Sunday, June 29, 2008

Thoughts on Tokyo on a Rainy Day


According to my passport, I've been eight times in Japan (which basically means Tokyo) in the last five years. I've done the sigh seeing stuff, so today, the only day I'm off on this trip, I decided to do some shopping. And, shopping I did *grin*

But first a picture (which, really, is a sight seeing shot after all)

The emperor's palace (the reason I got there actually was that close to the palace is one of the few ATM's in Tokyo where I know I can get money from my charge card)

Maybe not so visible in the pic is the fact that is was raining - ney, pouring - for most of the day. I don't think I've ever seen so many umbrellas in one place.
Speaking of umbrellas, in Tokyo, whenever you end up inside a shop or a department store somebody will press a plastic sleeve on you to pack your umbrella in, so you won't be dropping water on their floors. Maybe a sensible precaution, but not exactly environmently friendly.
Actually, plastic bags are all over the place here. In the grocery store, in the department stores, whenever you buy anything (be it a bottle of water or a rice ball)
Not really happy about all that plastic trash.
Only time I got a paper bag today was when I bought a new zoom lens in Yodobashi (electronics store) and even then they pulled some plastic cover over it - it might get wet after all ....
Yodobashi got quite a bit of my money, as I not only got the lens, but also, finally, I've joined the world of the iPod users. I nice, nifty, iPod classic with 80GB. I, naturally, wanted to hook it up to iTunes, I only got the Japanese instructions - and even with my many visits here, I've never managed to master that language.

Before going to Yodobashi, I've been in Ginza. Not very likely I buy much there, as Ginza is known mostly for beautiful and *very* expensive things. Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, you name it. Definitely outside of my normal price range. A hand bag for a measely 1000 Euro, yeah, right, sure.

One thing, though that's affordable in Ginza is the food. Think of it sort of a cross of any food court you've ever been and the one in Harrods in London. Good, sometime sheer unbelievable food, all to take out.

Yakitori ... hmmmmm.
(only one example ...)
So, usually, when I end up in Ginza, I grap a few different things, and eat it in the roof garden basically all deparment stores have. Only, I think I mentioned it before, it was raining, and the roof garden had no dry spot. So I found a barely used staircase and ate my fried dumplings there.

There was one stop I had to make in Tokyo, though, and that was the yarn store I've discovered the last time I was here: Okadaya. I love that place, so much really nice yarn and the prices are reasonable. I've got more of the same 2ply yarn I've grabbed up last time (and made into the Branching Out Scarve and the Snowdrop Shawl) I've got the perfect pattern for it in Victorian Lace Today and it should be plenty enough for it.
I also got some bright yellow yarn on sale (half price) and also some green yarn for a shawl I've had in my mind for quite some time. Or maybe for the Juno Regina Stole from last year's Knitty ( I wanted to make it for the knitting olympics this year, using Wollmeise lace yarn, but there's none to be had at the moment and it might be a few months, before she dyes new one *sob*)

Well, after a lot of shopping and getting wet, I've got my bags (not everything fitted into the backpack as I've hoped it would) and headed back to the hotel.
Two more days and then home on Wednesday.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Taking a break

I'm going to take a break from the afghan. I finished two projects this weekend. One, I can't talk about here, the other I need to wait for it to dry before I can take a picture (I just finished blocking it, those pics just didn't came out nicely)

This second project is the kid silk haze scarf I've started last time I was in Japan (remember this phote here?) Of course, I've ribbed it up once (or basically restarted it as the Rowan is very rib resistant ...), so the look has changed a bit in the mean time.

As I'm going to Japan on tomorrow, I've decided to take something more light weight than the afghan, though this doesn't mean I didn't knit on it last week. I finished three squares.

  • Block 11: GAA no. 19 Barbara Venishnick - the entrelac part was fun, but the two bits left and right just didn’t work out the way I wanted. I thought it’s a smart move to, instead of knitting them up and then sewing them to the main body, I would attach them to the center bit as I was working my way up. I ribbed both sides up at least one and still not happy with the left hand side.

  • Block 12: GAAA no. 6 Barbara Selesnick - easy and fast square. I managed it in one evening

  • Block 13: GAA no. 10 Wendy sacks - Another pretty easy one. Not exactly in love with the tuck stitch (it’s not a difficult stitch, but I’m not crazy about the final look of it)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Eight to Ten

More squares and a new start.
  • Block 8 (080610): GAAA no. 5 Kathleen T. Carty - unusual construction. A bit fiddly in places, but a lot of fun

  • Block 9 (080612): GAA no. 9 Lily Chin - biased square with bobbles. Also a rather unusual construction on a square, but way easier than block 9. This gives me the idea for trying a biased square with cable. I have to think about the idea a little bit longer …

  • Block 10 (080614): GAAA no. 2 Julie H. Levy - not a very exiting square, but not boring either.

Monday in a week, I'm going to Japan once again. For the knitting on the plane I've picked another pattern from Knitty (Spring 2008). It's the Lace Ribbon Scarve.

I did two repeats so far, and I'm confident that it will keep me busy for a while. The yarn is one I've picked up last December in Japan (so I'm taking it home, really). Very fine yarn, very soft, no idea what it's made of. 15 gramms run for 148m - that's quire a bit. I've got five balls, which should be plenty (the pattern asks for around 600m, though I'm making one more repeat of the pattern, as I'm knitting it on smaller needles). The pattern is easy to memorize, but does require some attention, so you don't drop stitches.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Squares 3 to 7

I'm on a roll - means I'm going to show of nothing but afghan squares for a while.
I apologize for that in advance ...

  • Block 3: GAAA no.3 (Marian Tabler) - more tricky than the first two, but I love that tippsy cable

  • Block 4 : GAA no. 25 (Nancy Bush) - easy one, though I think it’s a bit on the short side. Will maybe rework

  • Block 5 : GAAA no. 7 (Ginette Belanger) - fairly easy once I worked out the correct way to make the bobbly bit

  • Block 6: GAAA no. 4 (Meredith K. Morinka) - this was originally my test swatch to decide which yarn to use. It is too long, so I took out one repeat.

Block 7: GAA no. 13 Nicky Epstein - the trees were fun to knit. The sewing took almost as long as the knitting

I'm on a roll - means I'm going to show of nothing but afghans squares for a while.
I apologize for that in advance ...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Ready, Steady, Go!!!

From this

with these

I plan on making the Great American (Aran) Afghan.
I've got 36 skeins of the yarn, I have to see how far I get.
As I plan this as a bed spread, I will certainly need more than the material for the 'normal' afghan. I also will use pattern from both books (Great American Afghan and Great American Aran Afghan), whatever I'm in the mood for.

I already finished square 1 (from the GAAA, no1.):

and square 2 (from GAA, no.2)

So far, so good ;)

Just one quick finish from last weekend to add.

Sneaker socks - started them a long time ago (I finished the first one last August *uups*)
Finally got around finishing them. No idea what took so long.
Pattern is my own, toe up with magic loop, short row heel and some funky bind off.