Category: life

Season’s Greetings!

Since there is no snow in this part of Japan for Christmas here is some white 🙂
Hope you all enjoy wonderful Holiday Season with your loved ones surrounded with many many knits!


For the love of linen

I grew up a country that is well-known for growing lots and lots of flax and linen was implemented in everyday life for many many years, but at times we don’t get to appreciate what we have and admire what we have till we travel the world and see others’ fascination with this amazing fiber.

I have been collecting skeins of linen yarn produced by various companies for years now and every time there are some new properties I found admirable about them, compare them and dream of a perfect project with them.

Living in Japan has certainly makes you notice and give more appreciation for the linen garments and fabric, here it’s almost as expensive as gold as it is a very sought after fabric and garments to be worn in extremely hot and humid summer. It’s considered luxury to have numerous linen everyday items around your household, but once you are aware of them it makes you even more appreciative than before. Take LIN-NET store/company in Kyoto for example, Japanese made linen is quite exquisite. And another quite popular Japanese company Fog Linenwork that has their products made in Europe for Japanese market.

Linen knitwear is joyous to wear as it keeps you cool on hot summer days and wicks out moisture but it provides amazing drape as well. Once you figure out how to take care and handle your linen it’s all you really want to have around.

I have stumbled upon this movie a while ago and it’s simply amazing with gorgeous cinematography, makes you fall in love with linen all over again.

BE LINEN MOVIE IN ENGLISH from Linen and hemp community on Vimeo.

I have been browsing some items for my wish list and linen was getting more and more attention. Dreaming of one of these linen throws for my couch during summer. Love the polka dotted one especially!

During my recent travels I did pick up some amazing screen printed linen from A Verb for Keeping Warm and made this new pillow for my couch. Invisible zipper and all. Sometimes it takes as little as sewing a new pillow to want me sew more…

And in between knitting on my very wooly deadlines this summer I got to squeeze in some knitting a new design with wonderful linen I had in my stash for a while. Here is a sneak photo of it. And pattern is coming up this week.

Summer Travels

It has been a while now since I blogged last but the summer is seemingly fleeting this year and yet preparations for it started all the way in March. I decided to attend The National Needlework Association show in Columbus, OH this June. Not just attend, to be an exhibitor for the first time and present my line of design in person to retailers attending from all over, not just US…
Not an easy task to travel half across the globe to get to a place, let along bring bulky things with you. Lots of careful planning and logistics and actual designing turned my entire spring into a mad race since I needed to get everything done before flying to the States. But leave it to me to make things work and put more challenges up by having to flying on a military plane from Japan to wherever base on the US West coast.

As I was leaving in early June, Japan’s annual rainy season has already been in full swing. Weather this year has been weird all over and here we didn’t really have nice days between cold and hot. It all turned into muggy, sticky, hot mess.

So what a girl to do to get on a military flight from Japan to US? Bring lots and lots of necessary paperwork – check!
Pack a suitcase for 40F to 104F weather range – check!
Leave the house at 5am, switch 5 different trains, get a cab and get to an Air Force base – check!

Be lucky enough (thank the stars and the rain!) to get the LAST seat on a C-17 plane going to sunny California!!! It’s like winning a lottery let me tell you, such an emotional roller-coaster, it takes up to 3-5 attempts to get on a flight at times, that’s why need to try leaving much earlier.

The moment the plane took off it was time to relax a bit, well for 10 hours of non-commercial seating and no entertainment, yet feeling hardcore that is what I get to do to for work! Ear plugs and all. Plus check flying aboard C-17 off the bucket list.

Unplanned mini work+vaca-tion in San Francisco and seeing friends – double check!!!
The week of absolutely delicious food, amazing wine and great company!!!

California greeted with early morning clear skies and warm temperatures.

Unprecedentedly SUNNY and hot weather has certainly made it feel welcome while catching up with Vanessa and Cookie. I’ve got a chance to visit local yarn store mecca A Verb For Keeping Warm in Oakland and meeting lovely Kristine, her staff including ever adorable dog Cleopatra Antonia. Seeing some of the fabrics there certainly started sewing bug anew for me. I picked up some lovely cotton and locally printed linen.

To be perfectly honest it felt amazing to be back in a real yarn store with yarn brands that I am familiar with and seeing what’s new in the market and just enjoy colorful feast for your eyes and hands. Especially since my last time in any LYS was over a year ago. Certainly gives you much more appreciation when living very far from one. Kristine’s shop is known for sewing, knitting, felting classes as well as classes that teach you how to spin and to dye with natural ingredients. Here is the line of yarns that Kristine dyes herself. I am dying over a skein in French Monk’s Finest (which is incredibly gorgeous but hard-to-dye shade of mustard) and Indigo… My only regret is not living closer to this store so I could learn more for myself, motivate to sew more and be craftier all around besides being close to a great source for all things DIY!

Best coffee in your life – check!

