Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Another quick update!

Still quite busy. We are catching up on projects.

I am moving the blog to a new spot! Yes. Let me explain why.

I had a website dedicated to my Buddhist studies, My old host, whom I shall not name, went through some changes and lost my domain name. It was suppose to be registered under my name but they did it with theirs. They discontinued their relationship with a well-known registrar and they didn't bother to help me retain my domain. I gave up after months of trying to get documents from them so I could reclaim it. In fact, they dropped my hosting account without giving me notice. They just didn't want to bother with it. Sounds bad, huh?

Well, I am kind of glad now. I decided to get a new domain name,, and going to a different hosting company. To my delight, they have a very easy and comprehensive control panel. They also have bunch of add-ons ready to be installed, including several blogs. So I moved my website over and even installed two WordPress blogs. JasonKnits, which is like this blog, and ForestBlog, which will be thoughts on Buddhist practice. Installing WordPress was quick and easy. There are unbelievable number of themes (templates) and plug-ins. It even imports from other blogs like Blogger.

I haven't spent much time tidying up the blogs. Importing was quick but pictures do not show up on the new JasonKnits. I will add them in later. I played around with adding links in the blogroll. You will only see a few at the moment. But please don't think that I dropped the others. I will get to adding them soon! :-)

So, any future blogging activities of mine will be over at my new home. Please come on over. It's a bit disorganized right now, but I will clean it up soon. :-)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Big decision

Just a quick post. It's been a while since my last one. Very very busy. I thought about quitting the blog but decided against it. I'll just post whenever I can.

What's the big decision? Well. It looks like there's a strong possibility that we'll be moving north. This had been brought up before many times. But I think this time it is serious. Our CEO wants us up there with them in the main office, which is located in Los Altos. It can be as soon as next Spring.

I imagine that we will drive up and look around for a nice neighborhood. It will probably be somewhere between San Francisco and San Jose. I don't want to be in a big busy city that's for sure.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What about knitting?

Yes. I do ask myself that question. I am going to have to slow down on trying new things.

Cotton questions

I need recommendations here. What would you suggest for a durable and comfortable to wear fabric? 100% cotton? or a cotton blend? How about cotton/hemp?

Is ginned cotton not carded or combed? Is it easy to spin?

Charkha Wheel

What happens when you have so much fun spinning cotton on a support spindle? Move on to a charkha wheel of course! I am really lucky that I can get my hands on a Journey Wheel Attache Charkha for a test drive. It's amazingly fast. Serious.

I spent hours last night getting familiar with this wheel. See that pile at the back? Yes, they are mostly mistakes. Fun mistakes (for now). It was so fun experimenting with drafting techniques. I definitely discovered a few things about the behavior of the cotton fiber. I also think that the Attache is too fast and too large for me. It spins at a ratio of 110:1. Too fast for my liking. Or maybe I just need to get used to it? The Book Charkha spins at a ratio of 70:1. I think that would be better for me. But I do worry about the lighter weight of the wheel. Will it stay put when I spin? I am also looking at Alden Amos' charkha wheels. But I think I won't consider any of them for my first charkha. I want something portable that I can travel with. I do fancy the t-frames and the banjo though.

I mentioned that my first goal of spinning cotton is to weave a piece of fabric to use as an offering to the monks next year. But I think I am spinning a bit too thin here. The truth is that I have no idea what it needs to be for weaving.

How many birds do you see?

Do you think that these birds find it safe to be on this thorny floss silk tree?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Me as a Buddhist monk in 2003

I told you that I have proof that I was once a monk for 7 days.

It is quite common for Thai males to become short-term monks. I am not Thai but go to the Thai Forest Tradition temple. My sister suggested that I ordain as a monk to make merit to share with my mother who is a lung cancer patient. I agreed, but at the time I truly believed that you should want to be a monk for the rest of your life when you decide to be ordained. Not for short term. But it was a special situation.

There's no special ceremony for short term monks. You go through the same procedures and become a fully ordained monk, with 227 training rules to follow. No less. You just ask to leave the monkhood when you feel that you can't continue being a monk.

I took this opportunity and asked myself to truly train as a monk, to think like a monk. Body, speech and mind. For my own understanding, and because of the support of the community. With so many teachers, good information and good environment, I gained an understanding of the path that is unshakable. I am not saying that I knew everything. But I finally understood the practice. I knew which direction to go, and that I had much to learn.

Unlike before, I now think that it's good to be a short term monk if one isn't just keeping up the appearance. Train like a monk inside and out. Chances are that one will gain understanding and maybe even consider staying as a monk. In any case, one can learn a lot!

Here are a few more pictures:

Getting ready to shave off the hair and eyebrows.

Receiving the requisites from Mom.

A snapshot with friends.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Thanks Micah, my friend. You made two guys very very happy. One who received the beautiful work of art. And one who gets to wear them. :-) A neighbor of ours suggested that I felt them a little to fit my hands, but my partner screamed "NO!" They fit him perfectly and the color is one of his favorites. Mine too, but there's no getting them back from him. :-)

Tomorrow is the Kathina ceremony at our temple. I am heading out soon to spend the night there and to make offerings tomorrow.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A bowl of fresh fiber, please!

And make that cotton!

Don't laugh. But I was watching Gandhi Tuesday night and was just fascinated with the cotton spinning demonstrated on the film. Way to go Ben Kinsley. Oh, I really want a book charkha now. Anyway, I was thinking about it all day yesterday and was itching to try cotton spinning. I didn't have a charkha wheel. But I did have some cotton, and a small support spindle purchased from Nancy at Gwen's workshop. As soon as I stopped working I took out the tools and fiber and went at it.

I had in mind how they spin the cotton and weave it into fabric to make robes. So I tried spinning thin. The truth is that spinning thin is perfect for this small spindle. I imagine that I will have to use these cotton singles for weaving. Oh oh. Did I just discover what the next fiber lesson will be? LOL