Tuesday, June 22, 2010


On the 12th (Worldwide Knit In Public Day, in case you're not a knitter), we were in Kunming to meet our guide. Our hotel was near a famous park called Green Lake Park, and we spent the afternoon walking around there.

You can't exactly tell from our pictures how crowded it was, but the park was pretty busy. It was really relaxing just to walk around, people watching and listening to all the musicians.

We spotted some knitters, but our attempts to explain WWKIP day and take a picture with them met with failure. (Oddly, the guide wasn't interested in trying to explain it to them...)

We saw one knitter a half hour or so after we'd accosted her, when she'd caught up with her friends and was sitting down to knit with them. We waved at each other--and then I suspect she told her friends all about the crazy Americans who'd wanted her to look at their knitting!

So I had to knit alone on WWKIP Day:

Biking in the Rain

We're back at home. Technically, we got back nearly four days ago, but I managed to race in a regatta in NJ during that time, so I still feel discombobulated!

The biking part of the trip was mostly great--although it rained every time we got near the bike, which was a pain.

From Nanjing, we flew to Kunming to meet up with our guide, then on to Shangri-La (formerly Zhongdian, renamed in 2001 for marketing reasons, according to Wikipedia... I thought it was weird that somewhere was really called Shangri-La). I've been describing where we were as "Western China" for weeks now, but now that I look at a map, it's not really west at all. More central. Between Myanmar, Vietnam and Tibet. Good thing I wasn't flying the plane.

Anyway, the first order of business in Shangri-La was assembling the bike. After much work, we turned these...

Back into a bike. It took long enough that we didn't bike much the first day--just few km out of town in two different directions to see a village and a Buddhist monastery.

Biking started in earnest the second day--a planned 105 km/64 mile ride to a town called Baishuitai. Over three mountains. We biked diligently till lunch time (50 km over Mountain #1), but by then it had started to rain and we ended up riding in the truck (which followed along in case of bike crisis and to carry the suitcases) over Mountain #2. We got back on the bike in the valley and rode over Mountain #3--a total of 70 km, rather than 105.

Luckily for Kevin, the guide didn't tell us till we got to Baishuitai that no one in any of his tour groups has every ridden that entire ride...and that he's only done it himself a couple of times. If I'd known, my contrariness would have kicked in, and we'd still be biking up those mountains, if necessary!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


We interrupt our regularly scheduled knit-blogging for some travel posts, unfortunately without pictures because blogger is blocked in you-know-where. (Although do you think they'd post if I emailed them to the same address I send posts to?)

(Actually, a quick knitting thought first: I'm still waffling about the pockets. The combined suggestion that I add buttons first, then think about it, was very good--and them my mom emailed that maybe I could make and sew on just one pocket, then decide, which appeals to my waffle-y nature. Waffling about pockets will recommence when I get home.)

Anyway, the trip: getting out of town was little uncoordinated--my rowing club hosted a race the day before we left, so we both spent all day there instead of packing. Then the plane was late leaving NYC, which made it late to Beijing, which meant that we missed the flight to Nanjing (where the work part of the trip is). So Air China put us up in a hotel overnight, and we got to Nanjing about 12 hours later than planned. It was fine for us (and we were very glad to be at ground level for a while, after the 13 hour flight to Beijing), but the poor conference organizers had to juggle a packed schedule to fit Kevin in later than originally planned.

I'm so glad we're (mostly) calm travelers. There was a pair of passengers on the plane who also missed their flight due to the delay, and one of them ranted at the ticket counter people (who had nothing to do with the delay!), thought the air line should have held their connection, thought the bus to the hotel smelled, was cranky checking in, and is probably still complaining. It rarely helps, and just makes things more stressful.

So at this point, we've conferenced for 2 days, eaten enough for a month, and are about to set out for a couple of days of sightseeing in this region with the hosts and the other participants. On Saturday, we (and our gigantic suitcases of bicycle) fly west, for the biking portion of the trip. I suspect there won't be much email access in the hotels once we leave this area, although who knows?

Speaking of eating enough for a month, most of the meals (not breakfast) have been fancy banquets. We all sit around a big table and the waitstaff brings course after course of tapas-size portions. But those little portions add up when you can eat them all (we told them I'm a vegetarian, and all of the restaurants have brought out a vegetarian option for each of the courses without raising an eyebrow--sometimes it's just more of the veggie part of the regular dish, sometimes something completely different. I was especially excited to finally try soup topped with puff-pastry. I love puff pastry!) Last night, someone thought we were almost finished.... but it turned out the meal was only half over (you can tell the end is near because all the meals so far have ended with greens, then sweet melons and other fruit, then rice or noodle soup).

Anyway... must pack!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I finally have a whole day at home to write. And technically, I guess this is writing, but not the writing I should be doing. Opps.

But while I'm here, do you think I should add pockets to my Manu cardigan?

They're really cute pockets, see? (You'll need to scroll down.) But someone commented on Ravelry that the cardigan really highlighted her pear shape, and I'm not sure I want that--and I think the pockets would make that effect stronger--they're a little poofy, and right at hip level. I already shortened the sleeves so they wouldn't end right at my hips (and because I was concerned that fullness at the wrist would look funny, since my fabric is less drape-y than the original).

But it would be really nice to have pockets!

I'm definitely going to add buttons, just as soon as I find some good ones (I have wooden buttons that I really like, but they're brown, and I'm concerned that I'll get weird about wearing brown with black).

The other change I made was to the pleats--as the pattern was written, they folded in the same direction all the way around, but I wanted mine to mirror each other on the right and left. To make that happen, I needed to add a pleat (so there would be an even number of them), but there weren't enough stitches for that. So I made 6 of my pleats 2 sts smaller (in the folded under section, not the part that shows), which saves enough stitches to add another pleat.

(Is that really how pleats is spelled? Weird!)

Here it is:

Although you can't tell here that it's symmetrical, I promise that it is!

Anyway--pockets? no pockets? One pocket? Special detachable pockets so I don't have to make a commitment either way?