zaterdag 31 december 2011

Last Post of 2011....Alaïa and More...


This is the last blogpost from 2011. I just wrote on Facebook that this Month wasn't my favourite and that I speak a lot of people who have the same. It will be a calm evening together at home. Bram is way too tired to celebrate and all I want to do is: knit, sipping wine and enjoying eachothers company. I am not in the mood for a party...which is fine to me...

Yesterday we went to Groningen so see Jim and his parents. It was lovely as always. I had planned to go to the Groninger Museum to see the exhbition from Azzedine Alaïa. So Karin lend me her bike and off I went. The sun was shining and it was my first time to cycle through the City Centre. Really enjoyed it. I was really looking forward to see the exhibition because ever since the days I studied fashion I am a big Fan of his work.

I have seen both exhibition from Alaïa but this was was for me not the best one. The first one was exiting, this one is rather dull and boring to watch. Just Dollies placed in the exhibition spaces: No explanation, No combination with Art (as the previous one with works by Basquiat).....

The garments ofcourse are Stunning.

Beautiful made and what a Craftmanship! The perfection is breath-taking:
the Fabrics,

the Details,

the Shape,

the Embroideries,

the Elegance and Sexy without Slutty...

Real Haute Couture...


All Beautiful..

But because of the lack of a good presentation it became...Well, a bit boring at the end...It was just not enough to keep me exited till the end.

Everything made possibly size 34 or even slimmer...That's another point. I am not fighting for bigger sizes now, but this for me was a bit too slim. Yes, I know garments look usually better on smaller sizes, but..I wonder what idea Aläia has about woman. Might buy the catalogue next time I will visit the exhibition with my class..Perhaps I can read it there.

This holiday for me is about relaxing. We had a lovely dinner at our neighbours. There is plenty of time for knitting. I did finish my new hat: The Habitat by BrooklynTweed.
Shelter is a nice yarn to work with. It is spun very airy and gets really soft after a soak.
Suddenly a little into cabling, so the Knotty but Nice hat is now on the needles in Madeline Tosh DK yarn

and I am ofcourse knitting on my Lopapeysa...

I hope to meet up with you all soon in 2012. XXX Jan

zondag 25 december 2011

A Different Christmas...


It is Christmas today and we are together at home. Holiday did start on Friday and I am 2 weeks off. This morning I made Red Orange Curd to fill a just baked simple Cake. Whenever I feel out of balance I start baking and today is not an exception.
This Christmas is not as it used to be. It is different because we got not good news from the hospital about 10 days ago. After that I was not in the mood anymore to buy a tree and decorate it with my knitted Christmas balls. Just 2 candles are lighted in the window every evening. Christmas day is just a day passing by....

In the beginning of November we went for research to the Radboud Academic Hospital in Nijmegen. Bram's situation had become worse. Very tired all day and his mobility was and is very weak. Because we didn't had any trust in the hospital in our City we had to take this step. After half a day testing they had the idea to search in the direction of problems in the veins of his brain. It needed more research so we had to go back for a whole day of tests and a scan from his head.
3 weeks later we got the results.
Some little veins in his brain are damaged and also the part which takes care of Mobility is damaged. The part which is about remembering (short and long term) is also damaged. His tiredness comes out of the fact that everything takes a lot of energy.
The results of this all will be a combination from vascular dementia and Alzheimer and he is at the startingpoint of it. I hadn't expected this esspecially when the word Alzeheimer was mentioned. My mother passed away of vascular dementia, but I hadn't combined it with Bram's vain problems. We will get help from all different directions and organizations in the future. Friends and neighbours are very supportive. I feel blessed with so many loving and caring people around us.

Since that day I feel my and our life is tumbling again. Ever since he had his first operation 5 years ago we have the feeling that we are loosing the battle and we definitely can't win this one.
Some days go well, some days there are tears and some days it is like normal days we had. But there is always a shadow around us. It is hard to deal with. The future is uncertain (we don't know how fast or slow it will go) and certain (we will loose at the end). One important feeling is still there: the Great Love we feel for eachother. It is almost 29 years ago we met. Every now and than it feels like yesterday, but thinking of it there are such great memories to cherish. I am very easy into tears these days. It just has to go out every now and than to keep healthy.

It is not easy to write this down. Writing about the pleasant aspects of life is much easier. Being open about our life has always been a topic in our life. So this aspect won't be held behind closed doors.

We had our yearly Street Dinner a week ago. And I did a little speech to tell everyone what is going on with Bram. It was hard to tell, emotions were running ofcourse, but everyone was so supportive and we felt so much love and care around us.
I had baked little puff cakes filled with Cementine and Cointreau Curd mixed with Mascapone.

Recipe makes about 750 g:
Juice and zest 4 large clementines (enough to make 125ml)
Juice and zest 1 lemon
4 large eggs , beaten
125g golden caster sugar
125g unsalted butter, diced
1 tablespoon Cointreau

Put all ingredients, exept the Cointreau, into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stirring constantly, cook for 20/25 minutes so so until the curd is very thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in the Cointreau and let it cool down.

