Do not plan for ventures before finishing what is at hand.

So turns out this Euripides fella knows what he’s talking about, and I probably should take heed. Because this is my current list of Unfinished Objects (UFOs). They will be finished, I promise. The when is the issue. The when is always the issue. I thought I’d share them with you!

1. The Elisalex dress by ByHandLondon

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Am so close with this one – just the lining and the hem to do. So why haven’t I done it? I literally am unable to answer that question.

2. Socks.

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I can 100% tell you why these haven’t been finished. Am 98% sure that these will fit precisely 0% of people. Maths.

3. The Violet blouse by Collette

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All cut out and ready to go – I just need a good stretch of time to get on with it. I think it will be a quick sew. You know, once I start to actually sew.

4. Finlay Fox.

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Is he even called Finlay? He looks like a Finlay. Well he will, when he’s stuffed. And has eyes. And isn’t in pieces on my coffee table.

Poor Finlay.

5. Sweater.

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To be fair, I have only just started this. Which means it might be ready by – I dunno – next Winter? I probs won’t even like teal then.

So what’s on your unfinished pile? And are yours strewn all over your flat like mine?

Today’s quote is from Euripides.

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Whatever good things we build end up building us.

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I hate the Keep Calm trend, but I’ll give this one a pass. Because Lego.

A few weeks ago, I was walking through Brick Lane with a friend who was visiting from the Frozen North, when we stumbled across a picture of this guy

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outside the Truman Brewery.

Although I’d never heard of this exhibition (finger on the pulse, as always), my friend – showing her particular foresight and excellent organisation skills – had read about it in TimeOut and suggested we check it out. It being a particularly rainy and downright gloomy day (Oh Hai winter) – and having failed to book a manicure – we decided to spend our Girly Day Out looking at a bunch of lego men.

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Don’t tell me I don’t know how to live.

The exhibition Art of the Brick shows off a large number of lego artworks (yes, really), by NYC-based artist Nathan Sawaya. The sculptures are really something to behold – I think my favourites were the re-creations of famous artwork, especially the Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai, which is getting a lot of mentions in this blog so far.

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The most impressive piece of work is the T-rex, which contains over 80,000 bricks (I got a picture, but it was rubbish, surprise surprise), but even without this behemoth, everything in this exhibition is really breathtaking, and must have taken an astounding amount of work and patience to put together.

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Not a T-Rex.

I was less impressed with the video installation – it told a sweet story, but had a kind of homemade soft p*rn aesthetic. Perhaps he should stick with the plastic bricks.

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The show is on at the Truman Brewery until January. It’s a bit pricey to get in – especially if it’s a family trip – but I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed. There’s even a playroom at the end where you can channel your inspiration and get creative! Check out the website for more details.

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Just don’t knock anything!

Today’s quote is from Jim Rohm

If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.

This weekend, we ventured outside London for a day-trip to Bath – and I’m glad we did, because apparently all the sunshine was in Somerset, whilst London was gloomy and wet!

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 We started the day with a trip to the Roman Baths, which are extensive remains of a religious spa, built by the Romans around Britain’s only hot springs. It’s a wonderful way to start your visit – the entry price of £13.50 includes a free audioguide, so you really feel you are getting to know how the Roman’s lived and used the baths as you wander around the massive complex. They’ve done a great job of juxtaposing the old with the new, so you can get the feel of what the area you’re standing on used to look like.

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This temple and bathing complex still flows with natural hot water, and the highlight of the visit is sitting by the large pool, surrounded by columns, and imagining the people that have gone before. Obviously we stuck our hands in the water to feel how warm it is (Answer: hotter than a swimming pool, cooler than a bath. You’re welcome), but this was before we saw the (too small) sign telling you in no uncertain terms not to stick your hands in the untreated and bacteria-filled water.

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Why I felt the need to put my hand in tepid green water, I shall never know.

 

Oops.

I’m still here though, so hopefully there’s no long-term damage.

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We of course ended our visit by taking the water. I’d got over excited and guzzled the bottle of tap water (London’s finest) I’d brought with me, as I had visions of filling it up with free spring water, which I’d drink throughout the day as my skin cleared miraculously, and my eyes sparkled with the health of the fresh and natural water straight from the heart of the earth.

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That’s not a look of enjoyment, in case you were wondering.

Turns out, spring water is a) weirdly warm and b) minerally. Not pleasant.

Handsome chap. Cider. Lovely lunch.

Handsome chap. Cider. Lovely lunch.

So of course we had to go and get the taste out of our mouths with a bit of lunch (and cider) at the lovely Boater pub overlooking the river. 20141011_154844

Feeling refreshed we then continued our wandering, visiting The Royal Crescent and Royal Victoria Park, via quite a few little shops and boutiques. Bath really is the perfect place for perambulation and pottering. I avoided the many craft shops because of my indulgences at the Knitting and Stitching Show – although I did pop into The Makery, which is delightful, and has many many floors for workshops and crafting, and I could have spent a fortune there if I wasn’t already bankrupt. (Kind of regretting not getting the sew your own advent calendar though, I keep thinking about how cute it would be. And every day could be filled with another sewing treat, like pins or thread or tailors chalk…! Anyway. I digress)

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Ooh Bath, you do spoil us with your Royal Crescenty-ness.

