Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My thought on babies

I don't have a baby yet and I am not sure I will ever have one.

Having observed how kids are like nowadays, it freaks me out. I used to babysit for a family when I first arrived in Paris as a student. The 14-year-old girl had more boyfriends in one go than I had ALL MY LIFE together. The 10-year-old boy played porno games on computer and the parents said it's fine.

I thought it was because I have a very conservative upbringing but as I have found out, it isn't me. It is just that parenthood is very different from what it was like before.

I know you are going to say, 'hey, you have never been a mother, you can't judge others'. I can't of course not. But even I am not a mother, I wouldn't understand how can a girl close the front door of the house on her mother's face because her mother said no to buying yet another toy. I wouldn't have allowed that. Our parents didn't allow us, did they?

Glad that I am not alone in thinking parents are too permissive nowadays, other bloggers apparently agree. (I thought I am a witch or something to think that girl who closed the door on her mother's face was a devil!)

I can also understand that both parents are working nowadays and they want to give them as much as they can to compensate for the fact that they are not there for the children more time than they could. I also know that a lot of women have children very late in their lives and it is some sort of achievement they feel, etc. I understand all these.

But darlings, letting your kids do whatever they want and you being obsessed about them is not helping. You don't need to be a mother to know that. You just need to be a sane adult to know.

Just to be clear, I am NOT against all parents, I am just talking about 'baby-people'. Do you have those 'baby-people' around you who can talk only about their babies? They don't have hobbies or anything else to talk about. They don't talk about their jobs or their own lives in general, they just talk about their babies. 'Oh, you can't believe it, she sat up yesterday!' 'Man, he slept the whole night through last night, it's big progress, isn't it?' Do you have one or many of those people around you? Honestly, I don't know about you, but I wonder if anyone out there apart from themselves the parents, close family member and close friends will care about if the above-quoted baby have slept through the whole night.

I remember my dad told me a story when I was little. (My dad is a good story-teller, he likes to tell stories).

Once upon a time, there was this evil boy who was a bully in the village. His parents were rich and he was the only son. They let him does whatever he wanted. But they were rich and they got him a job as the officer of court (it is a Chinese story, we got officer of court to represent the king in different regions). He messed around and stole money from the government, etc. He finally got into jail and on the death roll. It broke his mother heart. She went to see him and asked him, 'darling, what do you need?' She tried to touch his face across the bar in the jail. He came forward and bit part of the flesh from her arm off. She cried and wondered, 'why do you do that darling?' He said, 'it is ALL your fault, why didn't you teach me what is right and what is wrong? Now, I am on the death roll, you kill me, you are the murderer!!!'

The story is a bit bloody, to the contrary of what European thinks about us being zen and all, many of Chinese traditional stories are bloody. Apologies if the story freaked you out a little. However, I hope the freak-out effect will make you think a little, just as it did to me when I was little.

Here is another thing, try to be obsessed over other things that matter in your life, eg. knitting, cars, stamps, model trains whatever and talk about these stuff around the clock with people. What will people do? People won't take it. But if you talk about babiessssss, then people will think you are a witch if you don't listen to them. What has the world become? But then again, the 'baby-people' is just one of the fuck up things we have in the world nowadays. If you keep an eye on this blog, I will eventually talk about them. Or, rather, those things will eventually pissed me off enough to deserve a blog entry.

In the meantime, hey, why can't I talk about my baby the whole freaking day long? Look at him, isn't he cute? What? You have a baby and he is my baby. If I choose not to have children and have cats, you should respect me as much as I respect you and let me talk about my cat the whole freaking day long, alright? Try again, look at him, he might be a bit more hairy than yours but he is real nice. He won't grow up and call you from a police station to ask for a bail. No matter how much you spoil him, tell him he is a king or a god or he doesn't have to give a crap about other passengers on the bus.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Knitting and Stitching Show 2008

At this corner of Europe, the little emerald of an island has everything you need. Beautiful landscape that provides nutritious food, abundant amount of fresh water from the rain, strong wind to provide power to make electricity, lovely people who can see hope in the most hopeless situation; of course, there are drinks, whisky, guinness, etc.

But the little emerald has only one fiber and craft show a year! Isn't it unbelievable? Think about the amount of Aran sweater this island have produced.
Needless to say, all the hopes of every knitter in this island is on this one show...the Knitting and Stitching Show.

