Wednesday, August 30, 2006

El Titulo Espanol

Hi there! I was just checking my mail at the hotel and thought I´d drop in for a sec.

I can tell you this:
- there´s weird letters on this keyboard in weird places:Ñ ç
- I´m sweating like a madman on dope
- I´ve met lovely Spanish people that were very helpfull and nice
- I´ve met -not so nice- people and wished them bad luck (silently)
- I´ve seen more cactusses (cacti?) than ever before in my life
- I´m not too impressed with my tan yet...
- But I´ve been in my bikini three times already (and very proud of myself)
- Three toes on my right foot are burned so much that they have blisters, probably from the black volcano sand because I´ve been applying suntan like crazy (that´s probably why my tan isn´t too impressive... )
- I bought creme that will make my skin look black if I go into the sun with it. Then what´s the point I wonder...
- There are cockroaches here... they fly... AAARGHGHGH!
- There are NO mosquitos! YAY!
- Tomorrow I´m going on a jeep safari and out to see to find DOLPHINS!!
oh yeah...
- I´ve hardly knit at all, it´s just so hot and sweaty and they wouldn´t let me take my project with blunt wooden needles on the plane...
and finally
- My time with Elze is limited, but fun and it´s great to have long talks with my oldest friend (we´ve know each other since kindergarden!)

I´ve got a lot of pictures, there must be some blog proof.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

I'm Leavin' On a Jetplane

Tomorrow, I'm off to Gran Canaria for the week. My friend E. lives and works there and who am I to say no to an all expenses paid trip to the sun? Exactly! So I'm off!! WHEEHOOO!

Hold your pants, bit of bizzarre news coming right up....

I Bought a bikini for the hell of it...
As you might know, I'm not the tiniest of girls but hey, if I'm going... I'm going, and I'll be getting back with a killer tan. (not litteraly, I'll be using gallons & litres of suntan of course!)
Beeing as bold and brave as that doesn't mean that there'll be pictures taken for you to see when I return. Oh no, don't want to get Greenpeace in action over some pink beached whale in Las Palmas. I might be on a self assured trip, but I'm not stupid! I might post some palm tree pictures or a really tan foot or elbow, who knows. It will be hot, thát I know!

So untill then, adios for the rest of the week and I'll leave you with this piece of fine crafts(wo)manship:

- It started out as the beginning of a felted needle bag, using my own dyed wool in a combination of fair isle patterns and made-up thingies.
- I felted it in the washing machine (the has never worked before...)
- And once it was done, I fumbled around with it for a good couple of months. It just wasn't going to be a nice needlecase, too short. What to do... what to do?
- This week it came to me... what if I folded it the other way around... Et presto: it's a Nordic Purse for hiking and herding! Or at least... that's what it looks like. I had some woodlook buttons laying around, made loops of felted i-cords and attatched a leather strap that I took of a very (too) hippy-like other purse.
- Kinda proud I must say... ;-)

Focus Honey, Focus!!

Wow, these are the smallest stitches I've ever knit... gosh, it's giving me headaches. I'm focussing on the finished results; they'll look great with my Birckenstock thongs! They are on te subscriber-only page of Interweave.

Ever since I came back from Sweden, I've been finding it hard to get back to the blogging routine. Not that I dislike doing it, au contraire, it's just, well... there's so much other stuff to do and I can't seem to focus on anything in particular.

I hope I will finish this lace scarf for once... Knit on the handpainted needles Drea Renee gave me!! They rock!!

My knitting is a clear example of the latter. I've started - counting - three (!) new projects while at least two and a half remain untouched. Ánd I have two other projects, that is, the materials and patterns, ready and waiting for me to start, but I just seem to get distracted by other patterns, new ideas and jealous yarn in the stash box calling my name: 'knit me first!, knit ME first!'.

So what I have to show you today is a whole bunch of new stuff that isn't really anything yet. Oh, wait, I can't show you everything, there's presents too, I'll show them as soon as they are presented.

I finished Sizzle and gave it to my friend Seema. I did a little alternation dance at the neck part. I f&*(^d up and decided to be creative about it. I really wanted to wrap it in nice thin paper, make a cool label with my logo on it, write date and 'to: / from:' on the back of the label and put it al in a chique box. But my curiousness and lack of focus got the better of me, so as soon as me and Seema got together to go on a bike ride, I frumbled (!) a cheap gift wrap around it, frumbled (!) it in my backpack (!) and decided to give it to her halfway on our ride.