Today I made a twist by using BloodOranges and I know you can also make Lemon or Lime curd in the same way.

With Christmas I always by red Tulips and yesterday I have bought a nice cookbook too. It is called Home Made Winter and I love it. Simple recipes from Ireland, France and Holland and I am defenitely cooking from it..

I did start this post with a picture from a button. Knitting has helped me so much over the years. I am working on several projects and the latest one I finished is my New Winter Scarf.

It was a Simple and Mindless knit and it looks great on my Wintercoat. The only problem is that the Cold hasn't arrived yet...

My ChristmasHolidayKnit is a real Lopapeysa..Strange word for an Icelandic sweater. I have had one in the late 70's knitted by me and my Mum, but that one has disappeared strangely..So a revival was needed and I have cast on a new one in red, dark purple, green, blue and grey.

No, I didn't fancy one in natural colours...but this is the pattern..

I am aware that this is a post can be hard to read....but please don't worry...we are dealing the best we can... and despite the fact that he is very tired we still have plenty to talk and laugh about...Time to fill my cake now and prepare for Dinner...

With Love from Me

vrijdag 11 november 2011

Tumbling.....

And just as we thought the reason was found for Bram's healthproblems....it is all tumbling again....
In the Radboud hospital we visited yesterday they found out that the Lym wasn't active...disapponting...

After talks, tests and some research they are thinking of problems in the veins in his brain. More research in 2 weeks time when we have to go back to Nijmegen again.

It is not an easy proces we are in at the moment. We want to know the reason, but the outcome can be hard to deal with...

It is weekend now...time to think, talk and be silent...

woensdag 9 november 2011

Meeting up with The Boys....But first something Important...

Just before I had the plan of writing a blog about the Great Meeting Up with Arne & Carlos (the 2 famous Julekuler-Boys from Norway) we got a telephonecall from our doctor. The results from Bram's bloodtests show that he has the Lyme Disease and that his Vitamin D is very Low. That might explain a lot from his current situation. Tomorrow we have an appointment in the Radboud Hospital in Nijmegen - we had asked for a fresh vieuw on things last week and got a very quick appointment - and this bloodtest- result might speed up the things. I know it can't be cured, but hopefully they can do something so that might feel a bit better than he is now..

Relief in a way, but I suddenly felt so out of balance this afternoon. Tears were running and I guess it is a reaction on all the months of uncertainty and the frustration that nothing was found.

But the title of this blog also is: Meeting up with The Boys..and by "Boys" I mean: Arne & Carlos. They have started the big kniting-trend: JuleKuler..and their Book looks so inviting to start knitting....It is a Big Hit all around the Globe...

Last Sunday I first met up in Amsterdam with my Knittingfriends Yvonne, Dagmar and Sandra for coffee and a delicious Lemon Tartelette at Gebr. Niemeijer.Thereafter we went to the Departmentstore "De Bijenkorf" to met up with Arne & Carlos for booksigning and knitting ofcourse.
We have had a very funny afternoon. I guess it was expected that not many people would come, but the reality was that it was very busy. We immediately took a big table, started knitting, talking and laughing.
We more or less felt kind of Groupies. After a while they came to our table and we found out that they are really very nice anbd friendly.
My book was signed...
We saw them knitting....
They showed the latest Design for World Aids Day...
We knitted ofcourse...
We saw them talking...behind a Huge JuleKuluer
I saw the bag and asked how I could purchase one....
I gave them my adress and they promised me to send one...
But alsmost at the end...I got the one from Arne...
A bit of Jealousy appeared....I can imagine...
And NO...this one is NOT FOR SALE.
I donated 3 Balls for Serious Request and I hope they make a lot of Money...

So.. WE HAD A BALL!!!!
And more Balls will come....

maandag 31 oktober 2011

Bye Lace...Hello Fair Isle..

I have been bitten by the Lace bug for many Months now...but suddenly it was enough and time to move on...My last lace shawl is this one. It is the Dew Drops Shawl and you can find the pattern here.
Knitted in a very slippery ,but very soft alpaca yarn. I like the result very much.

This afternoon my dear friend Mechtild will get it as a gift. We know eachother since Artschool and kept in contact over the years. So a longtime known friend and every now and than we meet up. We always start talking from were we finished last time. Hopefully she will wear it at the the christening ceremony from her niece next week in Romania. Imagine the scene her bringing in the baby and wearing this shawl.

But..enough Lace-knitting for the moment... Time to move on into.... Fair Isle.....and..into a big project immediateley. When I saw this vest in the Spring issue from Twist Collective I bought it. At that time not sure when or how I would knit it..but I just fell in love with it. That summer - while having a holiday at the Shetland Isles - I met up very unexpectedly with the designer Mary Jane Mucklesone. It was during lunch and all of a sudden it became clear to me that she was the woman who designde that lovely vest. We also had in common that we both love Marimekko and at that day I was wearing my all time favourite striped Marimekko shirt.

