zondag 26 februari 2012


My One week Tulip-Holiday started last Friday. I was really looking forward to this. My life right now takes a lot of energy with a husband who is ill and needs care. One week without waking up at 5.45..no classes..just doing things I love to do.

My cardigan goes slowly, but I like the result sofar.

At the end I decided not to fill in the squares with different patterns. Tried some, ripped it out and came to the conclusion that I like it more in this simple way. It will take some time till it gets finished, but I can see me wearing it with great pleasure in the future. The yarn already gets a little softer while knitting it. Guess To Steek is not that difficult.... The Fair Isle project is also still on the needles and this afternoon I did some rows. So 2 Big projects..I might start a little one for inbetween...Socks perhaps..or a little lace shawl..or...

Spring has started in our garden. The bulbs I planted in Autumn (after clearing the garden)are peeping out of the ground.

It will be hopefully colourfull in Spring, so Bram can sit outside in the sun looking at a our garden. Really hope he will be able to that, because Spring is his favourite season. His healthproblems get a little more worse over the last weeks. He is tired all day, doesn't sleep well and it takes a lot of energy for him to "do the day". I think he is very brave going outside with his walker despite the fact that it is hard for him and not very easy. But he goes to the next street for coffee and the newspaper.
Usually I can deal with it in a good way. When it gets to hard for me there is always my psychotherapist where I can drop my sadness and tears.
I found out with her help that you can set your mind in another direction. An example is that on Saturday I always felt exhausted at the end of the day..The Laundry, The shopping...I was complaining too much about it..But now I am just telling myself that it is only 10 minutes to hang the laundry - what's 10 minutes on a day??- and to keep my posture straight when I do the shopping (No bending anymore).The feeling of doing it this way is so much more positive. I now try to enjoy the day because that is so much better for my mood. Mindset in the right direction works for me...

This week we hopefully will get contact with a woman who might help us with the practical things who will come in the future. Questions as: How can we keep the wheelchair? What if no one can bring him to physical therapy?
There are a lot of things we need to sort out and we hope she can be a big help in it...

One week holiday usually goes very quick..But with the help of neighbours I can go 2 days to London on Thursday and Friday. The reason to go is that I am going to see the big exhibition from David Hockney in the Royal Academy of Arts. After watching a program on the tele about this painting
and a talk with a neighbour and some persuation the booking of a flight was easy. They will take care of Bram while I am away, so that is a relief.
The exhibition is about the 50 years he painted and esspecially about the landscapes from Yorkshire he painted over the years when he started living there again. Yorkshire is such a beautiful county with roling hills and dramatic landscapes.
I have admired his work over the years so much, and now at 73 he is still so acitive and full of energy. For me he is one of the best painters.
Really happy I booked a ticket so I can go in, after finding out it is a very busy exhibition.
I fly from Eindhoven airport early on Thursday and the next day back in the afternoon from Stansted airport. Sleeping will be in "Hotel Easyknits" from my dear Knitting-Friend Jon and his husband Roy.. Very looking forward to meet up with them.
I always love to go to London. The shops, the atmosphere, the tube..the language..

Today there was the smell of Spring in the air. In the Conventgarden behind our house Snowdrops are in full bloom.

And inside our house there are bunches of tulips...My favourite flower...

donderdag 9 februari 2012

1 Day in Amsterdam....and the Next Day..

Yesterday I had to go to Amsterdam to visit a trainee who worked for the fashion Designer Mattijs van Bergen. My student Rick is very good in embroidery, so many of the pieces were embroided by him as this blue skirt with gold 3 dimensional stars.

It is always funny to see glamour on stage and all garments hanging in his studio which is the opposite of glamour.

It was cold in Amsterdam. But I decided to walk among "De Amstel" to visit: Museum "De Hermitage". I passed the posh Amstel Hotel, Theatre Carre, and after that there was the Museum waiting to show me beautiful Flemish Paintings from the 17th Century which all came from The Hermitage in St. Petersbrug.
1 painting, made in 1619 by Anthonie van Dyck really touched me.