All sweaty and dehydrated I jumped and squeaked: 'try it on, try it on!'. I even managed to make it worse; I wanted her to model it so I could take a picture with my phonecam. Gosh, she did her best, pulling it over her T-shirt, probably feeling as if she was in a Sauna and tried to look glamorous. If anyone can pull it of, she can, but I'm not sure if the pictures show the best side of Sizzle and it's not because of Seema, it's because ...


for now, I'll just show you the back, untill I got a better picture. I've done enough damage...
Gosh, I need to focus. This is no way of presenting a handknit item. She'll forever link it to sweat, thirst and frumpled giftwrapping paper. I wonder if she'll ever wear it...

Ok, I HAVE to add this picture now. The designer, Wendy from Knit & Tonic, the blog of blogs... wrote this (bottom of post) about this . And since I'm apparently not the only one that made the neckline-I-made-a-mistake-but-am-creative-about-it-dance... I just want to show you... in my defence...!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Slanted Eye

I owed you this one: the stuff I brought from Sweden:
lush... lush... yumyum

I went to see Joan as Police Woman yesterday, great, great artist. Maybe a little over the top in her -in between song chat routine- but not to my taste, I loved her. Great voice, funny, bit weird, nice and entertaining to the audience. My kinda singer!

I guess working at different venues over the last years I've seen too many arrogant self obsessed bands and artists. Leaving the stage when the audience made too much noise or just never making contact with the crowd at all. Shyness, maybe, but hey, you're an artist, this is what you want and choose to do, right? I don't go to a venue to see a version of the shy boy next door acting out like an drunk teenager hitting puberty.
Ok, there's the exception that makes the rule, like when a band gets famous for exactly that sort of behaviorur. I saw the Libertines once, when they were still complete, on a small stage in my hometown, making fools of themselves acting like stray dogs on garbage food turned bad. That was pretty entertaining. Actually no, it wasn't at thát point,definitely disliked their attitude while watching the show then too. It was more like I was intrigued and later on after all the press coveredge, it was interesting that I've seen them be obnoctious in real life. (Something to tell my (grand)children...?)

I was starting this post to tell you about something completely different... ehm...

The Slanted Eye...

raffia balls: I plan to knit it into an open knit bag for the Swedish game 'Kub' we bought, It's played outdoors with lots of wood bricks and poles. You're supposed to knock down the other teams bricks for points. The red stuff is dyed wool, ready to spinn, my next adventure, to be continued sometime this fall.

Before the show I talked to my friend Seema's brother. I've known him as long as I know Seema, about 8 yrs, but we hardly ever see each other. Seema had informed him about my recent career moves and had also let him in on the special thing we like to call 'our knitting gettogethers' (onze brei-eenkomsten).
And surely, there it was... The Slanted Eye!
Brother: 'Say... I heard you are into knitting...'
Me: 'Yeah... -in reaction to The Slanted Eye I alwaimmediatelytly start explaining myself- ... but you know, it's all hip and funky stuff you know...'
Brother: 'Like what? What do you actually knit then?' (The Slanted Eye remains, only slightly relaxing)
Me: ' Ehm... scarfs, mittens, hats, shirts, bags ... you know... stuff'
Brother: ' Right...' (The Slanted Eye is back in all its slantyness)
Me: ' I'm learning all the skills so I can eventually design stuff.'
Miracle!! The Slanted Eye unslants and a smile appears!
I always pull out the 'design card' when talking about my knitting to hip and creative fellow humans, they álways go for it!


It's not a lie, I really really want to design eventually. I'm just not there yet. I'm about as there yet as a Yeti is*. (that's a hard one... explanation at the bottom)

Why do I feel inecessaryarry to explain myself?
And whý do I feel slightly embarrassed when confronted with The Slanted Eye?
Is it so important to me to be cool? No, but I really think knitting is cool, I féél it is cool, there's just no way around the coolness.
So why then?
I feel the need to talk about it, I could choose to never speak about my obsession in certain crowds. I could do that. That would be safe. But I can't... even when there isn't a friend bringing it up, there's about a 70% chance that I'll start talking about it myself. I'm like those new parents around non-parents; totally obsessed by a really small piece of the universe while no one else is even the slightest, tiniest bit interested, meanwhile boring the h#ll out off the people around me.

a nice organic skein of hand dyed cotton (will someday probably become either small bag or baby hat), 3 balls of 100% untreated wool for making the Swedish writs warmers with knitted beads in a star pattern (I translated the pattern and wil post it as soon as I finish a pair or wrist warmers) and pieces of sheepskin to line or decorate hats and mittens.

So why?
I just don't know.
I júst don't know...

If some one recognises this, please let me know, I'm way, way interested!


The pictures are of the treasures I brought from Sweden. Great, great stuff. It's getting me focused and creative and even more obsessed about this tiny peace of universe that's called 'Knitting'.

