Archive for the ‘china’ Category

Thermal, wearing it right now.

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

I finished my first real project of 2008 (apart from the Norwegian Stockings which turned out too precious to wear), a sweater called Thermal, by Laura Chau.

Thermal, check

This baby has been on the needles since our great escape through India, China, Mongolia and Russia. I ran out of projects in the second month already, having been much more prolific than expected, and so I needed a new project and, more important: new yarn. This yarn I found in Tunxi, China, the nearest town to Huang Shan, a very beautiful but touristic mountain range we climbed. This town had a yarn shop, to my delight, and without me speaking much Mandarin, and the shopkeeper any English, we figured out how much of a certain yarn I needed to make a sweater. I had Thermal in mind, but I hade no clue of the needle size or gauge I was going to need. I decided the needle size through educated guessing (“okay, if the yarn is this thin, I probably need these ultra-skinny needles over here”), and, praise me for my carpenter’s eyes, the gauge came together impeccably for the pattern.

Thermal, check

I cast on in the train from Tunxi to Nanjing and already I felt that this would be something I would tell my hypothetical grandchildren about when I would be giving them the sweater. The Chinese women in the train came over to show me how to knit correctly, meanwhile knitting way to tight for my project so that I would smile while they showed me, and, as soon as they left, I would rip the part they had done. Then I would start from where I had left before they started to lovingly correct me.

Thermal, checkI loved knitting this pattern even though it was so painstakingly slow. The best part about it is that it took hardly any seaming. The bodice is knitted in the round, so no seaming there, and so are the sleeves. I had forgotten that setting in sleeves was this simple, so I went from worryingly starting the setting in to being overjoyed with my new sweater, in a matter of minutes.

That’s why I’m happy today. I also bought beautiful fabric a couple of days ago but this deserves it’s own post. So here is one more picture of my latest FO with my smiling face complementing it.

Thermal, check

Holes

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

It took some convincing, but I finally managed to get an order of yarn (the infinitely popular Rowan Kidsilk Haze) at a nice sale price and with doable shipping costs sent to me from across the big pond. Hopefully within a couple of days I will own my first batch of this soft, thin yarn that is mostly used to knit lace, and I too will knit a stunning stole (less yarn than hole) in a colour that is nearly black. I choose this project, called Muir:

muir

Right about now is the time that being in The Netherlands just doesn’t quite cut it anymore, that stupid appartment isn’t benevolently smiling at me like it should, working days don’t pass quickly enough, and the big trap of melancholy is set wide open. PoPscreenshotThe trap of mesmerizing over the days in India, China, Mongolia, Russia. Which actually reminds me of a guy who was recently in the news for digging holes in forest lanes, placing large metal spikes at the bottom and covering them up with branches and leaves so people would fall into them. Prince of Persia-style.

Makes you wonder, is he just a big fan of the videogame, is he sadly deranged, or is it art? Probably if suddenly Madonna would proclaim that she finds it a very artistic way of expressing yourself and that she wants to buy one of the holes to put in her backyard, it would be considered art.
Actually I think it would make a nice sculpture, a sculpture of a hole, below it a see-through tube in which are steel spikes at the bottom. The top is covered and around it is a layer of cheerful green grass. Put it on a pedestal and bring in the connaisseurs.

In the meantime, my melacholy trap looks like this:

china mosaic
1. Hostel, 2. Hostel with canal, 3. food, 4. Chinese train and apple juice, 5. Why centipedes are healthy, 6. Squid, 7. Snakes, 8. Mushroomies, 9. Prasad, 10. Lobsters and shrimp in a little coat, 11. W and squid, 12. Schemy get-together, 13. Mister M. himself

No real men

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

Om een trouwe trouwe lezer eens tegemoet te komen zal ik weer eens in het Nederlands vertellen over China. China is gek van de Olympische Spelen, en helemaal hier in Beijing. China is ook gek van eten, en zoals iemand laatst tegen me zei (en waar ik nog vaak aan denk): Als de Chinezen iets oneetbaar vinden moet het om een steen gaan. Ik heb nu dus ook wat foto’tjes van al dat lekkers dat ze graag eten, want die horen er wel echt bij.

IMG_6170
De duizendpoten uit mijn vorige post.

IMG_6176
Slangen.

IMG_6177
Paddestoeltjes en wat dies meer zij.

W and squid
Het blijkt trouwens dat niet alleen de Chinezen die rare spijzen in hun mondje stoppen.

China bevalt heel erg goed, en de niet-Chinezen die we tegenkomen zijn tot nu toe ook heel erg leuk. Hier in Beijing zijn we wederom naar de club Babyface geweest, die een filiaal in veel grote steden heeft, en het was wederom bizar flashy, goud en glitterig. In de bar waar we heen gingen op zoek naar goedkoop bier was een paaldanseres en was het ondanks haar en het goedkope bier erg rustig. Onze avond was er niet minder om, we hadden immers dobbelstenen om het mega-populaire en mega simpele drink-dobbelspel te doen.

Beijing was nogal vermoeiend de eerste dagen, en ook gevaarlijk, zo ondervond Wouter toen hij zijn teen om een stoeprandje heen vouwde. We hebben de eerste dagen weinig anders gedaan dan op en neer gaan naar de Mongoolse ambassade en vandaag de halve dag naar treinkaartjes voor Ulaanbaatar gezocht. We zagen gelukkig nog wel kans om de Lama Tempel te zien,
een grote Tibetaans-Boeddhistische tempel met de grootste Buddha ter wereld, en helemaal uit een stuk sandelhout. Foto’s maken mocht natuurlijk weer niet.

Morgen gaan we alweer weg uit Beijing, zonder de Verboden Stad of de Chinese Muur te hebben gezien. Helaas heeft Mao gezegd dat hij die de Muur niet heeft beklommen, geen echte man is. Daar kunnen we het weer mee doen.

Het moest wel zo als we ook nog iets van Mongolie wilden zien en geen twee weken van ons Russische visum wilden verspillen. Het leven is soms hard, maar wel heerlijk en op dit moment compleet gevuld met nooit eerder door ons waargenomen zaken. Dat je daar soms een beetje moe van wordt en dat je er rare dromen van krijgt staat buiten kijf.

Morgenvroeg stappen we in de Trans-Siberie Express, de echte, alleen gaan we er dus in Ulaanbaatar, na slechts 30 uur, in plaats van 101 (tot aan Moskou) al uit. Van daaruit hebben we nog zo’n 5800 km te gaan, en 3 weken om dat te doen!

Centipedes on a stick

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

A new location, a new opportunity to post the real way. We’re in Beijing already, covered 3000 km in just under 3 weeks. We were at the snack street just now to have dinner and saw that the Chinese really do eat anything, and all on sticks.

colour candy

Our favourites were the strawberries in caramel coating and the lamb-kebabs from heaven (heaven is probably located in central-Asia). But for the extravagant foodies there were centipedes, starfish, beecocoons, snakes, kidneys and shredded cow stomach on a stick. Just the way you like it.

I hear Beijing isn’t as well equipped with cheap internet cafes as it should be, I’m using the expensive hostel facility now, so maybe I won’t be posting many photos or stories anytime soon… But then maybe I won’t be able to resist and I’ll just post and spend like there’s no tomorrow because it’s not like I’ll be backpacking in China anytime soon again.

Here a little taste of Nanjing still for you to enjoy (the strawberry-skewer picture actually was taken back in Nanjing too, but the one we ate tonight looked quite similar.)

Nanjing lights 1
Arch on Fuzimiao, opposite the Confucius temple