zaterdag 28 november 2009

Simple things in Life

I notice by myself for a while that I am really more and more enjoying the Little and often Simple Things of Life. Guess it has to do with getting older but also with all things happening to me in my private life and the complexity of the world around me and the world we all live in. While in Glasgow I got a few little gifts from my Slovakian Colleges as this very sweet plate with cookies on it all made to eat. Hard to do in a way because it looks so beautiful...I love those things. Very traditional in a way but it gets right into my heart and I can feel it is made with love and attention. Perhaps you have to come into a certain stage in life that you appreciate those things. Because Bram is not very healthy and his mobility is not good we can't go for a day to Amsterdam (wheel chair could be an option but we both are not at the stage that we are doing it) we stay at home more and more. Sometimes that doesn't feel good but than we try to make a nice day here in Deventer of it. We have a coffee in a cafe in the centre (I take him there by car). I do some shopping while he reads the newspaper and it feels OK. Last year this was very hard for me because we were almost doing the shopping together and everybody in town knew that we belong together. If friends than asked me how everything was going my eyes would fill with tears and I would feel very lonely and sad. That really goes better not. But if someone now tells me to go to Amsterdam alone on a saturday I reply that that is not a good idea because I would feel the missing of Bram next to me more and more and it would make me sad. While in a shop in Glasgow I found this little "Gem" and I loved the text: Life is not about finding yourself. It's about creating yourself. Because of the stage where my (and our) life is in now, my mind can panic and when that happens I want to run away. After looking at it without judgement and accept that panic it brings me back to a calmer stage and I can accept things more easily. Looking at the things which can be done is a better option than looking at the things we can't do anymore. Hard sometimes but it works for me. So I stay in Deventer which is a very nice city and I take time for other activities which make me happy. As there is cooking: the smell of a "cooked for hours stew" makes me happy. Eating together with a glass of wine and to have attention for each other brings me in a good mood. Talking about the issues of life is one of our favourite topics. Our grandson Jim who brings such a joy with his energy and his smiles go directly to our heart. And of course there is my Knitting which has become a part of my life for already some years. To make something personal and beautiful feels so good. I am so One of my favourite textile magazines is Selvedge and I have a subscription form the beginning. Beautiful photo's and inspirational articles as this article about The Handman's tale with all info about different "crafters". More good news is that photo's from Knitted landscape will be featured in the - next year to be published book: "Greatest Knitting of" by Lela Nargi and that photo's will be in the book from Knitta Please about Yarn graffiti (also next year). And my gloves are almost finished so I can wear them the coming week in Copenhagen were I will visit my students who are doing a 20 weeks training. Copenhagen is great to go to and I know the way round very well because I have been there soooo many times. Next to work there is some time for shopping and on Wednesday evening I will go to a knitters meeting at Wilfert's and there also I will meet up with a Ravelry friend. There is some really nice and special yarn for sale at Sommerfuglen as this Shibui Knit sock yarn in a stunning colour.. and perhaps some yarn for this new Cowl...I fly on Tuesday morning (a little more than 1 hour) from Schiphol airport to Kastrup Airport and return on Tuesday afternoon. After taking my luggage to the hotel one of the first things I will do is have a cake at Konditori La Glace which is the oldest in town. So... a nice week to look at.. and after returning home on Thursday I will go for a 2 day trip with my class to Antwerpen on the following Monday..

woensdag 18 november 2009

UFO's, FO's, AFO's and: NO this not SF...