Then, obviously, we rounded our trip off with tea and scones at the rather funky Bill’s, on Cheap Street. Their scones were amazing, but they only did fruit scones, which are obviously the work of the devil.

What’s more, I can’t comment on Somerset vs Devon cream teas, as I don’t do Jam. That’s right. No jam for me. Just all the cream.

Look at this heresy:

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All the jam and all the fruit. I probably shouldn’t even be allowed out of the house.

(I have no shame).

Alas, all too soon it was time to roll onto the train and homeward bound. I hope to go back to Bath again one day soon, it’s so close to London but so different it could be worlds away.

Today’s quote is from Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen.

Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either.

Yesterday afternoon I went to my first ever Knitting and Stitching Show, in Alexandra Palace.

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Wowsers was this a big event. I thought I would share a few tips if you’re planning to go, either to Ally Pally or at one of the other events around the country.

1. Book in advance.

I only really decided to go a couple of days ahead of time, so I missed out on any special offers or coupons or money off offers that were going around. As I could go on the Thursday afternoon (Thursdays are open late, till 7 – all other days, they close at 5pm), I got a cheaper “late entry” ticket at 8 pounds, which is half of the usual entry fee, and totally worth it. I had a good couple of hours of wandering around, and it was quieter than it would be on the weekend (Saturday tickets sold out at some point last week I think – so I can’t imagine how busy that would be!)

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How cute is this little blue-tit?

2. Book workshops if you can.

I didn’t – as I said, I wasn’t organised enough and so didn’t book into any workshops. This is a real shame, as I think that’s where the real value of the event lies. Next year I will definitely get myself organised and get a couple of workshops in the diary.

3. Wear flat shoes.

A lot of walking. A lot. Trainers are a must.

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Knitted love-birds, guys. KNITTED LOVE-BIRDS.

4. Wear layers!

Because of our crappy weather I was wearing a massive raincoat (to be honest, I love my big yellow raincoat, so I have been wearing it even when the sun is shining, but I digress), and by the end of my visit I was sweltering. Yes, I could have taken it off, but I am a bear of small brain. Also – HYDRATE. Poor yarn decisions are made when under-watered. It’s a well known fact.

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Ok so this may be one too many pictures of knitted birds.

5. Plan ahead, and know what you want to buy

I tried to do this, I really did. I had notes and everything, on what I needed, and how much. But when I got there, it kind of all went a bit wrong and – ooh shiny!

I didn’t buy anything I don’t have a plan for, so I wasn’t too bad – but there’s still a list of things I need, and it just means my to-do list is only getting bigger.

6. Get a map

Yeah, yeah like anybody needs telling to get a map. Turns out I do. I told you I was a bear of small brain, right? The list of London exhibitors is here, if you want to be really smart.

Anyway. Don’t make the same mistakes I made – but even if you do, you’ll have a great time.

So, you want to know what I bought, right? Prepare yourself for some poorly lit photos (it was a long day). Ready? Ready.

First off: 3 magazines for a tenner from the Practical Publishing stall – two sewing (with patterns) and one knitting. Have already made a start on the cute little fox that came with Knit Now.

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Oh you like your blog photos blurry AND badly lit? Well you’ve come to the right place my friend – take a seat, rest your feet.

Bargain, right? I think so.

Then I focused on getting my yarn supplies. I first hunted down the huge piles of yarn from the Black Sheep Wool stall – I’ve bought from them online a couple of times, and it’s a great range and a very speedy service. Although I do think you need to squeeze a few balls before you commit to buying, amirite ladies.

I bought 10 balls of this lovely lovely Sirdar Click yarn for £16 instead of RRP £32. The only plan I have for this is to get nekkid and wrap myself up in it’s soft squeezy loveliness  make unidentified (as yet) Christmas presents*.

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This is possibly the most sinister photograph of a ball of yarn ever taken.

You can’t really see the detail of the colour in that photo, so lucky for you…

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…I took an even worse photo! I assume the colour is discontinued, and that’s why it was so cheap. It’s a lovely soft grey with speckles and will make a great scarf. Did I mention that it’s lovely? It’s totally lovely, guys.

I should stop there before I embarrass myself further, but I’m kind of committed to this now, so.

Next stop on the yarn trail was a pattern and two (massive) balls of Rustic Aran yarn from James C. Brett. This cardigan is going to be SNUGGLY. Pity it’ll be mid-summer by the time I finish it. Together this all came to £21, and I have no idea whether this is reasonable or not because I forgot to hydrate.

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I then bought three fabrics. A lovely spotty cotton poplin from Abakhan (£4.99/m) and then a cotton lawn (£6/m) and some grey wool (£9/m) from M. Rosenberg & Son.

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I can only apologise for these photos.

The poplin and lawn will be blouses/shirts, and the wool is going to be a shift dress (I have a new job and gleefully declared that I would make myself a dress to celebrate. I may have been drunk. Or dehydrated. Possibly both)

So there you have it! That’s my take-home from the 2014 Knitting and Stitching Show. Main lesson learned – I need to take better photos of my stash.

