Category Archives: Knitting

Vision First stitchin’ booth at the American Woman’s Association Charity Bazaar.

My dear friend Kirsten, who’s been in my stichin’ group for a long time, had the brilliant idea last winter of creating a similar group for a bunch of refugees here in Hong Kong.

So seven months ago, we headed over to the Vision First shelter in Sai Ying Poon, armed with balls of yarn, needles and some patience and taught the ladies to knit, and later crochet.

The women are from all over the world (Iran, Uganda, Somalia, etc.) and have come here fleeing war, persecution, and / or violence.

Many of them are Muslims and so don’t like to have their photograph taken as they believe it steals their spirit, so bear with me on the photographs, please.

The women were really excited to learn how to make something beautiful with their hands and enjoyed having some time and space as well to chit chat over the past seven months.

And they’ve made some beautiful scarves, Christmas ornaments, hand bags, hacky sacks, baby shoes, etc.

Here I am with some of the other volunteers who are more up for photographs.We are really hoping to turn this small but vibrant enterprise into a micro-finance type business and are having our first sale this coming Thursday at the American Woman’s Association bazaar at the Hong Kong Jockey Club from 10am – 6pm.

We are very excited to hopefully give these women, who aren’t legally able to work in Hong Kong, some much needed extra money from the sale of their wares. I do hope if you’re able you’ll stop by and support these lovely women, whom I’ve grown very attached to. Their stories are so heartbreaking, but their spirits are just as bright. To read more or to make a donation to Vision First, kindly visit their website.

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Birthday patchwork knitted blanket.

I’ve never tried my hand at quilting, but I got to experience a little of the fun and challenges of patchworking from helping put together a blanket for a dear friend who recently moved back to the States.

Similar to how we all knit a stripe for our friend Mitra’s baby, we wanted to all knit a few squares for our friend Lauren’s 30th birthday.

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Group baby blanket.

If you’ve ever hand knit a baby blanket, you know just how long it takes! So our stich n’b*tch group here in HK decided to go in on a blanket for our friend Mitra. Each gal took a stripe in a shade of Spud & Chloe blue. The great thing was it turned into a very big blanket that hopefully little Asher will enjoy for years to come!

The little buttons on the blanket are from Paloma’s Nest and say “Made with [heart] love by your HK girls.” Check out my account of Asher’s birth at the hotel Matilda here. And the books-themed baby shower we threw for his lovely mother Mitra here.

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Tokyo: Craft shops.

So much knitting stuff is in Japanese that I just knew they were really into knitting.

After all, Clover Japan seems even bigger than Clover US. I do love Clover (either one) for all of their knitting gadgets (needles, markers, etc.)

The Japanese did not disappoint!! The yarn shop I went to (which was actually just a floor within a much larger crafting department store called Okadaya) did not disappoint. It was a knitter’s paradise.

I got the yarn and pattern for this little lovely and I’m hoping I’ll be able to figure it out even though it’s in Japanese… wish me luck. I loved all of the samples they had out–so inspiring.

On another floor of Okadaya, there was an endless supply of wigs. You know how into dressing up the Japanese are!

I tried to convince my grandfather that he might consider one for his bare head!

We also came across some nuns who were shopping for new cord to belt their habits. My grandfather talks to everyone!!

The nuns were actually from Mexico… and one of them had been living in Tokyo for a few years and the others were visiting her. We had previously bought some festive Japanese printed fabric for my Catholic mother-in-law… and being a good Protestant my grandfather thought it would be nice if we got the nuns to bless her gifts… and then promptly asked for a photo of us all together. So here we are! Another blessing of travel certainly is meeting new people from interesting places. And certainly if you’re as chatty as my grandfather you meet a lot more of them!

I’m sorry there aren’t more pictures of the craft and fabric stores I dragged the poor man to… most of them didn’t allow photography and the pictures above I “snuck.”  I relied heavily on the ‘Travel Kniter’s Guide to Tokyo.” LOVE her site!

If you only have time for one shop, Okadaya, which has a multi-story craft store across from a multi-story fabric store is your best bet. I really loved every square foot of that giant place! It’s very centrally located just a few steps from the East exit of Shinjuku station.

We also made our way out to the famous Nippori Town and Tomato. It was fabric overload quite frankly!! There were so many shops and Tomato was even bigger than Okadaya. I would recommend the trip really only if you’re an experienced sewer or if you have a specific project in mind. I stocked up on Liberty prints and some fun Japanese prints, too… that I will have to share in another post–once I have a plan for what to do with them that is!

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Holidays: fine feasts + knitted gifts.

One really fun handmade Christmas gift this year were these little bonnets from Purl SoHo’s Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

They were the perfect first hat project from me as they are really a ‘T’ shaped mini-blanket.

Another fun project was homemade gingerbread… my first attempt. I tried my hand at Martha’s recipe, which although quite sticky and challenging to roll out and cut results in a remarkably tender and delicious cookie.

The impetus to make gingerbread was from not having enough ornaments to cover our tree.

They looked great–but just for a few days. Sadly, after that the weight of the cookie pulled the hole through and I was left with cookies sitting on (rather than hanging from) branches.

I finally finished my first blanket for myself! It’s a red Christmas / Chinese New Year / Valentine’s blanket… it’s hard to see, but there is a cross pattern across the whole thing.

It took me about a year to finish and I still needed the pattern up until the last row. The blanket is the perfect length to cover you up from your waist to your toes while you’re seated, working or chatting away.

Last year I’d given my sis-in-law a teapot so this year I thought it would be fun to knit her a custom cozy… here is the finished project on my teapot, which is a lot smaller than hers… I’m hoping it looks a little nicer when it fits a little better.
I got so crazy about it wanting to fit perfectly that I actually found a china shop in Central that had the teapot… I convinced the VERY reluctant salesladies to let me try my cozy on the teapot…

So I hope after all that trouble that it actually fits!

Before we left for New Zealand, we had a few Hong Kong friends over for a Christmas dinner… I was trying to think of the perfect menu… I was debating roasts and turkeys, etc… and then the Mr. came up with the brilliant idea of a Mexican Christmas…  which was also great as two of the guests were vegetarians.

Homemade guacamole, enchiladas and fresh out of the oven chocolat chip cookies. Enchiladas are an awesome make-ahead alternative to the ever-present lasagna.

We spent actual Christmas day at our dear friends new home in Queenstown. They really outdid themselves with a studded ham and a turkey, which really made it feel like Christmas even though it was 80 degrees outside!

It was a really nice group… all Hong Kongers who just happened to be in New Zealand for Christmas! Can you tell how sunny it was?!

I had knit a hat for each of the two girls… but for some reason the eldest just never wanted to put hers on… so here we have darling little Manny modeling both colors!

And here I am with Kitty and our cracker crowns.

Christmas crackers are a British tradition I plan on adopting… and I’m going to make sure to only get / make crackers with hats included!

Hats make everything more festive, don’t you think?

In closing, I’ll leave you with our Christmas view: the Remarkables.

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