Let's do a confession........ I AM A YARN -ADDICT!!!! Yarn is in our house everywhere nowadays. Packed in bags and boxes and to be honest ... for the coming years I really do not need any yarn...I can knit loads of things with all my yarns.... But... every time I see a yarn store somewhere (in reality or on the net) I sort of forget all my stash and I get the feeling that I really need some new yarn to make something really beautiful. I get easily tempted by beautiful hand dyed sock yarn or a simple tweed yarn for a cosy sweater or some alpaca/ merino for a pair of gloves...What is it in me that I never have the feeling: it is enough and use all your stash before buying anything new. Answer: I simply can't resist!!! Textiles has always been a great love of mine since my childhood and learning to knit was something I really loved. The result you get when you have 2 sticks, some yarn and a movement simply did blow my mind away in the beginning of my "discovery of knitting" (and it still does). Guess it also has to do with my "love to touch textiles". Whenever I pass a market stall with fabrics I have to touch and feel and so this is with yarns. So there is this Yarn -Junkie and his UFO's (for non -knitters: this means Unfinished Object's) , his FO's (logical to say this is Finished Object) his new list of shortenings as: AFO's: Almost Finished Object, WTBFO (Waiting To Be Finished Object)ALWTBFO (Already Long Waiting To Be Finished Object), WSWO (Winter-Sleep Waiting Object) and may more shortenings can be made... Let's show some of my FO's and AFO's: From left to right: A lace shawl in Shetland lace yarn for a friend (This is from 1 skein and I need to knit 2 more skeins and than it will be completed. A pair of Gansey socks for myself (FO) in Lorna Lace yarn A pair of Escalator pattern socks in Wollmeise handdyed (yes: FO) A Pair of socks for Bram in handdyed Malabrigo sockyarn (AFO, need to finish them only) A pair of red and green socks (matching but slightly different) in Earl Grey Pattern from Wildfoote luxury sock yarn (also an AFO) But there is more round the house... How about this lovely couple: The red yarn (bought it last year in Ireland) is the back of a new Daniel cardigan. I have ripped it out already twice because the gauge wasn't right and perhaps I will do it again and make a sweater of it. I would like to try the Seamless Hybrid (example here) from Elizabeth Zimmerman with a contrast colour in it......Defintely a WSWO. Under it is the Pi Shawl also from EZ in Noro yarn. Originally I did knit this hoodie from it but after finishing and putting it on Bram's reply was: Are you really going to wear this?YES, he was right..I would never wear this..... never in my whole life. For sure I was in a kind of Colour mood when I bought the yarn and I kept saying to myself while knitting: the colours are really nice and it looks like Missoni and I am sure it will look good on me.. So I ripped out everything (knitting is about the process and not only about the product I whispered to myself while ripping!!) and dyed the yarn blue and it came our really nice. So I cast on the Pi shawl (after I did knit a small example) for my -to be meditation shawl-because I always cool down when I meditate. It is a great pattern but... also a little boring when 1 row is about 500 this is my ALWTBFO. I am sure one day I will continue with it and the result will be breath taking...but not now. While in Glasgow I couldn't resist to buy some hand-dyed merino/ cashmere in beautiful purple for a pair of gloves (did a pair already some years ago). When I came home I immediately found a pattern in the book : The Knitting (Man)ual and started with the first glove. It went well very good with cuff and hand and the first finger. Since last week it is waiting for me on the table in the living-room to be finished this winter. So this is my UFO which will be a FO hopefully soon and there are more....... These are my other Earl Grey socks also from the Wildfoot yarn and I decided to make a matching pair with the red ones'. So I can wear f.e. a red sock on my left foot and a green one on my right and the pattern is the same (lovely tiny cable's).. So there will be a green, blue and red one and a blue, green and red one (sounds maybe not very clear to you but it is very clear to me).. I have to knit them with these skeins so the result will be a kind of wildly coloured socks. Definitely a UFO now, but will be a AFO very soon and than I will start the last sock in this serie. Also on the needles since a few weeks are the KAWKAWESQUE socks from Yarnissima in Wollmeise yarn. Yes..... a UFO!!!Toe is ready (yes it is a toe up sock) and I need to switch to bigger needles now. I am sure they will come out nice. Next week I will visit Marjan (yes she is the great designer behind the label Yarnissima!) and I will take them with me for some questions. Being a total Yarn Junky I couldn't resist a question from my FB friend Marie Jose. She is Dutch but lives now in the USA with husband and wonderful little baby boy (did met her during the train ride to the first Dutch SnB day in Rotterdam years ago). Her question was: if you want me to take some yarn with me for you please order.. So I ordered some nice handdyed Blue Moon Socks that Rock yarn for 3 pairs of socksNo pattern yet and not even a UFO yet.. Guess this is called a PUFO which is a: Premature Unfinished Object! Anyone having more Shortenings..leave a message behind please :-) And... to tell the truth... I really have more on the needles than those projects... More UFO's and other sort of ...FO's but please don't tell anyone. To have my coming-out as a yarnjunkie wasn't that easy...

dinsdag 10 november 2009

Glasgow is a GREAT PLACE TO BE....

