The Shy Knitter

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

One thing leads to another

Funny how when you open one door, others tend to open. The same day we were in Richmond looking at Janet Morton's knitted installation, we went to a Japanese dollar store called Daiso. I wouldn't of known about it, but for the article in Spun magazine that lead me to all those yarns stores in Vancouver. I wanted to check Daiso out as the article indicates that bamboo knitting needles could be had for $2 each (apparently it is a $1 store in Japan, but it becomes $2 in North America). Anyway, we went in and had a blast. It was a great store with half decent things for $2. I got two sets of knitting needles, and two crochet hooks for my friend Shauna who endures arthritis but manages to crochet anyway.

Getting back to T.O., I thought that would be the last of the Japanese - knitting connection, but it appears it has only just begun. Heather was telling a colleague at work about our advertures to knitting stores, Daiso, and how I am a little 'obsessed' with knitting, and she tells Heather about the differences in Japanes and western knitting. According to the site she referred her to ABCs of Knitting, the technique is the same but there aren't any written patterns in Japan. Everything is done via chart in a standardized language.

I also have the good fortune of having two colleagues at my work who speak Japanese (one is from Japan, and the other lived there for 4 years). I am thinking about getting a pattern or two, and hope that by having a live translator (rather than using babel fish) I might be able to do some Japanese knitting. The ABCs of Knitting also has a translated page of terms, so one way or the other, I should be able to accomplish this.

My final obstacle to trying this will be getting hold of a pattern in Japanese. Heather's colleague said she can loan me a book, but I have also heard of a knit designer who does very beautiful work based on European designs. I am tempted to order one of his books from, but my co-worker Yoshiko has offered to pick it up for me next time she flies to Japan.

I will let you know how this one pans out.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Get me to the church on time

Yes, we did make it to the church on time and more importantly, so did the bride and groom.

Here's the church (doesn't have a steeple)......

Open the doors, look at all the people......

Here is the family on the groom's side, all of which are from out of town.

The ceremony was light hearted and thankfully brief as it was a rather warm day. I think many of us were quietly melting in the church, but I am certain it was nothing compared to what the bride and groom were feeling.

The reception was held in Richmond at a Chinese restaurant, and done in grand style. 12 courses were served and although I don't eat seafood (which most of the menu composed of) I was blissfully full by the end. To give you an idea of the feast that took place, here is the menu after all was said and done. Yummy, eh?

The next day started as a 'knitting day' although it was exactly planned that way. The Richmond Art Gallery was closed, but there was an outdoor art exhibit on by Janet Morton, who
had done some beautiful knit work on and around trees. I had seen knit tagging on outdoor objects, but this work took it to a whole new level. Here are some pics....

More on this day's outings later.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

More dog days of summer.....

Coming back from Vancouver, we were greated by our favorite neighbour. This is Harley who loves having balls thrown for him (what dog doesn't) and tries to pass them through the fence for me to toss.

We were also quite happy to see his owner Lindsay, she is a great neighbour too, and was good enough to pick up our mail while we were away (we would of asked Harley, but he would of chewed on it).

It was good to come back to friendly faces, as our return trip was long and tiring and we will never take the red eye back home again. I had very little sleep and we were both a bit punchy by time we got home at 8 a.m. Crawling into bed, I slept until 3, was up until 9 and crashed again (gotta love jet lag). Anyway, I digress. Let's start from the beginning.

The flight was good out, as it was uneventful. I managed to get some knitting done, and was actually asked by a flight attendent if knitting needles were allowed! Luckily, I came prepared with a print out from of prohibited and permitted items. I was going to put a link to it on this entry, but as a plot to bomb planes with liquid explosives was revealed today, I couldn't find it on the internet (no doubt the list will be radically changed).

Once we landed at Vancouver airport, we got our rental car (Pontiac G6), headed to the hotel (with various diversions due to lack of proper signage) and made our way to Costco. Why Costco, well Heather wanted to find out what the stir fry was like at the 'Resto' as it isn't available in Toronto. Unlike the hot dogs there which are always amazing, the stir fry was less than satisfactory. Being in a place like Richmond was is full of all kinds of Asian cuisine, it wasn't too surprising Costco fell flat. Oh well, we made up for it by doing some shoping that you wouldn't find in Toronto (everytime we find clothes we like at Costco, they are never bigger than a 'L'. At this location, they had mass quantities of 'XL' and we made the most of this situation). Heather's sister Helen and her husband Mike then called later asking us to go out to dinner with Helen's friends at Glowbal restaurant in Yaletown. It was trendy, noisy, but the food was delicious. Poor Helen and Mike had been in the air for 31 hours (travelling from Singapore via Sidney, Hong Kong, and San Francisco) but managed to go out for dinner. Me with my 3 hour jet lag was doppy and tired, while Mike was literally falling asleep at the table.

