Monday, May 9, 2016

A Good Time Was Had By All

Learning Japanese -- knitting patterns
Wow.  I've been back from my knitting cruise to Hong Kong, China, South Korea, and Japan for weeks now, and there are places of the trip that still leave me speechless.  Our group was approximately 50 in number.  We had terrific classes with Gayle Roehm on the topic of all things related to Japanese knitting and crochet patterns.  (Yes, I crochet, usually under duress, but the classes were fun, so I crocheted.)

On our first day of class, I sat in the middle row, which is why only two people appear in this picture.  We were learning how to read the symbols for this pattern for a knitted, smocked tunic.

The cruise was with Holland America Line, and we sailed on the Volendam.  She's an older ship, but she still has some lovely attributes.  The accommodations on our "floating hotel" were quite comfortable, and the staff at HAL are truly top-notch.

Apart from classes on board, our excursions included yarn shopping and sight seeing expeditions.  In Shanghai, we "hit" no fewer than six yarn shops and one book store in one day!

Shanghai is an enchanting city, and I'm not just saying that because of the yarn shopping!   It is the fashion capital of China, and there was beauty everywhere -- from the Liuli (glass art) museum to the women on the street.

A misty night in Shanghai
At night, the skyscrapers are lit up, as are the cruise boats that glide up- and downstream.  This photo, taken on our first day in the city, doesn't show the full height of the building on the left, which is a communication tower called the Pearl Tower.  It is so named because its five spheres are separated by "chains" that make it resemble a string of pearls.

I booked this cruise with Craft Cruises out of Colorado, USA.  Our trip leader was Lily Chin, well-known knitting book author.  Gayle wasn't officially a trip leader,  but she was generous with her knowledge of  Japanese.  She helped us navigate not only Japanese knitting patterns, but also yarn labels, subways, and conversation with the staff and students at Nihon Vogue, Japan's major pattern publisher and craft school.

Lily Chin: Wallflower!
Lily and Gayle showed us many wonderful sights in the Orient.  In addition, I booked other trips through Holland America Line and Viator to see historic sights such as Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven in Beijing, the Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park in Nagasaki, and Mt. Fuji.

Craft Cruise excursions included yarn shopping in Shanghai, a kimono fashion show and more yarn shopping in Kyoto, and the Silk Museum in Yokohama. Each one was a feast for the eyes, from the yarns themselves to the patterns in the terrazzo flooring.  (Tip:  If you ever go to Japan, you need to remember Yuzawaya).

Over the coming weeks, I'll be blogging about this incredible textile adventure.  I hope you will join me!