We tried siphon coffee for the first time in Japan, but nothing stands close to Blue Bottle Coffee‘s fresh coffee beans. Coffee connoisseurs will approve! Here is a video filmed at that same location in Mint Plaza. The process is amazing and looks really like a project in a lab.

While enjoying that coffee spotted something new to me.. food trucks are apparently old news, now it’s boutique trucks – fashion on the go! We need more fashionable people in the world!

Before long though it was time to head down to HOT Columbus and get excited about the booth set-up and the show!!!

To be continued

Indian summer

Sunset over Mt. Fuji viewed from Inomuragasaki Beach.

All past week we have been roasting here in Japan. Indian summer full on and living in a place that faces South turned my regular dwelling into a sauna of sorts, but I have been enjoying it nevertheless. Dry autumn days, spider colonies taking over many trees, orange hue of Halloween garb everywhere, faint scent of burning fireplace – all of it in premonition of cold weather taking over soon, but oh so pleasant.. To stop routine of the day with a cup of hot chocolate, couple chapters of a new book, think and reflect a little.

To be happy of the small moments and joys. Be appreciative of the present. Whether a big project coming to its final stages and feeling of accomplishment that relaxes and encourages to take on new adventures. Or just several hours of the day spent in a company of friends who understand your humanity.

The sky has been coming up with most bizarre and breathtaking patterns over colors at sunset.

And then back to the grind… so many things to knit..


I have been back to Japan for a month now and it has been so incredibly filled with events. Work to catch up on, visiting places around Japan, trying to appreciate every single day I get to spend here. We went to Kakegawa Castle and visited 7 waterfalls in Shizuoka Prefecture. Have also visited heart of Edo period in Japan which is in Kawagoe and got to see where one of the most popular shoguns was born and resided. Life seems moving forward, Japanese are so resilient and signs of disaster are almost not there, they certainly appreciate all the business and nothing makes them happier than seeing tourists and people visiting their historical places. So we try to show our support as much as possible.

As rainy season sets in, I try to find some comfortable clothing to get through it. And my rainboots… I am so happy I’ve invested in them last year because I literally live in them.. Last Saturday we set on our way to Hakone and Lake Ashi in the mountains. When we got there, weather looked like a hurricane and besides treacherous winding roads you could barely see anything, complete white out. And today it’s raining again…

Paper crane garlands in Buddha Museum

This week was also another exciting development. I have bought a knitting machine, a Japanese one and I love it! My Australian knitterly friends have been at it recently A LOT!
With a help of my Japanese friend who helped me sort out through some Japanese Yahoo auctions, I have bought a brand new, as in very very old, but in original packaging and never been used Brother machine for almost nothing! They stopped production of Brother machines in 2000. I looked on eBay, but no one would ship them to me. I have always wanted one, I was afraid that it would eat into my hand knitting time, but fear not. It’s solely for making some fine knit clothing. The kind that takes forever to knit on tiniest needles (not like I haven’t already done that before). Whole concept of machine knitting is more technical and I find hand-knitting still more methodical and appealing to me. But it certainly triggered more ideas for designs. Funny thing how inspiration works.

General life of a crafter consists of dipping into other kinds of it as well. I have been really into making some funky and simple jewelry. I am sure many of your have already heard of Pinterest and it is just an amazing source for pinning all things that interest you… instead of saving all those images on your computer. You get to organize and remember them!

2 weeks ago I went to Yuzawaya, got a box of paper clips and electrical tape. $4 dollar necklace. Yes, please!

Inching along

If someone told me in the past 2 months that I would have to make SO MANY decisions and follow up and then change them in order to adapt to a situation, I’d say they were talking about someone else’s life. Firstly, thank you to everyone for your immense support!!!

For the past month and a half I have been displaced from Japan as in “voluntarily departed” for the time being till the situation got stable. Such a funny work to think of right now.. stable, it would take years to see the damage from what happened. I have been blessed enough with many generous and kind friends who offered me shelter stateside. Not to speak of all my knitterly friends online who were “with” me till the moment I left. I can’t complain that I spent my nomadic “vacation” in Los Angeles, city I once lived long long time ago. I tried concentrating on the positive in every single little bit of the day – sunny weather, fact that I was in good health, delicious and missed foods, swam in a pool, even saw Taylor Swift shopping in Anthropologie, but not without that buzzing noise in the back of my head “what’s next, when can I go back home to Japan?” The worry and stress got to me eventually and I have been down with a nasty cold for 2 weeks, what else can top this cake… BUT (trying to look and stay all positive)..

It was so nice catching up with fashion and knitwear designer friends and finally meeting them in person, Wendy of Knit and Tonic fame with her wonderful family who extended their kindness to me. Many smiles and laughter moments shared while we visited historical Farmer’s marker and the Grove and food food food.. I must say, I haven’t grown that fond of most Japanese food as huge amount of it contains rice or noodles of some kind and it’s always hard to find flavors palatable to a Westerner. Oh I am sure you wonder if there was yarn involved.. Even better – yarn and button store in a very close proximity to each other!

