Stitch Shape and Bristol Fashion

Crafting in the West Country





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!


Will You Make This For Me? No!

When I first started knitting the answer was simple. No. I didn’t have the speed or the skill level. The problem is, once you can do something beyond the very basic knit/purl abilities, non-knitters think you know it all and assume you will make them anything they ask for.

But how about now? Now my skill level is up and learning new ones isn’t hard. Will I knit something for you now?

In all honesty the answer is still more often than not, no. And here are my first set of reasons:

  1. I can’t make it. The pattern/picture of whatever you want me to work out how to make is actually crotchet, not knitted. I know a tiny bit of crotchet, but it is a completely different skill to knitting and I do not have the skill level to make that for you. I can probably work out a knitted approximation, but it won’t be what you want.

    This picture represents the best of my crotchet skills.
  2. You’ve sent me a dull pattern. While the outcome is very stylish and striking, the actual techniques involved are rather unexciting. You need to remember I knit for pleasure, and while the outcome is a part of that, it’s more important that I find the actual process engaging and exciting. Don’t pressure me into doing something that makes my hobby a chore.

    Stunning, but boring as hell to knit. Took a 4 month break in the middle. (Pattern from Ravelry)
  3. ‘I’ll pay you for it.’ No, no you won’t. This is one of the most common things people say when I say I don’t want to knit that for them. If you have asked me to make something I do want to make, covering the cost of the wool is a pretty nice thing to do. However. If you think you’re going to pay me for my time, you are very much mistaken. Say I manage to knit you a hat in 5 hours. Quite a basic hat. UK minimum wage is £6.70 an hour. That’s £33.50 you would be paying me for my time, not including materials. You probably want it to be made out of something pretty nice, since you’re spending all this money on it, so let’s round that up to £40. And remember this is not, taking into account that what I’m doing is skilled work, and I should be paid more than minimum wage. Do you really want to pay me £40 for a hat? I would much rather give my knitting away than be underpaid for it.
  4. ‘I told my friend you know how to knit and they were wondering if you’d make them a…’ I rarely knit things for people I care about, they’re the people I love knitting for. I’ve still never knitted something for my mum, who has made me two patchwork quilts. I knit things for people who I care about, when I want to knit that particular item. Unless there is a really special reason they really want a hand knitted item, the answer is a resounding no.

    Rare instance of making something for someone I don’t know, an old bosses Grandbaby.

There are more reasons, but they are for another day. See you next week!

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