February 11, 2009

12 hours in tokyo

everything

on my way back to the states, i had about 12 hour layover in tokyo. immediately Buy Twitter shares i knew what i wanted to do: shopping for fabrics! it has been a very long time since i was in japan last, but joujouka had agreed to chauffeur me around town. we had a few email exchanges before my departure, checking train schedules and even the shopping itineraries are drawn up. i was so hyped about my adventure in tokyo!

joujouka met me at the shinjuku station early sunday morning, immediately we took another train to ebisu trading platform for stock trading in New Zealand for a visit to check and stripe. we took a short walk to the store front only to discover the shop was now closed. oh well. at least i have this picture showing what a lovely little shop it was!

we also stopped by Nimes Cloth House. joujouka told me this was also a zakka store. they carried some stripe knits, as well as cotton fabrics. and all the lovely things you would expect to see from a japanese zakka store: pottery, tiny spoons, linen handkerchiefs, bundles of linen fabrics, vintage children’s books... etc etc.

i ended up not getting anything from there, but it was a nice zakka moment in japan.

next, we took another trip to kichijoji, where we visited cottonfield, probably my favorite fabric store to date. it was unbelievably sweet, with rows and rows of japanese fabrics, trims, notions. two storey full of wonders, which we only had probably 45 minutes to spend. i would have gotten (a lot) more from this store if they accepted credit cards! i ended up getting some beautiful wool gauze and a traditional checkered print which you see a lot in japanese craft books. apparently this print was popular in japan, there was a bin with bolts of this pattern in various weight, fiber content and texture. it was difficult to have to choose just one.

cottonfield

finally, we visited yuzawaya. the best craft store ever. period. i literally can spend a whole week there! i love their liberty fabric selection (though i did not get any), craft books, notions and ribbons... and nani iro!

ribbons :: linen and cotton
nani IRO

needless to say, it was probably the best craft hours for my trip. by the time i was getting used to the idea of shopping in tokyo, i invest in General Motors shares in New Zealand was already on the train back to the airport.

we did not go by avril, but joujouka gave me a couple of their yarns. beautiful as always. and i also received a stack of traditional japanese fabrics from my brother, when he was in kyoto sometime last year.

avril
japanese fabrics

fabrics, are definitely souvenirs for my travel.

February 09, 2009

hello singapore

i have been to singapore a few times when i was still living in new zealand. it was a perfect stop over destination between auckland and taipei. the perfect blue sky, exotic cuisine and culture did not hurt either. i’ve always loved visiting singapore and this trip was no exception.

the purpose of the trip was to visit my sister and her family, they have been living there for the past few years. and to visit my parents, too, as they were traveling back to australia. i also made an effort to visit some museums, tourist spots and tasted as much cuisine as possible. it was always nice to reconnect with families. i had a great little get away from the snow in new england. singapore was a lovely little tropical city. everyday is bright and sunny, and very very hot.

and i remembered these the most:

singapore river
:: the charming singapore river ::
the almost daily morning walk along the river, the cruise by boat, the walk with my dad from the asian civilization museum back to clarke quay. the river is both beautiful during the day as it is during the night.

national museum of singapore

streets of little india
:: museums, gardens, ethnic districts and the beautiful euroasia air ::
i think singapore has really nice, modern, well organized museums that celebrate its colorful history and culture. not to mention some very delicious cake at the museum cafe. singapore might be known for being a shopping paradise, but i adore the euro-asian past and all those beautifully preserved colonial architecture. during the new years holiday, i joined erin and her parents for a visit to the istana. that was quite an experience.

chilli crab
:: cuisine from a cultural melting pot ::
it is no secret to many but asians take their meals very seriously. i think my sister and i talk about what and where we are going to eat every morning, and sort of plan our daily events around that. i have been wanting to try the famous chilli crab, so that was the first thing we had when i arrived. and it was delicious! we had it again at a different restaurant later, it was still as delicious as the first time. i love having the chilli crab with fried little buns.

