Agujas

The Art of Knitting

Tag: Travel

Three Days in Bogotá – Día Dos

The highlight of our second day in Bogotá was a visit to the Museo Botero. Fernando Botero’s paintings and sculptures are characterized by disproportionately large people and objects. I felt as if I was looking at the portrayals through a different lens. They made me smile.

Museo Botero - Monalisa

Museo Botero - Pareja Bailando

Museo Botero - Concierto Campestre

The museum is located inside a roomy house built in the early 1700s for the local archbishops. It has wide verandas and beautiful gardens with views of the nearby mountains.

Museo Botero - Casa 1

Museo Botero - Casa 2

The museum also has a collection of art by international and local artists. This large textile was another favorite. It is the work of Olga de Amaral, a textile artist from Bogotá.

Museo Botero - Muro Tejido No. 98

The tapestry is called Muro tejido No. 98 (Ca. 1972), made from animal and vegetable fibers.

Museo Botero - Muro Tejido No. 98 a

Museo Botero - Muro Tejido No. 98 b

Our last stop was all about shopping! The Galería Artesanal de Colombia had countless tienditas (little stores) full of local arts and crafts

Galería Artesanal de Colombia

I fell in love with these exquisite crochet bags handmade by Wayúu women. The bags are crocheted with cotton thread and come in vibrant colors and interesting designs, each unique to the woman who made it. Multiple threads are woven together to make the straps.

Bolsos Wayuu 1

As young Wayuu women come of age, they learn to weave and crochet Wayuu Mochila bags. According to legend, the tradition comes from “Wale´kerü”, a spider that taught the women how to weave their creative drawings into the Mochila bags. Each design incorporated into every Mochila bag is unique to the weaver, telling a story through the bag’s colors, patterns and shapes. (Source)

Bolsos Wayuu 2

Along the long aisles of hammocks, baskets, bracelets and hats, there were more crocheted bags.

Colombian Crochet Bags

There were also textiles woven in bright colors.

Colombian Textiles

By the end of the day, my head was spinnng, possibly due to the explosion of color, or the altitude! Another amazing day in Bogotá.

A Totally Frivolous Post

It was time for a manicure so I walked into a nail salon near the apartment. The place was tiny. It only had room for 5 seats and they were always occupied.

What drew me in was the clientele – all young ladies mostly in their twenties. The manicurists were laughing and talking as they bent over their intricate work. Every now and then they argued. Their voices grew louder and more demanding. Scowls were all too common. One of the younger girls was a bit clumsy, always managing to trip over someone’s foot or bumping someone’s arm just as they were about to paint a nail. She got the brunt of it.

At first, all I wanted was a new color. Then I started paying attention to the other customers. The colors went far beyond those of the rainbow. One lady was carefully applying bright purple sequins on someone’s nail with a toothpick. Another sprinkled glitter from a brush. Yet another painted tiny designs on each nail guided by a picture in a book. They were like artists mixing nail colors together, consulting with each other, choosing just the right sequin or ornament from trays and trays of shiny baubles. I was hooked.

I had fun trying new designs. Like putting on a new persona in a faraway land. Besides, I like the look of pretty nails while hands are clicking away on knitting needles.

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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.

Sextant

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.

Armillary

Zaìjiàn. 在见。

A few days in Hong Kong

View of Hong Kong and Kowloon skylines from Victoria Peak at 428 meters above sea level.

By day.
Hong Kong by Day

By night.
Hong Kong by Night

Flowers along Mount Austin Road at 554 meters above sea level.
Mount Austin Road

At the Chi Lin Nunnery. The wooden buildings are constructed using an interlocking system without nails.
Chi Lin Nunnery 1

Peaceful ponds with floating water lilies calm the soul.
Chi Lin Nunnery 2
Chi Lin Nunnery 3

Near the monastery is the immaculately landscaped Nan Lian Garden.
Nan Lian Garden Pavilion of Absolute Perfection
Nan Lian Garden Pavilion Bridge

Despite a fear of heights, I took the Ngong Ping cable car to Lantau Island.
Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car

