Tag Archives: Knitting

Good-bye Christmas cake.

Definitely the hardest thing about being an Ex-Pat is saying good-bye when friends head home.

You’re happy for them, sad for you–and sadder still because you know you will see them again, but you have no idea when! We’re very sad that our dear friends Lauren and Michael are moving back to North Carolina.

I made Lauren a little send-off cake for our last stich n’b*tch. I tried to make the sides like this pretty cake found on I Am Baker, but it’s pretty hard to make anything you make look that perfect! Here we all are with our knitting!

We are encouraging Lauren to start her own Stitch n’B*tch when she gets back to the States and we also plan on skyping her in to our sessions as well. I don’t know what I would do without my stichin’ gals!

Now back to try to finish knitting all my Christmas gifts and address more cards!

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Takashimaya: Knitting and stationery accessories.

Now where do you think the HKHousewife was most excited about shopping while in Singapore? Why, Takashimaya, the stunning Japanese department store, of course. There used to be one in Manhattan, but it sadly closed. Thank you, crashing stock market.

The first little fun thing I found was this cute (and also very durable, because it’s Japanese made) pouch for my knitting accessories.

Does anyone know the story behind Clover? Half their packages are in Japanese… are they a Japanese company? The Japanese are crazy about knitting.

I also picked up some fun clear folders–my favorite way to stay organized.

This one is PERFECT for trips… itineraries, packing lists, flight info. Always good to have a hard copy of these just in case.

As part of my ‘get organized efforts’ I made my own personalized packing list. It’s insanely detailed but really helps me know that I for sure have everything. I give it a once over when packing up–just to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind  in the hotel.

And of course with me it always comes back to knitting. This three-prong folder holds the three patterns I’m currently knitting perfectly!

Besides an incredible gift and home goods assortment, the basement also has an incredible food court. Well really, it’s nothing like an American mall’s food court… but you get the idea.

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Yarn Along: Cables and Blue Nights.

Ginny over at Small Things has a Yarn Along from time to time. My mother-in-law who is also an avid knitter introduced me to it.

I really love the idea of a yarn along because until you’ve tried it… you just can’t understand how addicting knitting is. Ravelry is another online knitting community that I can spend hundreds of hours perusing and it’s where I found the pattern for this cabled afghan… my first go at cables–it’s so fun to see them come together! Cables are pretty crazy because you actually do twist the stitches over themselves–it looks twisted because it is.

Ginny also includes a picture in her Yarn Along of whatever she’s reading… I just finished Joan Didion’s ‘Blue Nights.’ For whatever reason, I have a thing for depressing/sad books so it’s no surprise that I could not put down this memoir about her grief after her only daughter’s death in her mid-forties. I also really liked ‘A Year of Magical Thinking,’ her memoir about her husband passing the year before. Joan has not had an easy go of it to say the least. But, she really is just the kind of lady I hope to be when I’m pushing 80. She has had an immensely full life–one many, myself included, could envy–but has also seen complete tragedy, yet perseveres through her grief so honestly.

Both of these books I would recommend as a gift to someone who has lost a spouse or a child. Certainly, it’s not something we can understand, but I think these books go a long way of describing how grief feels and perhaps understanding the parts of the experience that are universal would be helpful to someone experiencing them for the first time. In addition into insights into grief, Joan also has some interesting thoughts on parenting, and in particular adopting, that I’m excerpting for you below. She also gives a very good description of what it’s like to realize that you’re old, but I’m going to save those quotes for you in case you decide to read it yourself!

“You have your wonderful memories,” people said later, as if memories were solace. Memories are not. Memories are by definition of times past, things gone. Memories are the Westlake uniforms, the invitations to the weddings of the people who are no longer married, the mass cards from the funerals of the people whose faces you no longer remember. Memories are what you no longer want to remember.”

Wow. Remind me never to accidentally mention that trite line to someone grieving.

“Some of us feel this overpowering need for a child and some of us don’t. It had come over me quite suddenly, in my mid-twenties, when I was working for Vogue, a tidal surge. Once this surge hit I saw babies wherever I went. I followed their carriages on the street. I cut their pictures from magazines and tacked them on the wall next to my bed. I put myself to sleep by imagining them.”

I think it’s very true that some people feel this and some don’t. Which camp did / do you fall in?

“The very definition of success as a parent has undergone a telling transformation: we used to define success as the abilty to encourage the child to grow into independent (which is to say adult) life, to “raise” the child, to let the child go… instead, ourselves the beneficiaries of this kind of benign negletc, we now measure success as the extent to which we manage to keep our children monitored, tethered, tied to us.”

A pretty good summation of the current issues facing parenting today.

“All adopted children, I am told, fear that they will be abandoned by their adoptive parents as they believe themselves to be abandoned by their natural… all adoptive parents, I do not need to be told, fear that they do not deserve the child they were given, that the child will be taken from them.”

I had certainly heard the former statement, but the latter one was new to me.

She also quotes W.H. Auden’s “Funeral Blues” which I am bookmarking for a dark day. And I’m sure you can see why after all these deep thoughts knitting is the perfect outlet!!

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Knitting swift and ball winder.

I’m very happy to say we’ve been able to round up a very nice group of about ten gals here in Hong Kong and we’re all knitting up a storm.

It’s amazing how addicting knitting is! Our Stitch and B*tch is thriving and we’ve been meeting once every week or two. We only wish there was a knitting store with little grandmas who could help us with our mistakes or that had a winder to wind up skeins we bought there, like all the shops in the States.

So after hours of having one of the gals or the Mr. holding up their hands so I could wind a ball from a skein–I still don’t understand why they can’t just sell all yarn in balls… something about it stretching or scrunching up the beautiful yarn–I invested in a winding set-up. A swift (to hold the skein properly–it expands and contracts depending on the diameter of the skein) and a ball winder. I went with the most old-fashioned, hardy versions I could find after reading a lot of negative reviews of the plastic winders.

Winding a ball is so much much fun now and these balls don’t roll so we won’t have any loose balls rolling down airplane aisles all the way to the cockpit door (yes, this has happened to me and several of the other gals in the group!) What’s truly ironic is both the swift and winder were designed in the US, made in China, sent to the US, and then sent back to me…
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Two new baby blankets.

I wanted to share two new, recently completed baby blankets. This one is a free pattern from Lion Brands. You knit it on the diagonal… on the way up you knit three, yarn over, keep knitting… on the way back down you knit 2, knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 2 together, knit to end of row.

Sadly, they recently corrected that so my border is a little off… one side’s border is a stitch wider than the other side. I was already half-way done when I realized this so I’m going to say the error is intentional like how the Amish supposedly sew in errors or make designs off center because only God is perfect afterall.

I don’t understand how companies continually post and publish patterns with errors! There must be willing pattern testers? The buttons that say ‘Made with Love for you (heart) by Natasha’ are from Paloma’s Nest.

This chunky yarn knit up super quickly. The border is knit by casting on the outside stitches and then knitting out the border. Then you fold the border back onto itself and stitch it down. I learned a lot making this one! The pattern is free on PurlBee’s site. This is the second version (purl one, knit one).

Plane time lets you get a lot of knitting in… and I have to say I’m quite obsessed!

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