Guess it is the way they look at you..She is very direct in the way looking at you, and he is kind of "into another world" with his mind... or perhaps staring..dreaming...The little girl is lively..
Nothing is known about this family, but in a way they feel as we all know them. They are a young and handsome couple. Probably in their twenties. They had fallen in love with eachother, got married and a baby-girl was born. I wonder what voices they had?...What kind of work was he doing? Where they lived? How their wedding must have been? Who made the garments they were wearing? Did she got the jewellery from her husband or from her mother? Where was the lace bought?
The older I get, the more I feel a kind of: connected with people from the past..400 years in the past is not that long..a little less than 8 times my age..
So I watched, saw the rest of the beautiful exhibition full of flesh, decadence, anger, pain and beauty..but I had to go back to this painting..and there it happened..suddenly a tear, rather unexpected..So beautiful that 1 painting can touch your heart and soul..

After the exhibition I went for a walk among the canals..
And, never seen before: they were skating on the canals. It reminded me of the paintings by Hendrick Avercamp.

The so called "Wintertjes"

Seems to me that young and old were skating (such a pity I can't skate)

After this "Typical Dutch Winterscene"
I went to the Craft Boutique "Penelope Craft"
from knittingfriend Malia.
A shop full of colour.....
and with one of my favorite yarns: Cascade 220

Couldn't resist to buy a book and 1 skein of yarn..
The book is by MaryJane Mucklestone and shows 200 Fair Isle designs and many more colour variations. It was already for months on my list...Really inspirational and it has very good explanations. It shows the endless opportunities from Fair Isle Knitting.. and of the vest I am working on..
When I came home I found a package send from the Shetland Isles with 4 balls of Blue Arran yarn.....and a lovely note from Sandra from J&S.

I already had cast on the EZ cardigan mentioned in my previous post..
Ripped it out a few times..
Had mailcontact with the lovely Meg Swansen (EZ 's daughter) from Schoolhouse Press who gave me good advice..
and now here is the beginning of my Blue Arran Cardi..

My plan is to have one border with unfilled Diagonals...while the other one's will be filled in with different structures to make it more exiting..

Elizabeth is so right when she says that: You are the Boss about your own Knitting...

A few hours later.....

And suddenly it was time to stop writing....
I had to go to the Davo building in Deventer to get my Cerficate as Artist Coach for Business...
So here it is:

It was a nice and intimate ceremony...And I can say that coaching is something I really like to do...Hopefully I can do more with it on a professional base in the future...

I got a very funny gift from Astrid...

I must admit... I really would have loved to have such a jacket...Dreamed of it, when I was young and secretly I really would like to have a real traditional fringed jacket made by Indians..

And those TankTops.. I did wear them..some of them handknitted by my Mum...

But...How about this one???

I guess we all have worn things in the pastfrom which we now think: Why on Earth did I buy that??...and: Did I really wear that??..and did I really feel Great in it???

zaterdag 4 februari 2012

Vlisco... A Beautiful Exhibition

Last Thursday -after visisting trainees- I had some time left over to go to the Museum of Modern Art in Arnhem Arnhem is the City I was born 53 years ago, and where I visited Art School. It is not my favourite museum, but sometimes there are great exhibitions and the one on Vlisco Fabrics has just openened and is really worth a visit.
The title of the Exhibition is "Six Yards", because the fabric is only sold in Six Yards.
Vlisco.....perhaps not a name that rings a bell immmediately. My first encounter with Vlisco fabrics was when I had to design 1 outfit for my first Fashion Show at ArtSchool. We had to use left over fabrics from Vlisco and make something out of it. The fabric was OverPrinted in many layers, but after bleeching and dyeing and some embroidery out came this outfit based on the MiddleAges.
But back now to the Exhibition. Vlisco Fabrics are also well known under the name "Real Dutch Wax".

