Category Archives: Knitting

Ba-chan Withdrawals


My mom left yesterday and we are downcast. Depressed, really. It was the longest visit at six weeks, and by the end of it, I couldn’t remember what it was like not having my mom around. As always, she left in her wake three heartily-fed and slightly thicker-waisted folks, a smattering of flower-adorned purses, and several hand-knitted and upcycled sweaters. I’ve shown you the brown cardigan and hot pink top already, and today, I have a purple number she created in what seemed like minutes. And from what I could tell, she unraveled a couple of thrifted sweaters to make this.


K feels the departure most keenly. The two of them giggled and guffawed endlessly throughout the duration of the visit, and my mom spoiled all three of us, but gave K the most magnanimous gift of all: undivided attention. Because I’m always rushing around trying to get this thing or another done, I don’t know that I’m fully there with K, try as I might. It’s one of the things I decided I need to really work on this year: to adopt my mom’s ability to really listen and pay attention.


Of course, it wasn’t always skittles and unicorns, as M likes to say. In the presence of your mother, you are always a child, and with it comes all the attendant childhood discomforts. And it couldn’t have been easy for my mom to share a room with K for so long (we have a very small house). But my mom and I have always been close, and who knows how much longer we can have these visits? I’m grateful for this extended time together, and we had so much fun visiting museums, exploring the city, celebrating multiple holidays and discussing, as we always do, the big and small events of our days. Unfortunately, she caught a cold similar to mine (so awful) at the tail end of the visit, so it was a less than ideal ending, but she rested a lot and left in good spirits.

bachan-and-kLook at them frolicking in the one and only snow day we’ve had in Seattle so far (my mom is doing a little dance in this photo). They are so sweet, those two. We miss you Ba-chan, and hope to see you again very, very soon!


Little Mittens


I finally slept through the night on Tuesday, so I cautiously approached my sewing table to see if I had the energy to make something yesterday. I’ve been missing sewing terribly. I rooted around and recalled that I’d been planning to sew K some mittens since it’s been getting so cold lately and she’s either lost or outgrown the ones she had. Enter Oliver + S and my trusty copy of Little Things To Sew. It seemed a manageable project for an undernourished, bronchial-challenged, semi-invalid.


I used fleece from my stash, and scrap fabric for the elastic casing (the scrap is from the first dress I made for K on this crazy sewing venture I started last year). It would normally be a very quick sew, I imagine. I had to pause a lot to cough so I’m estimating it took double the time it should, but it felt good to be sitting in front of my machine again.


But oh, that did me in. Beaten by a little pair of mittens. I’m going to go rest some more, but I felt that it might be a little sad to just show a pair of mittens so I included one of my more ambitious knitting projects from a few years ago. A much loved bear with floppy, asymmetrical ears. I’m pretty sure it was a Debbie Bliss pattern. And aren’t those unpainted nesting dolls fabulous? They’re part of a craft project I’ve been wanting to do for ages.


I hope K likes the mittens – she doesn’t know about them yet. Chances are good since they’re blue, but maybe they’re a little too big? Anyone else tried making these mittens?

Hannah’s Wardrobe

As promised, here is a roundup of Hannah’s new fashion items made by my mom. We have eight dresses…


Five knitted cuteness…(I’m not sure if that pink one is supposed to be a skirt or poncho, but it works as both!)

Four bottoms…

A purse, and goodness me, a swimsuit! That matches the one I made for K here!

They all look lovely on Hannah, but this one is my favorite:

And I’ve noticed that K likes to put her in this dress a lot, fully accessorized:

I’m bowled over, aren’t you? My my mom left town promising to make some shoes for H (shoes!!!), and I have no doubt that we will be receiving one of her famous gigantic boxes soon with much more than doll-sized shoes…lucky, lucky K.

Happy Friday + Cowl Haiku

I knit me a cowl
imperfect, “rustic” mayhaps
it will do for now


K asked for one too
so I went clickety clack
now she has a match

Pattern from here. Happy Friday, and have a wonderful weekend all!!


