Try a little Tenderness

December 31, 2009

Try a little tenderness

Dear reader,

I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for a wonderful 2009.

Words can not express my gratitude for your readership and your support.

I never would have thought that I would become a knitter let alone that I would be a blogger and most of all, never ever would I have thought that some day I would write knitting patterns.

What I am trying to do with my blog and work, is to create a space where ideas can flow, where you can be creative, where there is an encouraging spirit, where you can feel safe and where feelings of happiness are present.

Most of the time I am able to bring an upbeat energy into this blog. But also at times, I am not able to keep that happy energy going, and I retreat.

For weeks, even months, I disappear.

See, this life I find so magnificent and so beautiful, but at the same time it can be a hard place, with lots of hurt and sadness.

For the year 2010 I wish you much joy, much love and so much happiness.

As we all know, this joy, love and happiness are words that are hard to live by in these troubled times. Just look at our zeitgeist… I don’t have to tell you how much death, destruction, fear, sorrow, greed, economic downfall and war is surrounding us.

For 2010, I invite you to focus on a little tenderness. For yourself, deep within you.

It all starts there… If you fully comprehend and truly feel this tenderness, it will bloom. Fiercely, power-fully and lovingly!

Happy, happy 2010!!!!

Just a good word, soft and gentle, makes it easier to bare.

It is so easy. Try a little Tenderness.


Luster and Grandeur

December 30, 2009

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Waiter: “Haven’t seen you in a very loooong time! Where have you been?”

Me: “Yeah…must have been over 4 years ago since I was here last. I live in America now.”

Waiter: “Well, good for you… so, still the usual for you? Tea or hot coco?”

Me: “Woah! I am amazed you still remember me AND my usual order!”

Waiter: “Sweetie, how could I forget you? You were here every single Sunday for several years.”

Grand Cafe “Eerste Klas” (First Class)

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Situated in the very very busy trainstation “Amsterdam Centraal”, on platform 2b, one can find one of  the most beautiful Grand Cafes of Amsterdam: Grand Cafe First Class.

When a boyfriend brought me here for the first time many years ago, I was simply stupified by this immensily chique and old world luster and grandeur establishment.

Me and the boyfriend parted, but I never let go of First Class. During my years of studying Economics, I spent every single Sunday from early in the morning until early evening in this magnificent venue. Studying hard, working on assignments and papers, and writing many essays.

And the nice waiters, always left me be, even if I would order only a cup of tea or a hot coco.

Grand Cafe Americain

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Another of my favorite Grand Cafes is Cafe Americain which is part of the American Hotel, situated at the Leidseplein.

It is a venue were I used to have a cappucino, and just enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Many a time, I would meet a friend here and we would chat away about our studies and simply life.

I adore the art deco style lamps…sigh…

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Amsterdam has many beautiful Grand Cafes. I especially like their high ceilings because I always have the feeling that ideas and inspiration can then soar freely !

As for knitting

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Lookie what I found in one of Amsterdam’s many little hip shops: bottle cozies with flowers on them. All knitted of course. And they are called “Bottle Bloom”. So sweet!

This product has been put on the market by YL design.

And lookie what I saw in another window:

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Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend! One of my favorite yarns!

I have been knitting just a tiny little bit. I am way to busy with my family, connecting with old friends and taking in Amsterdam’s essence.

To calm down of all the excitement I knitted a pair of Sally Gloves…

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Oh! And I also met up with Stitch ‘n Bitch Amsterdam knitters! That was so much fun…

I will write more about that in another post, y’all…

Thanks for reading and until the next entry!


My Sweet Amsterdam…

December 26, 2009

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After a feverish and sleepless night, i stubbornly decide to head downtown. No fever and no withering jetlag is going to keep me from reuniting with my old love. My sweet Amsterdam…

I heart Amsterdam, I heart it so much.

I heart your small and narrow streets:

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I heart your small and narrow but oh so charming cafes:

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I heart your old world narrow houses alongside the canals and bridges:

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And I heart all the bikes…

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And I heart your little hidden canals:

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Dear, dear reader… I am so taken by nostalgia right now. Tears well up in my eyes as I am writing this.

Amsterdam is like a long lost love, who I can finally embrace tightly. How I have missed you.

