Summer Update

Well we have made it through our first year in China! Woot woot! We had many ups and downs and no matter what we expected the experience has changed us forever.

The one thing I have loved about our time so far abroad is traveling. Having much of Asia less than a 5 hour flight away has been pretty awesome. Our favorite spots have been Tokyo, Singapore, and Guilin.

It has been a challenge to keep up knitting as much in China. There is a serious lack of LYS in Guangzhou that sell natural fibers. There is a lot of acrylic going on. I am making a more conscious effort to seek out yarn shops when we travel, which has made for great souvenirs. I also managed to figure out online shopping (Taobao) to purchase some of the larger name brands (Debbie Bliss, Quince and Co).

This summer we will be in California and Australia for a total of 5 weeks. I am super excited and have already started looking up yarn shops in Sydney! If you would like to read about our travels please do so at Smithberrys Abroad. Or connect with me on IG @knitsbywhitsf

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

More Yarn Shops in China

On October 28th, I purchased about 6 projects worth of yarn from Love Knitting. It is now almost a month later and my shipment is still not here. 😩 On one hand I expected this. On the other, I had high hopes that I could have been delving into some Hannah Fettig patterns by now. Either way I will continue to wait for my yarn goodies.

Since my supply is running a little low ( I only brought yarn for 4 major projects) I hit the internet to search for some more yarn sources. The last place I went in Guangzhou was not my favorite. The shops were not the easiest to navigate. From my research, I found out about the Highsun Fabric and Cloth Market.

The Highsun Market is located not far from the Donghu Metro stop. The neighborhood is quite nice to walk around. The market is predominantly fabric, but I did find a few yarn shops. The first was quite upscale. I purchased 4 skeins for about 400¥. I loved the touches of light blue in the yarn and that it was oh-so soft.

I wandered downstairs and found another shop. It was packed! Every inch of this shop was filled with yarn. All of the yarn was in clear plastic packaging. However, the lady in the shop was super nice and let me open all the packages I wanted. At this shop I purchased 18 skeins for 200¥.

According to Google Translate, the yarn is a high percentage of wool vs acrylic. I have yet to find Fibers other than acrylic, wool, and cotton in China.

The second store was more my speed. It had a better selection of colors, yarn weight, and fiber. The price was also much more economical as well. I will certainly be visiting this shop for many of my future yarn needs.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Beautiful Istanbul

While en-route to China we decided to layover in Istanbul, Turkey. Turkey has always been one of those places on my “must see” list. The culture has always intrigued me. However, in the last 1.5 years, Turkey has had a lot going on politically. Things appeared calmer than they were this time last year so we worked it into our itinerary. We flew Turkish Airlines, which is a lovely airline, and landed in Istanbul at about 4:00 pm. By the time we made it through customs we had about 6 hours to explore the city. Knowing this time was VERY limited we made the most of it by heading to some of the famous sites and grabbing some yummy food.

Our first stop was Hagia Sophia. This beautiful and very old structure was quite an interesting sight. It began as a church and then was eventually turned into a mosque. Due to this, mosaics of Christ are positioned in roughly the same area as Islamic scriptures.



We decided to not enter the Blue Mosque as it was super crowded, but we did sit in the courtyard and take in the beauty of the architecture.

Our next stop was the waterfront. We followed the sidewalk along the Golden Horn and took in views of the Galata Tower in the distance. We ended up sitting in a square eating a fish sandwich (balık-ekmek) from this really cool looking boat. What great people watching. We then ended up at another restaurant by the water where we got some cold beers and watched the sunset over a local mosque. Talk about picturesque.

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I was bummed because I forgot to try some Turkish ice cream (as per a friend’s suggestion). However, I felt I got a good sense of the city. I most certainly hope to go back and have a more comprehensive view of the city and Turkey in general.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Life From The 20th Floor

Well, we made it to China in one piece…and with all our luggage! I have to say I am so thankful that our company did such a great job helping us get adjusted. I do not read or speak Chinese at all. Therefore, simple things like turning on the AC have been extremely difficult.

 And take this bottle. What do you think this is?

If you guessed dish detergent you are correct! Why there is a baby on the dish detergent beats me.