Last year, it has been a big disappointment as there seemed to be more non-craft trader than craft trader on the floor. But this year...this year is something else...
Believe me, there were more than you can see from these photos, just that I was too busy looking at everything that I didn't always remember to take photos. Hey, I walked around the exhibition floor from 11:00 to 16:00 non-stop without lunch, I couldn't have done better, no.

The morning started by attending a seminar with Debbie Bliss in a Georgian style library room in the venue. She talked about the job of being a handknit designer, the creative process and tons of jokes. It is so nice to meet designers in person and realised they are just a fellow knitter, not some unattainable saint figure. She is very funny, very nice and very down to earth and she remembers my sister whom she met in Paris for book signing! Can you see them? On the table, there are finished object from her books for us to try on!
Is there a better way to start a knitting show?

After the seminar, did I decide to have lunch? No. I completely forgot about it and headed straight to the market.

First up, discontinued yarn half price sale from the Black Sheep Company


The owner of the stall didn't even mind to be on the photo, see how happy he is?

Then you have stall for yarn storage for those who already have way too much yarn.

You also have many other interesting crafts in the show, like hat making.

There were workshops in many different craft. Here, they are doing needle felting with machines. I have also seen wet felting, silk felting, papercraft, hat making, etc. I will probably join some of those workshops next year, I just didn't even know they have some.

From now on, if there is anymore people arguing about knitting and crocheting being craft or art, they should come look at these exhibition. There is really not much difference between craft and art nor there is any point of arguing about it. Why don't we argue how wrong it is for those people who spend their time watching reality show?

I don't know what it is, if the crocheted coral is not art...

Did I finally remember to have lunch yet? Yes, I did, at 16:00!

So in the canteen area, there is a Knit and Relax corner for people to knit tiny scarf for Simon Communities of Ireland.

Yes, there was a Sister in the show, yes.

After lunch, I went upstair to see the demonstration of different craft associations and guilds.

Isn't it a lovely way to spend an afternoon?

Yes again, there is a huge scarf and a huge ball of yarn hanging down from the ceiling.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is it just me?

When I first started up this blog, I had an intention to talk strictly only about two things: My knitting and cats. The reason is I don't want to get too opinionated and then get angry messages from strangers and all that (you know how it is like on internet nowadays, don't you?)

However, I think I am over it. I am over the fact that there are always people who have nothing better to do than to send you a 'YOU SUCK' message on your blog, no constructive purpose whatsoever.

My sister's blog was number 2 on top 10 blogger two days ago. She got, of course, a lot of heart warming readers, including finding her kindergarten friend back through that. However, as you can already imagine, she got 'you suck and why don't you spend time doing something to save the miserable lives on earth' messages. (I swear I quote the above message!)

I wonder why this person sit his/her ass in front of the computer, sending message to stranger, asking them to 'save the miserable lives on earth', instead of moving his/her ass out of the house and REALLY save those lives him/herself?! Buddy, it is only a blog about knitting and living in Paris as a foreigner. You have a blog, I have a blog, many of us have a blog nowadays, chill the crap out, ok? If you don't like what you see, just click on the top right corner on your screen for PC-user and top left corner on your screen for Mac-user, close the window. It's easy, try that...ciao!

It then brings down to the knitting-related topic. Let's see, how many of you (I assume most of you if not all of you are knitters reading my blog, why else you will read about me?!) got the following conversation at some point in your knitting life?

Stranger/Colleague/someone else: What are you doing there?

Me/You/Knitters: I am knitting. (Thought, I am not swimming, ain't I?)

Stranger/Colleague/someone else: Geez, I thought nobody does that anymore, it's beautiful, my grandma used to....(blah blah blah, omitable)...but I won't have time for this.

I don't know about you, I can't help but wonder (Yes, I sound like SATC now, didn't do that on propose I swear), how do I have time then? Honestly, I have a full-time job, a part-time course, a cat to take care of, am thinking of start up a cat sitter business, I finish a pair of socks in a week JUST using bus-riding time (only 30 minutes from home to office one way)!

Are people that busy nowadays? Or is it just me to notice that these people are actually watching crap TV 3 hours a day and complain about not having time to care about others, spend more time with kids, knit, call their parents, and other nice and important things? Is it just me to notice how much time they spend on the bus reading gossip magazine and staring at the free newspaper full of crap?

