elf yarn2

summer market season

The weather is feeling very summer-like lately, even though we have a month left of spring.

The garden is blooming, the kale is planted and thriving and the windows are open and letting in some nice fresh air into the house. It’s also getting closer to the summer market season!

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Melissa and I will be setting up our booth (in a tent, not under the hood of a Corvair ;) ), filled with yarn and patterns, mitt kits and project bags.

A sneak peak of what I’ve been working on… a pattern for a lace wrap that I’m writing up right now, modelled by my daughter…

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We are also sewing up lots of project bags to sell at the market too. I made myself one earlier this year and carried it all over Southeast Asia and it held up like a dream. I’ve made four so far and three have sold already!

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I’ll put a link to the market and a map in the sidebar. I really hope we get a chance to see everyone again this year!

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may day: bits and pieces

It was a gorgeous spring day down in the cove. I ran down to Room6 bring in our latest baby ELF hats. These are mostly cotton, a few wool and a few cotton/wool blends.

elf hats in room6 baby toques

I’m knitting on a lace stole that I hope to have a pattern written for. I had a minor glitch (ran out of yarn!) and had to rip back unfortunately, but I’m back on track and I think it’s going to look pretty great. I feel like I’ve been knitting this lace forever, but trial and error does take awhile!

Our handspun mostly sold out in the shop. I brought the last couple of skeins home a few weeks ago and will be making some warm wooly baby hats for next Fall and Winter with the yarn, and then dyeing and spinning up some new skeins for the Fall.

We are getting our act together for the summer market season. A few patterns to write, yarn to dye and dates to be confirmed. As soon as they are, we’ll be posting them here and on our Facebook page.

Our Etsy shop is on hiatus right now. Not sure what we’re going to do with it, but for now it’s just in a holding pattern.

Okay… back to knitting!

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our group, singapore

thailand, singapore, shanghai

I guess it’s time to wrap up the trip! I finally finished editing my photos and uploaded them to flickr, made a slideshow to show the family and now I feel like I can move on. Except I need to finish here.

Thailand: Not everything will go as planned when you have a trip of this size, and I guess Thailand was our example of that. The port where our ship was docked was far from Bangkok, where we were to spend 2 days, but driving back to the ship at night. 3+ hours one way… yikes! We made it to Bangkok that morning afternoon, saw one temple; granted, it was a spectacular temple, got caught in a torrential thunderstorm, made it to lunch which was waiting for us (we arrived over an hour late) and then 4+ hours back to the ship due to flooded streets, collapsed buildings, crazy traffic and accidents along the way. And we were drenched to the skin… literally! It took my walking shoes 3 days to dry out!

Enter Plan B! Instead of heading back to Bangkok the next day, we detoured and went to Pattaya, a beach community close to where we were docked. We started our morning at the Sanctuary of Truth, a large wooden structure that is still being constructed. It was amazing! Every square inch of this large sanctuary is hand carved. And it’s huge…about 345 feet high and incorporates images from Buddhism and Hinduism from China, India, Cambodia and Thailand. It really took our breath away.

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Singapore: Everybody says how clean the city is and that is true! When you have laws against littering, spitting (thank goodness), chewing gum, etc… it shows! We arrived as the city was making preparations for the funeral of Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister and the father of modern Singapore. It’s a beautiful city and has changed so much since we were last there in 1981. The only thing that I recognized from that trip was the Merlion.

Shanghai: Our flight home had us connect through Shanghai and we decided to stop over and spend 4 days to see the city. Warren had visited Shanghai before, but this was my first time. We stayed with friends from Canada who live there part time teaching in a local university. It was nice to have a low-key time to really explore the city and eat the food! It wasn’t too low-key though since my fitbit says we walked just over 71,000 steps over 3 days. That’s 32 miles. The 11 hour flight home felt kind of relaxing!

All the photos are divided into albums. Here is the link to the collection if you’re interested. This has been a trip that had been a long time in thinking, dreaming and planning. It’s hard to leave it all, but I’m glad I took the time to get the photos organized.

Our trip was through UBC Alumni Travel Club and facilitated by Worldwide Quest. They did an AMAZING job organizing our trip and making it run as smooth as possible. We would definitely travel with them again. In fact, we hope that our group of 25 can do trips together in the future. We were accommodated in hotels in Hong Kong and Kaiping, China, and then for 2 weeks we were onboard the Celebrity Millennium. It was Warren’s first cruise, my 3rd. While it would have been nice to be able to spend more time in each city, it was a good way to get a flavour of the places and not have to pack and unpack each night. Unfortunately most of the ports were a distance from the cities and towns we visited, but we had very good tour guides that would make the bus rides go as quick as possible, a good group of people that didn’t complain and loved stories about the history, culture and food as much as we did, and gorgeous scenery to watch along the way.

