Friday, December 28, 2007

The Kusha Kusha Shawl and Spain

When I decided to make the Kusha Kusha Shawl/Scarf (KKS/S) I knew I wanted to wear it during our trip to Spain. I had this vision of me walking around the streets of Madrid with my incredible hand-made Shawl/Scarf flowing in the air. Seriously. Just like that. In fact, I think I would have made it even longer had I not had to stop knitting it so I could felt it so I could actually wear it in Spain.

I finished t
he KKS/S a week before I left. And then all of the sudden I had this incredible fear of felting. Bone chilling freak out. So what do I do when I get like this? I call in the reinforcements, of course. Olga and Isel met me at Olga's apartment and with much trepidation I handed Olgita my beautiful KKS/S. I almost did not felt it because I loved the "rawness" of it so much, but it kept snagging so much that I gave into it.

So Olga felted it, and it was sooooo much smaller I almost wanted to cry. Seriously. Very close to tears. Then we pulled it to stretch it out, and of course my brute force pulled t
oo hard and tore the edges. Now the almost-tears were just turning into anger, anxiety and frustration. (why were you hiding the wine when I needed it Olgita?) I just turned away and made Olga fix it, while Iselita kept working on her almost-as-beautiful-as-mine KKS/S. (I say this just to get to her - hers is so freaking gorgeous I think I want to make one in that color scheme when I re-gain my patience). You can look at all the project pictures, including Olgita's part of this project, and Isel watching me freak out over the felting process here.

So of course, my dear friend fixed it, and we stretched it, and of course I completely love my new shawl. I am in fact wearing it right now as I type. The difference pre and post felt is not that big, it still has this beautiful ethereal quality that I have come to associate purely with Habu. Some spots are more felted than others, and the two different fibers mingle so intricately together - it really is pretty. And not just because I made it. It does however, still get snagged at times, which can be frustrating. I have the details on my ravelry page, so I am not going to duplicate them here. If you are not yet on ravelry and want to know the details, leave me a comment.

(the two side pictures are pre-felt - the middle i-think-i-am-a-model picture is post felt).

So, of course, I wore the KKS/S all over Spain, just like I had wanted to. And it was perfect. My whole time in Spain was perfect. (Well, besides the fact that the dollar is so weak right now that I wanted to cry everytime our dinner bill came to the table).

First we went to Madrid. Madrid is my mostest favoritest place in the whole wide world. When I was barely 18 I went to study there for a month. Maybe it is because it is the first place where I was by myself without my family, maybe that is why I love this city so much.

But as I was walking around again with Tony, I had this complete sense of feeling at home. I feel like I just belong there. It's the culture, it's the people, it's the fact that I speak the language, and love jamon serrano, and strong coffee, and walking rather than driving, it is everything. My favorite place in the entire city is Plaza Mayor. It is just a square. In truth, that is all it is. But it is so quintisentially Spanish, that I just love it. On our second night, Tony made that place even more special to me by proposing right in the center of the square. I could not had been more perfect.

We had a great time in Madrid (see me there - wearing my KKS/S?). We went to the Prado, the Reina Sofia, we ate jamon until we got sick of eating jamon. We had tapas, and the best hot chocolate and churros ever. We window shopped and went to the Palacio Real. We looked for Felipe, and even visited a couple of yarn stores. I could walk around that city and never get tired of it.
(hot chocolate and churros at San Gines Chocolateria in Madrid. YUMMM!)

After two days we took a day trip to Toledo. I had not been here before. It is a beautiful small medieval town that you literally get lost in. I wish I had eloquent words to describe what I saw as I walked through the cobblestone streets, but I lack them.

Sometimes when you are in a new place you are taking so much in so quickly that it takes a while for it all to sink in and settle in your mind. We walked around so much and saw the Cathedral, and walked across bridges, and looked up at tile covered balconies, that it was overwhelming at times. I just wanted to walk faster and see more, and at the same time slow down and breathe it all in. We have decided that on our next trip to Spain we are going to make sure we spend more than 5 hours in Toledo. The only bad thing about it, is that Tony had this overwhelming need to exclaim "Holy TOLEDO!" every time we saw something interesting. Ya, he said it a lot. Ya, it was still funny even after 53 times.

(spanish style mirrors sold in a little store by the cathedral in Toledo.)

Next stop: Sevilla. "Holy Toledo what narrow streets! What a beutifully colonial city! How the heck do people drive around here? Why are there so many Argentinians here?" All things that could be heard coming out of our mouth. Sevilla is the city of naranjales and flamenco. There are flamenco stores everywhere and it just makes you want to book your ticket for the April Fair and be a part of it all. We visited yet another cathedral there. Yes, they all start to look the same.

We had the best tapas evah at a local bar. (TimeOut travel guides has the best dining suggestions out there people!). We were the ultimate tourists stopping at every street corner to look at where we were because it is so easy to get lost there. At first we were embarrassed to be so obvious, and after a few hours we were celebrating when we were in the place we actually thought we were. Oh! We also visited the Alcazar. No words to describe that either. Go check it out yourselves. Seriously. Book your ticket rightnow!
(potted plants on a ledge at the Alcazar. I want to live there.)