After walking around in a nostalgia daze, I pick out one of the many many little cafes to have a cup of coffee. Almost immediately I make friends with a sweet little dog, who so quitely lay on a bar stool in front of my table.

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We made eyecontact and she told me her name was Rocca. Then for the rest of the afternoon me and Rocca sat next to eachother and watched the world go by.

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As for yarn and knitting

You guys, I found this charming little yarnshop right in the centre of Amsterdam! It is called “de Afstap” and it simply took my breath away!

It is situated on the ground floor of the building on the far right:

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It is so small and so sweeeeet!

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Monday, I will be heading back to this sweet yarnshop and I will ask the owner if she would be willing to do an interview with me. Fingers crossed!

I already have arranged an interview with a very interesting and vibrant woman, who has done a lot for the knitting community in the Netherlands. More information on that later.

Last Monday, my visit to the Stitch ‘n Bitch Amsterdam fell through because of snow. But this Monday, i will for sure hang out with the knitters of Amsterdam!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Thank you for reading and until the next entry




An afternoon at the COBRA Museum

December 21, 2009

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Wikipedia on COBRA:

COBRA was a European avant-garde movement active from 1949 to 1952. The name was coined in 1948 by Christian Dotremont from the initials of the members’ home cities: Copenhagen (Co), Brussels (Br), And Amsterdam (A).

Just the other day I decided to go the the COBRA Museum which is situated just outside of Amsterdam. The main reason why I visited this particular Museum, is that tourist don’t bother too much to come all the way out here. They’d rather flock to the Van Gogh or Rijksmuseum in downtown Amsterdam.

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As I avoid crowds, COBRA was a welcome venue to me. As I was walking around, looking at paintings that either would struck me or not at all, I suddenly encountered this:

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I was trying to see the models eyes through the fabric that was covering her face. As I draw closer and closer, I realized how odd it must be for the person behind the fabric, to have a perfect stranger staring at you so intensily.

Needless to say, we had some kind of an odd non-verbal and no gesture communication.

Then in another room I encountered this:

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Yet another no face, no hair, no make up model. It certainly grabbed my attention and left me with an uncomfortable yet fascinated feeling.

Ah art… the feelings and emotions it evokes, no?

Conforming to the artist’s world

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I quickly learn that the man behind the no face models, is dutch artist AZIZ. Also notice how every visitor is wearing a blue coat with beret?

And yes, yours truly has to conform too, to AZIZ’s world. While I am walking around in my gorgeous black handknitted cashmere sweater, I am gently tapped on the shoulder and am asked to, just like everybody else, get a blue coat and beret.

Ummm… allright… I guess…

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A spark of Inspiration… POW!

As I was watching all blue coated and beret wearing visitors, the no face models started to freak me out and I felt so bland, so the same like everybody else. Maybe I myself felt like I had no face either, no identity either…

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And then, suddenly, among all of us blue coated, beret wearing and no face models this little sexy number walks into the scene!

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The contrast given was great, I loved it so much! And when she danced her Burlesque/Cabaret performance on the catwalk, right before all the no face models walked up, I was just jumping up and down of excitement! Love!

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When I left the scene my head was filled with all kinds of knitwear designs for Burlesque/Carabet Theater… fun fun fun!

Thank you AZIZ. What wonderful inspiration you have given me. LOVE IT!

To read more about AZIZ visit his website: aziz.nl

To read more about the COBRA, click here

Thank you for reading and until the next entry!


Greetings from Holland

December 20, 2009

Greetings from Holland

After a brutal travel of 24 hours (I flew on my husbands earned airmiles and changed planes twice), I finally made it to the Netherlands aka Holland.

FYI: the Netherlands is not situated in Denmark, nor is the Netherlands a city. The Netherlands is a country in Northern Europe and its capital city is known as Amsterdam. It’s citizens are called the Dutch.

As I am writing this blogpost it is in the middle of the night, oi vey, how jetlag has gotten the better part of me… It sits by my bedside, not leaving me be, and wakes me up while everybody else is fast asleep.

My sleeping pattern is completely wack, I walk around like a zombie during the day, but who cares?

I am in Holland! With my family!

