08 April 2006

Life is always better at your local yarn store, even if it's not local

Today I was able to break away from the insanity of work and have a few moments to myself to learn about Tokyo. And of course, what would be in my search but a local yarn shop. Initially, the Internet offered up a large craft mega-store -- something I presume on the order of a "Michael's" that the states has to offer. Instead, I opted for the dark-horse option and chose the small yarn shop that showed up in my MSN web search.

And, how delightful the find! See "Mother Earth BIS" , the natural-dyeing and gallery cafe run by Naomi Tokuni in Tokyo. Elegant yarn, amazing hand work with sport-weight yarn and small needles, wonderful colors. I don't know if I'll ever knit over a size 4 needle again. Naomi's projects are so beautiful and inspiring. The good news/bad news is that Naomi takes only cash, so I was limited to spending the 5000 yen I had on me.

Naomi Tokuni's "Mother Earth BIS" Natural-dyeing shop and gallery in Tokyo, Japan

See more of Naomi and her shop here.

07 April 2006

Knitting Re-do, or .25 change in stitch gauge really does matter

Spent 10 hours knitting on the plane on the way to Tokyo. Got here and realized that the sweater I was knitting was going to be 5" too big. On me, great, on the sweater's recipient, not. So, rip-it, rip-it -- and I start all over again.

Frogged sweater

20 May 2006 - Carol's orange sweater update:

As of last night I completed the sweater front and back, almost ready to join the shoulder seams. Carol had requested a "plain orange sweater".  To avoid going crazy, I added a seed stitch border that took place just above the underarms. Last night when I had her try it on, she said, "I don't like the border." Damn. Rip, rip, rip. It is now back to a tube awaiting the separation between front and back. But, this project has been a continuous un-do/re-do/un-do/re-do project. I need to set it aside and wait for cooler weather.

Moral of the story: if the recipient of the gift wants it plain, just buy a plain sweater at LL Bean and have them gift wrap it.

04 April 2006

Tokyo is just, well, grey today.

I'm spending the week in Tokyo on business. And you know, I am just not that wild about this place. Granted, so far, all I've seen is city and more city. And, rain and more rain. There is something very sobering, as a manager of localization, walking around in a city with really, poorly translated signage. English is hip, as far as I can tell, but the combo of words used for naming just leaves me with a big fat question mark in my head. For instance, I just went to a monstrosity of a shopping mall (14 stories) and the sign outside the door is "Creative Life, Toku Hands". Now, that sorta makes you think of, umm, something made by hand, creativity, etc... Inside, it was a Tokyo-Target with widgets and gidgets that are flashy and overpriced. I am humbled as I walk around and hour after hour and do not hear one word of a language I know. And, anything I say is not understood. All Americans should have this experience at least 10 times in their life. It might create a tsunami of understanding and patience in the culture.

I have all day Saturday to myself, and maybe I'll feel something different by then. At least, maybe I'll find a little Japanese yarn!

The good news is the cherry blossoms are in full flower. Here is a photo shot early this morning (in the grey rain) from my hotel:

Tokyo Cherry Blossoms!

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