Monday, 24 February 2014

Hundertwasser, Coffee, The Third Man & Vienna

Recently I spent a few days in Vienna.  It's a lovely place and seemed amazingly uncrowded for a capital city (it was February!).  Here are some of my highlights starting with all things Hundertwasser ...

Hundertwasser Haus

Hundertwasser Haus showing some of the original architecture

Hundertwasser Village

KunstHaus Wien - gallery displaying Hundertwasser's art

Window detail at the KunstHaus
Hunderwasser designed Incinerator facade at Spittelau
Hundertwasser, originally an artist, thought modern buildings were anonymous, heartless and aggressive.  He sought to counter this with his building designs which are irregular, colourful with uneven floors and the "right of window" - an individual's right to decorate round each window within an arm's reach and include tree tenants - a piece of nature growing out of windows to improve man's environment. Hundertwasser wanted to create "barriers of beauty".  He designed the Hundertwasser Haus with help from architects Krawina & Pelikan. It was handed over to residents in 1986.

The KunstHaus is the only gallery with a permanent collection of Hundertwasser's work and it has a really good cafe! It was formerly the Thonet furniture factory but was remodelled to Hundertwasser's design.

The facade of the incinerator at Spittelau was designed by Hundertwasser.  Information regarding the plant suggests that this has made a major contribution to the reduction of "visual pollution" of the urban environment.  In other words it looks pretty good for an incinerator!

Perhaps we should take a coffee break now...

Perfect cappuccino

Amazing macaroon
All at Cafe Central

Don't be fooled into thinking a Mozart donut will be nice - it won't! (This was not at Cafe Central I hasten to add)

If you haven't seen "The Third Man" (black & white film noir set in post Second World War Vienna starring Orson Wells, Joseph Cotton & Alida Valli, directed by Carol Reed) then you definitely should!  Unfortunately tours of Vienna's sewers don't start till May but we could go on the Ferris Wheel (Riesenrad) in the Prater...


Harry Lime's view perhaps?

And if you like heights you can also go up the Stephansdom...

Amazingly colourful roof on the Stephansdom!

Even the steps at the Albertina are covered in art (which I think they change from time to time)...

Malevich's Man in a Suprematist Landscape

Malevich was a Russian artist who founded the Suprematist art movement which is based on geometric forms and limited colours.

And of course there's always some interesting architecture just round the corner...

Otto Wagner apartments decorated in Jugendstil style (Viennese Art Nouveau)

And there's lots more for another time!

Friday, 14 February 2014

Valentine's Day Yarnbomb - Rowntree Park, York

Some of you will have been inundated with Valentine's Day cards today and some may not.  Whichever group you fall into this is for you ...

Love Heart Yarnbomb (& Blue Sky!)

and I can tell you it was mighty cold this morning putting it up.   If you want to take a look in the flesh (so to speak) you can find this love heart in Rowntree Park, York on the tennis court fence just near the cafe.  (Should be there till the end of half term.)  I can thoroughly recommend the cafe where I was able warm up after my exploits with a latte and pain au chocolat.

Those of you who want to know a bit more about the yarnbombing.  Here are some tips ...

1. Assemble your materials

Yarnbomb kit
2. It helps to have a plan

Yarnbomb plan
3. Make sure you have enough crafting materials for the job

Finger knitting
and away you go.  (Not very subversive - I did get permission first!)  Could have done to be just a little bit taller - perhaps I need some bigger steps!
Valentine's Day Yarnbomb

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Using Up The Yarn Stash On More Big Knitting

Big knit cushion after felting

Everyone who likes to knit or crochet has a yarn stash. I decided to use up some of mine on another big knit project.   And yes, it was a cushion!  And an especially simple one this time - no dyeing involved!  

Selected yarns

I selected my yarns so together they would be thick enough to knit up on my 25mm needles.  (Take a look at my blogpost if you want to have a look at my needles.)  I chose 8 yarns.  As alot of my stash no longer has labels on, I can't give you specific details but I think they were roughly as follows 3 balls of chunky, 3 balls of double knit, a fine mohair that knits up like double knitting and a 4ply (?) - all in greys, blacks and cream.  They look like this and the penny at the bottom gives you some idea of scale.

I cast on 18 stitches and knitted in garter stitch.  Here it is in progress ...

Big knitting in progress

The overall colour is a rather pleasing melange.  I had to add another ball of mohair, more chunky cream and grey and more double knitting in grey and black to complete the project.

Finished big knitting measures approx. 39cm x 100cm

When it was stitched up (I use a 20mm crochet hook for this) and filled the finished item looked like this ..

Finished big knit cushion

It looked good but was rather loose and stretchy. As most of the yarns were either 100% wool or had a very high wool content I decided to felt it a little (wash the cushion on a high temperature).  The finished post felting size was approx 32cm square.  The cushion area had shrunk by about a third.  The felting process gives it that slightly fuzzy look but it has become a much denser fibre. Better - but some of the pleasing definition of the garter stitch has been lost.

Fuzzy felt

It's a very easy project and uses up a lot of yarn - make sure you have substitutes if some yarns are likely to run out - they don't have to be the same colour but it would be helpful if thay are the same thickness if you want to maintain an even knit.  In fact changing colours as you go along would produce an interesting result - why not try it?