Friday, June 13, 2014

End of School Year

Hello! Finally, the school year is over. This winter was really long and cold here in Michiana. Our school had six snow days. That's exceptional. We rarely have more than three snow days usually. So we had three make up days through the Spring semester and even in June we had three more. That is why our Summer vacation started late this year. Yesterday was the last day of my daughter's third grade year. It has been pretty busy and messy around here as you may imagine. And you know, today is not just a first day of Summer vacation. It is the first day that Moms get busier and messier. Before my hair gets disheveled too much I would like to share things recently happened around my sweet girl.

She had a small piano recital. She played five songs. It wasn't perfect but she did pretty good. Surprisingly she never gets nervous before the events like this. Piano recitals, ballet performances, school talent shows, and so on. I guess that is a good thing, right? She could be something. Maybe....

She had worked hard on her school project in May. It was "Living History Museum". Every student pick one famous person in American history and research about the person. Then they present the result in front of parents and teachers pretending they are the persona they have in their reports. The picture below is Nina painting her background. I helped painting the green grass.

Her famous person in American history was BILLIE JEAN KING. I whipped up a skort from her old uniform shirt two days before the presentation. I needed to buy big framed glasses and deliver to Nina at school that day. I could not find an appropriate pair of fake glasses so I just grabbed a biggest pair of sunglasses from a store rack then ran to school. The glasses sorta look weird but she did great anyways.

Can you tell who is who? This was really a fun event and kids did very well. I think this was a very good way to learn history. Nina even remembers other students' persons' life histories. That is great.

Nina's 9th birthday was May 15th as I told you in this post . We usually have her birthday party right after school is over. But this year we had it the last weekend of school year due to the snow days make up. We had over twenty guests at St.Patrick's county park. This was the first time for us to have a party at park, and we liked it very much. St.Patrick's park is a beautiful place and very well maintained. We went skiing there many times this Winter and there are nice skiing (trekking) trails in the woods.
The second birthday cake was not home made. (You can see the first home made one here.)

It's cake time!

Mr.Tim challenged to the limbo. The cake wasn't home made but the limbo equipment was!!

The last weekend of May Nina's ballet school and company had the Sleeping Beauty ballet performances at DeBartolo performing arts center at Notre Dame University. I have been watching their productions for five years and this one was my most favorite. We are very fortunate to have such a good ballet school in the region. Nina is pretty much enthusiastic at ballet so far. I am not going to force her to keep going forever, but to be honest, I sometimes dream to see her dancing a main roll on stage someday. (I majored in dance and theater. After graduating college I worked as a dancer for a while. That made me a ballet Mom!)

Nina (and I) made a thank you gift for her teacher. A "stuffed teacher" is the thing we make occasionally. You can see the other stuffed teachers we made in the past here and here.

I attended the assembly to see Nina received some awards and celebrate that our school year was successful. I cannot believe that she is already going to be a forth grader next year. The parents her graders' started worrying and talking about which middle school we should apply for two years later. That is going to be a big decision.

I am glad we had another great year in school. We will enjoy the Summer in Michiana more than usual. Because we are not going to Japan to see my family. They will be coming here!! My Dad and sister's family will stay for about a week ( I know! It's too short! But it is really hard for my sister and brother in law to have a long vacation. ) We are looking forward to it. I always wanted to show them how I live in this country. It has been nine years. It was a long time.

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you started a wonderful Summer (or Winter in the South Hemisphere). Have a beautiful day!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Calling for all the sock knitters!

As I mentioned before in this post, I am writing serial essay in Japanese popular knitting and crocheting magazine Knit Marche. I am now working on the next issue and I need your help!! The theme is sock knitting this time. My editor and I are thinking to have some images of knitted socks by sock knitters in the world on my pages in the next issue. This issue will be coming in September so right now this is the time for us to collect and integrate all the materials we need for the issue in a couple weeks.

Do you want to show off your masterpiece in Japanese knitting magazine? Do you have an adorable pair of socks you've finished recently? It doesn't matter what knitting skill level you are in. We want to share with Japanese readers that how sock knitters in the world enjoy knitting socks. If you are interested in this project, please let me know by sending email to me at {harujiondesign at gmail dot com} with some information about you that I listed below. I will get back to you soon with more detail.

