Stitch Shape and Bristol Fashion

Crafting in the West Country


June 2016



Despite the name of this blog, I haven’t actually posted much, if anything, about this wonderful city in which I live! Well, that’s all changing today. Yesterday I went to an exhibition at the M Shed, which is all about Bristol. Unfortunately this exhibition is closing today, but it was amazing! Briswool! Bristol recreated through knitting and crochet with a few other techniques thrown it. So I’m going to take you on a whistle stop tour of my city represented through yarn.


First up is potentially the most iconic Bristol landmark, the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel is often credited with designing it, but it was completed after his death and the original plans were reworked by other people. There has also been a lot of press locally that a woman actually played a big part in the design process. Something in the back of my mind is telling me that it’s the oldest suspension bridge in the world. But honestly, I wouldn’t trust 18 year old memories of our local history project at school.


This is Bristol Children’s Hospital, and I think for anyone of my age who grew up in Bristol, it’s a very significant building. Nearly half of the funds used to build it were donations from the public! We are talking about millions of pounds being raised. And I was a part of that. The campaign used Wallace and Gromit as it’s poster boys (notice Shaun the Sheep on the roof), and Aardman Animations are still helping the fundraising campaign to provide the best possible experience for the children who are receiving care there.


Stokes Croft is its very own subculture in Bristol. Not so long ago it was a pretty rough area with some good music venues. Now it’s a buzzing hive of creativity, good eats and still has the music vibe. There’s an early Banksy down there, on the wall next to an office block my dad used to work in, which has been turned into a community cafe called The Canteen. You may have heard a few years ago about the riots over a new Tescos opening there, because the area is full of local businesses, and it should stay that way. This particular building has been empty for as long as I can remember (although there have been squatters in there) and the facade is now used as a gallery for street art, constantly changing and providing something new to look at.


The International Balloon Fiesta is a staple of the Bristolian Summer. I can’t go this year because it clashes with my camping weekend. Boo! But I’d defiantly recommend it if you want to plan a trip here around an event. It’s free entry! There’s a fun fair food, shows from The Red Arrows and if the weather’s good, you can watch all the balloons take off. It’s really magical.


I’ve run up to my word count. Boo!

See you next week!


Life can be such a drag

What a week I’ve had, running around like a lunatic and keeping the momentum going. The sun’s come out in merry old Bristol and it’s time to think ahead to the summer, aka, costume season for me!

We don’t mention the year I dressed as Elton ‘Hercules’ John

I’m not a cosplayer, I’m just a maniac who likes dressing up in a field. There’s a camping event I attend every August for Sci Fi and Fantasy fans, with drag night on Friday, a masquerade all day Saturday and the talent show in the evening, I have at least three costumes to prepare every year and I tend to tackle them each differently.

My ‘crowning’ glory

This week I’ll tell you all about drag night. I did win the ftm category in 2014. There was some stiff competition from a unicorn onesie. What I wear to drag night tends to be a conglomeration of found items. I don’t do ready made costumes because they’re over priced, the quality tends to be poor and it’s just a bit dull in my opinion. The year I won, I was decked out as Beetlejuice. I was pretty poor at the time and had an awesome black and white stripy blazer and black trousers. It was a good look. Some how a black and white stripy corset seemed to work too. I was a very convincing man. My personality may well have been the reason I won. Believe it or not, I can be pretty funny at times.

I think I got this man posture down!

Last year I didn’t enter. I felt as reigning champion I could hand the honer over to someone else with grace, dignity and pink wellies. I still did the drag though. Each year the whole event has a theme and last it was ‘The Library’. Late night drag and a bookish theme. When I came up with the answer, it was obvious. Arthur Dent. I didn’t need to get changed for bed. When you’re crawling into a tent at 3am and the biggest costume change you have to do it taking off your wellies, you count it as a blessing. When you’re taking all your camping kit on public transport, one less costume to try and squeeze into your case is the sign of a genius. A set of mens PJs for £5, a towel and my kindle case mama sheep made me with the words Don’t Panic inscribed in large friendly letters on the cover and I was sorted. Although one little girl did say I wasn’t dressed as a man or a woman.

Martin Freeman’s got nothing on me

So what does this year have in store? Well, like in the same way my black and white blazer inspired me to be Beetlejuice, I am once again taking a cue from an item I already own. Real, honesty to god, genuine cowboy boots. Matthew McConaughey. Magic Mike. All I need is a nude coloured top, a black stetson and a black waistcoat and I’m more or less there.
Bring on August!

To be continued…

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