I got to meet mia meraviglioso amica italiana Francesca of fluffbuff and have a delicious lunch at a mozzarella bar in Westfield mall, I believe I haven’t eaten mozzarella and prosciutto crudo that good since I lived in Italy. I really wish by the time I felt better I could do more and see more friends, but by some strike of luck, my fashion designer friend took me to Santa Monica one afternoon and we dropped by Wildfiber store unplanned and it was my luck to have met Grace, Terri and Natasha and their team who hosted Ori Ami Knits trunk show and book signing prior to my going back home.

Now I am back in Japan, with new digits in my year count, life seems restoring and sad to have missed “hanami” and so much to do. In fact I haven’t told you stories of 3 new designs that I have already published but all about them in upcoming week.

I gave myself a promise to blog more this year (yeah, right!) as my New Year’s resolution, only to get slammed in January with all these projects, this exciting work that I can’t talk about yet or show you my living room filled up with yarn.. where cat and husband can be spotted occasionally.

What a sad day

I want to assure everyone that we are OK.

This has been really a scary experience…. our building is usually quite well absorbing small quakes and tremors… not today.
In fact today I planned the photoshoot for new designs and was getting ready with my make up and dressing while I felt shaking and then doors started swaying.. then all of my apartment, cabinets with glass in them started rattling, shelves, things that just laid were places there fell out on the floor and my poor cat just hid in a closet and simply won’t budge when I tried to grab him and go downstairs just to wait the worst of it out..
Since the biggest earthquake at around 3pm, we’ve had over 30 aftershocks and all 5-6+ scale.. what one can do.. wait out the worst… I am really far from the coast so we are safe on Tsunami front and live on a 5th floor.

My heart goes out to all the victim families and areas that are affected by tsunami..death toll is rising and so many are still missing.. I guess Japan will deal with the rest of it in the morning… for now.. just prayers.

Happy New Year!

Officially, in Japan people keep congratulating you with the New Year till around mid January, so I am not being really late! Happy 2010!!!

I hope this year is going to bring much much more exciting events to all of you, while I am going to tease you about my life in Japan. First impression or not, it is AWESOME! It’s just as I expected it to be and more.. so many things that have been learnt. Where would have I gone next day after we had landed in the country of a Rising Sun?…
Yes, a craft/yarn store! It was 5 floor high and best to go by myself and spend a whole day at! A whole floor to fabrics, a floor to yarn and buttons, a floor to stationary and beading, bagmaking, silversmithing, leather crafts, etc .. it is enough to make one want to throw up from the sensory overload. Especially if you are like me and do lots of those crafts. To compare with something else, it is like Costco Superstore sized High end craft store!
I have not taken any photos of it yet, but I have many moons ahead of me!

Just before New Years I got a chance to meet up with wonderful Reiko/joujoka who is a fellow blogger and a knitter living in Tokyo. She is very kind and met us at Kichijoji station and have taken me to…

right, Avril! I can’t wait to meet up with her again so we can explore more crafty destinations in Tokyo and suburbs and hopefully meet more Japanese knitters!
After that we went to get Siow Chin who arrived that day to Japan for holidays with her family! It was soo much fun to have met them all now! I have known Siow Chin for couple years online, we have exchanged packages, but it was still quite surreal to finally meet in real life! And the girls are the sweetest and so funny!

Shinjuku lights…

I have seen 2010 in on Zojoji Temple grounds and it was amazing!

How did you spend your holidays??


I have been holding off some exciting news and they just started piling up, so I guess I can start spilling some of the most exciting ones. This winter an “idiot’s dream” is coming true and our household of hubby and the cat is moving to Japan for the next 3 years!!!
I know excitement was just pouring out of me, having moved overseas before, I am looking forward, but this time only a bit worried for not knowing any language [yet!]. We are going to be only hour or so away from Tokyo and very close to Mount Fuji. Japan is one of the countries that has always been a mystery to me. The ways of people, their culture, technology, fashion – all that inspiration! I can’t wait to start exploring and sharing with you!
My longest fascination with Habu Textile fibers will be in heaven and now I would be able to visit [mother company] Avril and drool all over that yumminess!!!

On the other exciting news…

For the past 6 months I have been actively working on a project along with Vanessa Yap-Einbund known as coloursknits. Earlier this month with the help of our friends we launched the website and are really to tell the World all about it! Ori Ami Knits is a book that has 15 designs knit entirely out of Habu Textile fibers, beautifully photographed by Vanessa in northern California. There is a significant amount of innovation in this book and I can’t wait for all of you to see it! For information on how to get the book please subscribe on the website.

And to top all these news, Fibre Space, a yarn shop here in Alexandria, VA is hosting us, both authors on November 5, 6-9pm for an exclusive book preview! If you are in the area come see and try on all garments as well as enjoy our company and delicious refreshments!