The feature group photo at the top is not mine, but taken from the UBC Alumni Flickr site, album linked here.

Okay, now it’s time to get the yard ready for summer and my sweater finished!

fishing

beautiful vietnam

I’d have to say that this country was number one on my list to visit. And it did not disappoint. I would have loved to spend more time here and hope to do so one day. The people were wonderful, the food was so, so delicious, the countryside and rice paddies were lush and the cities were chaotic and crazy and totally fascinating! And then Halong Bay, oh my! We took a 3-hour boat cruise on a junk around the thousands of limestone rocks coming out of the water. It was magical.

These are just a few of the many photos we took over our 4 days in Vietnam. More are on my Flickr site.

My photo album on Flickr Vietnam is here, and I also have sub-albums for each city we visited. Hope you enjoy it :)

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connecting

When we signed up for this trip over a year ago, we were drawn to it by the itinerary that went to Hong Kong, Kaiping, China, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore, and the involvement of Dr. Henry Yu. As I said in the last post, Henry and Warren had worked together a few years ago on a series of Chinese Canadian stories, with Warren and his cousin and her children highlighting the story of their grandfather, CD Hoy, his mother’s father, who immigrated to Canada in the early 1900s.

About a month before we were to leave on the trip, Warren got to thinking about where his grandfather was from, and the facts that he had was that CD was from a village called Sui Soon Lee in the county of Hoiping, Guangdong Province. So he did what we all would do, he googled it. Turns out Hoiping is the Cantonese version of Kaiping (Mandarin), one of the places on our itinerary where were scheduled to visit the World Heritage UNESCO Diaolou sites. Emails ensued, Henry pursued it with his contacts, put us in touch with these contacts and voila, it was put proposed that we would possibly try to visit the village while we were there. We didn’t have a long time in Kaiping… only 1 night, so it would be a tight squeeze if we could fit it in.

The morning that we were taking the ferry from Hong Kong to Zhongshan, the port city for Kaiping, we met Wanda Huang, a Chinese educator with local knowledge of the area and diaolous, who grew up not far from Sui Soon Lee and spoke the local dialect; as well, she lived in Canada and spoke perfect English. She would be accompanying us on this 2-day excursion.

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So it wasn’t really until that morning on the ferry that we realized that visiting the village was a real possibility, but we still weren’t positive that we’d find the village and what we would find if we did!

We picked up another local woman along the way who works for the government and was familiar with the village and its connection to CD Hoy. So there is our coach/bus following this woman on her scooter down narrow country lanes and voila, we pull up into the village. This is it!

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We were told that the writing on the gate said it was Sui Soon Lee. And off we go, gathering attention and interesting looks!

Sui Soon Lee, the ancestral village of Warren’s grandfather

The first man we meet, as translated by Wanda, tells us that he had known CD as a little boy. We’re not sure about this since he left the village in 1901 and this man, while elderly, was certainly not 100+ years! We made mental notes to ourselves to check what years CD made trips back to the village. But regardless, he told us the house still stands and would we like to see it?

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As we were following him down a narrow lane, I’m snapping photos along the way and it was starting to hit me what was happening. I’m wiping tears while trying to take pictures and look totally normal. Hard to do. Believe me, I stood out!

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We were shown the house which is now uninhabitable and is used as storage, started to take pictures of it when a few more people showed up and started talking to Wanda.

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Incredibly, Wanda tells us, this little grey-haired woman says she is related to CD Hoy. Her grandfather and Warren’s great-grandfather were brothers. That would make her a great-aunt or great-great aunt, not sure, but it doesn’t matter! It’s a family connection!

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What ensued after was lots of chatting, laughing, photos, more people, a cute baby, more people… Our fellow travellers were incredibly patient and I think were just as touched that this connection was made.

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We stayed a bit longer but then said our goodbyes and we were off for our scheduled itinerary visits. But this was a truly amazing experience!

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This would not have happened without the hard work of many people: Amanda Butler with Worldwide Quest, the UBC Alumni Travel Club, Dr. Henry Lu, Wanda Huang, Dr. Selia Tan. We are so grateful and are very excited to share this with the family and see about making a return visit!

Lastly, as I was getting back to our coach, I saw this woman sewing in an open storefront, a beautiful gold cloth.

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Yes, I think we need to go back so I can investigate this further…

More photos on my Flickr site in this album.