Bikes everywhere

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One of the things I love here are  bikes. They are everywhere. Biking as a meaning of transportation, and not mere sports, is embedded in Dutch Society.

Most of the time, byciclists have their own lane in traffic and as you can see, a helmet is not required:

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Here a Dutch lady was so nice allowing me to take a picture of her “bakfiets”. See how her baby is in front of her bike:

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Often times you will see Moms on their bikes with two kids in the back, and  a whole lot of bags filled with groceries in the front. If I get a chance, I will snap a picture of that. I alway admire how they keep their balance.

As for knitting, knitwear and yarn

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Every Friday, come rain or sunshine, there is a market near my parent’s place. In the past I have visited this Friday market many a times but have never noticed a stand with yarn!

How blind I was, no?

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Allthough the collections of yarn at this particular vendor did not tickle my fancy at all, I am very happy to see that yarn is actually sold. That means there are knitters around! Yay!

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As I make my way down to the busier part of the market place, I spot many many ladies of all ages wearing the most beautiful knitwear.

It took all of my strength not to walk up to them, touching their beautiful knitwear, asking them where they had purchased it.

Big fat yarns, huge gauge scarves, hats, sweater and cardigans are hot hot hot. It makes me so happy to see that knitwear is everywhere!

This lady here is wearing such a nice colorful sweater. She agreed to pose:

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The material yarn in a different segment of the market

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In one of the leading style magazines in home decor here in the Netherlands called “VT Wonen”, the material yarn has gotten quite some attention in this month’s issue.

The material yarn and knitted home decor are pitched as warm, soft, gentle, stylish and not to forget so hip and trendy. If you are at a the forefront of trendyness, one must own a gigantic knitted item in one’s modern urban abode.

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Big fat yarn, with that handmade look, are all the rage.

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No variegated yarn please. Let’s keep it solid now.

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To see more of yarn and knitting for the home, go to : VT Wonen

To help you a bit with the dutch language:

Knitting = Breien

Living = Wonen

Inspiration = Inspiratie

In search for Dutch knitters

Tomorrow I will be heading to downtown Amsterdam, oh joy! It is about 30 minutes by bus from my parents place and I just cannot wait to walk around and take in all the beauty the innercity of Amsterdam has to offer.

Also, I will be joining Amsterdam’s Stitch ‘n Bitch group which I initially found on Ravelry. They meet every Monday evening in cafe De Jaren in downtown Amsterdam.

Which makes me wonder… are there any dutch knitters out there reading this blog? I know of one or two that are (Hi Spider, Hi Marianne) but if there are others, please make yourself known!

Ik bijt niet hoor… ik ben heel aardig, laat maar een berichtje achter in “the comments section”! Ik hoor graag van je!

Twitter…

Also, just letting you know I am active on Twitter again. To see what I am up to, just follow my tweets.

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(I swear…My Dad made me pose in the snow next to his car… I don’t even know how to drive a car.)

Thank you for reading and until the next entry!



Onward to new Adventures

December 13, 2009

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I am going to see my family in Amsterdam during the Holidays and New Year’s… For 5 long years, I have not been able to be with them during the Holiday Season and needless to say, I am super excited.

So, tomorrow, I am heading east, accros the USA, accros that big old pond, to finally arrive in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in Europe.

I was raised in Amsterdam and lived there for 30 years. In April 2005 I left that beautiful city to marry an American guy from New York. By doing so, I left everything that was familiar to me; my family, my friends, my live in the Netherlands.

I had to start anew in the United States of America and after two years of traveling, we made Portland, Oregon our homebase.

Sometimes, when I walk around Portland, I suddenly stop and say to myself: “I cannot believe it… I cannot believe it… here I am, little old me, in the United States of America!”

Dear reader, imagine walking away from all that is known to you. Walking away from your loved ones and give up everything to start anew in a different country. Now that is a big adventure.

As for knitting

Now that my two major events have passed (launch party and the Ginger Suite Holiday Party), I have time to dream away about new designs. I browse books and magazines for ideas and inspiration.

In the picture below you see topmodel Mila Jovovich wearing a big huge cowl:

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The yarns that immediately come to mind when I see this are Twinkle and Cascade Magnum. Or even Rowan Big Wool will do!

