Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Introducing: The Tiger Sock Diaries

It's striped, it has a tail (yes it has), it's in brown and yellow....

And may I add that the tail isn't entirely coincidental, it was meant to be, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that I cast on way to much for the swatch.

I love tigers, I'm crazy about tigers

of course, before anything else, REAL tigers, the most majestic, powerful, beautiful and amazing animals on earth...
RRRRRRRRWRRRRWRRRRR!But then there's also uber feminist, lesbian, punk-pop-electro band Le Tigre. And although I might not be in their direct target group, they freackin' kick arrrrrrrrrs and I love them! Great stuff to dance to!

And the amazingly funny and cute Hobbes of Calvin & Hobbes, the best comic in the world! My favorite 'sick lit'.

But this is the tiger of the hour, the tiger it's all about from today until the 3rd of February. It's the mascot/ logo for the International Film Festival Rotterdam. I work in the event industry, so I guess you can safely say I've seen it all. Or at least, I've sean a lot. The IFFR is special, it's the event I long for as soon as it's over. I would never want to work for them just because that might spoil all the magic. The Film Festival brings out the best and worst in me; I'm on a trip around the world in my own city, I get to experience loads and loads of emotions and I generally get really inspired by it and start feeling like I'm in my own film. But on the other hand it's all about me, I'm a total selfish nerd. I figure out schedules as soon as the programme is out. I don't care about anything but getting the tickets that I want as soon as possible. I generally visit about 20 films (more when I was a student...) and go to all of them by myself. I will send my schedule to my friends so they can see if they have the same films and meet up, but it's all about ME first. I totally understand why they picked a tiger for their logo. This stuff brings out the beast in you!

The story of how I got my tickets this year needs a whole separate post and since I couldn't wait to kick start the festival on my blog I had to do it before work. So with a limited amount of time I'll quickly get back to the tiger swatch.

It's sock yarn from Storm op Zolder (Storm in the Attic). I bought it at the Stitch 'n Bitch day and this seemed like the perfect sit-and-wait-for-my-film-to-start-project. So here it starts: The Tiger Sock Diaries, I'll be keeping you up to date on their adventures at the festival for the next two weeks or so in true Yarn Harlot style shamelessly copying her 'Travelling Socks'.

Today I've been invited to go to the opening of the festival. Which is like beeing invited to sit in the VIP section of Wimbledon or I dunno... like meeting the writer of your favorite book. It's really not all that special for most people, but to me it is. Today I'm officially kicking off my 2007 International Film Festival Rotterdam adventure.

Together with my tiger socks!

Monday, January 22, 2007

On How to Embarrass Yourself

I hardly ever take the subway. Only when the weather's really bad or when my bike's broken. The latter was the reason to go underground today.
It can be quite convenient this small world underground, if you need to fix your shoes or get a quick juice, for a time management freak like me anything that needs to be done that's on the route and for the grabs is a big plus!

The downside of taking the metro (I'm using as much synonyms as I can here...) is that I really don't know the way very well. Even after living here for about 9 years I still fuck it up. As long as I have a steady A and a steady B (as in: from A to B), it's fine, but as soon as they change on me I'm Alice in 'I'm Wondering where the hell this train goes to Land'.

Since I've got the new job, I've taken the subway 3 times (the weather's been really bad...)and I got on the wrong train 2 times!! Today wasn't the exception.

The funny thing is, that thís time I actually took time to think about my failures in the past and promised myself I'd get it right this time. So I drew an imaginary map of the roads on top of the tracks in my head. I distinguished the North from the South, the East from the West and made my decision.


The general direction was good, the line wasn't.

So when I got out at the next stop, crossed the tracks to go back and waited for the return train to come... I took some work out of my bag and started reading it. Might as well make myself useful while waiting, right?

After a few seconds some guy came towards me and stopped just a little bit to close in my 'comfort zone'.
(Hold your arms as a ballerina in front of you, your fingers touching each other. That's the general comfort zone of a Dutch person in the city, anyone that gets closer than that is considered either a very, very dear friend, or a freak.)
So I shuffled to the left. But about half a minute later another guy moved in 'the zone' on the other side (the side that I just shuffled to to get some more space).

All this zone-clogging wasn't necessary, there was plenty of room, but I returned to my reading and hoped the train would arrive fast.

