Friday, 25 May 2012

Things I have been up to

So we finally have internet! The man from Telenet came on Wednesday, along with the bulk of our furniture, and now we have a proper grown up home! 

I thought it might be nice to show you some photos out and about in our part of Antwerp, so you can see what it's like (this is mostly for the benefit of my Mam, but it's a pretty place too!)

 This is the view of our building from across the street. We're on the fourth floor in the building on the right, but I wanted to show you the MASSIVE church three doors down. Antwerp is full of churches, much more so than London, and as we're in a predominantly Catholic country, they are really beautiful and elaborate. 
 This enormous fountain is around the corner. I have no idea what it commemorates as there's not a plaque, but it is beautiful. It's taking me a lot of time to get used to there being such lovely things in ordinary places and there being no graffiti/drunks/litter.
 This is the Royal Museum of Fine Art. Unfortunately it's closed for refurbishment right now, and will be for the forseeable future, but it's only 4 or 5 minutes walk from the flat and has a really cool water feature. We have to walk past it to get to the supermarket and Andrew works across the road from it.
 This is the view from my studio window. In many ways Antwerp is very similar to Edinburgh, where I went to university. It's a small town in terms of square miles, but everyone lives in these skinny 4-6 storey buildings. As such, there city is able to support hundreds of cafes, bars and shops - we've had so much fun just wandering around exploring, the "residential street" is a bit of an alien concept here.
 This is the view from my bed. Every morning the sun rises over the top of the church and floods into the bedroom. We don't have access to the yard downstairs, but the people who do keep chickens there. Our outside space comes in the form of a small balcony. Want to see the view?



That's right, solid concrete. Small price to pay when the rest of the flat is so nice, but most of my gardening plans have been scuppered :(

We've finally got some furniture, including this deliciously retro sofa suite:

And a big desk for me:

We were so lucky to find a huge second hand furniture warehouse on the outside of town. We really didn't want an IKEA-kit house again, and while they have served to give us a nice bed and sofabed, we wanted stuff with a bit more character, and a little cheaper. As it was, we were able to get the three piece sofa, a massive dining table (solid wood), 6 chairs, my desk, a bookcase and two full length mirrors for less than 300 euros from Ecoshop. Very happy indeed.


The lack of internet, and the fact that I arranged not to have any magazine deadlines over this moving period, has left me a little out of sorts - what should I do with my day? The sensible me said that this was a great time to get ahead on design ideas, swatching, sketching and maybe something fun to self-publish. The hedonistic me said "Whoohoo! Holiday!" And won the argument. I've been knitting FOR FUN. Sometimes even from other people's patterns! Mostly in order to finish a few WIPs that have been languishing, but a couple of other bits too, shall we take a look-see?

Firstly this rather fetching pair of vanilla socks for Andrew. Knit in Wollmeise 100% in Zenzi for the MC and Wollmeise Twin for the CC. I've not knit stockinette socks in years, my vanilla pattern is Brick by Brick, but this yarn wouldn't stand for any funny business. Both were part skeins left over from the Father's New Socks I knit Andrew last year, so are "free" socks - in that I didn't buy the yarn especially. I'm rather proud of them, I took them along to my first visit to the Antwerp Knit and Bitch last week and they went down a treat, plus I knit LOADS of them, like half the foot, at knitting! I'm so used to knitting a couple of rows then getting distracted, hooray for vanilla knitting!

Next up are a not-quite pair of Alice Yu's Crowley's, in a mystery yarn she gifted me before moving to Hong Kong. I do know Alice dyed the yarn, so I of course had to use it for one of her patterns. I knit the Crowley sample for the Socktopus book and had such a blast I had to make another pair for myself. These are coming out great, the ankle sock is an underrated concept amongst sock knitters.

I'm still working on my Agatha C.'s, by Emma Haigh of Loumms, but have now almost finished one. These cables are as intricate and winding as a Poirot plot, and so of course this project is travelling a little slower. They are coming out SO well though, I adore the Sweet Clement Smitten yarn, I have another skein in this colourway from a Christmas swap I can't wait to knit up.

I've also been knitting my own Jasper Diamond Baby Cardigan for a colleague of Andrew's who is expecting. She helped him (and me by default) out a lot before I moved over by translating things like out tenancy agreement and Andrew's work contract into English for us, so she definitely deserves a baby cardigan!

Now we have internet it's back to work!

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