Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Coat

I finally finished The Coat. I was determined to take it to Moscow because I didn't have much else to wear. So I did the minimum finishing possible, i.e. just enough to hold it together and not have strands of yarn showing (shame, shame!). I have not woven in the yarn on the interior pockets. It still has no buttons and I didn't do the slip-stitch edging as instructed.

Sept 30 2008 037

I love it, even though I suspect that all the alterations I had to do to it caused my summer-long knitting hiatus. I love it, though I wish the collar would stand up more like this all the time. A little starch maybe?

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The Coat

Sept 6 2008 004

I love wearing it with slacks, and full skirts, and pencil skirts. It dresses up with a crystal brooch as a closure for the ballet or dresses down swinging open with a pair of jeans. I love it with turtlenecks and v-necks. I love it with pearls and I love it with tiny Russian icon pendants. It travels well and dries nearly overnight.

ETA: It's been so long since I've posted a finished object that I forgot to add some important details:

Pattern: Washi and Tsumugi Coat, Hand-Knit Works, by Setsuko Torii
Yarn: Habu Shosenshi Paper and Habu Tsumugi Silk, knit together.
Needles: US 6 Addi Lace Weights (perfect for the paper and silk)
Mods: I will make it again, but I've learned a few things. I knit the top as one piece, which meant no shoulder seams and makes it more comfortable to wear I think. I knit straight across the back, which would have eliminated grafting had I been more mindful of the size. I will make the sleeves longer next time. It has always been necessary to extend the length of the sleeves on most of my garments and I simply forgot this. As is the sleeves are 3/4 length, which actually works out just fine, but I wish I had been more aware. The pattern was an X-Large, I think, rather than a Large as the pattern was labeled. I will be more mindful of size and fit as I knit next time.

Nicole: I would be happy to help if you have resumed working on your Coat. You can post here or e-mail me at Ava.R.Smith AT Gmail.com. I would be happy to help anyone else too.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

I Forgot My Slacks, or Shopping in Moscow

I tried them on, folded them up and laid them on my bed instead of packing them. When I was dressing for our Monday morning meetings, I realized that I only had a black skirt and the black jeans I traveled in. My trip was only a week but still. I needed slacks since it was getting chilly. My friends Natasha and Valeriy were taking me to dinner that evening so also kindly took me to buy slacks at Evropeiskiy Mall.

Natasha and me at Kiyevskiy Vokzal

Natasha and me outside Evropeiskiy Mall

photo by Valeriy aka "SnowHo!"

Evropeiskiy Mosaic

Wow! Evropeiskiy Mall is across the street from Kievsky Voksal, near the Radisson Hotel, for those of you who know Moscow. I had heard about the shopping possibilities that had cropped up since my visit in 2000, but if you remember like I do the Brezhnev era in the '70s when people risked entanglement with the police just to buy your blue jeans, this was really something to see. In ultra-modern Moscow today, you can get anything you want if you have the money. I bought my slacks at the British-owned Marks and Spencer, quite an out of body experience.

This fully-stocked grocery store, Cedmoi Kontinent (Seventh Continent) was a treat too. There are many of these grocery stores in Moscow and other major Russian cities. I visited the one at Smolenskaya Metro station across the street from my hotel. I like cruising grocery stores. We all have our idiocyncrasies! I spend hours at my Whole Foods looking at the new products. I got as many pix as I could before one of the managers kindly told me to stop.


Love the inclined moving sidewalk from the basement to the first floor. And the Christian Lacroix Evian water. I didn't get pix of the huge cheese, butcher, and liquor, or water sections, the coffee bar or the sushi bar. (There were sushi bars all over town too.)

Smolenskaya Station

Smolenskaya Station

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Moscow, 2008

I returned from Moscow last night, though my visa had expired and the Russian government wanted me to stay an extra day to get a new one. Long story short, the US embassy intervened and arranged for me to get a new visa while I stood at the Delta check in. I was annoyed, but was already making plans to go yarn shopping that night. Next trip I guess!

I had not been to Moscow for eight years and was pretty stunned by the continued development of its market economy. Moscow is the most expensive city in the world and the wealth resident there is very evident. How ironic to be there while the US is busy nationalizing banks and insurance companies. When Marx wrote about the evolution of economies he was writing about market economies and now I wish I'd read them more closely. To defend myself, Marx is a bit of a slog to say the least, so if I get serious about it, I'll read the summaries. Maybe these kinds of short cuts are why we are heading into the economic abyss...

Anyway, I was there on business and had virtually zero time for tourism. My colleague and I got to our hotel Sunday afternoon, Sept. 14th, and we headed straight for the Kremlin. Safe taxis are hard to come by and the hotel car service was exorbitant so we took the metro. I summoned the little Russian I could remember to ask directions, and was lucky - twice - to encounter Russians who spoke English. The first woman turned out to have participated in a US-sponsored exchange program and was more than happy to walk us to the metro and answer any other questions we had. "Providential," an embassy colleague told me.

St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square, Moscow

St. Basil's Cathedral

For all of the times I've been to Moscow I've never been inside of St. Basil's. It's under major restoration and implementation of measures designed to protect the old structure. It was completed in 1560 and survived Stalinism - someone served serious jail time for refusing to destroy it, but more about political prisons later - and probably neglect for the rest of the Soviet era, so I'm confident that it will be OK, but I applaud their efforts. There's an ancient staircase inside that takes you to the iconstasis pictured here:

St. Basil's Cathedral Moscow

St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow

Some of the steps were a foot and half high and many of us didn't make it up the staircase. I'm glad I made it, though my gluts were sore for days. Not only was the worship area pictured here quite beautiful, but we also arrived in time to hear a choir singing vespers.

I'm so happy that I discovered that the video component of my camera also includes sound! I love vespers. I find them very soothing.

We had a nice cappuccino at the National Hotel to end our day. I had good coffee everywhere including Moscow's new Starbuckskies.


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