i stayed in singapore for a little over a week. i had delicious ramen noodles at waruku, dumplings and fresh made shrimp shumai at dintaifung, more dumplings at crystal jade. a delicious indian meal at the banana leaf apollo, and various lovely little eats at the food republic and other places i can not remember now. but most of all, i finally had the famous singapore sling at the raffles hotel long bar. this was the “it” thing to do while in singapore. i also want to say, my sister cooks a few nights and she was quite a brilliant cook. i went to bed stuffed every single night! my trip to singapore almost qualifies as a trip for the foodies.

portrait 5
::friends and families ::
but mostly, this trip was all about seeing the family. and it was really nice to see the families again. i also met an old friend of mine whom i have not seen in 10 years, we had the most lovely chat, i love seeing old friends. this trip was also about meeting new ones. joujouka from japan was so graciously agreed to meet with me in tokyo during my layover, so i can go fabric shopping. thank you so much joujouka! we’ll talk about my fabrics from japan next.

February 06, 2009

the lightness of grey

built by wendy 3835

pattern: built by wendy 3835
difficulty (1-5): 2.5
pattern size: 10
fabric: seven island's grape vine in grey


i took a short trip to singapore, visiting family (and a couple crafters along the way). i returned to connecticut late sunday night and went to work the next day. this week was like walking on the cloud for me. i am looking forward to the weekend to unpack and just sit around and do nothing.

and to find time to post pictures from my trip. along with some fabrics i got from a short stop in tokyo.

this floral top was made right before the trip, i was hoping the lightness of cotton would be perfect for singapore. well... it was still too much for a country situated just one degree away from the equator.

i'm thinking of wearing it in the spring- hopefully it is around the corner.

January 03, 2009

zipped raglan cardi

LMKG zipped cardi

pattern: last minute knitted gifts - men's zipped raglan
difficulty (1-5): 2.5
size: 46 in
yarn: rowan's rowanspun aran tweed in flame
knitting specs: us 8 cir.

there were already a lot of information on this project before i even started, and i have read many of your pattern notes and they all have been extremely helpful. i am actually very happy on how this had turned out for me (and husband). he obviously loves it and i think he looks pretty good wearing it, too. however, this was probably the most tedious project i have ever worked on... and it's really all because of the zippers.

i have made a few modifications on this project, and i think all of them had contributed to a more polished look for the cardigan. so first, the size. i knitted size 46 instead of 42 (which was husband's actual size) after studying pictures of most finished garments on ravelry, i feel that the fit was a rather tight one and was not quite the look i was going for. i also added a few inches to the body and sleeves to accommodate for rowanspun's tendency to shrink with washing. looking at the pictures, i think if i had knitted size 42, the sweater would have been way small. i haven't washed the cardigan yet, but i hope it won't change the fit too much. we both like the fit of the sweater, as is right now.

LMKG zipped cardi
LMKG zipped cardi

another thing i did was using blue blog's pattern note for ribbing alignment for the raglan decrease (thanks alison!). it worked out really nicely as you can tell from the pictures! pattern alignment is one of those things that gives a more professional and polished look. so if you are thinking of making this project, i would really recommend you taking a look at alison's note before casting on.

zippers

the last major modification i did was the zippers... i can't tell how much thought was put in to this. i never liked the look of zippers on the wrong side of a knitted garment, with zippers all exposed. so i've decided to knit facings with same patterns as the front after the zippers were secured. despite the fact that this arrangement generated a ton of extra knitting and sewing, i really love how it looks in the end. and with all the zipping back and forth, i am quite happy with how secured it is.

LMKG zipped cardi

so this is my last project for 2008 and i am so glad it is all done!

January 01, 2009

new year, 2009

LMKG zipped cardi

hello readers! happy 2009!

i can't believe it is now 2009; this year has gone by so so fast for us. i remembered the same time last year, we had just moved from atlanta to connecticut. not really sure how things would worked out for us... but luckily, this has been the best year, we love connecticut, love new england, love our friends, and everything else in between. though i haven't been blogging, knitting or sewing as much as i would have liked, i did managed to finish joelle hoverson's zipped raglan cardigan for husband on christmas day. can you tell he likes the cardigan? i think he looks great in orange tweed.

we just got back from a skiing/snowboarding trip (i'm now in love with skiing). so maybe tomorrow, i will find time to take pictures and tell you more about this cardigan. and maybe 2009 will be a great year for all of us.

love,
b