August 2009

Ōyama is an accessible day trip from Yokohama or Toyko

Entrance to Tanzawa Park.

Entrance to Tanzawa Park.



On the commuter train through Kanagawa’s expansive suburbs I wondered if there was indeed an end to the sea of houses and industry. That’s when the fellow next to me tapped my shoulder. I had asked him about directions earlier. Now he pointed out the window behind our seats, where mountains loomed up through the haze. Ōyama (which simply means “big mountain” in Japanese) is part of the Tanzawa-Ōyama Park in the Kanagawa Prefecture. It’s an accessible day trip from Tokyo or Yokohama, and definitely a good destination when the mercury gets up over 30.



A very blurry photo, but I just wanted to brag about watching a summer fireworks display with a view of Tokyo Tower.

I lived in Montreal for 5 years and never once ate smoked meat at Schwartz’s. One summer nights the line always stretched out the door and up St-Laurent. Another time, I’d say to myself as I cycled past. here is a video dedicated to smoked meat, skateboarding, poutine and metal music… all thing that make Montreal awesome. (thanks to Fagstein for posting it first). 

even in the snow.... (taken from the an unusual day blog)

even in the snow.... (taken from the an unusual day blog)

This is an oldie, but I’m only now getting around to publishing it..

I wore this neck warmer all through the northern Canadian summer. sigh.

I wore this neck warmer all through the northern Canadian summer. sigh.

Last Spring, with a pair of bachelor’s degrees under our belts, my boyfriend and I packed up the pick-up truck and headed for the Yukon. The days were still cool and the nights in the tent could be downright cold. In fact, it was the worst summer weather the Yukon saw in some 30 years. I wanted to knit something to keep me warm and also wanted to display some beautiful soft handspun I picked up in Nelson. Nelson is a beautiful town in interior British Columbia full of draft dodgers and ski bums. I came up with this simple and versatile neck warmer that can also double as a toque. This design is also great for snowboard and ski enthusiasts who worry about getting tangled in their scarf.



[MC] Mountain Yarns Crafts [100% wool one-ply; 65g skein]; color: Green; 1 skein

[CC] Mountain Yarns Crafts [100% wool one-ply; 65g skein]; color: Orange; 1 skein

2 sets of US #7/4.5 mm double-point needles (or a toque-sizes circular needles)

Safety pin: GAUGE: 23 stitches and 28 rows = 4″ in stockinette stitch

PATTERN NOTES: Stripe pattern: MC x17; CC x 2; MC x 2; CC x 10; MC x 2; CC x 14; MC x 1; CC x 2, MC x 3; CC x 4; MC x 5; CC x 1; MC x 10

PATTERN: 1. TUBE: Cast on 90 sts. and divide between 3 or 4 dpns. Work 15 rows of stockinette stitch in the round.

You’re now about to create the casing for a drawstring: Count six rows back in the work and pick up 90 sts back onto the second set of dpns. (Note: to make it easier you can put the stitches from the main needles onto holders while you work this second layer)

Work this “second layer” for 2 more rows.

On the 3rd row: Needle 1: K1, Yarn over, k2tog, k until 3 stitches from end of N1, k2tog, YO, K1 (The YOs form holes for the drawstring). 

Work 2 more rows, until the front and back flaps of the casing are the same length.

Join the flaps together by knitting through one stitch from the front and back together.

pull the drawstrings and it becomes a toque.

pull the drawstrings and it becomes a toque.


Now the hard part is now over. Continue knitting in the round until the tube measures 10 inches. Bind off (hint: if you use a larger needle to bind off the stitches will stay stretchy)

2. I-CORD: Using two dpns, CO three stitches. Knit across row, then slide the stitches to the other end of the needle and knit across again.. and again… and again… until the cord measures 2 ft long

FINISHING: Weave in any loose ends. Push the i-cord through the casing using a safety pin.

This is my first attempt at actually writing out a knitting pattern. I thought I’d start off easy with a facecloth. 

Starburst stitches evoke images of spring blossoms and summer fireworks.

Starburst stitches evoke images of spring blossoms and summer fireworks.


It’s mid-summer in Japan. Hot and so humid it’s like you’re swimming. If you can’t find refuge somewhere air conditioned, you will likely engage in the national pasttime of dabbing your forehead and neck with a little towel. 

     Everyone in Japan carries a facecloth. They’re practical, not just for wiping sweat, but because public washrooms here rarely have hand dryers.

     Some other national past-times include springtime flower viewings (hanami) and summer fireworks displays (hanabi). I chose a star-burst pattern that evokes both of these images. (See Elizabeth Freeman’s Laminaria from Knitty’s Spring 08 issue).

     Towels are a major accessory here, so be luxurious and knit several to match your shoes and favourite handbag.



I used Ski Yarn brand cotton yarn (pink) and Charkha Cotton Tweed (green), though any soft cotton is suitable. 

Pair of 3.5mm (pink) or 4mm (green) needles.

Darning needle for finishing.


Star Pattern: 

Knit three together but don’t drop them from the left needle. Yarn over and knit into the three again. (Three stitches becomes three stitches).



Work the star pattern in a single stitch (One stitch becomes three stitches).
















CO 3 sts

Row 1 (RS): Increase, k1, inc (7 sts).

Row 2 (all WS rows): purl.

Row 3: inc, k1, star, k1, inc  (11 sts).

Row 5: inc, k1, star, k1, star, k1, inc (15 sts).

Continue in this pattern increasing at each edge until your hanky measures about 7 inches along one edge. 

RS: Work without increasing: k2, *star, k1**, repeat from * to ** ending with star, k2.

WS: purl.

RS: Start decreasing:  k3tog, k1, *star, k1**, repeat from * to **, knit last 3sts tog.

WS: purl.

Continue decreasing on eithe

r edge until 5 stitches remain. 

RS: K2tog, k1, k2tog.

WS: P3tog, break yarn and pull through the loop.


Finishing: Weave in loose ends.