Then, suddenly, I smelled a foul odour. Gosh, it was nasty... No way, they wouldn't... NO WAY!!
From underneath my eyelids and over the edge of my glasses I threw a quick look to one guy, nothing... and then to the next, nothing... I couldn't bélieve it, how can you let one pass and keep such a poker face... It's should be illegal!

That was the drop, I had enough.
I moved 6 big steps away and didn't care if it was obvious that I was walking away from them specifically. I was not going to take this. Whatéver!

The train came, I got in and it took about 4 seconds before I smelled that stanch again... 'Oh my god, what's going on here?!' It didn't make sense, the two guys were in another part of the train. It drifted off and I arrived at 'B'.

On the way up, to the light, to the fresh air, it hit me...
In my bag was a microwave steam diner with salmon and broccoli that had been there (unrefrigerated) for most of the day...

I was the skunk!

I've finished my dark green simple slippersocks (pictures soon but they will be boring) and I'm working on the shrug made out of the Texel handspun and handdyed wool, a bit scratchy but be-au-ti-full!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Blown To Bits And Pieces

A storm raged over the Netherlands yesterday and this is what it did to our -what in the summer is a pretty- balcony...

The wind is blowing stuff to bits and pieces and it's a perfect theme for this post which is really about nothing and about all kinds of things at the same time. I'm feeling a little chaotic like the weather...

I'm worried about the climate, it changes really really fast it seems. The only winter I've seen so far is this morning when I found I'd left the freezer door open. Pretty snowflakes huh?
These babies were brought from the island of Texel, in the North of our wee country. Last year my friend Zita bought a white skein of handspun there with all kinds of different colours spun into it. I completely fell in love with it and when she visited Texel again this 'winter' she called me up and -together with boyfriend Henri- described the available colours through the phone. You should have been there, Henri could be heard in the distance; "No Zita, it's more of an army green and a sea blue!', really funny stuff. I couldn't help myself and ordered more than my bank would alow me if it had anything to say about me. Luckily it hasn't... so now this beautiful handspun and hand dyed Texeler yarn is mine, MINE, MINE!!
With the help of Constance in my S'nB group, I've figured out what to make with it. It's really rather scratchy so a hat or scarf won't be my first choice. And it seems this particular fleece doesn't felt well, so I've decided on this perty thang. Can't wait to cast on!

Last year I knit a monster. Yes, I did. It was a sock, a sock monster. Totally clueless I just started knitting a big sock pattern, disregarding all swatch rules and knitting common sense, resulting in the biggest most monstrous sock you've ever seen! This creature was intended for my friend Steve. Well, not the monster version, but two fitting slipper socks in his size. I wrapped it anyhow and gave it to him, we had a big laugh about it and I promised him that I'd make him some real slipper socks as soon as I got the hang of it. I waited for his birthday to come around again and designed and knit these for him. They have cables on the sides. The cables are knit so close that it looks like diagonal knitting. The pictures aren't great, sorry about that.

So, what else....?

Ever seen these cuties?
Please ignore the incredibly clever marketing scheme that goes with them and focus on the cuteness of them handmade squeez'ems. They seem to have something in common with us...Check
this out!
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

And seeing this on someones blog, I couldn't resist...
I really just don't believe it, there must be some Dutch people in the US with my name... The Dutch freakin' build New York...right? There are a gazillion people with my name in the Netherlands and not one in the US where people have weird names like Porche, Shaneequa and Kip....(means 'chicken' in Dutch...) I just don't buy it.

This is me with my friend Valesca last weekend on our way to the Noorderslag festival in Groningen. It's thé weekend for(pop)music professionals. There's a two day festival called Eurosonic all over town showcasing the hippest, the newest, the best in new European bands. The third day of the weekend there's a festival at the largest venue showcasing only Dutch bands and musicians. The whole weekend, during the daytime, there are workshops and seminars to go to. And of course a-lot-of networking to do.
Every year it's a blast. For people that work at pop venues it's their one yearly treat since their employers mostly can't afford other trips and christmas gifts. It's basicly a lot of bonding and partying with coworkers. The seminars get attended mostly out of guilt and with a huge hangover. (Or is that just me?)

This has probably been my last year as a professional visitor since I've finished the assignment to make the communication more efficient at the last venue I worked at. With my new job I'm probably not going to have these kinds of getaways, but I ám invited to the opening of the International Film Festival Rotterdam which happens to be my all time favorite event! So I'll still get to go to some cool events, festivals and openings they'll all just be a little less rock 'n roll.

