The consensus in New York is that people are done with winter. Over it. Fini. Every time I hear someone mention this, I respond with my best empathetic nod. “Hmm. Yes, I totally understand. It is so awful.” But really, I’m not over it. I, dare I say, like winter.

I missed the snow while we were in Japan (though they are getting record amounts this year!). I love it when snow falls. I love big flakes that stick to your hair and the kind of snow you can brush off your coat and even the icy mix that crunches under boots. When I wake up to snow falling, I still get excited. My days are not affected by school closures or weather in general, but that feeling of snowy morning glee is hard to shake.

Now, I realize that snow in New York is very different from snow in other places. With temps here hitting the 40s, the snow is packed down into wet, slick ice. Mixed with gray skies, exhaust fumes, soggy dog poo, and garbage that hasn’t been picked up in weeks (garbage trucks are too busy plowing), the snow is not a pretty sight. But it doesn’t bother me.

WInter color and an Archer shirt, via Saké PuppetsI’ve found other ways to combat the gray. I started sewing this shirt, oh, five months ago, so it carries a warm-weather vibe. I bought the fabric for 100 yen a meter in the Nippori fabric district in Tokyo and thought it would be ideal for a wearable practice Archer. And boy did it deliver.

Finding winter color, via Saké PuppetsI have made two button-up shirts before, so I had some confidence going into this project. Collar stand, cuffs, button holes = no problem. Some of my top stitching is a little wonky and my seams are finished with a plain ol’ zig-zag stitch, so it definitely feels like a practice shirt, but the fabric is light with nice drape so I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of it this summer.

Back it on up, Archer. Via Saké PuppetsI made View B with the gathered lower back, though it is hard to see in these photos. I really like the gathered detail, and I think it would look great with even thinner fabric, like maybe these flamingos? I wanted to make View A in flannel and snaps, but at the rate I’m sewing this year, I wouldn’t get it done before the snow melts. Guess I’ll have to check out the Garment District for more Archer fabric. Darn! 😉

Grainline Archer by Saké PuppetsYou can take the girl out of Minnesota, but it is much harder to get her out of her boots. Flurries in the forecast today, folks!

Works In Progress: A little knitting goes a long way.

A classmate asked me to teach her how to knit. During a self-introduction exercise where I said my new hobby was sewing clothing, she asked me to teach her to knit a scarf. Sure, I follow the logic.

It has been a long time since I knit something. We went to the craft shop together and bought all the materials we’d need for chunky scarves. I’ve never done that for a knitting project before. It was quite satisfying. The weather is turning chilly and it’s an overcast morning, quite right for a knit.

Have you started cool weather knitting? What are you making?!

Cold Weather Firsts

It has been chilly here in Tokyo.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to complain about the cold — since it is currently 21 degrees F (-6 degrees C) and snowing at my parents’ house in Minneapolis, and that’s after, according to my dad, “it had warmed up overnight.”

Here is the forecast for Tokyo this week:

Fear not, Americans — this is Celsius.  OK, so maybe it is not that cold…

That’s more like it.

But my parents house in Minneapolis is cozy, and my apartment in Tokyo is not.  The building is poorly insulated and my curtains sway with the breeze, get my draft drift?  50 degrees F (10 degrees C) feels chilly when you are inside.  I bought a pair of legwarmers and actually wear them.  And not ironically.

A drafty chill is the norm around Tokyo during the winter months, but there are plenty of other ways to keep warm.  This weekend I got to try a few for the first time.

Nabe 鍋 is a traditional winter dish, a one-pot soup or stew that cooks right at the table and is shared with friends or family.  Perhaps a little humble and unassuming, this soup pot of friendship warmed me right to the core.  You get to watch the broth bubble and then poke and pick out your favorite bits.  It was delightful.  Ours featured spicy sauce and soy milk, tantan tonyu nabe 担担豆乳鍋.  I probably just made-up that word, but it doesn’t matter because the soup was delicious.  Sorry for the poor cellphone photo – I was too excited to take the time to get a real camera.

My other cold weather first this weekend was to cuddle under a kotatsu 炬燵, a small table with a heating unit underneath that you cover with a heavy blanket.  Don’t even ask me about fire hazards, because all I know is that the kotatsu is my new love.

Doesn’t it look cozy?  A friend has a kotatsu with a pit underneath where you can dangle your legs and play anonymous footsie games.  There are a few months of winter left, so I’m thinking I can justify finding a kotatsu of my own.  If it works out, you won’t hear from me until spring.