Last week I had to go "for work"to Glasgow......Not bad at all because I love Scotland in every season and next to the work there was plenty of time for pleasure.. So I flew early on tuesdaymorning with my 2 collegues Renske and Wendy from Schiphol to Glasgow airport and arrived at the hotel round 11. The Albion Hotel is situated in the popular part of Glasgow called West End. Plenty of trendy Interiorshops and lot's of places for a coffee and a meal. Beautiful red stone houses with typical bay windows.
My room was on the top floor and was basic but good. So after putting our bags in the room we immediately went on for a walk in town. We passed the great shop from Timorous Beasties with their amazing handprinted wallpaper and fabrics. Later more about them.. We met our Scottish colleagues in a coffee shop with great tasting cakes. The West End also has the beautiful Royal Botanical Garden with the beautiful glasshouses and the building of BBC ScotlandA relaxed first day which ended with a little dinner with the Slovakian collegues who really had a long day traveling.. Pictured here after a good sleep are from Left to Right: Andrea, Lenka and Darina The next day we took the train to Cardonald College which is the school we are working with already for many years. The textile and fashion department is ofcourse the department who is involved in the "RED THREAD" project and so is the textile and fashion school from Puchov, Slovakia. We have known eachother for a long time so working together is never a problem. We have found our strong and weak points and my collegues also became very good friends and it is always great to meet up. Cardonald is really good in textile-design and so this will be a big part of the Project. It is always inspirational to see where students do come up with, as can be seen in those 2 examples: Screen-printing is a technique often used and so this will be used for designs for cushioncovers and teatowels. After a nice day of work and setting the task we had dinner together in West End. Later that evening we went to the party of the launch of the new special edition package from the Famous Grouse whiskeydone by Timorous Beasties with a glass (or 2) of whiskey ofcourse. Thursday started of with a visit to Flounce an interiorshop specialised in curtains and Claire the owner was very open about her way of working. After that, back to Timorous Beasties for their story of how it all began. This weekend they have sample sale from fabrics and wallpaper and I hope my collegue Jax will find me some fabric as the Glasgow Toile and the Thistle. Alistair from TB is a very nice person to talk with and he will probably monitor the project. The afternoon continued with a trip to the Glengoyne whiskey destillery with a little tasting and I couldn't keep my eye from this Pakistan Young man dressed seriously in a tweed suit with a matching cap. He really "stood" in his probably just bought suit and with the trainers it looked really good on him. The tasting was followed by a late lunch at An Lochan were the menu was very tasty so I had as starter: Pate served on a slate: Followed by Smoked haddock and for Dessert a poached pear. Everything tasted really good and I love this simple kind of food very much. Than back to school again to take the bus who would bring us to Edinburgh were we would see the Stag fashion show in a beautiful old church right in the centre. We got a nice glass champane to start with...The STAG show is the fashion-show from the best fashion students from all fashion colleges in Scotland. Not everything was good unfortunately. It a Glasgow school of Art who started the show was very disappointing with a bouring knitwear collection. Cardonald showed a serie of tweed skrits who looked great but being a BIG fan of Tartans I loved the collection from the Aberdeen college But the best came after the show. During the summerholiday we visited the textile museum in Hawick. The are selling ofcourse woolen items in their shop and my eyes did fall for a scarve from Eribe knitwear in Fair Isle technique with a lining from Liberty fabric. Loved it but being broke at the end of the holiday I decided not to buy it. During the evening I wore my Fair Isle slipover with bright colours and after the show a man and woman came to me to tell me they really loved my pullover and immediately I asked: but who are you and she told me she was Rosemary Eribe. We had a great chat together and I will contact her this week by mail and hope to meet up another day. My colleges were very surprised and told me that that really was something "very much Jan". Friday we had a day off so time for the usual shopping in the centre and in West End. We had lunch at Fifi and Ally with amazing wall paper and very good food.I really had to buy something for Jim, so I found really nice clothes for him at Monsoon , some magazines ands socks for Bram,and at the end of the day I went to K1 yarns because I really needed some new stash...... almost no yarn in the house.... so I had to buy this Cashmere yarn for a pair of gloves in the Thistle colour as a remembrance to Scotland and in the hotel all the goodies I bought it looked like this:Friday night we had a party at Jax her house which was so special to be at. A great house in the south of Glasgow with stunning vieuws and with great food and friends... So special to be there...When we came to the hotel we had a little nightcap at a pub were the waitress wore a legging with a leopard sweater.....Saturday we had a flight back and sunday we drove to Groningen to see grandson Jim... Yes, I really like my job!!

