In the Family

Everyone tells me that my niece, Victoria, looks like me. It makes me feel very proud especially since I do not have a girl of my own. So it brought me immense pleasure when I discovered that my niece likes to knit! She knit a scarf sometime in her teens. My brother sent me pictures of her with her needles. This first semester in college, she decided to learn how to crochet. She asked me if I could take her to buy some yarn and a crochet hook so that she could try to crochet a stuffed animal for a charity auction at her college. Of course, there was no need to go to the store, we just dug into my stash! She found a pattern and crochet instructions on YouTube. Twenty-four hours later, she had made this:

Amigurumi Bear by Victoria

She then remembered that my mother said she wanted a headband with a flower on it for her hair. So off Victoria went to crochet a headband just like my mom had requested.

Crochet Headband by Victoria

She would sit with me in the evenings with a hook in her hand and yarn on her lap while she meticulously worked on the headband. It will be her Christmas gift to her grandmother.

Crochet Flower by Victoria

I am so pleased that the arts of knitting and crochet still appeal to young ladies like my niece. It’s wonderful to keep the tradition in the family.

In Search of Yarn at Tuanjiehu Market

I had been wanting to visit Tuanjiehu Park which is fairly close to where I am staying in Beijing. Then I received a tip from the contact at the Beijing Guild that the Tuanjiehu Market might have a yarn booth or two. That’s all I needed to know so off I went. The day was rainy but I was determined. After taking a subway, I found the park entrance.

Entrance to Tuanjiehu Park.
Entrance to Tuanjiehu Park.

Nearby, I spotted this romantic bridge.

Jie Xiu Bridge.
Jie Xiu Bridge.
Jie Xiu Bridge Banister.
Jie Xiu Bridge Banister.

I took cover from the rain under some branches where I was able to observe local Beijingers enjoying the park. This young girl in a pink kimono and traditional wooden shoes walked across the park trying to stay dry.

Tuanjiehu Park - Pink Kimono

A young couple kept dry under a large umbrella.

Couple under Umbrella

Locals sat out of the rain under the gazebo. A husband and wife enjoyed a game of cards. Every now and then you could hear the loud slap of the cards on the bench.

Gazebo at Tianjiehu Park.
Gazebo at Tuanjiehu Park.

I was delighted when I encountered this woman crocheting by the lake. She was making a dainty cardigan-like top to wear over a blouse. I bought this amigurumi bunny for ¥50. I paid too much but I wasn’t going to haggle for a hand-made item.

Crocheting by the Lake.
Crocheting by the Lake.

Many families were enjoying their outing. Kids were feeding the fish in the lake. The paddle boats were all lined up waiting for a sunny day.

Feeding Fish near a bridge

Paddle Boats for Rent.
Paddle Boats for Rent.

After walking through the park, I found Tuanjiehu Market. There are several buildings selling different items – one had fish and meats, another fresh fruits and vegetables, and a larger building had rows and rows of stalls. The stalls were mostly filled with a variety of household items – notepads, pens and pencils, shoes, some kitchen items. There were several fabric stalls with women sitting at old sewing machines working on pillow covers and bedspreads.

I found one yarn stall. A man sat next to it on a small stool playing with a Rubik’s Cube knock-off. I managed to ask him if he carried natural yarns and showed him the characters for camel and mohair. He laughed. I took that as a no. I did not buy any yarn. The selection was limited and I wasn’t impressed with the colors or textures. I did find some other goodies, though. I picked up these cute nail polishes. I couldn’t resist the bottles. I paid ¥10 for both, or about $1.50 USD. The bags were ¥10 each.

Tuanjiehu Market Buys

At one point, it occurred to me that I was the only non-Chinese person in the entire market. It seems the market caters to neighborhood residents. Some of the vendors spoke a word or two of English but not much. It was fun listening and communicating in Chinese. Overall, a good day, despite the yarn fail.