In the next picture you see a simple grey scarf. I just love the simplicity and lines of that ribbing:

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I am thinking Ultra Alpaca from Berocco. Yummmm! Berocco, by the way, is a brand that gets two thumbs up by yours truly. Great quality for a very good pricepoint! Next time you are in your local yarnshop, ask if they have yarns from Berocco. I recommned it to everybody.

How sweeeeet is the hat in the next picture:

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I am thinking about the yarn Chloe by Karabella. It has cotton and mohair and it is simply luscious. If I am not mistaken, we have that yarn in that color at the shop Closeknit… Also, Cashmerino from the brand Debbie Bliss comes to mind. I remember seeing that beautiful vintage color in the shop!

Leaving tomorrow…

Tomorrow morning I will hop on the plane and head eastwards.

Not only am I excited to see my family and friends again, I am also exited to walk around the city of Amsterdam and soak in its wonderful old world architecture, art and fashion.

I will be knitting away at a typical little cafe in the heart of downtown Amsterdam and will absorb all of what Amsterdam has to offer.

Next time I will post a blog entry, I will be in Amsterdam!

Thank you for reading and until the next entry.


Betcha By Golly Wow

December 6, 2009

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I don’t know how I did it, but I made it through… for the past few weeks I have been under high pressure with working full days at the yarnshop and production knitting during the evenings until way after bedtime.

At times, it was hard to keep my composure, but taking deep breaths and closing my eyes for just a second, really helped.

Holiday production knitting can be quite overwhelming, don’t you think?

But I made it, my word, I made it… 8 pairs of Adrienne Gloves, 5 pairs of short gloves both scalloped and striped, 5 pairs of Simple Long Fingerles Gloves, a luscious Feather and Fan Scarf, a Rowan Big wool scarf, several hats and numerous Kidsilk Aura cowls were the result of my production knitting over the past month.

And it was all for a Holiday Party at the Ginger Suite Salon, owned by my dear friend Kassandra Sommerville.

You all know Kassandra very well, she modeled in a couple of my patterns!

Wonderful and inspirational party at the Ginger Suite in Portland, Oregon

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Last Saturday I rushed to the Ginger Suite after a day of work at the yarnshop. When I arrived there were all beautifully dressed ladies, all smiling and looking good. How it made me happy!

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Allthough I had my camera with me, I was too exhausted to take pictures of everybody… so I ended up taking just a few pictures of all the beautiful things my friends had created for the party.

Calley Dodero’s handknits and feather creations, Jody Howard’s handmade jewelry and Kassandra Sommerville’s handdyed vintage slips really lit up the Ginger Suite Salon. I felt so honored that my work was among their creations!

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It was so inspirational to me to see all of their work! I just couldn’t stop taking pictures of Calley Dodero’s mesmerizing feather creations…

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And her embellished headbands were the sensation of the night!

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Handknitters out there mark my words… we are going to hear more about Calley Dodero in the future. She is one talented lady!

Releasing the stress

Dear reader, it has been a couple of stressful weeks for me… the release of my patterns, putting myself out there,  production knitting and working a lot of days at the yarnshop.

But I bravely kept on going, putting on my big girl panties every day and dealing with it… all with a smile on my face. And in the evenings, despite the hurting in my hands from production knitting, I kept on going.

Finally, this morning during breakfast, I was able to release my stress.

While I was still in bed, my husband prepared a wonderful breakfast for me. I heard some soul music from the seventies playing and when I came downstairs, the kitchen was just filled with yummy scents and breakfast was served!

When we sat down at the breakfast table one of my favorite songs was playing: Betcha by golly wow by the Stylistics.

I started to get teary eyed and by the time the lyrics hit, I was just sobbing like a baby! I held my husbands hand, so happy that he was by my side…

Dreaming the dream is one thing. Actually putting it into action is hard work that may come with stress and at times lots of insecurities and questions whether what I am doing is the right thing.

But whatever may happen, whether I fail or succeed, I know I will be my husband’s number one and shining star always. And that dear reader, makes me one happy woman.

Betcha by golly wow,
you’re the one that I have been waiting for forever,
And ever will my love for you keep growing strong, keep growing strong.

Thank you for reading and until the next entry!