zondag 1 november 2009

Work, Passion & Private Life

School has started last week after a 1 week autumn holiday.... My holiday was a bit of a mix from feeling good and feeling moody every now and than.. But later more about this subject. The holiday started off with a trip to Rotterdam to meet up with my knitting friends at the Dutch Knitting Cafe at the "Handwerkbeurs"= Craftfair. So finally I could have a talk with YvonneP, The wonderfull Puk (or Ballee) and The Fabulous Hilly and all the other ones who are not on the photo...If Ravelry wasn't existing I am not sure if we had met.. Yvonne even wore the Agree shirt from Rav.. (looks good on you honey!!!!) I did knit on my Earl Greay sock and Puk made a wonderfull new photo from me wearing the sock slightly different (has been my avatar for a while). Knitting really has become my passion and I really love to knit...... I've had a relaxing day despite the fact that the fair itself was not very exiting compared to f.e. the I Knit Fair in London. It is a mix from loads of patchwork and other craft-materials you can buy and some stands with yarns.....and not all of them were very exiting. Holland doesn't have a lot of Indie Dyers so only a few were there... (perhaps I have to start dyeing myself I wonder often) But I bought some emerald coloured sockyarn from Malabrigo for a pair of socks for Bram (they are almost finished and look nice), some Knitpro needles and a book about Gansey's.....And there were the Knitcelebs ofcourse.. How about the Queen of Brioche: Mrs. Nancy Marchant (her book is coming soon!!!) and Erwen from the Knitwitches When I left the Fair I walked with Nancy to the railwaystation and she wore an amazing cardi (ofcourse designed and knitted by herself) with a stunning crochet scarf (handdyed she told me) It was such a beautiful colourcombination that I had to take a picture from it. During the first days of the week I worked some hours on the sock for the book (needs to be finished in january) made swatches, liked the yarn but not the colours and Jon from Easyknits will dye yarn specially for me this week.. I felt moody in a way and that all has to do with the healthsituation Bram is in and the consequences this has for our relation. It is difficult now and than to cope with this. He can't help it ofcourse but the fact that we can't go away sin't very nice. We often went for a week to Danmark during autumn holiday with visits to Copenhagen. Now we can't do that anymore simply because of the fact that his mobility is very weak and after 5 minuteds walking he needs to rest. It is not good for him to go and not good for me and not good for the both of us.. So friends adviced me to do the things alone....but walking alone in Amsterdam feels now a bit amputated and I even more feel the pain and sorrow and the sadness..We used to do most of the things together and it is strange to do the shopping alone or going to a museum just doesn't feel good now, but we have to work on it. After an emotional clash with Bram I decided to go back to my "Personal Shrink for Real Lunatics" for some talks (she has her practice opposite of our street, very handy). She works with EMDR which works very well on me. I feel good going to her and ofcourse during the first talk I cried but it was a relief to let go my emotions. I don't know exactly how it works but the next day I felt much better and my energy came back.. And for the rest of the holiday things went is still not in balance but I am working on it which feels good. It is strange to live with a patient/ partner and lover who needs care and esspcially Bram who always is so lively and wants to go and see things... Another topic from my personal life: School.... let's show you the building.. My school is situated in Enschede which is about 50 minutes by train from Deventer. Very comfortable and they run twice an hour directly. With coffee, my Ipod and a book no problem at all. The building itself was finished in 1922 and the design is typical for that era. It was made as a Higher textileschool and at tiles at the in- and outside of the building you can see textile related design as spinningwheels, cotton flowers etc. It looks quite strict and formal from the outside and the hall also is very dark and strict. I love to work in that historic building and the scale is perfect for me. Too big schools don't work for students and teachers is my opinion, so I am happy to work here and not in the other new BIG ROC Buildings. The re-design for the school is done by AA- architects from Enschede and it is very well done. Next to the building a big glass building was built during the last schoolyear and the entrance is no longer at the front but at the side of the building. Saxion Art and Textile is situated there and I will teach there the last 2 semesters. The glass covers the whole building and from the in and outside it is stunning! The inside is very modern with a moving staircase: A canteen with colourfull benches: and a terrace on top of the building with great vieuws:So not a bad place to work I feel. My lesson at the first year class have become special. I have 2 special need students Virtual in my class with a Webchair during the lessons design and it is very special for me to have conact with the 2 students. The Skype with me and the class and it is a joy to see them feeling better. A film with one of them featuring can be seen here. It adds something special to my lessons, to my students and to me personal ofcourse... This week I am off for 4 days to Glasgow with 2 collegues to start up a new Comenius International textile project called "Red Thread" and next to work there is time for pleasure and visiting a yarnshop ofcourse..