Extra! Extra!

The Destination collection was released by Blue Sky Alpacas earlier this summer and I was happy to contribute to this curious new series with my own adventure. I’ve got to think of my design and play with the new yarn while still in Japan. And even though I’ve traveled a lot and seen so many landmarks and architectural wonders that inspire me, somehow I ended up with the image of Tokyo Tower to remind me of my life in Japan. Particularly the last months of my residence I have gotten to greet the tower as my old friend over coffee and a baked treat while en route to teaching my classes. Painted in brightest orange red, my favorite color, it feels soothing and majestic at the same time. In earlier days we’ve visited the landmark and even went up it, but also once going up Mori Tower observation deck in Roppongi Hills, it presented a great view of my “friend”. It’s also hard to miss, Tokyo streets are quite easy to get lost at as there are no street names or numbering system that might make sense to a westerner, so Tokyo Tower saved us with its beacon several times.


Once folks at Blue Sky Alpacas supplied me with a challenge of presenting a design reflecting Japan, I didn’t have to think long that it would be the favorite landmark. Then it was onto the task which technique to use and how I would portray it. I’ve chosen lace on a solid knit fabric to give the outlines of the Tokyo Tower simply that it was one of the ways using only 1 skein of yarn of new scrumptious Extra and produce a wearable quick accessory. But also since I don’t get to see my “friend” anymore every week, it almost looks like a fizzing image in my head.. it’s there, but so far far away! It was a beautiful memento, which makes me think of Japan every time I put it on.


New yarn – EXTRA – comes in an exciting palette to satisfy probably the pickiest knitter with tons of neutrals (I’d take all the greys, please!) and vibrant brights that are always great for quick gifts and bigger garments. The yarn comes in hefty 150 gram skeins which is enough for almost any accessory and the nice tight twist is great for exploring the range of various gauges. I would go from US 8 (5mm) to US 11 (8mm) and it will still render beautiful fabric once washed. The baby alpaca content gives the slight fuzz and extra warmth while merino provides a great drape and structure. Tokyo Tower Bandana compiles elements of a cowl and a triangular shawl in one. Worked top down, first in the round, then flat. It still might rank among TV knitting, but only in the beginning, the lace part is custom and quite tricky so might require more concentration on that part.

TokyoTower-6_960x1281photography © Blue Sky Alpacas


photography © Blue Sky Alpacas

And now onto even more fun part of this post! A giveaway and a Knit-A-Long announcement! I understand that getting your hands on new and exciting yarns and patterns is not always that easy, thankfully team at Blue Sky Alpacas understands that and  kindly sponsored this giveaway! I am giving away 2 skeins of Extra accompanied with my Tokyo Tower Bandana printed pattern in a cool new format that includes photography of the details and beautiful layout and packaging.

Just leave a comment below, making sure to link to your contact information, letting me know which is your favorite landmark that you might have grown up around or encountered during your travels by end of Sunday, August 17th. And I will announce the winners on Monday, August 18th.

Concurrently, starting Monday, August 18th I will also run a week long Knit-A-Long in Friends of Blue Sky Alpacas group on Ravelry. So please join me as we knit our Tokyo Tower Bandanas in which mine will, of course, be grey.


37 Responses to “Extra! Extra!”

  1. Christine says:

    My favorite landmark is the Smithsonian complex in Washtington, DC. I love all of the amazing (and free) museums, there is SO much to do and see!

  2. Melissa says:

    Without question, the Eiffel Tower is my favorite.

  3. Anita Jamieson says:

    Favorite landmark? I would have to say Central Station in Amsterdam

  4. Melissa Wilson says:

    My favorite landmark is the Art Institute in Chicago and those famous lions!

  5. Alice says:

    I like how conceptual your designs are without being literal translations of your inspiration, it gives them such depth.
    I think my favourite landmark is the Erasmus bridge in Rotterdam, it’s beautiful and it suits Rotterdam so well. (And the asphalt on the walkway glitters in the sunlight, a happy little bonus!)

  6. Linda says:

    I grew up near Bowman’s Hill Tower, which is a monument to George Washington and his army. It’s in Washington Crossing Park, PA.
    Lmecoll on Ravelry

  7. Priscilla says:

    Favorite Landmark???? That really is kind of a hard one to narrow down to just one landmark. For me it would have to narrowed down to periods of my life. As a young child growing up in Roanoke, VA it would have to be the Mill Mountain Star. (The largest Christmas Ornament in the world) As I grew older and learned more about the world, it would definately be Big Ben. That was about the time of Prince Charles and Lady Diana wedding. Since a part of my heart will always desire to live in the UK, all British Landmarks would waver a vote if I was honest. In latter years though the competitve landmarks would have to be the Women’s Liberation Temple in Hangzhou, Guanyin Shan temple in Dongguan, China, Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, Natural Bridge in Natural Bridge, VA, Merman with 7 sons by Susaste Bonnén in Copenhagen, Denmark and finally Taipei 101 Tower in Taipei, Taiwan.