How did you find it, and what did you buy?

Today’s quote is from Elizabeth Zimmerman, knitter-extraordinaire.

Winter is coming.

Bit of a dramatic title for a blog entry about knitting, but I do like an entrance.

I have two different knitting projects to share with you today – one for a grown-up, and one for a teeny tiny baby.

Let’s start with the baby. My friend recently had a little boy – very little, as he was born a massive three months early – and to celebrate his arrival I made some cute little booties and a matching hat from free patterns on ravelry.

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The booties are the Mary Jane booties by Lucy Sinkler. They were very easy to knit up, using garter stitch, and knit flat. I got the little yellow buttons from John Lewis, and the yarn is a My First Regia. I actually started to knit this up before the baby came and I knew the sex, as I thought the purple running through the yarn would be more obvious, and the finished booties would be less blue. But no matter, the baby blue has worked out fine!

And there was enough yarn left over to knit up a hat – it wasn’t in the original plan, but I think the matching set will look lovely when he’s able to be out and about and wearing clothes. The hat pattern is the Eyelet baby hat by Marianna’s Lazy Daisy Days which is super quick to knit up, and taught me a new stitch – the PSSO (Pass Slipped Stitch Over) to create holes in the hat. I actually had to make this twice – this shows how fast it was to knit – the first time I mis-understood the PSSO stitch. The pattern says S1 K1 PSSO, and for some reason I decided that PSSO meant S1 K1 THEN pass the slipped stitch over. So basically I was doubling the slipped and knit stitches. Bear has a small brain. I didn’t realise until the very end, despite the fact that the count never worked at the end of the row… And THEN, it that wasn’t enough, when it came time to sew it up, it started to unravel. Not cool, dude.

But the second time around, it all worked ok and I think it looks so cute!

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Bit of a blurry photo, but you get the idea!

And then onto the adults. Basically I had 4 balls of yarn left over from my throw so I decided to use up my stash and make a matching hat and scarf combo. Nothing much to say about either of them – the scarf is knit up in stocking stitch – using 3 balls – and the hat is ribbed all the way up (knit in the round) with a pompom on top – from the book Learn to Knit, Love to Knit – and this used up the final ball.

These simple knits don’t really need four pictures but we had so much fun taking them, with Maeby wanting a piece of the action, I thought I’d share a few with you! I apologise for the poseur photo at the end, not sure what I was doing.

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Everyone loves a pompom

Today’s quote is – well, if you don’t know, where have you been?

Five people that win… September

I have totally fallen off the blogging wagon recently. I don’t know why that is – I have a backlog of sewing and knitting projects to share, and although I’ve not kept up with my GBSB challenge, I am still working my way slowly through the recipes and want to keep the blog updated. Perhaps I’m suffering from that blogger burnout talked about in the NY Times (joke – I think it’s more likely just to be laziness!). Seriously though, I’m not sure what it is. Recently when I’ve had an evening or weekend at home, rather than crafting (although I haven’t stopped completely), or getting on my computer, I’ve been staring at the TV, thumbing through updates on my phone and not really engaging with anything.

Right now though, I’ve taken a random mid-week day of leave  to sort out the flat before some friends come to stay – when you’re listless on the sofa, housework tends to go by the wayside. The kitchen and bathroom are clean, the washing and dishwasher are on, and all the floors have been mopped. I have a cup of coffee, A Star Is Born is on the TV, a new job is on the horizon and I’m feeling pretty good about things. Judy Garland and James Mason – it doesn’t get much better than that. (Remind me to do my James Mason impression next time we meet over a cocktail. It’s a classic*.)

There’s not much that Judy can’t fix.

Anyway, enough of the introspection. I have still been taking notes on who’s won (and lost) September, so let me get on with that, and let’s hope October brings more blogging!

1. This Texas floating baby spa.

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(Photo taken from The Guardian website)

FLOATING BABIES. I can say no more.

2. Oh Joan Joan Joan. You had your critics, you made your mistakes. But you were truly one of the kind. RIP you old ham.

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3 and 4.Vivian Boyack and Alice Dubes, who got married in Iowa after 72 years together.

(Photo taken from the BBC news website)

(Photo taken from the BBC news website)

What a wonderful story – they must have quite a few stories to tell. Many congratulations, and may they have many more happy years together!

5. Emma Watson.

You who know me know my feminist leanings. And we have a new spokeswoman in Hermione no less. Check out the campaign HeForShe here, and join in the conversation – male, female or other.

And Villain of the Month this month is an actual bonafide villain (allegedly). Living in the East End, I have a fascination with the history of the area – and one of the most infamous events in the area are the doings of Jack the Ripper, and the legend has lived on and on because he was never found. You can go here to find a comprehensive summary of all the different theories about his identity.

Well, theories are no longer needed (possibly) – because he’s been found. And found guilty. All because of a scarf, and that old chestnut – DNA. Aaron Kosminski, a barber from Poland is whodunit. Villain of the month – and of the last century and a quarter or so.

*Unrecognisable.