Beads for knitting into the wrist warmers, pompom makers, a handmade i-cord maker (punnik 'padestoel')

* a Yeti isn't ...

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Box of Wonders

The wookie sniffs my knitting
Today, while dog sitting Bert, my friend Mir's amazingly big hairy dog, the bell rang. It took me a while to open the door because Bert was blocking it... so when I finally did, I saw a part of the neighbor's leg disappearing in their house, I squeaked: 'No, wait... I'm here!' and she jumped back.

We chit chatted about our vacations for a while and just when I started wondering why she was actually there, she went back inside for a second and came back with a brown box. 'You've got a package, from New Zealand!' Her voice got a little higher when she spoke, I recognized the excitement, my heart was pitterpattering at the same time. Apparently she got the package a week and a half ago while we were on our holiday. And then they went on a holiday themselves. It just stood there, in their house, waiting, waiting for a week and a half...
Imagine, the surprises and wonders in that box, waiting for me to discover them. If I'd known, my time in Sweden would've been waaaaaay less relaxing.
I knitted a quick end to the conversation (Dutch saying: To knit an end to things... To finish something that you're doing) and hurried back inside with my treasure. I tried to open the package with my fingers, wouldn't work.... aaaaarghghg...than with a pen, wouldn't work... AAAAARHGHGHG.....then I had to face the fact that it would take more than a second to open (nervewrecking) and hurried to the kitchen to get a knife. That would do it! And it did...

And this is what I found:
the box of wonders

Luscious yarns!!! An orangemix that I really like, I think they mix really well with the purple wool. They would make great socks together. And a fantastic merino/ kid mohair mix in vibrant frilly pinks. Really soft and pure luxury! This should be a wrap or a scarf or a hat or mittens, something that touches your skin. Mmmm, soooooft!!

A little Maori doll. How cute is this feller? I named him George.

And there was more: A scribble book for my 'designs', folders of New Zealand and it's wonders, a book that shows the basics from sheep to wool and a tea towel that's too beautiful to use.

These will be my fav needles from now on, I'll cherish them, customized for me especially. Very special!

And last, but certainly not least: the first crocheted item by Drea Renee. My friend Drea Renee from New Zealand, who sent me all these lovely and special gifts in the box of wonders, she gave me her first crocheted item, hand painted needles for me and got me all kinds of fabu-items. And with every single item she wrote a personal note, she wrote notes in the book and the scribbler too, I love that!

I met Drea through blogging and we've become 'distant' friends and close friends at the same time. We live very different lives in very different parts of the world, but found each other trough a common interest that involves yarn and sticks. How crazy, bizarre and wonderfull right?!

It's my birthday, Christmas and 'Sinterklaas' (Dutch version of Santa Claus, celebrated on the 5th of december, a friendly and old bishop from Spain gives the children gifts by walking on the roof with his white horse and dark helpers 'Pieten' and shooting the gifts down the chimney) all in one day!

Drea, I hope we will one day knit together in the same room or garden and chat outloud about knitting and life. My gran visited Australia when she was pushing 70, I'm positive I'll manage to do it too one day, preferably a little before I reach that age. ;-)

Everyone: stand up and wave to the east, wave to Drea because...

She kicks friggin' *ss YO!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Jag sticka sokkor och halsduk

Where to begin...


It's almost everything my current location is not; free, quiet, rural, relaxing... you name it. Me and Boyfriend Dear love it so much we're actually considering buying a Stuga (log cabin) there and making it our 'home away from home'. We got so excited there was talk of opening a campsite or buying and renting out more Stugor (more than one Stuga). Yep, there was a lot of excitement I can tell ya! If it was all realistic, that's another thing... At this point we're trying to find someone that can teach us Swedish. Jag talar inte Svenska (I don't speak Swedish) is about all I can say at this point. . .

Oh and the header... I figured that out from my little 'Swedish for dummies' booklet because I expected someone to come over to me and ask me what I was doing any time... (I'm knitting socks and a scarf). No one did...

And now I know why;

Sweden is a crafters Walhalla! Everywhere you go, there's farms and houses that sell 'Hemslojd', home made products. From weaving (linen and wood) to embroidery, knitting, pottery, everything you can imagine. So to Swedes it's only natural that your knitting in public I'd imagine. They're probably thinking 'Girl, you're on a holiday, let it go, go do something else!'.

