Category: life

Be Merry!!!

Wishing you all a Wonderful and Joyful Holiday Season! I really wish we had a white Christmas in the forecast, I miss the snow! But a Christmas in wool is the best kind of Christmas! And yes, 2015 is a year of a sheep/goat! Sounds like the best year yet to be in the knitting industry!

Happy Holidays!

sheepandsnow

Elements winner

Congratulations to Jen! She is the winner of printed copy of ELEMENTS book from my previous post. YAYYY!

elementsbook

Happy Knitting!!!

 

Extra Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to Anita Jamieson and Jacqueline – ladies you each have won a skein of Blue Sky Alpacas Extra and a copy of Tokyo Tower Bandana pattern! I will send you emails shortly for some contact details.
tokyotower_giveaway
Thank you ALL so much for playing along and participating, I loved hearing from all of you about your favorite landmarks! Funny how architecture in different aspects plays such an important and memorable part in our lives. It made me think that I hope I get to travel more to new exciting places of the world to see at least some more of those landmarks you all mentioned!
Happy Knitting!

linen bird

As I mentioned in the last blog post the urge for something new and linen-y has been eating at me for a while. Since I do not have much time to knit for myself these days, I was looking through my extensive linen yarn collection and trying to decide what can I make quick enough yet create one of those garments that I have been missing from my wardrobe. I do have quite a bit of Louet Euroflax which is a good staple wet-spun linen, but for being Sportweight I had to move onto something thicker…

kestrel_pebble

I remembered that just recently Quince & Co released their new bird – Kestrel – into the wild. At first sight this yarn is not what it seems, it is absolutely not what one would expect it being knit up. I do not have much experience with the tape yarns, but most of them that I tried earlier in my knitting years ended up not in my favorite pile. Kestrel is quite thick and a chainette construction yarn, that is flattened into tape. I was skeptical that the yarn might be too novelty looking when knit up. And I was wrong! First seeing garments from the Kestrel Collection and then seeing Jamie of Fancy Tiger knit on her Kestrel tank at TNNA in May gave me a chance to look closer and touch and assess that the knitted look of Kestrel is what I want right now, right this minute! Malleable, soft, textured, yet not into dangerous territory for me. As we know, plant fiber based yarns tend to grow after wash and wear but the construction that this yarn has I am pretty sure it will do the its best and keep it in shape much better! As more and more projects started appearing online I was certain my only problem would be picking the color… I really love Rosehip colorway, but I chose Pebble for my Davis pullover by Pam Allen from Quince & Co Kestrel Collection. I see it as a in-between seasons, late summer nights sweater, a minimalistic luxurious sweatshirt, which I can wear every day if I please.

davisprocess

davisfolded

I don’t think there is a more gratifying knit! I got to 75% of the said sweater within just 2 days. Since this has been chosen to be my reward sweater after doing all the work in between, I have now set it aside simply that I get to enjoy knitting it longer… I am a result knitter, but with this I want to learn to become more of a process knitter, it’s just this good. And I can say it has already paid off, since I came up with an idea for a new tutorial. And I cannot say enough of the pleasure it has been working from a pattern that is already written and I just need to blindly follow instructions. Even designers need a break from designing from time to time, but it doesn’t mean I have to stop knitting.

2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR of 2014!!!
Wishing all of you the best and knittiest year yet!!!!

Back to school

Or rather I have been back to teaching knitting since last November.

And I meant to talk about it sooner, but just never got to it because of packing, moving and all the fuss. Last November I was introduced by Marianne Isager to textile artist and textiles designer Reiko Sudo. If you know something about Japanese textiles, you may know that Reiko Sudo and Jun-ichi Arai started NUNO back in early 80ies. Reiko now is the directior of NUNO and NUNO textiles are known all over the world on their novelty and mind-blowing texture. Meeting Reiko was an extremely humbling experience for me since I have been doing research on NUNO while writing Ori Ami Knits. And I was lucky enough to visit “Fabrics of Feathers and Steel: The Innovation of Nuno” exhibit back in 2009 in The Textile Museum in Washington DC prior to our move to Japan and admire those textiles in person. Imagine my awe when upon our meeting Reiko became so fascinated with my work in knitwear that she asked me to teach her and several NUNO members. I know I was questioning myself whether that was real life or some illusion! At the time of our meeting I had only 7 months left in Japan and she wanted to start classes immediately and every single Saturday I would travel to Tokyo to share my knowledge with one of the most revered Japanese textile artists. Below is the photo of our last class. Reiko’s apprentices have become textiles artists of their own and they are NUNO members as well.

Left to Right: Gaku Masui, Yuki Abe, Kazuhiro Ueno, myself, Reiko Sudo, Yumi Yasue and one is missing – Bun-chan!

After our last class my students gifted me this funny drawing of ourselves drawn by Yuki-san.

