Over these past months – in fact it is since the end of July 2011 I have not had the right situation to be creating in yarn as I love to do. I have been creating a garden, an orchard, taking care of our grandson and so on.
I just have not had the time nor the head space to be knitting – well not too much that is. I have knitted a few beanies for people who needed them and created a piece which is still a secret. I managed that only because there was a completion date.
Now the weather is much cooler, the garden earth is very wet, and I need to be creating something new, something different and to start my brain off on this task I have been doing research on the internet.
Now you may remember that I am Danish born and that in the last 3 years while we were living in the Netherlands (till end July 2011), I have visited Denmark a couple of times and I attended a workshop by Danish knitter/designer/artist Christel Seyfarth in de Afstap in Amsterdam.
Why am I telling you this?
Well I have been looking at knits for 2012 / 2013 autumn and winter and I have been looking at the Missoni collections in particular and those collections are full of Danish shawls. Now that is a real surprise to me. Danish shawls in an Italian knit collection! And I may not have realised that had I not been to Denmark and seen the Danish Shawls at the Gamle By (The Old Town). Danish Shawl at the Old Town
The Danish shawl does have a wide triangular shape – true. The Missoni Shawl doesn’t – but what is in common is that the shawl is wrapped around and tied at the back. The true Danish Shawl ties the ends of the shawl together at the back, the Missoni shawl has a clasp attached which holds the shawl in position at the back.
Isn’t it great that the old Danish Shawl has a new lease of life as a fashionable modern garment on the runways of the world?
There is a project that makes my mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft that will be required to create it?
You already know that generally I do not knit fair isle. I have created a sweet little pinafore with a row of hearts – which were created with yarns stranded across the back – a very simple Fair Isle. My boats on little boys sweaters were done with intarsia. When I had a knitting machine eons ago – I did manage to create pieces with Fair isle designs.
You also know that I attended a workshop in Amsterdam with Danish knit designer and artist Christel Seyfarth
Christel lives and works on the Danish island of Fano. The changing tides, the special light and the sky are all important source of inspiration for her special and unique knit designs. She is fascinated by traditional clothes and takes the old patterns and designs and translates them into modern creations and her creations are in Fair Isle. She showed us at that workshop in Amsterdam that although it looks complex it is in fact simple fair isle. Her work is amazing in its construction, colour use and the finishing is just superb.
I was gobsmacked on that day and I still think of it with a great deal of pleasure – for all sorts of reasons. We both love the sea and light, our environments, colours, and yarns. There is pleasure in all of those things – but I simply cannot imagine myself with the skills and patience and the dedication to create one of her truely amazing pieces and I am terrified of steeks. Piffle you say! No it is not piffle.
It is not the Fair Isle, that seems to be as easy as Christel has said. It is not the colour – I am in love with colour. The pieces are made in rectangles and triangles – easy. It is the techniques including the steeks, and the dramatic finishing of each piece.
Do I have the patience, the skills, the confidence? I don’t actually know.
So my challenge is to knit a piece designed by Christel Seyfarth. On my “to do” list for me, that is the finished piece which will be created by me will also be for me. It will have to wait until we have settled back in New Zealand. So the winter of 2012 on New Zealand – that will be July to September 2012 – my big project will be a Christel Seyfarth design. It will include steeks – which as I have said already, quite frankly terrify me.
I am no longer going to be a scaredy cat regarding steeks. So there.
I have been asked about a better photo of the sweater – sadly it was created way back in 1978 or 1979 and the photograph on the post was scanned into my computer a few years ago. The original photo is in New Zealand “somewhere” and I am living in the Netherlands so a better scan is not possible right now.
It is possible that there are other photos and maybe I will recreate the sweater as it was quite lovely and a fairly simple intarsia design. It would be reasonably easy to chart for someone else to recreate as well. It will not be high on my “To Do” list though as we are working hard on planning our relocation to New Zealand.
This week I have managed to have new passport photos taken, and I do have to go to The Hague to submit my application to the Danish consulate there in person – so I will do that soon. My passport will expire in July and we leave the Netherlands in the first week of August.
I have made arrangements with several relocation companies and to come and cost the removal of our belongings to New Zealand and I have a a couple of days in Maastricht as Best Beloved will be working there – it will be lovely to be there in the Spring.
In this next week I shall be sorting out stuff that we will not take home, and be placing them to one side so they are not included in the costings to get our stuff home. These will go to de Schalm later for them to onsell. De Schalm is a local “not for profit” business. Their function is to offer opportunity for unemployed people to learn skills that may assist them into work. The mainly youngsters learn to handle cash, take care of the shop, create pieces to sell either sewing, woodwork, bike repair, all sorts of practical skills. We have purchased odd chairs, dining room table etc from there to set ourselves with bits we didn’t bring from New Zealand.I will have a very busy week.
Will I also knit in this next week? Yes, I will be working on my two knitted houses for the Stephanie Rhode installation and delivering those to her in the next couple of weeks.
Anything else – well maybe, we’ll see.
This weekend, WELL we had planned to go to Nieuwegein to the Breidag and Haakdag: the hottest event of the Netherlands! . There seems to be no train from Haarlem to Amsterdam where we can head to Utrecht and then to Nieuwegein and it has become a rather convoluted journey with several buses, trains, and even a tram. It would take us about 2 hours from here in Haarlem. And that Best Beloved has a heavy cold and has now pulled out of this days planned travel. We had wanted to take our bikes, but because there is no train from here to make connections from Amsterdam and we cannot take bikes on the bus and it is too far for us to ride yet, especially in the time we have today – we have decided not to go.
Such a pity as I had hoped to meet with Miriam Tegels, and maybe @PickledTreats would also have been there.
So I will wander in Haarlem instead – it is a great place to wander.
Best Beloved will rest.
Sunday just over a week ago I was extraordinarily lucky.
Well; a few weeks before I was making a purchase at De Afstap in Amsterdam when I noticed on the counter a reference to an upcoming workshop/presentation by Christel Seyfarth.
Now you know where I am going from here, don’t you?
I have seen Christels work on the internet as many of us have, and I never thought I might see her work and hear her speak.
And now I have.
And what can I say – WOW!!!!! the photos don’t do her or her creations justice. But still WOW!!!!!
It was magic to hear her speak of her design process, her colour use, and the drivers from her natural environment on the island of Fanø off the coast of Denmark, and in particular the sea.
And of course I love that she starts something and is not always sure where it is going. Now that I really understand as that is very often what I do.
I also knit in the round.
I also knit with many many colours.
I have also said “not sure if it is working – then add some more colours, just keep going”
That however is as close as I get.
I never ever knit in the round and cut my work and finish it in the way that I saw on Sunday. STEEKS – EEEKKK.
I have never ever created a piece with a steek.
I have never ever cut my work.
I don’t even knit fair isle. That is nearly untrue, in the past I have knitted fair isle – when I had a knitting machine, ever so long ago. I also tried hand knitting fair isle when my kids were still kids, again a very long time ago. I abandoned it as a method when I discovered intarsia.
I did knit a waistcoat with facings, again many many years ago. I have never done that since.
But Christel is so passionate about her creations, her methods, her colours, and the sea that she might even draw me towards facings and steeks (eeekkk), but not fair isle. I already love the sea and colour.
And then there is that reef knot. I am not going to tell you about that though.
Do you know that even the shawls are knitted in the round with steeks? I am amazed by her skill, her finishing, her trims, edges, facings and the colours. I love the colours.
If you ever get the chance to listen to Christel speaking, and to see and touch and marvel at her designs, as well as to view her wonderful photographs of her island – Fanø, and of China and other places and things which have triggered designs for her. Then you must take up that opportunity. I am so glad that I did.
But then I have been a very lucky person.
I know it is really peculiar.
Well it would be to our mothers; this chatting, writing, blogging, skyping and texting that we do in our world with all the technology that we have at our finger tips.
I am keeping my worldwide family aware of what I am doing using facebook and email, and have sent the link to my first double pointed needle attempt to my Danish cousins who live in America now, and who were in New Zealand as children.
It set me thinking – we need to know about our families, and there may be out there in this wide world many more people from the extended Rohde, Rode and Schrader family in New Zealand, America and Denmark who may not know that in the early years there were an abundance of us in New Zealand, and that we were all taught to cook, bake, knit, sew, garden and embroider by some, or all of the mothers.
The technology now enables us to keep track and to get to know one another again, where we once relied on our mothers to communicate by the hand writing of thousands of letters and sending them to and fro across the world. They are nearly all gone now – those mothers.
I know that all those very very strong women who emigrated to New Zealand, from Denmark, after the war, all had an impact on my interest in various creative forms from cooking, baking and gardening, to embroidery, crochet, and then knitting which has become my big big passion. I never did take to preserving, making jams and pickling cucumbers and there is one other skill that I never did master from those wonderful women and that was the knitting of socks.
All those great women knitted, sewed, embroidered and crocheted everything from dish cloths, hand towels, collars for our dresses, gloves, socks, and all those sweaters and hats and one can just go on and on about what they each did. They baked bread, made yeast buns which had such a delicious warm aroma – that made everyone come in from the fields to eat without even the tiniest call. Children came from everywhere. These mothers made cottage cheese, mayonnaise, pickled everything, bottled everything, and made fruit juice out of the skins of the fruits they had bottled. They stitched and gardened and cooked and still had times to read stories to us and to write letters, thousands of letters – to keep everyone informed. In short they were amazing.
I knit. I knit passsionately as they did, but they were sooo busy everyday that being a little flamboyant with yarns and so on would never ever have happened. Embroidery was the way to colour their lives.
I am so lucky. I am so lucky to have known these amazing women, my mother (mor), my aunts (Tante, Moster, Faster) and all their friends and latterly my mother-in-law. Without them I would not be me.
I am also lucky that I am able to communicate so easily, so readily, with my family using modern technology. What a long way we have come from letter writing to this. We are all so busy, or so we feel. Yet I think those women were really busy and they knew what was important – imparting knowledge, sharing skills, supporting each other and they were full time jobs and were valued and were valuable for the strength and safety of the community.
Anyway – this story all began because of my journey to create “Red Socks” with double pointed needles.
I have put it out there to my family using the technology (facebook), so I do have to add to my TO DO list here again. The RED SOCKS – the Sir Peter Blake Red Socks.
Now Best Beloved and our son requested these for Christmas last. They have an IOU as I haven’t even started these. I have knitted the fingerless gloves using double pointed needles – so I guess the socks will happen sometime, when I have the time to learn a new skill in knitting, if I can stop playing with the technology.
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