Friday, April 29, 2005

Knitting? What's that? - Jaa mikä neulominen?

I seem to have lost the plot (if there ever was one). There hasn't been time for knitting lately, neither writing a story about last weekend's trip to Paris. Let me just say that it was ok - mummy wasn't lost, she returned home safe and sound. But the funniest thing happened when we took the train from Brussels to Paris on Saturday morning: my mother walked in and started talking to herself, searching for her seat... and the lady just in the front of her turned around and replied in Finnish. It was another Finnish girl, taking her mother and the mother's friend to Paris for the weekend. I didn't recognise her, but the situation sounded familiar. During the journey I could hear the daughter talking through her teeth: "Mother, sit DOWN! No, you're not going there..." --And who would we bump into when coming back on Sunday night? The same trio, travelling in the same train car again - and now it became evident that we were originally from the same city in Finland. I still don't know her name, though.

We did the trivial tourist sightseeing but at the same time managed to see some lovely more quiet and green areas of Paris. I didn't know that there was a swimming pool right under Les Halles. A part of the ceiling is just glass and there is a conservatory with huge banana trees as well. No, we didn't go swimming - at least not this time. At Arc de Triomphe there was a huge amount of fresh flowers laid down on the grave of the unknown soldier, that was just one part of the places and ceremonies that marked the 60th anniversary of liberation of concentration camps. There was also a touching ceremony at the memorial of deportations right behind the Notre Dame - a quiet march of survivors and relatives of those taken to concentration camps. I read somewhere that 200000 people were deported from France, about 30000 from Paris alone.

But before it gets too gloomy, let's return to the present day and recent happenings. Textile-wise nothing much happened during this trip, but I spotted a new yarn shop in rue Cadet which is relatively close to the railway station and the area where we usually stay during these weekend visits. Unfortunately I saw the shop only after closing time on Saturday but I managed to peek in and get some information. It seems that the owner is a lawyer/attorney. Who else fancies a career change?
Sunflower stuff. There's a friendly war of presenting sunflower items with MarjutPosted by Hello
Some buttons in a shop where I ran into trouble with one of the salespersons. However badly I wanted the buttons, my pride just wouldn't allow buying anything from her... luckily I had bought some yarn for my Secret Nordic friend at this point. (I might be wrong but I think I hit a spot with the yarn I bought for her - and if she's not happy, she can send it back to me. That's a promise - I'll even pay the return costs.) Posted by Hello
Does this ever happen to you? You innocently take a photo of something and realise later that you've caught something totally different with your camera. Like here: I was taking a photo of the Opera in Paris, focusing on the building. Later we walked on, passed this lady in black who was waiting for a bus - see lower right corner. And... Posted by Hello
Whoah! One scary cat...or should we say it's the owner that's scary. And take my word for it, the cat wasn't a toy. It was a stuffed animal - obviously someone just couldn't let go. Posted by Hello

Here are some other cat-related photos from my latest two trips to Paris. I seem to have deleted one great shot. Still kicking myself for doing that.

Parisian blog cat candidate - cross stitch.

Parisian blog cat candidate - chimney painting

Parisian blog cat candidate - a painting on a wall in rue Mouffetard. Posted by Hello

Parisian blog cat candidate: a very agile grey beauty, sitting in a café. Posted by Hello

Parisian blog cat candidates: buttons. Posted by Hello
Need to post something related to knitting... err.. what have I done lately? Cursed this yarn which is supposed to make a subtle and gradual shift of colour from white to quite a strong lilac shade. And what does mine do? It starts as white, then there's a sudden spot of colour which lasts for like three stitches, then it's white again. Look:

Hmph. Do you call this "gradual colour change"? I don't. Posted by Hello
Sticks out like a sore thumb, doesn't it?
Here's one I prepared earlier. This is how it should look like.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Mummy's visit to Central Europe is about to end. We just came back from Paris - spent two busy days there. We walked and walked and walked - almost 11 hours on Saturday. And when we came back to the hotel, this was the sight that met me there. Do you wanna guess my mother's age? She's been doing yoga for some 15 years.

