So whilst I have been busy living, travelling and learning I haven’t been doing a whole lot of blogging and there is quite a backlog of events both trivial and exceptional to put out there to the world… so over the next week I’m going to trickle as much out as I possibly can. No promises though – as in anything requiring any kind of self-discipline on my part (including but not exclusively relating to eating entire blocks of chocolate in one sitting and studiously ignoring homework despite my best intentions and planning at the beginning of the day).

Starting today with LONDON which was a wonderful day trip – depressingly however it was a month ago!

I really wanted to go to the Knitting and Stitching Show in London as I had heard amazing things about it so I booked – spur of the moment – and I was NOT disappointed!

I did have to wake up at 4:30AM to get to the train station in time for my 6am departure – arriving at St Pancras with plenty of time to take a little detour to Covent Garden for breakfast where I watched the Meseras setting up outdoor tables in the main square and the market slowly unfurling before throngs of people arrive for the day.


OH NOOOO! Someone lost their gold pants and shopping trolley in Covent Garden…I did get a rather peculiar look from a man who stopped and watched me photograph this… “yeah whatchu lookin’ at – do gold pants get abandoned every day around here huh?!” or maybe they were his and he was too embarrassed to claim them whilst I was watching…


A beautiful clear morning in the square.

After that I headed to the Knitting and Stitching show out at the spectacular Alexandra Palace which has the most wonderful vantage point looking out over London from the top of a gorgeous rolling hill. I felt like I could easily have been the youngest there…and was rather out of place without my perm perfectly set and magic silver white lavender hair!


The grand exterior of the Palace


The beautiful dewy morning view looking out over London

There were some truly inspirational artist’s galleries – including the ever amazing Jan Beanie and Jean Littlejohn who are both so incredibly prolific , their books have graced the shelves of both my Grandma and Mum’s studios ever since I was knee high! Another stand out was Tilleke Schwarz who creates beautiful vibrant embroideries that are extensions of her sketchbook pages…incorporating hand and machine embellishment in commentaries on both current events and the mundane.


Jan and Jean’s work for sale – so tempted!


Tilleke’s work – my favourite colour too!


Excerpts from her sketchbooks – showing where she draws inspiration – anyone who is inspired by Nyancat is ok by me!

I signed up as a student member to the Guild of Machine Knitters which sounds incredibly fancy (or maybe it doesn’t to a non-knitting-nerd) but the reality is far daggier. I also helped myself to a Selvedge Magazine subscription and a book on how to knit Meerkats – because one can never have enough meerkats in their life! I poured over the wonderful hand spun and dyed yarns and all the fabulous book stalls – although like any such event – for every fabulous stall there were 10 covered in vileness and tacky kitsch – not even cute kitsch but vomitous kitsch!


BEADZZZZ – I can never resist, and these were so beautifully displayed!!


Still so early in the day that it wasn’t bumper to bumper at this point – still enough grannys around to get bulldozed a few times though!


Pompom jewellery at the Selvedge stall

Next on the menu was the V&A – it took me half an hour to find A. the bathroom and B. the cloak room but I eventually managed to find my way to the fashion exhibit, taking in ‘From Club to Catwalk’ on London fashion in the 80’s in which some of my fave designers were featured – Viv Westwood, Galliano and Zandra to name a few. Then the Jewellery collection, costume and set design, the Asiatic and Middle Eastern collections, the British historical collections – sculpture, silverware, portraiture miniatures – so many treasures and yet I still didn’t see everything. I can see why so many designers spend time there on the hunt for inspiration!


Costumes designed by Leigh Bowery – considering the glittering codpieces  involved this was not at all surprising


A Dame Edna Everage creation


If you have NEVER wanted a silver bowl tree in your house I don’t know what is wrong with you! I want all the bowl trees (I’m sure that is the technical term!)


A sneaky selfy – just proving I was there tis all


A child’s Mantua, oh how I dreamed of making myself a Mantua in highschool – a normal and well adjusted teenage ambition I’m sure!


An exquisitely embroidered and beaded jacket, such incredibly fine and detailed work (unfortunately my camera does not do it justice)


After some respite in the fabulous Arts and Crafts decorated food hall with a giant scone, jam and whipped butter I decided to head to Liberty London for a bit of a retail pilgrimage. Oxford Circus, as ever, was a total madhouse!! There was some sort of Zombie flash mob happening and a huge throng of people seething round the entrance of the subway so I just had to go with the flow and allow myself to be buffeted along the street up to Liberty. I fell in love with their Haberdashery department and found the interior delightful – the wonderful staircases with gargoyles carved into balustrades and beautiful atrium surrounded by wide balconies in the traditional department store style allowing shoppers above to view the shoppers below perusing the vibrant scarf hall.


The rather promising exterior


One of the beautiful staircases

After so many hours on the road I found myself completely exhausted and as one who generally cannot stand crowds I was at that stroppy point of the day where the thought of being rammed one more time by one more careless passerby I might snap and get all Killbill on their arses… So in order to preserve the Queen’s peace I headed back to St Pancras and spent the next hour waiting for my train at the Champagne Bar…tough I know!


Assessing the day’s haul


The Champagne diagram – perfect visual explanation of the different champagnes on offer for those such as myself who require diagrams to understand!

Next time I get back to London I will definitely spend the night and squeeze in the TATE, Saatchi – seek out some Pho and find some markets to while away the hours…

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