***Please include in your email
a) Your name
b) Where you live in
c) What technique you use for knitting socks (DPN,  One or more circular needle(s), Magic loop, 2-at-a-time, Toe-up, Cuff-down, etc....)

If I got more applicants than we need, I will need to pick one or two applicants from them. What I will ask the selected applicants are a few images of your socks and maybe a picture of you knitting socks in action. That would be much greater! Also there will be a survey with a few questions.

When the magazine is out I will post about that in this blog and send a copy of the issue from Japan to the cooperator(s). I hope many of you are interested in this and look forward to hearing from you!

It is raining pretty hard here now and we have leaks from the ceiling in our kitchen (;_;)....... This is not a very happy day for us but I wish you have a beautiful Wednesday. Thank you so much.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nina's Ballet Bag made with Kokka's Retro Animal Print

Nina's ballet school students and company members will perform "the Sleeping Beauty" this weekend. Nina has been performing in the Nutcracker for five years but this is the first time for us to participate the Spring Production. I made a ballet bag for the last Nutcracker performance. She's been using that for going her lessons and rehearsals three days a week since then. The bag seems getting dirty and worn-out a little bit, so I decided to make a new one for this Spring production.

I had this super cute half linen fabric from Kokka. This is one of fabrics I got in Japan last Summer. As you can imagine, I fell in love with this retro animal print at a first sight. The color and the style of these adorable characters feel very nostalgic. I think many women grown in Japan in my age would feel the same. I had a flannel Kimono pajama in the print just like this when I was so little! I am not going to tell you how many,  but its sooooo many years agooooo! \(*o*)/

Starting with a very rough sketch with the dimensions I want.

All the parts prepared. I made bias tapes with my favorite gingham check cotton for trimming.

Assembled all together....... then....... Ta-dah! It's finished!!

I put two outside pockets and one inside pocket for keep a pen and a little note book. There is a inside bottle holder as well. The top opens wide so she can easily see and reach the whole contents in the bag.

Oh, my. She's grown. I really need to get new Summer clothes for her. Things she wore last Summer are all shrunk! Well, of course. She has turned nine on May 15th. On her birthday we talked about the day Nina was born (in Japan). I feel that it was only a few years ago, and sometimes it feels many many years ago (or even that's somebody else's story!). Have you ever felt like that? Here is a snap shot of her and her birthday cake. The tie she is wearing is a gift from me. The tie and the cake were homemade.

Today they had the first run through on the actual stage. She took her brand-new bag to the theater. This week is going to be a busy one!! I hope you had a great holiday and started a good week. Happy sewing!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"Flower Garden Granny Square" Flickr group

Hello everyone! Did you start a good week? It is a beautiful day we are having here in Indiana. My day has been very busy and I am working pretty much efficiently. It feels great!

I know, I should have done this much earlier, but finally I created the Flickr group named "Flower Garden Granny Square". This group is made for people who adore my free "Flower Garden Granny Square" pattern to show off their creations made with this pattern. I posted this free pattern on both this (English) blog and my Japanese blog two years ago. And soon, this pattern started walking out alone around the world through the internet. Until today, I've had about 100,000 accesses to the pattern only on this blog. I cannot track the numbers of the page access on my Japanese blog but more than 100,000 accesses sounds miraculous to me. Definitely amazing! I kept wishing to see what people are making with my Granny Square pattern. And I only got a few chances to see the images of items that some of my blog visitors made. That is the reason I finally started this group and I am hoping this will work for me and many crocheters who make (or wish to make) something with the pattern. Having a place to communicate with other crocheters would be fun. This group is open to everybody. Please feel free to share your photos of your creations and your ideas about the Flower Garden Granny Square pattern with other readers of Harujion Design blog! Let's enjoy!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Out of season knitting

Hello! Did you have a beautiful Mother's day? I did have a good one. My daughter secretly made a treat for me in the closed kitchen after the dinner. It was a (fancy wine) glass of soda float! It made my day of course, even though that was so very sweet and the soda was cloudy with melted frozen yogurt bubbles. Hope all the Moms and Daughters spent a good time and realized their bonds again.