She is -next to being a very talented knitwear-designer- a very lovely person. Hopefully we can meet up again in the future. Her book: 200 Fair Isle Motifs: A Knitter's Directory just came out and is already on my list.

So, while on Shetland I bought yarn for my biggest Fair Isle Project so far. I had done a little stranded knitting..some gloves.. but never a real big piece. That winter: nothing happened..the yarn stayed in the bag and so was next winter..No Fair Isle..Nothing like that..It was Lace, Lace and more Lace.
But a few weeks ago, while knitting on the white shawl, I suddenly had enough of lace. A challenge...that's what I wanted. A real challenge. Suddenly "The Bag" came in sight and out came the balls of beautiful coloured J&S yarn.
So I did cast on while remembering MaryJane telling me that it was better to take 1 size smaller than I used to have.

And than....Addiction started. It is kind of magical to knit Fair Isle. Not very difficult at all: only 2 colours in 1 row. But the thing I really like is that not 1 row is the same. The colours I had chosen suddenly became something I didn't expect to happen.
But one thing could have been different perhaps. The 2 blue colours do not have enough contrast.
I had the idea to change it in the next repeat of the pattern..perhaps purple with blue, but I am not sure if it will look good. Maybe it is better to leave it this way and continue.I am still thinking about it. In the mean time I did cast on the Endpaper Mitts in Green and RedPurple Rauma FinUllgarn I had in my stash. Just something simple I can take with me to work and knit a few rows during a break.

zondag 9 oktober 2011

Autumn...Time to Knit....

Autumn has arrived with rain and wind. Guess I have always loved that season. After a nice After-Summer with plenty of sunshine and the little trip to Italy I am totally up for evenings at home knitting seasonal items. I still have a lace shawl on the needles.
A long project and last night I made a mistake. Didn't read the pattern properly.....Now I have to rip out half a needle and that needs concentration. Will do that tonight..no talking please...

During my Italy trip I found out that knitted garments are still very fashionable. In Milan this window display at Stefanel got my attention.

Benneton showed yarnballs moving in their window...
and I did buy this bag for Evelien as a birthday-gift.
Yeah...I know..I could have knitted it myself, but this was rather tempting for me...

But there was more...Much more. This hand knit sweater in cashmere at Hermes caught my eye.
Way to expensive, but an interesting pattern. At home I placed a question -how to make knit this pattern- on the forum from the Dutch Crafters group on Ravelry. An interesting discussion did follow and thanks to Agnes aka Stekelbakske I can show the pattern here. Thanks again Agnes!!

This is in my opinion one of the great things of Ravelry. Sharing information. You can place a topic on a forum and a solution for a problem is immediately at the horizon. How did we manage in the past without Ravelry I often wonder....
I am definitely going to try it out and perhaps use it in the front of a cardi I would like to knit in J&S yarn...

Last week I visited the just opened exhibition "Ontrafelt" in Museum Twentse Welle in Enschede (very convenient, it is the city I work. This exhibition was first showed in the MoMu in Antwerp and now a big sellection is shown in Enschede. One word: Wonderfull and we are planning to go there with all students. Just some pictures here from items I loved.
The little lace dress by Vivienne Westwood.
Black and White by Dirk van Saene.
2 Sweaters: on the left the very architectural work by Sandra Backlund and on the right by one of my all time favourite designers Martin Margiela.
Must go back now to Milan because I did visit his shop in the Via della Spiga.
An amazing shop. Shelves made out of books, White all over and beautiful crafted garments. Not allowed to take pictures inside unfortunately. His garments always makes me exited. There is something in it which is hard to discribe. History, Basics, Attention for details, craftmanship. I would love to wear his clothes...but...prices are a bit high for me...

Milan... that was really an exiting afternoon with 2 colleagues. The shop from Blumarine with the green tables with pink roses outside..
Moschino with a Postcard from Paris and Love letters on the floor...
Glamour at Dolce & Gabbana
Even the banisters were covered with a silk fabric.. For me a bit too much over the top..

But than...after all the luxury came the new Shop from Pirelli. The brand famous for rubber tires and the famous calendar.Just opened 3 days before we came.. A little film can be seen here and the falling water projected on the floor was simply amazing. I hardly did dare to step onto it...

Every now and than I can get very exited about things happening in the fashion world and this was one of those moments. Such a great concept.. the wall with yellow wellingtons.
The lamps used normally in cars..
The racingcar above the men garments.

And the effective, simple presentation of the coats...
Next time I have to buy a coat over there...

But..back to Autumn..
Did bake a cake with plums yesterdayafternoon.

Nothing can beat the smell of a freshly baked cake. Time for tea now and a slice ofcourse..