This weekend we had a short break to The Netherlands where I attended the Arnhem Dollshouse show and also went to see the XX Small antique dollshouse exhibition in The Hague. We had a brilliant time and there was lots of shopping and stash amassing.
this tutorial. I used two colours on the outside, and some sheep fabric from my stash for the lining. In this construction photo, you can see all three fabrics.
And here is the finished article, a useful size for sock knitting.
Arnhem Dollshouse Show
I last went to the Arnhem show about 20 years ago - my only memory is of how disgustingly smoky it was as everyone, customers and vendors alike, were smoking like chimneys. I could only bear it for about 45 minutes and I'm not sure I even bought anything.
What a different visit this was! The show was in the wonderful 15th century gothic church the Eusebiuskerk in the centre of Arnhem, for the last time as it turned out since they will move next year to a new location. And of course no-one is smoking inside the show now. Our hotel, the NH Rijnhotel, was doing a special rate for dollshouse attendees. I wasn't expecting much as it looks like a tired concrete hotel in pictures, but it turned out to be clean, friendly, with superior food, and we even had a private terrace overlooking the Rhine river where we put our feet up while we sipped drinks each night. It was about a 15 minute walk back into town, but no hardship as it was level along the river. We did some sightseeing Friday night and Saturday morning, enjoying some of the historic buildings that survived the war, as well as some more recent imaginative buildings like this thatched residential house. We even stumbled across a windmill just outside the centre.
Then I went into the show while DH went off to explore some of the military monuments and relics. It was much larger than I was expecting, laid out all over the floor of the immense church in a bit of a tangle which made it a challenge to visit in a logical fashion. One of the first rooms I went into had a wonderful display of 1:12 room boxes from guest artist Sylvia de Groot, including a lovely Cape Cod style beach hut, and this really amazing Turkish hammam which had a domed roof over the central pool.
I was surprised at the diversity and generally high standard of the show. When European traders come to the London Kensington dollshouse show, sometimes their taste can seem a little over the top to my eyes, and the prices are generally very high. But the prices at this show were generally fairly reasonable and indeed there were some rather astonishing bargain. I really enjoyed looking around as there were so many traders that were new to me, and spent a rather exhausting three hours in the show (including one trip out to the cash machine to top up as almost nobody was accepting credit cards).
I took the following photos in our hotel room which as usual with hotel rooms wasn't very well lit.
(above) The handknit fairisle sweaters in exquisitely small stitches were my bargain of the century. They had a price above them which was obviously the price for the pattern, and I asked how much the sweaters were. The lady quoted the price that was written on the placard. I just looked at her. 9.50 euros. That's less than £8, for hours of work. I picked up all of the cardigans to look through to see which one I wanted, and the woman behind me who had overheard this revelation panicked and squeaked "You're not buying all of them!!" Apparently the trader's niece knits them, and the trader didn't seem to think that the price was low at all. I saw worse knitting on other stands for four times the price. I would have bought more if there had been more colours to my taste. Sorry but I can't remember the name of the stand. Those will go in my knitting shop, and the spools of thread and the miniature needlecard from another trader will go in the quilting shop. The basket of knitting (which also has a packet of needles not in the photo) and the bobbin lace cushion on a stand were both from Bibaminis.
Today, we took the train from Arnhem to The Hague, where we visited the XX Small exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum. This was the last day of the exhibition and it turned out to be a lot more extensive than I thought it would be. It was a collection of museum miniature pieces from several European countries, focusing on how these tell a story of what life was like in times past, and sprawled through several rooms in a very confusing layout. There was a big article on the exhibition in the January 2012 issue of Dollshouse & Miniature Scene magazine which you may have seen. It was everything from antique dollshouses and baby cabinets through to apprentice pieces, an extensive collection of miniature silver objects, and many dressed dolls. Some of the workmanship was just so amazing that it seemed impossible: linen underclothes sewn with stitches barely visible to the naked eye, a cherry pit that was hollowed out and contained a 500-piece gold dinner set that looked like golden pepper sprinkled across the mat, exquisitely carved paper-thin ivory fretwork, displays of dozens of miniature blue & white china vases, dollshouses that were about 12 feet high, even an exhibition of Barbies wearing vintage couture outfits from the 50s and 60s. DH didn't think he would like the visit and ended up being fairly interested. In addition, several of the exhibition rooms were actually historic period rooms that were presumably brought from elsewhere to be installed in the museum. Well worth visiting, plus we had a very nice lunch in the museum cafe before getting the train to the airport to come home. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of the exhibition, I don't think they were allowed.
Shopping wasn't quite finished because at the airport was a giftshop from the Rijksmuseum which had a whole line of fridge magnets in the shape of Dutch houses, cut from wood. I spent so long debating which ones I could afford to bring home for my collection of house-shaped fridge magnets that we had to sprint a bit to get to our gate on time. Ooops. Here they are on my display board, where they look very nice but now I need another display board from Ikea as it is all getting a bit crowded.
This is turning into a very long post so I will just say that commuter knitting this week was the second Debbie Bliss wristwarmer which is almost finished, I'm just doing the thumb now. Travel knitting was still the endless edging on the Fan Stitch Half Circle Shawl, plus I made a start on a sock from the Japanese stitching sock book that I bought a few weeks ago. I once again successfully brought my wooden circulars on board the plane, so was able to knit on both flights as well as on our train journeys in Holland and on our terrace at the hotel.