I must be honest with you now that I don't owe a TV and I haven't bought newspaper or get free ones for 8 years now. I am not saying it to show that I am holier than someone, I am saying that to show that I might be FREE-R than someone.

I don't owe a TV because I have spent 23 years living in a city where there are TVs everywhere! I mean, seriously, everywhere! Bus, taxi, mini-van, some lifts, on the street, not kidding. So I figure I can do with some peace at home. I love movies and documentaries, I did Film Studies for two terms in college, I watch DVDs, that's all I need.

I don't buy newspapers because 8 years ago I had a conversation with my oil-painting teacher. He said, 'I don't buy newspaper, I prefer to read books, I prefer to be able to choose what I like to read,' everyone in the class was amazed and asked 'how do you know what is happening in the world,' he said (and I remember all my life), 'believe me, you will know. If it is really important, you will know even without buying newspaper, if you don't know them, they are probably not important'.

I tried for 8 years and believe me, he was right. Every day, I know what is happening in the world by hearing from people. If it is something important, then it will be on the top of the page on google if you want to look into it and search for the information.

Believe me, with the free time coming out from gossip, ad, unnecessary information from TV and newspaper, you will have so much more time to care about others, knit or send 'you suck' messages to people's blog if that's what you want or 'spend time doing something to save the miserable lives on earth' or whatever.

NB: No judgement on those of you who love TV, gossip magazine, newspaper and stuff, I am just saying I don't and how do I manage to have time, so if you want to send me angry message on this subject, maybe you REALLY can save time by not doing it, see?

(Larm said: Be nice to each other, I am watching you, maow!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Irish Knitter Retreat Report

The retreat is finished.

Are you expecting a photo journal to report the whole trip?

Have I made one?

The answer is no because I was having WAY TOO MUCH FUN to remember to take photos! But the great thing about being with bunch of knitters is, there is always some careful knitters who will do so!

Please check out the link here if you want to see some photos from the retreat. Thanks to Diane who has generously put up on flickr. She has also put in an entry in here if you are interested to read about what crazy stuff we have done.

Here are a few shots of Yarncat in case some of you are interested what I have done in the retreat:

Yarn Quiz (the one in blue top on the left is me): we are supposed to guess which yarn it is from the samples. Did I win anything? Nope. The good news is I don't owe THAT much yarn to know all the yarn on the sample board. Hehe.

Learning to spin on a spinning wheel: One of the fellow knitter is kind enough to have bought a spinning wheel to the retreat so that we can all try out. How do I feel? I feel like I am learning to ride a bicycle again => panic!

Knit: Yes, that's me knitting socks.

Here it is, we are sewing up the blanket.

the finished blanket with one last shot before handing in to Mairead, the owner of Craig Country House.

See? I am touching the blanket once more before letting it go... it was difficult...

Thanking Mairead

All in all, I have a wonderful wonderful weekend with bunch of likeminded people from all walks of lives. We got a mathmatician, a town planner, a IT professor, a civil engineer, an architect, two nurses, and many other Raveler that I haven't even got enough time to know what they do in their lives. Have I mentioned we were all women? So next time, if anyone gives me the knitters-must-be-grandmas-sitting-on-a-rocking-chair shit, I am going to so give out to them. (Not that there is anything wrong to be a grandma sitting and knitting on a rocking chair to start with!)

Now the difficult part is to wait until next year retreat arrives...

PS. The country house is a very nice place to stay and the host family is very friendly and caring. So if anyone of you want to experience Irish countryside and want to be away from touristic things, you should definite consider it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Irish Knitters Retreat - ready to go!

I am so excited! After waiting for so many months, it is finally here! Irish Knitters Retreat!
Stress has been kicking in to make sure I have got enough knitting, yarn, tools, drinks, etc for the trip to come.

We are all supposed to make up a square especially for this trip so that all the sqaures will be sewed up together to make a blanket for this trip as a memory.

I have been trying very hard to think of what to make! Something that represent me and some new technique that I have never tried before...

Here is the result...

No, I am joking! It was the back of my square using intrasia technique. It is my first intrasia project ever. Here is the front:

Look, it is even better after blocking...

Actually, I have kind of cheated since it is not me who have done the design, it is you-know-who (note to those who don't know: the man who is the graphic designer behind YarnCat).

So what does this square said about me? Here is the official entry to the booklet of the retreat I have handed in:

My square has a white background with intarsia cats in purple and green on it. The reason I chose this pattern is very simple: I love cats, I am working on getting a qualification to be Cat Behaviourist. The choice of colour: Purple is the colour of Bauhinia, which is the emblem of Hong Kong and green is for the Shamrock; the symbol of Ireland. It is my first intarsia project so far.

I wonder what will it look like after all of the square got sew up together and how will the trip turns out. Check this space for updates after this weekend.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

First handspun FO

I am blogging a bit less frequently than before recently. Here is the reason why...

Can you see why yet? Yes, my cat is sitting on my computer all the time!

'Hey, are you talking about me? Don't blame me! It is not the real reason!'

Well, ok! It is not the real reason. The real reason is, I have been quite busy recently. Working, studying the Cat Behaviourist course, planning on Christmas knitting, charity knitting, learning to sew, etc. Have been really busy indeed. But you can see one of the FO here today.

Do you remember these?

Yes, my first successfully spun yarn. I have winded them up to become this.

And now, it has become this!

Pattern from the book Spin to Knit, very flexible pattern to show off the energized single that beginner tend to make. Very happy with the project and very happy with the fact that I can successfully spin yarn that can be made into useable item. The experience is unbelievable.

What's next? Tons of project lining up to be done for Christmas. I am not making this up, photo here to prove...

(No, the cat is not helping...)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Yarn Cat at Wicklow Mountains

Last Saturday, Yarncat went on a Wicklow Tour with the man and the sister.

It was such an amazing experience that I can't even put my feeling in words. To try to do so, I can only tell you - the images of the landscape is still haunting me and today is Tuesday.
Have a look:

I really can't tell you how beautiful the place is. The truth is, even the photos I have uploaded here are not doing the justice how beautiful the landscape truly is. All I can say is, GO just GO, you will be stunned.

If you are going to go on the tour, my piece of advice is, go on this one.

The thing is, there are so many different companies in the market for Wicklow Tour that you get to see all the competitors lining up along O'Connell Street (note to non-Irish readers: the main street of Dublin) at 9 am. You might wonder what is so different about the one I joined?

The difference is I can almost swear it is the best of a tour you can ask for! I am never a tour person, I have joined ONE tour in my life when I was 17 and then I am done! I hate tours, I like to have freedom to wonder around, to have my own adventure, to look for places to see, restaurant to try out, etc. But the Unplugged is so good that I don't feel I am stressed, I am not treated like chickens, and I actually get MORE by joining this tour then going there by myself. The reason is their organisation is excellent. They give you enough free time without too much free time leaving you hanging around bored, the guide is smart, funny and not one time saying something that I found bullshit. He also DJ at the same time on the bus! Playing Ronnie Drew and all sort of Irish songs that go with the landscape at the right time! I swear, at a few point, all these Irishness surrounding me by the music, the green, the idea of me being in this incredible combination of all wet my eyes. I am not exaggrating. Our guide was Damien who was an engineer who have traveled all over the world, he talked about Ireland, environmental issue, Irish people, sometimes actually life in general. It is one of the few talkative people I encounter in my life that I actually want to hear more what he needs to say, that say it all.

Of course, to an obsessive knitter, a tour without yarn is something missed out. There was yarn alright.

The shot of the yarn shelf is actually inside a local woolen mill. Apart from yarn (which is actually a very minor marketing item for them I guess), most of the space instead the shop is selling tourist souvenirs. There is also a coffee shop inside...

Yep, you don't have to rub your eyes, it is not an illusion, it was a spinning wheel...close up...

To anyone of you concerned, I didn't buy anything coz their yarn are in packages and I still got enough Irish wool from Aran Islands for a while.

Apart from final product, you can even get to be close with the producers!

You can get even closer...

Or even closer...

Finally, I think it is one of the biggest jokes I have ever experienced in my life...a lake that looks like a pint of guinness!!! I am not making this up, look at that!!!

I have no religion belief whatsoever, but I guess there must be some 'power' somewhere to bring Irish people such a joke. I mean, it wouldn't be as funny if the lake is somewhere else, right? I wonder who has this idea...