Let's start by doing something easy. Stretch... stre-e-e-tch!
Just take a good grip of your toes...
..and then you just twirl your arms and legs in the air.

What goes around, comes around. I've mentioned the word mummy a couple of times, and remember the museum visit in Bonn earlier this year, with pharaoh Tutankhamon's tomb? Well, this fellow was standing in a street corner in Paris. The theme continues.  Posted by Hello
Mummy, I want one of these.
Sneaking pictures of someone unknown - but hasn't she chosen the colours well?
One has to admire the bold use of colour.
..we'll always have Paris.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Reality check - Kops. Putosin maanpinnalle.

This flat is too small for me. Or there's too much yarn. Or both. Now that my mother has been here for a week, it's really embarrassing how much yarn she has discovered. Either I'll have to start knitting vigorously, or I'll have to live up to 130 or maybe, just maybe, I'll have to start finding other ways to get rid of this stash. We can't go on like this. And while we're on the subject,
how high do YOU score?

And how has the visit been otherwise? Err..well... let's just say that should you ever need an efficient cleaning lady, I have one I can recommend. (As far as I'm not liable for the damage she causes.) On Monday when I got home, all the tv channels had disappeared, one of the loudspeakers of my home theater had died and there was a blue smoke screen in the kitchen - mummy had had an argument with the microwave oven. The further this week has progressed, the more anxious I've become. At one point I asked her why she didn't phone me if she had trouble operating the kitchen appliances or whatever was problematic. The answer was that phone calls cost money. On the other hand, she doesn't seem too bothered by the fact that the damage she causes is a bit more than the cost of the phone call. Oh well. I'm not so worried about the money aspect but the fact that I have to start running around Brussels trying to find replacements - but there simply isn't too much time for that. And I know that however annoyed I am at the moment, I'll miss Mom when she's not there. I just wish that we could have a more mature conversation than me screaming "No! Don't! Please wait! Sit down, I'll do it" all the time.

But has she finished my ponchos? Nope.

Tämäkin on jo sanottu monta kertaa, mutta kämppä on liian pieni. Tai lankaa on liikaa. Tai molempia. Nyt kun äitimuori on ollut täällä mun ilona viikon verran, on ollut tosi noloa tunnustaa miten paljon lankaa ollenkaan on kertynyt. Mun täytyy joko ruveta neulomaan raivokkaasti tai sitten pitää elää 130-vuotiaaksi tai mielessä on myös ohimennen pyörähtänyt ajatus, että täytyy ehkä keksiä vaihtoehtoisia tapoja hankkiutua varastoista eroon, näin ei voi jatkua. Ja kun kerran päästiin liiallisuusaiheeseen, tässä asiaa sivuava lista. Jos joka kohdasta saa yhden pisteen,
montako pistettä keräätte?

Kuinkas on muorin vierailu muuten sujunut? Öötota... hmm. mitähän sitä sanoisi? No ainakin jos kaipaatte tehokasta siivoojaa, voin suositella jotakuta, kunhan en ole vastuussa aiheutetuista vahingoista. Maanantaina kun tulin töistä, telkkarista oli hävinnyt kaikki kanavat, yksi kotiteatterin kaiuttimista oli pudotettu ja se oli mennyt samantien pimiäksi, ja keittiössä leijaili sininen savu muorin ruuanlaiton jäljiltä. Viikon aikana stressitaso on noussut aika korkeaksi. Jossain vaiheessa kysäisin, miksi hän ei vois soittaa mulle töihin, jos tulee joku ongelma. Kuulemma ei halua tehdä mulle puhelinlaskua. Toisaalta eipä näytä kauheesti häiritsevän, että ominpäin touhutessa tulee sitten tehtyä vahinkoa aika paljon enemmän kuin mitä puhelinlasku olisi koko kuukauden ajalta. No, eihän raha toki ole maailman tärkein asia, enemmänkin tulee olemaan vaivaa siitä kun joudun ravaamaan ympäri kaupunkia etsimässä korjaajaa tai uutta kaiutinta tilalle. Eikä äiskä täällä turhan usein käy eikä koskaan tiedä, mikä kerta on viimeinen, joten mitäs tässä valittamaan. Toivoisin vaan että meidän keskustelut olis vähän antoisampia kuin nykyiset, kun mä vaan hihkun "Ei! Älä koske siihen! Anna sen olla! Ei tartte, kyllä mä laitan... Odota nyt vähän aikaa ihan rauhassa!"

Vaan onkos ne ponchot viimeistelty? Juu ei.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I'm not totally sure that this new active life is entirely beneficial

I know, I know. This is a knitting blog, but I've spent quite a lot of time in the forest instead of the sofa. And whatever you say, I'm not going to feel bad about it. I just wish I had a horse. A mountain bike is nice but every rider I see - or in fact, every pile of horse poo - makes me imagine having a horse and riding through the green areas of Brussels. In fact, the local police force employs horses as well, and I just love seeing those tall horses patrolling the area. Oh well, and the riding policemen as well. But it really seems like the horses were extra alert as well. Never seen them in full action, though, chasing anyone. That would be a sight for sore eyes.

Anyway, rambling again. The mountain bike it is for me, a heart rate monitor and a resolution not to return home until a certain amount of distance is covered, a certain amount of calories is burned and/or the sun has set and it's getting *really* dark. And here's a hot tip for the next birthday: how about a GPRS system and a transmitter so that I could give life footage over the internet of my whereabouts. Like a wild wolf or a bear. No? Then you'll just have to make do with the pictures I'm adding here. Follow the cycling route. Where was I? (and knitters please read on, there's some knitting content at the end of today's entry)
This is where our journey begins. They are tall old horse chestnut trees, and I just love this time of the year when the light gets through this fresh green young foliage.

Ok girls, please tell me why we haven't visited this restaurant yet?

...even though it's ever so lovely?
It's not quite summer yet, but we're getting there.
Ok, this looks good at first sight. Please notice the huge and extremely ugly block of concrete between the castle and the fountain. Cleverly disguised - almost.
Een leeuw is een dier, as my Dutch course book helpfully tells me. What great conversations that sentence has started...

This one is a bit shy, it's looking away.
Hihi. On my journey I bumped into several Finns, but the funniest thing was when I spotted this car. The text in its door claimed that it's a estate agent's car, registered in Finland. Lo and behold! There was a house on sale right behind it! I know it's a tough job and requires plenty of driving, but this is ridiculous. On the other hand, it might belong to an utterly dedicated agent, determined to make a sale.

(Ja Aija erityisesti: en malta olla sanomatta taikasanoja "yhtenäinen räystäslinja". Että mä olen hihitellyt sitä ittekseni vuosien varrella. Se on termi, jota Brysselin rakennusviranomaiset ei varmasti edes tunnista.)

The colours of these tulips were really vibrant.
Here's inspiration to someone who wanted to knit an afghan.

Yeah yeah, where's the beef? Where's the knitting? I have a confession to make: I'm not really that much into stitch markers. If the pattern requires it, I catch myself humming and counting the stitches. For instance, knitting the Clapotis was just walzing through it 1-2-3 straight stitches, 1 "gay", 1 straight, 1 gay stitch. 1-2-3, 1-2-3. Err...back to stitch markers. If it's absolutely necessary, I use bits of scrap yarn for that purpose. However, I've just made this huge investement. 100 tiny rubber bands for 1,25 euros. They're colourful, practically weightless and if you lose one or two or a dozen, it's not such a big loss. The only setback is that I have a funny habit of putting them into my hair and forgetting them there for the night. Not so great to realise that in the morning when you don't have time to wash your hair.
And here's the grande finale. Or not quite yet, the rehearsal before it. My mother is flying over, and I have to find ways to keep her occupied while I'm working. Mummy dear, would you please finish all these ponchos I've knitted? (Yes, I *am* a bad person.)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Wide interests - harrastuksesta toiseen

Wow. The days are getting longer and my physical condition was getting worse and worse, so I just decided to finally do something. Took my mountain bike out for a ride - and being such an optimistic person, I first thought I'd do that every evening. Well... my not-so-tiny tushy didn't quite agree with the schedule: it hurt like h*ll. Later into the week I was looking for any excuse not to embark on my mad tours in the forest, so just imagine how happy I was on Friday when we had a hailstorm which gave me an excuse to sit at home and play with the computer. Anyway, knitting has been somewhere in the background, especially since I lost my knitting bag, and looking at other people´s blogs, I've picked some familiar items in them. So, I decided to include some bits and pieces here. Let's hope that the next post will be more knitting-related.

Ihanaa. Illat pitenee ja sää paranee - toisaalta sitten taas mun oma fyysinen kunto vaan huononee ja huononee. Niinpä otin itseäni vihdoin niskasta kiinni ja esittelin uuden kunto-ohjelmani: joka ilta pienelle pyörälenkille metsään. Tavoite oli suoraan sanoen yltiöoptimistinen, ja voimakkaimmat vastalauseet esitti ei-niin-pieni peppuni. Ensimmäisten retkien ajan se oli hemmetin kipiä, joten loppuviikosta etsin mitä tahansa tekosyytä, ettei tarttis lähteä pyöräilemään. Perjantaina saatiin sopivasti raekuuro, eli sen ansiosta istuin sitten illan koneen ääressä tutkailemassa muiden blogeja. Löytyi muutama yhteinen aihe, joten käytän tilaisuutta hyväkseni ja napsin tänne löytämiäni yhteisiä juttuja. Toivottavasti seuraava postaus on jo enemmän neulonta-aiheinen
Oh baby, I thought I'd lost you! Here's the sunflower canvas bag I lost last week, now safely returned home. It's just the right size, light to carry, can be washed and most of all, it's covered with sunflowers. It would have been such a loss if the bag had disappeared. Maybe I should write my phone number inside of it.. you'll never know who might call you. On the other hand, I don't want to part with the bag ever again.

Tässä mun kassikarkulainen jälleen onnellisesti kotona. Kangaskassi on just sopivan kokoinen mukana kuljetettavaksi, ei paina paljon, sen voi pestä ja siinä on auringonkukkia. Olis ollut hurja menetys, jos tämä olisi kadonnut kaupungille. Pitäisköhän kirjoittaa sisäpuolelle vaikka oma puhelinnumeronsa pesunkestävällä kynällä. Ei sitä tiedä, kuka saattaa soittaa. Toisaalta sitten taas en halua enää jättää tätä koskaan mihinkään yksin.
Unfinished business. Just to show you that I DO knit something. These are just something to do on the way to work and back... sitting in the subway or on the bus twice a day is so-oo time-consuming. These are two baby ponchos in Phildar Onde, which someone was looking for a while ago. What happened? Was the quest succesful?

Todistusaineistoa, eli kyllä minä jotain joskus neulonkin. Työmatkat menee muuten ihan hukkaan. Tässä on käytetty yksi kerä liukuvärjättyä Phildar Ondea, jota joku muukin on etsinyt hiljattain. Mitähän tapahtui? Löytyiköhän jäljitettyä lankaa jostain?
"Serviettentechnik" was a big hit a couple of years ago. I gave it a go then, and I still have some items that need covering. And I certainly have some paper napkins that need attaching. There's a connection from the large napkin presented in the front to
Torill's blog. I found some handkerchiefs with the same garden view and sent them to her (she was my secret friend of round 2.

Lautasliinatekniikka oli kova sana muutama vuosi sitten. Sitä tuli silloin kokeiltua, ja vieläkin kämpässä on muutamia esineitä, jotka olen aatellut päällystää. Kuinka ollakaan, löytyy myös sellaisia lautasliinoja, joita ei ole koskaan tarkoitus kattaa pöytään; ne on tarkoitettu vain koristeluun. Etualalla näkyvästä lautasliinasta on yhteys
Torillin blogiin. Löysin samankuvioisia nenäliinoja ja lähetin ne hänelle (Torill oli salainen pohjoismainen ystäväni kakkoskierroksella.)

A wooden storage box. Which links us to another red cat.

Puinen lehtikotelo. Jonka kautta päästään tutustumaan seuraavaan punaiseen kollikissaan.

Can you see an arrow in his stomach? And he's got a Doppelgänger!

Näettekö nuolen Viirun massussa? Huomasin muuten, että sillä on kaksoisolento!