I'll definitely miss that part of it but I'll never miss the lack of money and the horrendously outdated hard & software we were supposed to work with. I'm in love with my new work computer and the fact that the office gets cleaned every day (!), there's people that do stuff for you and multiple work trips and a Christmas gift. What luxury!!

Morning light in Rotterdam @ Hofplein

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Ok it's a bit far fetched...happy knit yarn... but I really do wish all of you the best knitting you've ever done this upcoming year. May your yarn be smooth, may your stockinette sweaters be not-so-boring, may your lace be like pieces of cake and may you have heaps and heaps of time and inspiration!!

I spent New Year in a cabin in the Belgian Ardennen together with Boyfriend Dear, my best friend and her fiancee/ my friend and their dog Bert. It was really calm and relaxing and almost boring, just the way I like my New Years Eves. The four of us spent two days talking, drinking, eating, watching DVDs and walking around.
The rest of the week Boyfriend Dear and I spent watching more DVDs, reading, day tripping and of course... knitting. Well, at least I did...

Here's some of what we did and saw
(click for lager pictures):

The knitting time was well spent starting in the car on our way there. Boyfriend Dear had left his scarf and hat at home and while he shopped for hiking boots (just around the corner of my LYS) I dropped in and got some black/grey/white yarn to match my size 8 (mm) needles I brought for another project.
This is how far I got in the 2,5/3 hour drive down there.
I knitted Miriam a hat for Christmas. I made this matching scarf the first night there, after finishing BD's scarf.
Then the day after I spent knitting and re-knitting a hat to match BD's scarf. I did it by heart and forgot to distract 10% for the head circumference. So I had to redo it. Then it was too short. So I redid it. And then it still was too wide after wearing it a day. So I started another one, keeping the big one as a slouching hat for myself. Then the second hat was too small. And I redid it. I picked up stitches at the bottom to make it longer. It looked awful. And now it's a small hat, waiting for me to get the motivation from way down in my toe's to re knit part of it. Did I mention I love patterns...
The two most important people in my life, showing my knitwear. BD showing the bigger hat here.

On our day to Brussels -where it rained and where we weren't able to find any cool shops and where I left without purchasing anything whatsoever, which is very, very rare- I came across this promotional poster for the winter festivals. Funnily enough this stuff is exactly what I'm going to be doing in my new job, starting tomorrow (I'm campaign project leader for the winter and summer festivals in Rotterdam) so I took some pictures to show you but also as a bit of research. Apparently knitted bikini's are the way to go this winter in Brussels.

My own personal knitting bookshelves in our cabin made entirely out of wood. I love wood, I have an unnatural relationship with everything wooden. I have no idea why. I might have been a lumberjack in another life, or an elf or maybe a woodworm ...

I couldn't believe it when we drove by this yarn store. I urged BD to push the brakes, make a slip and turn towards the place marked X on the treasure map. I asked him what he wanted, to come with me or stay in the car. Hard choice for a bloke, to come in means to hear and see stuff that'll probably give him nightmares and see me in a state that's probably not very charming and/or attractive. To stay in the car means waiting... waiting and then waiting some more, not knowing when (or if...) I'm ever coming back out. He decided on the latter. He shouldn't have... he missed out on the most horrific, chaotic, weird and spooky shop interior ever. The lady running it was -to say the least- somewhat unfriendly. I don't get that, I can't imagine she get's lots of customers down there, you'd think she'd want to befriend me... I couldn't move around without pushing things over (which I of course did...several times) which might actually explain her unfriendlyness come to think of it... and when I finally got a hold of some nice-looking mohair, the price was SHOCKING. And not shockingly cheap because the lady didn't know the city-ways of doing business... So, I left within 4 minutes and for the rest of our ride wished that I'd taken a picture...

I did take this picture though and it's almost like a metaphor for the week. Calm, simple, bad weather and Belgian... I like it... even though it's not very uplifting... I'm like that with sad music too; it doesn't make me sad, just melancholy and I happen to love feeling melancholy.


Next time more on the knitting progress. While I was in Belgium I did about 14 inches of stockinette in the round for my Tempting II which is too boring to show you, I finished the black slipper/socks and I started on a new pair in green.