Day 2 was yarn day of our trip, as I wanted to check out the local wool shops. Diana at our office in Vancouver forwarded to me an article from Spun Magazine that gave out the scoop of the best places to trip out. Based on this advice, we headed first to Birkeland Bros. Wool on Main and King Edward. Wow, what a place. If you are a lover of wool and history, this is the place for you! The carting machine on site is over 90 years old and we met Norm Birkeland who is the second generation of the family who run this company.

He was good enough to show us the machine, and tell us about it's history and it's workings. Just fascinating! His daughter Cara, is the third generation working there, and she was just as friendly and helpful as her father. If I lived in Vancouver this would be one of my favorite stores. I don't think I could name one like it in Toronto, as it's history makes it unique upon itself.

We then swung over to the west side of Vancouver to Dunbar street to look at a 'Touch of Wool'. Nice store in a great neighbourhood, but I didn't really see anything that stood out.

Our final stop was at Urban Yarn in the Point Grey area. Loved this store as it seemed to be a cross between 'Village Yarns', 'Lettuce Knit' and 'Naked Sheep' in Toronto. Many interesting yarns to look at, but ultimately picked up a t-shirt that reads "She was quite a nice girl.....until all that knitting started". We snooped in and around the neighbourhood and found it to be very quite. It seems that with it being a long weekend, not too many people were around shopping. Helen and Mike told us later that they all were at Granville Market.

After a brief rest everyone who was from out of town for Yvonne and Darren's wedding (the latter being Heather's cousin) went for dinner at a Greek restaurant (what else do you do in Richmond, which is predominately Asian). It was great to meet all of Heather's extended family, and put faces to so many names I had heard about. It was strange though, when Darren said he was leaving at 8 p.m. as he was tired and wanted to get ready for the big day tomorrow. It was less strange when about 15 minutes later, the entertainment came out. I don't know how Greek this would be, but a belly dancer performed some rather pervocative numbers.

Here in the first pic, Heather's other cousin Doug is 'coerced' into doing a number with the dancer. I don't know how please his wife Peggy was with all of this, but everyone else found it wildly entertaining. In the second pic, Heather's Uncle Jimmy is encouraged to provide a 'tip' in the dancer's belt. She was very good at her....job, and had several tips during the course of her performance.

When we went back to Heather's Aunt Donna's house Darren mysteriously reappeared as his 'tiredness' had been overcome. It is too bad he missed all the fun, but we were able to show him what he missed through the magic of digital.

Anyway, that will be it for now. The wedding day and the rest to come later.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The dog days of summer

No, not this kind of dog. This is Coady, who belongs to Tina and Frank and who had us over for dinner last Saturday night. It was quite yummy and we enjoyed making Coady sing (yowl!) Frank was also good enough to give me many of his downloaded tracks of 80's and alternative music, it will give me lots to listen to when I get up to date with my favorite podcasts, Cast-on and Knitcast.

The dogs I am referring to are the hot, sticky, icky days and nights when the temperature is high and humidity is relentless. Here is the proof, this picture of our thermometre just off the kitchen window was taken at 7:38 this evening. Yes, it reads 33 degrees....yuch. The forecasters are saying it will start to break tomorrow and into Thursday, but I think for most people it can't come fast enough. Thank goodness we have air, but it is like being trapped in your own home, like when it is -33 degrees in January.

The reason I haven't been blogging since dad's birthday hasn't been so much the heat outside, but the frustration in trying to knit my first piece of lace. I thought it would be challenging, but I was getting more and more put off by the stitch (I wasn't putting too many rows on). A consultation with my mother convinced me that a 32 row repeat on a lace pattern maybe a tad bit ambitious for a first time project.

Consulting with my good friend Eden, convinced me to try the "Convertible" in the Spring 06 edition of Knitty. That would be much more resonable I thought, only 14 row repeat and as Eden would be going at it too, it would be a 2 person knit-a-long.

More frustation. I just could not get it to work. Finally, I thought it would be best to go with the pattern I bought with the Sea Silk for $2. It only had a 2 row repeat and was mercifully basic. Much to my relief, I have been able to knit this.

I was seriously beginning to wonder if I should give back my DKC membership (now that would have been sad). Either lace is something I am going to have to build my way up to, or I am simply lace challenged and shouldn't attempt anything more complicated than this.

Considering the heat we are enduring right now, I am quite content to be working with yarn made of silk and sea cell (sea weed) and hope to make great progress during the flight out to Vancouver on Friday. On the itinerary are plans to visit some local yarn shops and get a feel for the 'left coast' yarn vibe. Should have much to post when we return on Wednesday.