I finally finished the French Cancan shawl! You can find the pattern here on Ravelry and my project page is here. (You need to sign in to see the project pages.) The finished shawl is a bit small so I would consider this item as a scarf. In the pattern, there is a suggestion and a how-to for making it larger as an option. However I like the result and I would love to make another one larger in a  different color. Only if I had free time to do that. Probably not. Since I have more shawl patterns to knit in my wish list!! That is a happy thing to have so many things which I love to do in my to-do list, right?

And there is another project on my circular needles.It is going to be fun.
 Thank you for reading, and please have a wonderful week. Happy knitting! OXOX

Friday, April 25, 2014

Shawl knitting and Terrarium class

This beautiful shawl is on my needles now. This is the first time for me to knit a shawl in English written pattern.
 I have not been a shawl person until last fall. I got Shingles in my left shoulder in last October. One Saturday morning I found some small blisters in my shoulder. I instinctively thought that this must be Shingles. So I went to the urgent care but I couldn't get a correct diagnosis.  After all I was diagnosed with Shingles by my own physician on Monday. Since then I almost always have miner pain from my left neck to arm. I wish I could have gotten an immediate treatment at the urgent care. If I could have, I probably have recovered completely... I mean without any pain as a hangover from Shingles. If you have some symptoms look like Shingles, just go to see your doctor immediately. Delay in treatment will cause remaining pain in your nerve long time.
Anyway! I wanted to say I started use scarves and shawls since then because I need to keep my shoulder warm to prevent the pain. The misdiagnosis was not a good experience at all but knitting a shawl for myself is very enjoyable. And the pattern is not hard to knit but very interesting!

I learned "shawl cast on" for the first time. I haven't heard of it in Japan. I wonder this is a common technique among shawl knitters.

Using cable needles. Shape the shawl body first then continuously add the edging with a pretty lace & cable braid pattern.

I am almost there! I cannot wait to finish and use it!


I took a terrarium making class at Junk Evolution. Playing with plants and soil felt good. We planted succulents in glass containers and added some ornaments like pine cones, twigs, butterflies and so on.
The process was very simple and easy. I put this on the breakfast table in my kitchen. I think I will make a couple more for a bathroom and a bedroom.

I hope you enjoyed it and please have a  great weekend. Happy Friday!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hello again! / Loom knitting

Hello again folks! I've been taking break from blogging too long. After the long long severe Winter, I decided to spend more time on cleaning and reorganizing our home this Spring. Then Spring break began soon. My husband went out of country to meet his brother in Amsterdam for about a week. So I got pretty busy to spend time with my daughter while he was gone. Finding kids' activities, taking her to play dates and having her friends come over to our place, etc. Meanwhile, the weather finally have been getting nicer and warmer. Now It's the time to start yard work. Mostly cleaning the patio and around the house yet. Soon, I will be going to start planting.

I didn't spend much time to make stuff, but you know that I cannot live so long without making something! Also I am always ready to learn something new. I started to study a new technique recently. That is "Loom knitting". This has been in my mind awhile and I've been curious about the technique and what I can do with those looms. I watched a bunch of Youtube videos of how-to loom knit. Got out the circular knitting loom set which I gave to my daughter last Christmas. Then I tried things I learned from the videos.

I was more interested in double knitting than single knitting so I ran to Michaels to get some long knitting looms.  I am not going to talk about stitches and details here today. Just tell you that Circular looms can only do single knitting and you will need Long looms to do double knitting as far as I know. This is what I purchased. Martha Stewart Crafts "Knit & Weave Loom Kit".

I will write my review about this product sometime later, but anyways, I knitted a scarf with this loom using the very basic twisted stockinet stitch.

It took me a little while to get used to stitching. But once I got the hang of it, it went so quick and was fun! The fabric it makes is fairly thick but very soft since the stitches are quite loose.

I finished this scarf in one day! Spent one ball of Lion Brand "Vanna's Choice".

I am going to make some more small items for practice with different stitches.  I have a feeling that this tool and technique have lots of possibilities. When using thick sturdy yarns it will make very firm fabric which is good for bags and home goods. With soft thinner yarns it will make nice scarves and shrugs. I found the way to make large blankets and that technique seemed very interesting. 

If you are a loom knitter and you have something to share with us, please leave a comment. If you know any good patterns for loom knitting please let me know! 

Thank you so much, and I hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend!! Happy loom knitting!