Last but certanly not least was Granada. One of the best things about this trip was that each city was so completely different. (and yet, my KKS/S seemed to fit perfectly in each place - go figure! :) ) Madrid is a more modern cosmopolitan city. Toledo is this small medieval town. Sevilla is text book example of a Spanish colonial city. And Granada has such a strong Arab influence that you feel like you are in a complete different country. The Alahambra is reason enough to visit the city. You could easily spend more than a day there. We visited it during the day, but they also have evening tours when the entire place is lit up. I really want to go back and see it at night.

While in Granada we had such a high caloric meal that we both thought we were having heart attacks in the middle of the night ( just picture jamon with jamon made with jamon served with jamon and a side of jamon). But that same night we went to a wine bar in the Jewish quarters near our hotel. When we win the lottery, we want to open a place just like this. It barely fit two tables and was manned just by the owner. He only served wine. Wine he had collected through out the years, and wine he loved. With each glass he will give you a small tapa to compliment the wine. It was just ... perfect.

(detail of a wall in the Alhambra).

I will leave you with just one last picture. I kept finding places to take pictures of Tony and I together. Isolated spots where I could set my camera and put the timer on and not be scared that someone was going to come up behind it and steal it. This is my favorite shot taken in the Alcazar gardens.
If you are bored and tired of pretending like you are working all day. (You don't fool me!) You can check out the rest of our pictures here. Feel free to leave comments. If you do not know me by now, I looooveee comments.

Also, I have been recently been informed that more family members are reading my blog. I need to go back and read to make sure I have never said anything bad! :) Hi Tia! Hi Tio!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful reflection of your vacation! Did you bring me back a present? :-)

1:59 PM  
Blogger knitfriendly said...

WOW! What a wonderful post! I have always wanted to go to Spain. I am in LOVE with your scarf. I may now need to make one....

Your photography is superb as usual!

10:07 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

I'm so sorry your shawl gave you any stress! It turned out to be stunning in the end! :)

Lovely, lovely pics & recount of your trip. Thanks for sharing!

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Zarah said...

What an awesome vacation. I studied abroad in Pamplona when I was in college, and visited all those places except Toledo. I loooooooved the Alhambra. It's amazing. Your post really made me want to go back there. I think I've decided on my 30th birthday trip! (That gives me over a a year to save up, I think we can do it!)

8:41 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Sounds like such an amazing trip!

9:22 AM  
Blogger WandaWoman said...

What a great trip! I love Spain. I have traveled to all of those cities and enjoyed them all immensely. I loved reading your post about Spain, it made me relive some good memories.

1:23 PM  
Blogger maitai said...

yay! thanks for the update! going to check out your flickr photos now!

6:04 PM  
Blogger schrodinger said...

I can totally understand your fear of the felting, I think I would have completely freaked out after the tearing. So glad it worked out in the end.

The trip sounds wonderful! I'm glad to see that you had such a great time.

8:33 AM  
Blogger gleek said...

what a beautiful trip! and congrats again on the engagement :)

the kusha kusha shawl is lovely. i can see why you wouldn't want to take it off!

8:39 AM  
Anonymous kim said...

Your trip looks amazing! I am going to pretend I am not green with envy :)

And your scarf is beautiful, I'm so glad it worked out!

9:14 AM  
Anonymous kim said...

Your trip looks amazing! I am going to pretend I am not green with envy :)

And your scarf is beautiful, I'm so glad it worked out!

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

What an amazing sounding trip! And I am totally cracking up over "Holy Toledo." Hilarious.

The scarf/shawl is gorgeous, and you look exceedingly glam. I'm sure you turned heads at every stop on your trip.

8:19 PM  
Blogger f. pea said...

ALL RIGHT TONY!!! i am so happy for you both. thanks for sharing the stories and gorgeous photos of your incredible trip to spain! you're right, the KKS/S looks good everywhere.

8:42 PM  
Blogger amanda said...

Wow, looks like an amazing trip. I'd love to visit Spain someday. I know what you mean about how it feels like home. I studied abroad in London and will always have a special place in my heart for that city!

10:50 AM  
Blogger Macoco said...

Looks like a really fun trip. I can't imagine how hard you must have been tugging to rip the shawl! Sounds like Olga was a trooper to help out so much.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Vik said...

What a great trip, Paloma! Love those mirrors!

1:58 PM  
Blogger Michele said...

you look so gorgeous in your Kushu shawl and i'm glad Olga was able to sort out the felting issue. i wish i'd made the Kushu shawl - one of these days. and great final photo, just lovely.

7:32 PM  
Blogger alejandra said...

Hola Paloma!! Hermosas tus fotos en España, me encanta leerte, sos muy divertida, y tu kusha kusha te quedço genial, te felicito!!!

12:20 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Where are you, ok I hope. Come over and enter my blogoversary competition!

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Michi and Charlie said...

Paloma... we need an update!
It's been too long!!!
And come see us and we love the shawl and we love your ring and we love you!

2:47 PM  

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