Thursday, 27 March 2008

Back to the knitting

I've hit a bit of a rough patch knitting-wise lately. Kind of caught in between projects. I know there's stuff that I have to knit - for friends' babies, exhibition etc. But it makes it so much harder, cause it doesn't always tee up with what I want to knit.

At the moment I'm knitting a salad (ready for the exhibition in April). I jelly dyed some 4 ply, and have been experimenting with increases and decreases to get the most lettuce-like leaves. Really, it's been a good process, especially to see the effect of the position of increases on how the leaf turns out. No pictures now. You'll have to wait till the exhibition.

Ready to jump on the needles is a hat - belated Christmas present for my friend - and I think a baby's vest (for a friend who's due in June). I started a 'snuggle' (jumpsuit), but there have been quality probs with the yarn, and I'm not looking forward to the back, so it's resting at the moment. But isn't the stitch definition lovely ...

Finished are Joe's socks (a day late for our wedding anniversary)

A baby jacket

And upsized Saartje's Booties

Also resting is a bit of a folly - Jeanie knitted in cotton, on 2 mm needles. It was a good pattern to take to Japan, nicely repetitive, and no seaming to deal with. Given how long it's taken me to knit 15 cm, I think this will be a 'long term' project.

The blanket is also finished, and is currently on display in the US. I'll publish photos when it arrives safely back home (hopefully in time for winter!).

Monday, 24 March 2008

What's so good about Friday??

I was always baffled about why Good Friday was so named. What's so good about Jesus dying? Surely it should be called Bad Friday, and then we could have Good Sunday.

When you read the Bible accounts of what happened to Jesus on the day he died (the day we remember as Good Friday), there doesn't seem to be much good happening. He's brought before Jewish and Roman courts on trumped up charges, beaten, mocked, rejected by his followers, and the people of Jerusalem, who had welcomed him into the city only a week or so earlier, and finally hung on a cross to die a tortuous death. So where's the good?

In Mark's account of the Jesus death, it even seems that God (the father) is rejecting his son.

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabaccthani?" - which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34)

The apostle John includes Jesus' last words in his account: "It is finished" (John 19:30b)

Jesus' dying words on the cross help to explain why it is, that this day is so good.

God, the almighty creator and sustainer of the universe is completely and totally good. The truth about all human beings is that we reject God as Lord (boss) and try to do things our own way. This means that we are enemies of God, and are separated from Him. No matter how much we try to 'behave ourselves' we don't meet the perfect standard needed to be reconciled (brought back together) with God.

Jesus, however, as both fully human and fully divine did live a perfect life, that was pleasing to God. On the cross, Jesus sacrificed himself on our behalf. He cried out to God "Why have you forsaken me?" The reason: He had taken all of our rebellion upon his own head. In his death, Jesus performed a majestic 'swapsie'. He took on all our dodginess (everybody's - people already dead, and people not born yet), and we take on his perfection.

So what about his other words "It is finished" ?? Jesus' death wasn't an accident. It had been planned since the beginning (even back when Adam and Eve first rebelled). For all the time leading up to Jesus' death, God had been planning it, as a means to restore the relationship between Himself, and His people. So as Jesus died, God's plan was complete.

But even more than that. I don't know much about formal grammar - most of what I learnt was by studying French at high school. But I do know that there are different types of 'tenses' for verbs, the most obvious being past, present and future, etc, etc. When Jesus said "It is finished" it was actually in a form that means "It has been and forever will be finished." Now that is HUGE. That is something to have total confidence in.

Not only has Jesus reconciled rebellious people with a perfect God. But we can be certain that it is totally effective, and nothing can happen that may change the offer of salvation found in Jesus. Now if that isn't good, then what is?

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Japan - The knitting

We didn't spend much time in big cities. Ten of the 14 days were spent in a ski resort (that was rather isolated). By the time you take away travel times, we ended up with 1 day in Tokyo, and 1 day in Kyoto. Added to that, there were 5 in our group (me, husband, mum, dad, bro), so traipsing around the suburbs of Tokyo to find yarn stores was not and option.


We did make it to Shinjuku, one evening. Dropping the men off at the camera store on the ground floor, my mum and I headed up to the 6th floor of Kinokuniya (mega huge book store), to look at knitting books. She bought a book on crocheted lace (even though she declares she hates crochet - it was that nice!). I succumbed to 3 - one on Aran knitting, one on crocheted accessories, and one that was a mix of knitted and crocheted tops, gloves, hats and such.

So I had books, but no yarn. I was okay with that. I'd expected as much. The next day we were in Kyoto. Keeping warm that afternoon, we wandered into Daimaru (department store). On the top floor was the craft section, where we found some lovely ladies who tried to help us (my mum and I that is, the mend had wandered off by then) figure out fibre content of the various yarns. My mum walked out with a bag of kid mohair blend, in the the most brilliant, rainbow colourway. I had settled on a cone of fingering weight (or thereabouts) wool, but happened upon some slightly finer balls of wool (poss. merino) in greenish tones that melted my heart.

Here's a pictorial summary of my crafty finds ....

1. My latest three books, 2. Cardigan that's now in my queue, 3. Oooh a hat!, 4. Mmm I like this hat, 5. Cool bag, 6. Great Christmas gifts, 7. Packaging for the fabric I bought, 8. Bento box, 9. Fabric all folded up, 10. Pink cone, 11. Yummy green, 12. Dangly dolls

Sunday, 2 March 2008

The Sights of Japan

Okay, here's the non-knitting post ... aka trip highlights (only the non-knitting ones)

I've uploaded the best photos to Flickr here.

1. Eating random foods from little stores in Asakusa (Tokyo)
2. A ladybug watch - the wings fold out to reveal the timepiece (v. cheap, so they don't 'snap' into place any more).
3. Handwarmer sachet things
4. Kobe beef shabu shabu - absolutely delicious (but not cheap - thankyou to my parents who paid for the meal)
5. Stepping out of the back door of the hotel, onto the ski slope
6. Powder snow that was so light, and soooo deep, that you got spray in your mouth from as you skied.
7. The amazingly helpful bus driver who figured out we wanted to go the 'Monkey Spa', and when we needed to change buses, jumped off his bus, held the second bus for us, and told the people at the ticket window what we needed. WOW!
8. Getting close to the monkeys, and watching them bathe in the thermal springs.
9. Figuring out that 2 packs of sugarfree chewing gum (chewed in succession) work as a laxative when you're nowhere near a chemist.
10. Finding the Indian restaurant that serves up the best and biggest naan bread I've ever seen.
11. Buying crampon-style thingos for walking shoes, so you don't slip on the snow/ice.
12. Eating from a bento box on the Shinkasen.
13. Eating udon noodle curry wearing a bib .
14. Heated toilet seats with control panels to operate the various functions (some included a 'flushing sound', that would run for 25 seconds)
15. Spotting inflatable mushrooms 'hidden' around the ski fields (as par of a competition - we think)
16. The hotel in Tokyo holding on to the new foundation that I'd managed to leave in the room.
17. Having a new camera to play with (at a very good price)
18. Exploring the food markets in Kyoto
19. Knowing that a train will leave at the scheduled time (not a minute before or after).
20. Spending a good holiday with my husband, parents and brother.