The Art of Knitting

Tag: Photography

The Stars Above

It was my last weekend in Beijing. There were only a couple of sights left on my list and this was my last opportunity. Unfortunately, the air quality was not in my favor. The AQI had vacillated between “Unhealthy” and “Very Unhealthy” since Friday. One could almost touch the air, it was so thick.

Azimuth Theodolite

On the daily commute, we would pass by the star-gazing equipment at the Ancient Observatory. This was my destination.

According to the brochure, the Beijing Ancient Observatory was built in 1442 during the Ming Dynasty.


As I walked around the grounds, I felt both sadness and anticipation. I would miss this city.

Sundial - Detail

I would miss its history and its splendor, but most of all I would miss my new colleagues and friends.

During those last two weeks, every time I said good-bye to someone, it was with the knowledge that I might never see them again.

Chinese Moondial

Even though my sadness was tempered with the anticipation of being home with my family and friends, it would be hard leaving.

Armilla Sphere Replica - Dragon Detail (facing right)

My only comfort was that the stars above would somehow guide us back together someday.


Zaìjiàn. 在见。

Crocheting at the Long Corridor

One hazy day, we went to the Temple of Heaven Park. The air quality index was very high at 347 (hazardous) and reached a high of 477 (more hazardous) by evening. I’ve noticed that the worse the air quality, the cooler it gets, so overall it was a pleasant afternoon.

We gravitated toward a long passageway where many locals had congregated. There were countless groups of men and women playing lively games of cards.

Men Playing Cards - Long Corridor

Women Playing Cards - Long Corridor

As we continued, I was immediately drawn to a woman working with her hands. From afar I could tell she was crocheting! She had several of her handmade items for sale and even let me add a few triple crochet stitches.

Crocheting Along the Long Corridor

Crocheted Handbags - Long Corridor

The Long Corridor consists of covered passages connecting the Animal Killing Pavilion to the Divine Kitchen and the Divine Warehouse. From what I read, the night before a ceremony, the Long Corridor would be lit up with lanterns. Offerings of jade, silk, grains, and fruit would be stored there.

Beams along the Long Corridor

The Temple of Heaven is actually the name of the entire park covering 2.7 million square meters. During the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, the emperors held worship ceremonies here.

Route to Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

Detail en route to Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is perhaps the most associated with the Temple of Heaven. Worship ceremonies were held here to pray for good weather and good harvests.

Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

Inside Views - Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

Water Drainage - Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

View from Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

Near the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, there is a Seventy-Year-Old Door. According to the sign, it is so named because it was built for Emperor Qianlong as a shortcut to the ceremony when he was 70 years old and in failing health. Out of concern that his sons would abuse the convenience, he decreed that only his offspring who had reached the age of 70 could use the door. No other emperor in the Qing Dynasty reached that age so he was the only person to ever use the door.

70 Year Old Door

Near the Seventy-Year Old Door.

Detail of Water Drainage - Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

Annex - Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

Colorful Beams - Temple of Heaven Park

Flower Detail Water Drainage - Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

The Nine Dragon Juniper is over 500 years old. The trunk is covered with grooves that resemble nine dragons twisting around the tree, hence the name.

Nine-Dragon Juniper

The next stop was the Imperial Vault of Heaven. The surrounding wall is called Echo Wall because of the acoustics.

The Imperial Vault of Heaven

Sculpted Stone - Temple of Heaven Park

Roof Detail - Imperial Vault of Heaven

The last stop was through these gates to the Circular Mound Altar, which is the actual temple of heaven as this is where the emperors sacrificed to Heaven. By then, there were many visitors and it was impossible to get a good photo of the Heavenly Center Stone.

En Route to the Circular Mound Altar

After walking the length of the park, we were ready for a nap.

Saturday Afternoon at the Lama Temple

Walking the grounds of the Lama Temple offered a respite from the busy week. Known as the “Palace of Peace and Harmony,” the Lama Temple (Yonghegong) was originally the home of an emperor. It is a Mongolian-Tibetan temple and monastery dating back to the late 16th century.

Click on any image for a large-screen view.

The Lama Temple is located at 12 Yonghegong Dajie, Beixinqiao, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Yonghegong Lama Temple subway stop on Line 2.

Yarn Cakes




Lovely, Beautiful

I had some lovely, beautiful days recently thanks to my fellow bloggers. I received word that Agujas was nominated for the Beautiful Blogger and One Lovely Blog Awards. Thank you to Deep in the Heart of Textiles (a fellow Texan) and Woolhogs (love their logo) for the happy news!

The rules for the awards are: (1) Add the award to your blog; (2) Thank the blogger who gave it to you; (3) Mention seven random things about yourself; (4) List the rules; (5) Nominate 15 (Beautiful) / 7 (Lovely) bloggers; and (6) Inform the nominees by leaving a comment on their blogs.

So, here are seven more random things about me:

  • I had two precious dogs several years ago named Tequila and Vodka.
  • If I had a pet now, it would be a Scottish Terrier and I would call him Scotch.
  • I often wonder why so many knitters and crocheters have cats.
  • I am allergic to cats.
  • I majored in British & American Literature in college.
  • One of my favorite writers is Milton.
  • I can recite (most of) “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe.

Now for the best part – passing on the award. I love discovering new blogs by visiting the sites of other nominees (which, of course, is the whole point).

And the nominees are …

Irenic.Art – I could look at the photos of her handspun yarn all day. They are like works of art. She sometimes berates herself when she’s not pleased with how colors came out (I usually like those the best) and I love her story about saving a hummingbird from unknowingly committing suicide.

Warp and Woof Knitting – Besides being drawn to this blog by the knitting, I also enjoy the nature shots and the whole zen Buddhist philosophy. Oh, and I like Sunshine’s drawings.

Tales of Twisted Fibers – I really like the crochet handbags. They have a very modern look.

Fattoria Fiberworks - I love that she built her own loom and weaves as a form of meditation.

Button Beautiful – I think her crochet blankets and toys deserve an award.

Ten more to come at a later date.

New! Angry Pear – That darn pear makes me laugh. A wonderful series of drawings about an angry piece of fruit.

Soulshine Traveler – Amazing pictures, fantastic locations, and helping others.

El Bueno, El Feo Y El Malo – A picture a day from Aragón and Spain.

Hungry Sofia – Beautiful pictures of food that looks scrumptious.

The Blue Hour – A photo blog. One of my favorite posts is L.A. Cabin Living – what a wonderful place to escape and reflect in.

Live Simply, Travel Lightly – I love this traveler’s spirit of adventure.

This aMACEing Life – Photos from U.S. cities visited by this couple who happen to be on tour with the Broadway show “Wicked.”

The House of Archetype – Lovely artwork and collages accompanied by a poetic sort of prose.

I hope you enjoy these blogs as much as I do.