Reiko is also a professor at the Tokyo Zokei University of Art and Design in Japan. Last spring I was invited to give a guest lecture along with Reiko who also helped to interpret. The lecture was for her 4th year weaving students and the subject of it was 3 dimensional knitwear, explored through a variety of my designs that they continued on working.

 

 

 

And this morning I found out that those students completed their projects and then some! The students took their own approach with creative modifications of the existing pattern designs. But what is even cooler that their finished knits were turned into exhibit and are now on display at Tokyo Zokei University and Reiko named it creatively after my book title “Ori Ami Knits”!!!

 

 

This is such honor and these images are truly heartwarming, just like when I see photos of newly finished projects of others knit from my patterns!
I am really missing Japan this crisp Fall afternoon… And winter is coming soon, so time to be knitting away on those woolies and get ready. But it’s also time to get excited for my classes in the States are coming soon!

Cirles + Dots winners!

I know I have been so absent from my poor blog that many may start wondering if I am actually alive.
Alive and just so extremely busy. As it happens our time of 3.5 years in Japan is coming to an end this month and it is very bittersweet. However I am excited to be getting back to my old stomping grounds in Alexandria, VA. Teach more and re-connect with my local knitting community in the area. I have missed a lot of it as well as I missed the people – friends, students and customers. I am looking forward to be able to teach more nationwide now and still surprise you with new exciting collaborations and designs. Meanwhile, I am trying to wrangle a sea of boxes and deadline that I am horribly late on.
Thanks for bearing with me and please follow me on Facebook for more recent updates.

And now the drumroll please for the winners of Circles + Dots Giveaway!!!

Congratulations to Deborah, who won an entire Circles + Dots collection and Quince & Co Tern yarn to knit her own Gyre scarf!

Deborah, please email me infoATolgajazzyDOTcom to claim your prize as well as let me know your color choice preference of Tern. Happy Knitting!

 

Thank you so much again for all those participating! More exciting giveaways on the way!

Winter walk in Enoshima. Part 2

To continue the story of our walk on Enoshima island…

 

Ever since starting to notice the amazing designs of manhole covers in Japan, now a mandatory photo of the manhole cover on the island. Looks like cypress trees.

 

Our visit coincided with winter tulip festival at the garden and it was truly great.

 

To view all these vibrant colors among dull colors of winter.

 
 
 

The Sea Candle is what they call the lighthouse atop Enoshima Island. Since the island itself it quite elevated, we could see Landmark Tower all the way in Yokohama. Which is amazing, it’s almost across entire Kanagawa prefecture.

 

Linear texture on the observation deck is quite modern and minimalistic.
But the sun was going down and once it was gone it got quite cold.

 

So it was time for some jasmine tea and a french toast in a neatly located cafe by “Miami Beach Square” in the garden.

 

And as we were leaving the dark grew thicker around and the lights came on. I know Xmas and New year holidays are all over, but the illumination still remains to cheer up visitors.

 

 

As we were walking away from the island, the view of the lighthouse became even more spectacular. So it was great to explore the entire island through day time and enjoy its appeal during night time.

Winter walk in Enoshima. Part 1

 

Last Monday was a US holiday, but it was a normal work day in Japan, so using an excuse of sunny weather (at least it was when we left) and hoping for little crowd (a rarity in Japan) we decided to explore a place we never been to before. Enoshima island. Lighthouse on it can be seen even far from outside our window. And on a very clear day there is a great view of Mt. Fuji. Alas not this time.

 

The trip starts with a walk from a train station on Enoden line, where I discover these cutest and I think first time I have ever seen actual yarn bombing in Japan. These little birds were all donned in capes and little berets.

 
 

It’s common in Japan for a building to get “dressed-up” if it’s being repainted. This tower in particular had a huge installation that created a really cool geometric pattern.

 

The knits for sale, I wouldn’t dare to spot their origin, but it looked very Peruvian/South American. But knowing it is not likely to be locally made. Just happy to see knits.

 

The bridge that connects mainland to the island has ornate marble lanterns. Just look at the eyes of that dragon.

 

The view of the island opens up to a interesting statue, which actually hosts a full spa right behind it.

 

Patina-ed old Torii gate starts the main market street leading up the ascent and numbers of shrines.

 

Must be a very popular spot for street food.

 

Later, when the crowds dissipated, I got one too – tako sembe (flat bread with octopus). Ones with jellyfish and shrimp were also available. But believe it or not… I broke mine in half not even a minute later (it’s very thin) and that half floated down the street like a frisbee.

 

Wall of o-mikuji.

 

Path map of the island between shrines and lighthouse.

 

Wooden boards with wishes for love written on them.

 
 

The island is a popular residence for many cats. They are all domesticated, they will let you pet them.

 

Nearby food stalls feed them and I saw some cats even sleeping in people’s laps. It was cold, so I am sure they could use some warmth.

 

To be continued…