It is really quite weird living on the 20th floor. I feel so high up and it is a little scary looking down from our balcony. However, the views are fantastic! I started a pair of toe- up socks last week to keep myself occupied. We have a lot of orientation sessions and bus rides to endure.  I am using my favorite yarn Cascade Heritage Prints in Baltimore. My stripes won’t line up as nicely has my husband’s pair did, but I am not as picky as he is. I am still deciding on the heel method I am going to make as I would like to spice things up and try a heel I haven’t made. Check back to see what I decided on.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Visit Vermont

Oh Vermont, how quaint your state is. Considering the whole state is less populated than the city of San Franciso I didn’t know what to expect. The two days I was there I thoroughly enjoyed your green mountains, historic towns, and super friendly citizens. IMG_4564[1]

Your state capital Montpelier has that small town charm mixed with years and years of history. I was a huge fan of old brick buildings. The state house was also pretty spectacular as well.

Not too far up the road, there was the Ben and Jerry’s factory. It was the best place to stop on a hot day. We all enjoyed visiting the flavor graveyard, checking out the cows, and most of all sampling the ice cream.

Our adventures also lead us to the Trapp Family Lodge (yes the place where the family from the Sound of Music lived), the gorgeous Shelburne Farms, and Bristol Falls for some cliff jumping.  Coming from California, a state that was in a huge drought, Vermont was soooooo green. The grass looked like an emerald carpet.

Thank you to my dear friend J for showing us such a great time. She really convinced us that Vermont is a pretty amazing state to visit 😉. 

Until Next Time, 

-Whit-

Tales From The Road

So our move has begun. We will be road tripping across the USA to Martha’s Vineyard and then we will wiggle down the East Coast to Virginia. The whole trip should take us about 2.5 weeks. As of today we are in Nebraska. It has been so enjoyable watching the changing landscape while barreling east on I-80. 

In the car, we have been listening to an audio book called Desperation by Stephen King. I have to say it is a little creepy to listen to on this particular trip. In the story, a psychopathic cop targets people on road trips as they travel down Highway 50 in Nevada. Thankfully, we didn’t take that route 😬. 

I have also been knitting up a storm. I finished an Etsy order ( Toddler Hat made with Cascade Heritage Paints in Baltimore) and started some socks. I am knitting with Payton’s Kroy Sock yarn in Grey Brown Marl. Not my favorite yarn to knit with. I like a little more sheen and springiness to my sock yarn. I am curious to see if the softness level changes after a soak. I have two skeins to work with so I am making some pretty big socks. 


Well only 1,400 more miles to go! 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Ecuador Jungle Experience

As our boat careened through the dark waters of the river I knew I had made a great choice in electing to go to the Amazon Jungle. I spent 4 days in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve at Jamu Lodge. The scenery was amazing and it was nice to take a technology break. 

Cuyabeno is not easy to get to from Quito. I took and overnight bus (7 hours) to a shuttle (2 hours) to a boat (1 hour). However, once you enter the reserve is is all worth it.

So what is there to do in the jungle? First off, look for amazing animals.  We saw monkeys, snakes, birds, a sloth, Caimen, huge insects and spiders. We also go a chance to visit a local indigenous community and meet the shaman. My favorite part of the trip was the night hike though the jungle. It was a little scary, but unlike anything I have every done. 

The jungle was an amazing sensory experience. At night it was almost too loud to sleep. I am accustomed to city noise yet, in the jungle between the monkeys, cicadas, and grasshoppers there were so many unknown sounds. I also had to adjust to the heat. Ugh it was so humid. My hair was rebelling by day 3. Thank goodness for scarves! Visually, there was almost too much to look at. The water glistened as the sun reflected off of it, the leaves were all shades of green, the orchids were vibrant, and there was almost always an animal to check out. 

I also got time to finish my Slumber Party socks. They were such a quick project. We got free time each day and I hung out in the hammock area knitting away.


So if you are in Ecuador, I highly suggest a jungle trip. It is something you will remember forever. 

Hasta Luego,

-Whit- 

Adventures in Otovalo, Ecuador

So far my time here in Ecuador has been fabulous. I am so lucky to have a friend guiding me around to all of the sites. It also helps that she is fluent in Spanish as my Spanish is super rusty. We ventured up to Otovalo, which is a 2 hour bus ride from Quito. The bus ride was quite nice. We had comfy seats and lovely view of the Ecuadorian countryside. 