  8. Mia says:

    I loved the old colonial city in Panama and how the ruins still make a statement of the long history there. Plus the colors of the stones and the jungle are still vivid in my memory. The vines and flowers growing into and over the arches and the contrast in the colors.

    And Santiago de Compstella in Spain and the memory of Mass there. Mass in an old Spanish cathedral is amazing to witness and take part in.

  9. Mary Kay says:

    My favorite landmark while growing up was the big ugly cow statue in my small hometown! We weren’t proud of it and many thought it tacky, but it was hilarious too!

  10. Carolyn says:

    I think this counts as a landmark, but it isn’t man-made. I grew up in Colorado and always knew which way west was because of the Rocky Mountains. When I travel, I have no sense of direction!

  11. Jessica Anderson says:

    Salem Academy in Winston-Salem, NC
    -Jessica, Monkeybuttbabies on Ravelry

  12. Nancy Piotrowski says:

    Without question, NY’s Twin Towers. Sigh.

  13. Alyssa says:

    I love the Victoria & Albert museum in London.

  14. Rita Johnson says:

    My favorite is the Sidney Opera House! I just love the architecture!

  15. Evelyne Richard says:

    When I was visiting New York, it was the Empire State Building, especially at night. Here in Melbourne, it’s the city skyline viewed from the banks of the Yarra river. Love the new yarn, and your design is beautiful.

  16. Jacqueline says:

    I love Japanese temples and Zojoji temple that is near Tokyo tower is especially impressive to me. I love the view of Zojoji temple and seeing Tokyo Tower behind the temple- the juxtaposition of the old and new is breathtaking!

    • Olga says:

      That was my second time ever seeing the tower, greeting the New Year of 2010 at Zojoji Temple in a huge crowd for the first time! Seeing the tower all go dark and then light up with the 2010 on it! Such amazing memories!

  17. Susan says:

    I grew up near the Golden Gate Bridge. Because San Francisco is so foggy, the bridge isn’t always visible. So seeing it always felt special!

    • Priscilla says:

      Always love hearing people talk about the bridge. For me it is special because my great*3 uncles was one of the engeniers that designed it.

  18. Penny Sakamoto says:

    Diamond head volcano crater on Oahu is my Honolulu landmark. Such a symbol. As a teenager I attended fantastic rock festivals there! That is a life landmark!

  19. Romy says:

    My favourite landmark is the Lion’s Gate Bridge in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. When I first moved here in 1995 it was the first thing I remember nad it shows sweeping gorgeous views of the mountains, ocean, city, and all of the green trees. Absolutely beautiful!

  20. Messy Karen says:

    i used to live in England and often visited Stonehenge. one of those places that pretty ordinary and extra ordinary at the same time. my Mom always took us on day trips. and i always enjoyed it when we could stop there.

  21. Jean R says:

    Has to be the Biltmore House in Asheville , NC. The fall colors in the Smoky Mountains are breathtaking… I remember spending time there with Daughters and Mom years ago.. THe scenery took my breath away..

  22. Susana says:

    Two come to mind because of the up-close memories: l’Arche de Triomphe, because I was wandering young and alone in Paris, and could barely navigate through the traffic to get a closer look; and the Biosphère in Montréal, because I was inside it with my daughter, and saw it through a 5-year old’s perspective.

  23. Julie T says:

    Fenway Park and Old North Church. Reminds me of when I live in the Boston area. Thanks!

  24. AnnaM says:

    I remember many beautiful landmarks that I’ve seen when travelling but my favourite landmark ever are the twin towers of the medieval cathedral in my hometown Lund in southern Sweden. The tower high ahead of the town and the flat landscape and they really mean home to me.

  25. lillicroche says:

    Thank you for the “game”!
    Hope to see this tower in real one day…
    One of my favorite landmark is in Germany, it’s the monastery Maulbronn, where Hermann Hesse went to school.
    As wool and landmark are concerned… I love to associate the place where I bought a yarn with the finished project that has always a special meaning then…

  26. Dominique says:

    I love seeing the Olympic Stadium from my house and walking through my hood.

  27. Dominique says:

    Oups. Forgot to mention it’s the Olympic stadium in Montreal!

  28. Elena says:

    The Alamo is amazing!

  29. Jayne says:

    The University of Texas tower here in Texas!

  30. robin54 says:

    Actually I have quite a few – as a child, Narragansett Pier, Point Judith lighthouse, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium
    midlife – Carnegie Museum & Library in Pittsburgh as well as 3 Rivers Stadium, & Fallingwater
    now – Art Institute of Chicago & Indiana Dunes

    thanks for the opportunity to win!

  31. Laurie says:

    My favorite landmark is the Piscataqua River Bridge, which connects Portsmouth, New Hampshire with Kittery, Maine. I used to live in Maine and seeing the bridge means I’m almost home!

    Thanks for this giveaway.

  32. Laura says:

    I know i am too late – but I would like to mention my favorite landmark anyway : When I was a child I often climbed large trees. My favorite one would be the largest tree on earth, the General Sherman Sequoia Tree in the Giant Forest in Tulare County, USA.

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