The fabric is designed and printed in Helmond in the Netherlands and than exported to many countries in Africa. It is a very old and respectable Dutch Textile Firm which started at the end of the 19th Century. It is still going on, and it is still going strong.
To have a real Dutch Wax is a Big Fashion Dream from many Women in Afrika. To buy and show off an outfit made with this fabric means that you have entered the Upper Class. If you are Seriously Rich you have many Yards in your wardrobe. Most of the fabrics tell a story and it is a way off Communication. It is not that the Designers of the patterns are thinking of communication when they are drawing the prints, but the Women wearing them name them and than Communication starts..This one is called "La Famille".
It looks a real family with a very dedicated Mother, but..there is a deeper meaning..The Cock only has a head, no body...and the underlaying message is that the Man is not good in Sexual Activities and that she is available to other Men.
Many of the fabris have those underlaying Messages. Not always visible to us, but very visible to the women wearing them.
The exhibition starts with a breathtaking Installation from Yinka Shonibare. I did see his work for the first time years ago at the Exhibition "Sensation" in London in 1997. In 2004 he had a big Solo Exhibition in Museum Boymans van Beuningen in Rotterdam and since that time I am really interested in his work.
It looks nice and pretty this Sculpture named "The Crowning". Based on a painting from Fragonard. Under it are links of Leisure,Wealth,Pleasure and Exess to Exploitation of Slave labour, Colonialism and its consequences. The Chanel Logo printed on this Cotton Fabric is something to think about..
Almost all Fabrics are in Bright Colours. Colours which go well with a Dark Skin. A part of a long wall is covered with all kind of Prints.
They all look so Modern, despite the fact that some designs are made many years ago. They are in a way kind of Age-less. Many are still sold and worn.

Most of the Fabric are sold on markets by so called Mamma's Benz, but because Vliso is becoming more and more a Life-style Brand the first Flagship stores have been opened. There, not only the fabrics can be bought but also matching handbags, shoes etc.

Vlisco is a Real Fashion Icon in Africa.....

In the last room of the exhibition garments, made out of the fabrics are shown. Not always wearable as in this Textile Sculpture from Lucy Orta

It is about a collective with individuals, dressed individual but together they are a group.

In the middle is a big group dressed in garments from Acne, Dries van Noten, Collectie Arnhem, Petrou/Man
Really Beautiful how everything is put together.
Shoes with the Fabric...
A Baby chair....
More Fabrics......
An African mask worn with a Men's suit....
An Umbrella....with the Six Bougies print....
A Couture kind of Dress....

Vlisco Fabrics.... I Love them...

The Exhibition is running till the 6th of May...

woensdag 1 februari 2012

Winter...Finally it is Cold

And Finally the temperature has dropped under freezing point..so Winter finally has arrived. Time to wear my own handknitted gloves, hat and shawl.
And...May I present my latest sweater.
My gorgeous, beautiful coloured Lopapeysa...knitted in Icelandic Lopi yarn. Took me a little more than 1 Month. A sweater which looks good on me and fitts perfect. Just in time ready before the cold has started..
My own.......Riddari

The pictures are taken by a young students from the Photograpy Department in my school. My colleague Annemiek also came with me, and because I gave her a knitted shawl we decided also to go together on a photo.

So this sweater is done. I am sure I will knit another Lopapeysa in the future, or maybe I design one myself.
But with plenty of stash and a waiting Fair-Isle project I decided to start another project (Yes, I am a very Promiscues Knitter).
While on holiday on Shetland I bought a great Blue Arran yarn from Jamieson & Smith.

The idea was to knit a cardigan designed by my knitting hero Elizabeth Zimmerman.
and it is published in this book.

When I discovered EZ years ago I entered a totally new Knitting World. The first Baby Surprise jacket I did knit for Jim was a totally amazing knitting experience. I remember knitting a strange kind of shaped "blanket" and by folding it, it suddenly became a beautiful jacket. I was immediately addicted to EZ and have most of her books.
She was very important for the development of Knitting and many of her patterns and designs have been published in magazines as Vogue.
In The Netherlands she wasn't very well known and didn't had the Cult status she has in the USA. But things are changing and also here she is much more well known and a great inspiration for many knitters.
I like here attitude to knitting as can be read in this text:
So Knitters: You are the Boss!!!

My next purchase might be the DVD from the Knitting Workshop (I have heared that it is great to watch and also Hilarious when needles are dropping on the floor)

But...Now there is a Slight Problem...I might not have enough yarn to knit that Cardigan (13 skeins from 50 gram). I will contact J&S and maybe they have some left in number of the Lot. Otherwise I will knit a sweater out of it..
More on it hopefully in my next Post...