Summer Ribbon Tank
I'm still recovering from the time difference (15 hours) and the jet lag so haven't been knitting much. Instead, I'm going to share a project I knit a few years ago (but never blogged) that is a great Summer project. It's a simple tank knit with a ribbon yarn.
Ribbon yarn is comfortable to wear and creates a nice drape to the fabric. A simple shell tank is easy to knit in this yarn and your local knit shop can help you calculate your gauge and dimensions. I added the flowers to jazz up this tank and Betty at Binding Off used tuck stitches to embellish her stylish Tuck Stitching Summer Top.
Particulars: Personal pattern; ribbon yarn (can't recall brand but a nylon blend) Note: Larissa (Stitches in Play) left a comment and I thought I should clarify that the ribbon yarn I used was slightly serrated. I believe this helped the fabric have a nice bounce and hold together well, giving it something like a slight felting effect similar to what happens with Shetland wool. I added a picture of the ribbon on my Ravelry notebook [here] so you can see what I'm talking about; US 7 needles. Simple tank design: single ribbing at the bottom and double crochet to finish armholes and neckline.
Chinese Tea Series: Chinese Chrysanthemum Flower Tea
I discovered in China, to my chagrin, that I didn't know as much about tea as I thought I did. China is a "tea culture" and Chengdu has 20 millions residents and only slightly fewer Tea Houses. Some are elegant and others don't offer much beyond rickety chairs and a wobbly table. The picture below is the roof of one of the prettier ones we visited (although not in the traditional style).
The Tea Houses primarily serve herbal tea which is brought to your table as a scoop of loose herbs dumped into your glass with hot water sloshed in. There are no scones or cakes, which was a disappointment. I have to admit, though, that the Chinese teas are not well suited to sweet pastries. Rather, the fruits and nuts served in small condiment dishes suit them better, unless you are hungry. I'm not going to apologize for having a healthy appetite, I'll just say that a small dish of sunflower seeds for a table to share either requires that one use restraint or adopt a brazen attitude.
The Chinese put great store by their herbs and your selection of tea can be revealing. Steve, of course, is never one for conforming and instead of drinking Jasmine Tea like other men he chose a passion flower tea, to the amusement of the tea house attendant, and my slight embarrassment.
Chrysanthemum Flower Tea: A full bodied cooling tea. This tea is best brewed in glass or ceramic/porcelain to avoid taint to the flavor. The water should be very hot but not boiling and your glass can be refilled with hot water many times before the flowers lose their flavor. Because the flowers float this tea is served with a straw for sipping. This tea usually has wolf berries added (the red pods seen above) and rock sugar is sometimes added as a sweetener. Both the Chrysanthemum flower and Wolf berry are used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Recommendations for Stories set in China
The White Pagoda, by Fay Angus. I am sorry to say that I've not read this story..... yet it is written by a dear family friend who has written many inspirational books. The Angus family were a huge part of my childhood and while I knew my Auntie Fay had written a book about her time in a concentration camp in China, I was too young when it came out to have read it. I'll read it now with great interest. I borrowed this review off Amazon: The White Pagoda by Fay Angus is a quick, interesting read. Set in the Shanghai of the 1930's, Angus gives a brief look into the foreign culture of pre-war china that continues through her time in a Japanese concentration camp during WWII. She explores her childhood and adolescence in an environment very different from that of most American teenagers. I would recommend this book, particularly to teenage girls, as a brief glimpse into the life of a girl growing up in another time and another culture. A good introduction to studying Asia during the second world war.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. I loved this story which gives a fascinating glimpse into the culture and time surrounding the binding of girl's feet in rural China.
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. A classic. If you've not read this book yet, it's time. The characters in this story are so richly drawn you are unlikely to ever forgot them.
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon This is a movie (make sure to get the English dubbed version) which will take you into the mysterious life of the Chinese warriors. The story is poignant and the scenery is stunning.
Until next time, be well, love well, and this Summer try experimenting with different types of teas!
P.S. I will also be writing about green tea and traditionally brewed black Chinese tea for those interested.