The first of 240 steps.
Tian Tan Buddha 1

The Tian Tan Buddha on a lotus throne.
Tian Tan Buddha 2

Bodhisattvas making offerings.
The Offering of the Six Devas 1
The Offering of the Six Devas 2

The Wisdom Path is shaped in a figure eight representing infinity.
Wisdom Path

Burning incense at Po Lin Monastery at the base of the Buddha.
Po Lin Monastery Incense

About Flowers, Birds and Yarn

China just celebrated a national holiday, the founding of the PRC on October 1, 1949. Our offices were closed so I took the opportunity to visit Hong Kong. There are 7 million people living on a land mass of 426 square miles. According to Wikipedia, it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, and I believe it.

I stayed at a cozy little apartment in Kowloon. The apartment had a small living area and bedroom just large enough for a double bed. The kitchen took up one short wall of the living room and had 1 burner, a sink, and a washing machine under the counter. The dorm sized fridge served as a tv stand in the living room. Overall it was roughly 14×16 feet, including three feet of counter space. However tiny, it was cozy, clean, safe, located in the heart of Tsim Sua Tsui, and close to the Jordan MTR station.

Mong Kok Flower Market 1

While I made it to some of the popular tourist markets, I also explored local markets to get a feel for everyday life. One of my favorites was the Mong Kok Flower Market. There were several streets lined with fresh flower stalls.

Mong Kok Flower Market 5

Orchids of all shapes and sizes were blooming.

Mong Kok Flower Market 2

The cacti reminded me of home.

Mong Kok Flower Market 3

I would have loved to get some plants or an orchid.

Mong Kok Flower Market 4

Mong Kok Flower Market 6

Immediately next to the Flower Market was the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden. The garden was a little oasis in the middle of the city.

Yuen Po Street Bird Garden 1

Old men walked along with their song birds in wooden cages. I did feel a little sad about all those caged birds. Then I spotted this bird freely sitting at a stall. He was lunching on that cardboard box.

Yuen Po Street Bird Garden 2

After enjoying the smells and sounds of the flowers and birds, it was time to exercise the sense of touch. I had mapped out several yarn stores near the markets. All were within walking distance of each other.

Double Knit Yarn & Co. is located at 179-181 Fa Yuen Street on the 1st Floor (which means you go up to the first floor from the ground floor). It’s near the Mong Kok MTR. The shop had wall to wall wools and some synthetic yarns from Italy, France and Japan. The staff spoke little English but were very helpful.

As my favorite color is purple, I picked up three balls of this 100% extra fine merino superwash by Zara Chinè.

Double Knit Yarn & Co.

My next find was Filo Kilo located on the ground floor at 167 Sai Yee Street. The shop is very nicely laid out, all the yarn is neatly labelled, and the staff was very helpful. They even had a sale! I took five balls of this exquisite Cashmere Queen yarn. The fiber contents are 35% cashmere, 45% merino wool, and 20% silk. Scrumptious!

Filo Kilo 1

Filo Kilo 2

The two shades of green perk up the smooth beige.

Filo Kilo 5

I also had to have this wispy orangey-yellow mohair. The brand is BBB and is made in Italy. It’s 70% kid mohair, 30% polyamide.

Filo Kilo 6

My last stop was Knitting World located in the Prosper Commercial Building at 9 Yin Chong Street, 3rd floor. There is a fresh food market on Yin Chong which distracted me with salted and fresh fish, meats, and vegetables.

Dried and Fresh Fish

The shop is rather small and has a limited selection but I liked that two customers were sitting there knitting. Thankfully, one of them spoke English and helped me communicate with the sales lady. Since I had already purchased yarn at the two other shops, I only took these two balls for a hat.

The solid is Cashmere Soft by Lana Liza. It’s 65% Cashmere, 35% bamboo and made in Turkey. The multicolor ball is Bambu Color by Nako with the same fiber content.

Knitting World

Below are snapshots of the business cards: top left is Double Knit Yarn & Co., the vertical card is Filo Kilo, the bottom left is Knitting World.

HK Yarn Store Business Cards

These blog posts from fellow fiber enthusiasts were of great help in locating these yarn stores: