Keramisto 2017 ceramics fair: buying tea accessoires.

This weekend I visited Keramisto again, the yearly ceramics fair in the east of the Netherlands. Last year I went for the first time, eager to get some unique tea mugs. This year I returned for more things. I went with my neighbour who is a ceramist herself, and her mother.

We arrived early and it was cold and wet:
Keramisto 2017

But never mind because within 5 minutes I had bought these two big tea mugs by Ute Böhm from Müritz Ceramics in Germany:
Keramisto 2017 ceramics keramiekKeramisto 2017 ceramics keramiek
I bought two of salt oven tea mugs from her husband Markus Böhm last year:

This year I bought a matching plate:
Keramisto 2017 ceramics keramiek

Then we found a stall showing work from Joop Crompvoets. He’s a man from Swalmen (yes, the small village in Limburg where The Wolbeest has her wool studio and runs the best ice cream shop in the country. This village is magic.) and he is a master potter. He can plan a thing and then make the thing!

He makes tea things in wonderful salt oven techniques:
 pic by Crompvoets

I bought a tea thing!
Keramisto 2017Keramisto 2017 ceramics keramiek
Yes, that’s a real handmade tea pot, at my house now. Mine! Wow!
It’s amazing at the touch, so smooth but with many textures and colours to marvel at.

You can imagine that after that purchase I was giddy and thrilled and satisfied and beaming and exhausted all at the same time. We’d only been at the fair for 15 minutes and already I was done!
We spend the next two hours slowly making our way through the ailes, admiring all the work. There is such variety at Keramisto!

Unfortunately it was very very cold and I was not suitably clothed. I went back to the car for some back up wools I keep there….
Not sure I fitted in with sophisticated ceramic aficionados after that:
Keramisto 2017
But only one person laughed, the rest behaved and let me look at ceramics in peace:
Keramisto 2017
This was at the stand of Thierry et Christiane Dupuy Joly where I bought a small bowl with big glaze:
Keramisto 2017 ceramics keramiek

At the next stand I saw these small porcelain bowls by Sylvie Gorde:
Keramisto 2017 ceramics keramiekKeramisto 2017
These are ideal to hold water when painting. Let’s see me try tipping over these babies!
They are so fine and translucent. It will be a pleasure to dip my brushes in these.

It was still very cold but the sun came through a bit:
Keramisto 2017

What’s that?
Keramisto 2017
Keramisto 2017 Ah yes. Obviously. A meerkat checking his phone.

We spend a lot of time looking at the wonderful work by Lina Bekeriene (facebook link) from Litouwen:
Keramisto 2017
It’s raku fired, meaning in a fire pit outside and then while the work is still piping hot it is placed in a vat with saw dust. That’s when the clay becomes black and that’s when the glaze cracks and the cracks become black.
Now note how the moon in this work is made from typical Raku glaze (=cracked) while the other glazes are non-crackling glazes. That is amazingly use of techniques.

My neighbour explained all this to me and made me marvel.
And then she made me smell the work….
It smells of firewood! It is amazing.

 pic by Keramisto
All Lina Bekeriene’s lidded pots and containers and tea pots have secret glazing stories on the inside. Like in the middle of the container or on the inside of the lid. This is an amazing artist and one day I am going to buy something from her.

The weather got better.
Keramisto 2017

This is the stand of Hubert Eller from Germany, where I bought two little bowls last year which I use every day, sometime even cleaning it out with that fat finger of mine:
Keramisto 2017

This is work by Ewelina Suchanek, who wants to bring the magic and tactile pleasure of nature to urban people:
Keramisto 2017
It’s raku fired and there are lichen growing in it. She also has jewellery like this. And many containers and bowls. I bought this wonderful “stone” which lies in the hand so friendly and confirming that I held it in my hand for the rest of the fair:
Keramisto 2017 (I didn’t put the lid on right here, it fits perfectly.)

This lady makes fine porcelain for sophisticated tea parties:
Keramisto 2017Keramisto 2017
Maranke Thunig

Potter’s fun: throw raw clay at a display of wooden shoes (clomps) and if it sticks or gets into the clomp you get a prize. A freshly turned plant pot. No idea how you’re supposed to bring a wet piece of clay home, let alone fire it in a kiln!
Keramisto 2017

When we were about to leave I ran across the stand of Shrusko Ceramics, whom I had identified previously on the list of participants to pay a visit. You can see why:
Keramisto 2017 ceramics keramiek
Such friendly and fun work! I love the handpainting, the spontanity of the lines.

They have such eye for detail. They wrapped up my purchases in a really nice way:
Keramisto 2017 ceramics keramiek

Then we drove away, through wonderful Dutch landscapes, crossing the river by ferry:
Keramisto 2017
Keramisto 2017Keramisto 2017Keramisto 2017Keramisto 2017Keramisto 2017

And then we had tea at the inlaws of my neighbour and their pets are as lovely as their people:
hond op schoothond op schoothond op schoothond op schoothond op schoot
I’ve never had a dog sit in my lap!


White wonder time.

winter canal dutch frost

These are the historic canals and harbour around my house 🙂
They illustrate nicely the “white time” that I often experience after Christmas.

white winter dutch netherlands

It’s a time for crisp morning walks, for snow sun and for looking into the skies while gazing internally. It lasts anywhere from two weeks untill the end of February, depending on the weather.

It is a winter mood but not the depressive kind. It’s the one of light and snow sparkle and cold. The time of anise and ginger drinks and light butter waffles, not the time of hot chocolate and gingerbread that go with xmas time.

These pictures I took last Thursday, when I went to get the car. I have to park a kilometre away because in historic Dutch cities there’s not much parking space.

That’s why we ride bikes:
winter canal harbour Holland Dutch Birman
This picture is from yesterday. Why dahlias? It’s winter! I don’t know. I had them last year on New Years Eve too and was just as amused by them.
winter canal harbour Holland Dutch Birmanwinter canal harbour Holland Dutch Birman
To celebrate this white time I took out all the green, red and gold ornaments of the tree. I received a glass bird from a friend and it was the perfect gift for this time of year. Years ago she gave a similar bird and it’s been over our wood stove all this time, all year round. I love glass 🙂

These days I particularly enjoy wearing my light coloured clothes. And my Wolop Advent shawl! It’s perfect for this weather and the colours are cool and light.

And this time is about spinning, as it is Frau Holle time.
This week I spun that beautiful Tour de Fleece price I received this year: batts called “Birch”:

The ceramic bowl is Raku and holds the threads I use for securing skeins before setting the twist. It was made by Lieneke from Wolop because she commands many skills and she knows I love birches 🙂

Are you done now? I now a cat that needs feeding.

Not looking too bad near apples and gotland fleece

So we went to the Apple Day yesterday!
appeldag Woold boerengoed 2016
The same mobile apple-squeezer was there again. It has a large hydraulic press and produces cartons of apple juice. Farmers from all around come and bring their crates with apples to be processed on this day:
appeldag Woold boerengoed 2016
appeldag Woold boerengoed 2016
The rare notaris apple was out in the open 🙂

I didn’t look too weird either:
appeldag Woold boerengoed 2016
I’m carrying my new WIPbag, holding Bines Sock, and a pair of socks I purchased at a stand. Around my neck is my Forest Shawl, based on Kudzu Shawl (pattern by Rachel Henry), which features leaves and Dutch mock rib “koffieboontje”.

There were knitters too.
This lady showed me a neat trick to see if a sock is your size. Put your thumb into your fist. Wrap the sock around your fist, if toe and heel just touch each other, it’s your size:
appeldag Woold boerengoed 2016appeldag Woold boerengoed 2016
It’s an “old wife’s tale” and it works.

Amazingly your fist is also about the size of your stomach. If you eat more than that volume, your body will produce insuline, no matter what the food is you ate. So a head of lettuce will induce an insuline peak even though it has no carbohydrates. (This modern old wife’s tale is told by dr. Bernstein, the oldest living type 1 diabetes in the world and insulin specialist. 84 yo and going strong!)

I bought these socks:
appeldag Woold boerengoed 2016appeldag Woold boerengoed 2016
They’re in my current colour palet. And they have the traditional Dutch sock pattern: ribbed leg, large heel flap, small heel, gusset and a rounded toe. Well made too!

They only cost 7,50 euro’s (less than ten dollars)….

To which I commented that it was too cheap. The lady kindly explained that these socks are knit by lonesome people, retired farmers mostly, who are stuck in the country side, not able to leave the house easily. They feel useless and alone. Knitting gives them some occupation and selling their knits gives them some kind of purpose.
Having learned something new about the world I then told her how much I appreciated the skilled labour that went into these socks and that I would wear them gladly. Her face lit up and she said she’d pass the message along. (I now wish I bought more socks from her.)

We drove back through the wonderful landscape of the Achterhoek:
appeldag Woold boerengoed 2016appeldag Woold boerengoed 2016

Then we were at the cabin again and I had to finish a felting job: the foot warmer, made from gotland fleece, I started three weeks ago.

I hadn’t left things too well then. The fleece had felted nicely to the mountainsheep but I had not put on enough mountain sheep. It was too much like lace:
Where I to proceed to the second stage of wetfelting, the shrinking part, this would probably result in all kinds of holes in the fabric. No, this bag needed another layer of mountain sheep fulled to it, before I could start felting (the shrinking).

I procrastinated for a few hours and then finally I make myself do this:
wetfelting gottland

It took hours and hours. It smelled so bad, of poo and pee. Finally it was time to shrink the feet warmer:
wetfelting gottland
Rolling, rolling.

The sun was nearing the horizon, I was quite done with this project. I’d rather sit in the sun or walk around our little patch of wood and admire nature. It’s amazing how beautiful and green everything is this late in September!

Rolling… Roooollllling…… Another day rolled away.
wetfelting gottland
That’s it. I’m done. I don’t want to roll anymore. I hate wool.

appeldag Woold boerengoed 2016appeldag Woold boerengoed 2016

Once all the wool has fulled adequately and all that’s left to do is the shrinking you can toss your felt project into the washing machine, provided you don’t mind if the shrinking occurs a bit thuggish. If you want to shrink in a controlled manner you’d have to do it by hand. I did a cold rinse and then spinning cycle.

gottland bag feet warmer wetfelting
gottland bag feet warmer wetfelting

Still wet because I didn’t dare put it in the dryer. It’s not drying too quickly because although it’s nice weather it’s actually not very dry air or hot sun. Luckily there’s always IKEA to the rescue:
IKEA stool as a drying tool
Once it’s dry I’ll pry out some more of the vegetative matter and then I’ll take some decent pictures. Trying it out on the couch, with cat supervision, no doubt.

Wolspektakel Kerkrade

Yesterday I took a train and went to the south of the country and visit a new wool fest: Wolspektakel in the town of Kerkrade.

The weather was glorious, I took a first class upgrade and brought a cuff (or two) on the needles. Pleasant travels!

First I passed the city of Eindhoven just as I cast off the first of my cuffs, made in Drops Fabel:

Then I passed Weert and was working on my second cuff:

As the train travelled through the province of Limburg strange things appeared in the landscape:
Wolspektakel kerkrade
“A hill.”

The landscape in Limburg is remarkable! Lots of things happening at a small scale: small fields, small patches of wood, unregulated nature. So much to see!
Lots of history too such as Catholic cloisters, mine worker buildings and beautiful old farm houses, with brick fences.
Wolspektakel kerkrade

The fair was held in Kerkrade town square:
Wolspektakel kerkrade
Wolspektakel kerkrade
Wolspektakel kerkrade

Mr. Vossen was clipping his Limburg landbreed; Oost Mergelland Schaap:
Wolspektakel kerkrade

Mergel is the calcium rich soil for which the region is known, I think it’s called “Marl” in English. It hosts all kinds of unique flora. And the unique fauna that follows:
 two pics from the Breeding Mergelland Sheep Association
Wolspektakel kerkrade
Mr. Vossen loved explaining everything. He was so friendly! He clipped these sheep by hand, with clippers. A low impact, relatively stress free and silent way of shearing.

Atelier Het Wolbeest had a booth:
Wolspektakel kerkrade
Wolspektakel kerkrade
Kerkrade is very close to their headquarters. (Headquarters which involve an Italian Icecream parlour!!)
In June there’s a workshop to learn and felt one of these handpuppets in one day. Icecream included.

I brought my hat which I had given appropriate decoration:
Wolspektakel kerkrade
It looks like handspun but it’s actually a commercial yarn, a souvenir from Argentina, from my parents.

Having read yesterday’s post my friend gave me a lovely stitchmarker which came in handy right away:
Wolspektakel kerkrade
Accessory for the Knitting Cat Lady!

After such lovely day of leisure I went back en route to Brabant.
I worked on my cuff and petted a skein of yarn that Het Wolbeest had custom dyed for me:
Wolspektakel kerkrade
Greyish purple. With glitter! I had given her a ball of Wollmeise Mauzenschwanzen as inspiration and she did a wonderful job!

Passing Weert again, showing it how far I got with the new wrist cuff that I cast on in Kerkrade:
Wolspektakel kerkrade

Then passing Eindhoven showing it my new skein:
Wolspektakel kerkrade

While I was in Limburg the Eindhoven football team PSV -Philips Sport Association, the same Philips you know from electrical appliances and light elements- won the national championship in the final minutes of the game.

Somehow this was tied to another game that was played by the proposed champion Ajax, the Amsterdam football club. They were supposed to win but then they didn’t and PSV won.

PSV hometown Eindhoven went mad with celebrations:

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 10.31.51
So then supporters from the Amsterdam football club Ajax travelled to Eindhoven, by train, to go yell at them and stir things up.

But authorities noticed them in the 75 minutes it takes to travel from Amsterdam to Eindhoven. Arriving at the station they then were contained at the train platform, with a cordon of police between them and the city. You can see all the yellow police bobble heads in the distance:

Wolspektakel kerkrade

Yeah, that’s how we rebel over here: travel by train to another city to yell at people who are celebrating far away in the town centre.

I shook my new yarn at them.


Holland: socks, pie and the sky

This is as far as I got on the Madness sock before I admitted that the cuff is too tight to put the sock on easily. I would avoid this sock just because it’s a bit of a hassle to put it on.

I ripped it out on Saturday evening and started a new toe. And what a nice toe this is!

The star shaped toe from SlipStripeSpiral socks by Mylene Pijpers.
It’s basically Cat Bordhi’s toe from Personal Footprints. Here’s a video where Cat shows it:

It’s so elegant! No long tail to cast on with, fast increases by using a double yarn and a beautiful knitted centre. I’m going to use this for circular projects too. No more “co 6 st, join in the round and wrestle that porcupine”.

Easter Sunday we build a blanket fort in the cabin and piled on cats and chocolate. We spend all day watching series and it was lovely.

I knit the foot of the sock. I’m just following Janneke’s Maat Sok Basis* pattern and throwing in a leaf here and there from Blattwerk socks.

The day after Easter we drove back to the city while a storm swept over the country. I knitted in the car.

The sock saw some action on the road: a burned out BMW causing back ups all the way to Germany. The burned out vehicle is on a trailer in the middle of the picture, amongst the trees.

Even on a grey and stormy day Holland is all about the skies:
The sky gives us a place to look at and feel free without the need to move one step.

Holland is basically a flat green pancake with enormous skies above it. Church towers point to heaven and provide orientation when travelling around the pancake.

This is so typically Dutch it could be anywhere in the Netherlands:Untitled
Except in the south of the Netherlands. There they have strange things called hills… To cope with them they invented a most magnificent pie called “vlaai“:

It’s pronounced ‘fly’ with a v. It rhymes with ‘pie’.” says Siv from A World in My Oven. She also has recipes.

This is my favourite flavour of vlaai: rice pudding vlaai with whipped cream on top. It’s the real deal too! Actually from the south, from a real bakery. Approved by sock knitters.

Hey, the weather is getting better:
Bits of blue poking through. But on the horizon to the right still rains. On the left an interesting dark bit with clear skies behind it.

We’re nearing the city and the sky is getting truly magnificent!

That dark belt in front is lying right across our historical city, it was like big skeins of Wollmeise 47 Ag were draped from church tower to cathedral tower.
By then I’d dropped my phone under my seat and couldn’t take a picture but it was magnificent! The sky was purple and green and lilac amongst the warm greys and it was so heavy and nearby you felt you hade to lower your head between your shoulders for protection.

I snapped this picture when we parked the car but the real magic had blown over.

At home we settled in. Lillepoes was trying to pierce my mind:
There’s a beast lying on my spot, on my blanket. Do something!

In the evening we watched some more gruesome murdery series and at the end of the day I had finished one sock.
Pictures this morning and another mind piercing attempt:

Human, open this door. I require a survey of the back territory.
under her breath: “you are so pathetic