No... but wait... I'm selling myself short here. I do 'speak' Swedish. Because when I saw these fantastic wrist warmers with beads in a Hemslojd shop, I knew I had to make some. Problem...they only sold Swedish patterns. It was just one sheet of paper, 'how hard could it be?'. So I bought the pattern and a Swedish-English dictionary and got to it. It took me a whole night and an afternoon to translate from Swedish to English and eventually to Dutch. I called in the help of the girls at the campsite, but they (probably the exception to the rule) didn't know how to knit so they couldn't help me with the technical terms. So I just used my common sense and asked the woman at this crazy *ss crafts shop to help me with two small details I couldn't figure out. And... I did it , I translated a Swedish knitting pattern!! I'll post it as soon as I finish the wrist warmers.

These pictures below show you the craziness of that particular fantastic shop, Sätergläntan (shame the website isn't so thrilling). And while talking to the lady it became even more like a fairy tale. The have workshops there!! Workshops, and you can stay in the log cabins and get your breakfast and diner there too. Oh-my-golly, that just makes me want to not buy anything useless like clothing and groceries anymore and save up to go there as soon as I can. Weaving, wood carving, felting, spinning, knitting, embroidery. Catch me... I'm fainting! Boyfriend Dear (tries to) understand(s) my passion and was very patient with me while we were there, but I kind of wanted to do a happy dance, and that would've been to much for him so I kept it inside until now:



(imagine happy dance here!)

So, feast your eyes on this:

Spinning wheels and Alpaca, the Swedes get it, they get it big time!

The girl knits, that's fur shure! By the tent, in the car, before bed time and minutes after waking, it's an addiction. I decided not to wear makeup for two weeks, so forgive my not so glamorous look!

So, here's what I did:
- I carved a horse out of wood. I know, I have to be honest.... Not completely, I got it when it had the right shape, I'm just finishing it, giving it round shapes instead of square shapes. I named it Henk II (Hank II) after Henk, the first Dalarna horse (typical for Sweden, hand carved, hand painted) I bought when I was in Stockholm 3 yrs ago.
- I started Sizzle for my friend Seema's birthday.
- I started a simple straight forward pair of socks but figured out I had the wrong needles and the wrong pattern so I'm probably frogging that one soon.
- And I struggled and fought with boredom before I really got into Clapotis to finally discover I came short just about a few yards.... AAARGHGHG! I really wanted to finish it, my relationship with Clapotis grew from interest to apprehension to boredom to a warm and deep love of it and I really really wanted to wear it. Sob, blubber, sob... So now I've got to get one more skein and the sweet, sweet lady at the LYS is on a holiday now. Ok, deep, deep breath of air and moooooving on....
- I bought this thing I used to have when I was a kid, we call it 'punniken' in Dutch; to make an i-cord. I have no idea what the English term for this is so if anyone out there does, let me know. It's made of wood, it has 4 nails on the top, a hole in the middle and you, as I said, use it to make i-cords. It's great, memories from my crafty childhoodh flushed back. This time around I experimented with 100% untreated wool to make a felted bracelet. Later I added beads to the process. I see a lot of potential there. Great for fast, small gifts.
- Oh, on the way there, I made this seat belt cover, it was quick and fun to make but it annoyed the hell out of Boyfriend Dear, so he took it of the seatbelt. Sigh...

So now I'm back home, waiting for the LYS to open, finishing Sizzle and starting the wrist warmers soon. Meanwhile I have this whole month to myself before I start my new job.

I'VE GOT A NEW JOB!! Completely forgot about happened just before I went away.

I'll be setting up a new publicity, marketing and communication department at WaterFront, about the only venue here I havn't worked for yet... WaterFront is in a major reorganization at the moment, adding two pop-schools to the venue, the practicee spaces and the music studio. So I'll be trying to get all these parties on one page. It involves hard work and a whole lot of strictness and whipsnapping -which I'm good at- so it will be another challenge and I'm looking forward to it. I'll be working 3 days in stead of 4 so I'll start freelancing the two remaining days. That's exciting too. I have this great idea for a business and I'll be working on a businessplan as well. Will I ever learn to take it easy??

But for now, a month of knitting and paying attention to my health. I finally got most of the stress out of my body so now it's time for good and healthy food and a whole lot of exercising. Basically, I'm on a diet and I'm already having a really hard time with it. I quit smoking about 4 yrs back and it was a breeze compared to not eating sugar and fat... I'm a total addict.

'My name is Saskia and I'm a sugar addict, I've been of sugar for 3 days now...'

I'm telling everyone I know I'm doing this to get all the support I can get because it's about the hardest thing ever for me, but this time I'm determined, I'm going to do it, I'm getting healthy! If I'm ever moving to Sweden I can hardly be all fat and broken out and unfit, I'll have to match the country if I ever want to fit in. (or something like that...)