedraggled group to Tokyo. It turned out to be a great plan. Narita is lovely. I was envisioning spending the night in a gross, dull, semi-industrial area like you find near most US airports. Instead Narita is a lovely, little city that provided a full-day of walking and exploring.
Narita Manhole Cover
I love these Narita school crossing signs. The little bow on the girl just kills me.
The next day we took the Narita Express to Tokyo. We arrived at Tokyo station and two trains later we were in at Iidabashi Station which is directly above the Tokyo International Hostel. The hostel takes up the 18 and 19th floors of an office building. The ground floor and basements are full of shops, restaurants and a grocery store. It's very inexpensive but, as you can imagine, a bit spartan. I was staying in a "family room" for the first three nights instead of a single-sex bunk room since I was a mom traveling with a boy. It was a traditional tatami room with just a thin mat to sleep on and a very hard, tiny pillow. The first night was okay but the second and third night's I was really uncomfortable.
We all loved this sign in the bathroom.
Our first day we visited the Edo Tokyo Museum. It was a really great museum but we did not get to spend nearly enough time there. Then we took a bus tour and visited Tokyo Tower and the Imperial Palace grounds (not enough time here either). I'm pretty height-phobic so I was hugging the inside wall up on the observation floor of the tower while my son was standing on the glass floor (!) and taking pictures.
We went on to Asakusa and visited the Senso-ji and then shopped at all the little stalls full of food, toys and souvenirs. This is where my son fell in love with Taiyaki. It's a sandwich made of two fish-shaped waffles and filled. There are more traditional fillings like red bean but my son got chocolate and it was delicious.
I didn't bring a whole lot of cash (Japanese) with me since I had been assured by several people that I would be able to easily get cash at Seven-Eleven or a post office. I had pretty much run out of money at this point (most places just deal in cash) so I got a map to my nearest Seven-Eleven and tried to get cash. My card was "invalid." I freaked out. My son and I were tired and hungry and we had 91 yen and an invalid credit card. We headed back to the hostel. We tried to call our bank. Finally our trip coordinator asked when the nearest post office closed (it was already past 8) and we rushed over to try it out. It worked and then I had to buy my son a double scoop at Baskin-Robbins with a waffle cone to make up for all the trauma.
The next day we spent in Kamakura.
I think I should try to get back to sleep although I can hear that my fellow traveler is also awake upstairs.
Labels: Road Trip
July 1, 2009
This one was hanging out at Mister Donut.
Labels: Road Trip