We arrived in Otovalo around 11:30 am. Our goal was to head to the famous marketplace as well as Lake Cuicocha. First stop was the market. It was overwhelming! There were so many items to see such as local clothing, food, and beautiful handicrafts. And then I found yarn 😍

The colors were GORGEOUS! So many choice to choose from. There was only one problem…all of it was acrylic *sigh*. Don’t get me wrong I am no yarn snob. However, I kind of have a personal policy when traveling that if it isn’t unique then I don’t buy it. I travel with a backpack and it is only 50L. If I load up on every hank of yarn I will have way to much to carry. So I showed some restraint and just said no. 

After a great almuerzo (lunch) of soup, baked chicken and rice, and blackberry juice, my friend and I headed for the lake. We took a 20 minute taxi ride to the park and were immediately glad we made the journey. The lake was a sight to see. It is a 2 mile crater lake smack in the middle of some mountains. You can hike along a trail that follows the perimeter of the lake. We walked about a 1/4  around before it started raining. The hike was lovely as you got to see the serene water as well as the vivid green countryside. Plus there were some ancient ruins along the way. 
All and all this was a great day trip in the Andes. Next stop is the Amazon Jungle!


¡Hasta Luego!

-Whit- 

As always you can find me on IG @knitsbywhitsf and Ravelry as lilwhit

Urban Hike: Mt. Davidson

One of my favorite things to do in San Francisco is to go on urban hikes. San Francisco, like many major cities on the west coast, has a lot of green space to enjoy. This weekend we “conquered” Mount Davidson.  As I learned from Bay Area Hiker, Mount Davidson is the highest natural point in the city.

The view from Mount Davidson was spectacular. We mainly stayed on the east side of the hill and took in the downtown skyline.  The view made for a great backdrop to take some photos.

Also located on the mountain is a giant concrete cross. In 1997, the Armenian American Organization purchased the cross from the city and placed a plaque to honor those who were victims of the 1915 genocide.

The hike was not too strenuous, and when you combine the 1.5-mile walk from my apartment, it was a nice way to get some exercise. It has been steadily raining for the last two weeks so it was nice to be out and about.

In other news, I decided to re-open my Etsy shop. I have way too many FO piled around my apartment. I also plan on listing some patterns that I have created as well. If you have the chance please stop by and visit/favorite my shop.😀

What did you do this weekend? 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

From Beach to Snow

My husband is always saying “California is the best state.” I don’t know about all that. Yes, California is awesome, but I still have a special place in my heart for my original home state of Massachusetts.

The one thing I can say is that California has one of the most diverse geographic landscapes in the USA. We have beaches, mountains, desert, farmland, and great cities all in one state. From San Francisco alone, you can drive to the mountains, coast, farmland all within 3 hours. This winter break I got to do quite a bit of adventuring, 1,389 miles to be exact. At times, it was a little exhausting, but it was fun to see so much of California in a week in a half.

My adventures began with driving from San Francisco San Diego, CA.  I really enjoy  San Diego. I love that it is warm with great views and has a city feeling to it, but it is not overwhelming. While visiting we headed to Cabrillo National Monument, Old Town San Diego, the Gaslamp District, and La Jolla.

My college friend headed back up to San Francisco with me and we got to do a little hiking in Muir Woods/ Mt. Tamalpais State Parks. In these parks, you can take in the fantastic views of the bay as well as the giant Redwood trees.

For Christmas, my husband and I headed north to Sacramento. It was lovely spending time with family. I also got the special surprise of a ukulele! Kind of random yes I know. However, one day my husband and I were talking about things on our bucket lists and I brought up how I wanted to learn to play the ukulele. Here is me in my Red Rosina (don’t worry a future post is coming about my sweater) attempting to play.IMG_1369[1].JPG

Last, but not least, we headed to the Sierra Mountains to visit my husband’s extended family. Boy was it cold! I am used to being in 55-degree weather and it was 19 degrees one morning…Yikes! The snowy landscape was very pretty and we got the chance to walk through the snow covered pines along the Feather River. The Sierra Mountains have a unique beauty, but the winters are most certainly not for me. All and all a great trip yet, I am in need of a little vacation from my vacation.😉

 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-