Quiet Day

Wednesday was a quiet day – it might have looked an awful lot like a lazy day. I’m feeling the onset of a cold and am trying to take it easy. Started some knitting. Thank you, Robin, the cowl pattern you recommended is so quick and satisfying. I’m nearly done and getting ready to block it. I think I’ve gotten over the sweater trauma. I’d also like to try this chunky cowl.

Had too many cups of coffee and pieces of toast.

Noticed that the paper white flowers started to bloom. I can’t believe I haven’t killed it with neglect.

K saw me knitting and wanted to start her own version of a scarf. We didn’t get very far.

I am loving this knitting book. The images are so beautiful. This color-block blanket has my name on it and seems very doable. I’m thinking grey and white. Or maybe I’ll be super daring and try grey and cream.

Trying to get my painting mojo back (and thinking of outfits to sew and boots I’d like to wear). Pretty pretty gouache colors, aren’t they?

I like quiet days. Today, I’m learning how to use a kiln – very excited!

Happy Friday + Knitting

Happy Friday! Thank you so much for all the kind comments and emails yesterday! I feel a little bit like the time M’s friends came over unannounced a few days ago. The house was in a state that could only be described as disastrous (cleaning was not a priority during the art show prep and supplies covered every available surface) and though I’ve known these friends a while, I don’t know them that well. I was a bit embarrassed to have them see the messy side of me, but I suddenly felt a lot more comfortable with them. After some furious tidying, my house is almost restored to its former semi-neatness, and now I’m eager to talk about making stuff.

So. Any crafter wanting to prove his or her mettle will usually attempt knitting at some point. That point came for me around 2007. I bought a copy of this book, some knitting needles and wool, and embarked on an epic task of adding/dropping stitches to create a sweater for M.

It took me a year.

The dark forest green wool I used is fantastic. It hardly pills, it’s mind-bogglingly warm, and the color brings out the verdant undertones of his blue-green eyes. The problem was that knitting a sweater for a man requires copious amounts of yarn. Crazy, crazy amounts. I kept running out and at one point had to make do with a similar-but-not-quite-right skein because I had literally purchased all the stock at two stores.

I was cursing that sweater by the time I finally finished it twelve months later. And to add insult to injury, despite my careful hand-washing and efforts of laying it out flat to dry, the darn thing kept shrinking. M adores this sweater because I remind him endlessly of all the sweat and tears that went into it, but I’ve begged him not to wear it — it now looks like a really bad fashion statement from the eighties and is hideously cropped on my man (but the sleeves keep getting longer…how??).

I’m afraid that I do not love knitting. However, I am a crafter out to prove my mettle and feel that the first project I took on was just too challenging for my skill level, and I didn’t give this ancient and highly respectable craft a fair shake. So I am going to try again this winter. My new knitting goal: a cowl. I will let you know how this pans out. Perhaps I will fall in love. I hope so.

Since I got all personal with y’all yesterday, I figured it’s high time I get over my phobia of getting my picture taken. I’ve been preparing to sew clothes for myself and it wouldn’t be any fun if I couldn’t share them with you. I decided to take baby steps and model M’s shrunken sweater. Hard to see here, but the sweater is actually quite roomy on me and makes me look like I have Michelin man arms.

Hi. I’m Sanae. Friends, I wore make-up for you. I rarely wear make-up these days. And my hair doesn’t look like that normally either. It’s always in some bizarre, frayed bun with pieces sticking out all over (I know that top knots are all the rage with the cool kids, but mine looks nothing like that). And because this was my first time with a tripod and remote, I kept cutting off weird parts of my body and face. It felt really odd and awkward taking pictures of myself, I must say. I can’t even go into how mortifying it was perusing them – I had no idea that I have a lazy eye and that my eyebrows are uneven! I didn’t use any Photoshop magic despite the enormous urge to do so.

Anyway, have a wonderful weekend everyone! I’ll be back on Monday with an outfit for K!