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Stitch Shape and Bristol Fashion

Crafting in the West Country

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travel

Briswool!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I’ve run up to my word count. Boo!

See you next week!

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I Got Itchy Feet and Stitchy Hands

Hey guys. Sorry about the break. I did mean to get some posts queued up before I went away, but I was so overwhelmed with packing, it just got away from me. But normal service has now resumed!

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Everybody’s got something to hide, except me and my monkey!

Time to get inspired! There was so much to see and do, I lost the rhythm of crafting. My plans were dashed. None the less, still have lots to tell you about. There is a fresh creative energy buzzing inside of me, and I can not wait to unleash it!

First of all, go and see things. Find all of the most beautiful places where you live, visit them, look at them with fresh eyes. In a 7th century church in Rome, I took pictures of the floor. Weird, huh? Well, I specifically had my mother in mind, I know she loves some good tile patterns to give her ideas for patchwork. She is pleased.

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Aisles of tiles.

Do things on your own and talk to people. Bit of a contradiction, right? Being by yourself gives you the time to soak up your surroundings. The most stressful day I had was when I did a walking tour of Rome. Not only was it hot and crowded, but I had to keep up with the group and couldn’t stop to take in the beauty of the city. The best places I went were places I went on my own. In Gibraltar, I talked to a taxi driver about the view of Africa from the top of the rock. In Florence I met a lovely street vendor from Yorkshire and bought a pressed flower from him. Barcelona introduced me to some American students to whom I gave some tips on what to do when they visit London which, thanks to Facebook, I know they used. I went to a talk about the psychology of art and nearly started crying because of the ideas that were discussed, something I may have been too self conscious to do had I been with someone.

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Confirmed: Morocco.

Find out how things are made. Anything. Even if it’s not something you want to make yourself. Our tour guide in Rome kept saying the architecture of the city is like a lasagne and she’s spot on. Rather than tear anything down, they just build more on top and it’s given me some great ideas for making some never ending projects that you just keep on adding to.

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The lasagne that is Rome

Throw your plans out the window if you don’t have time for them. My cross stitched diary I only ended up having time for the first four days. I’d like to give it another go if I have a holiday with more time to relax. On the first night, saw a band and rendered them in cross stitch. Later on I got to know them and on the last day I showed it to them. They had to have a picture of it. Happy feelings.

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It’s a boat! It’s a train! It’s SUPERBAND!

Until next week.

Sun, Sea and Stitches

This time next week I’ll be on a boat on an adventure around the sunny north Mediterranean coast! I haven’t been on holiday in 8 years and I’ve been trying to work out what to take to keep me occupied between ports. I’ve got a few things planned, so let us have a look on what I’m hoping will work craft wise on holiday.

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First time I’ve treated myself to prescription sunnies!

Part 1, the knitting.

You may remember me mentioning a few posts back that I’m planning to knit myself an octopus costume. With the ocean waves around me and 6 days at sea over the 2 weeks, what better time to make a start? It needs to be done by August, along with a couple of other costumes, so tentacles at the ready! The disadvantage to this is volume of the wool I will require. I’ve decided to take 3 balls with me (I have one per arm) and hope I’ve paced it right.

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Green Octopus. Because why not?

Part 2, the sewing.

Much smaller and more portable, cross stitch seems like an excellent idea. The debate was whether to take a kit or not, and in this case I decided not. But what shall I cross stitch? I’m going to take a piece of Aida, a selection of colours and turn it into a diary! Every day I’ll add it it to represent what I’ve done that day, something I’ve seen, something I’ve done… Currently, I’m thinking about what colours to take and how best to record which part represents the day/place. But I’m hoping to keep it fairly organic and let it grow as one image.

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So many colours, how will I choose?

Part 3, the sketching.

This week I came up with a 5 year plan. A big part of it is broadening my repertoire within art. I need to build up a skills set of working in various media and will be taking a whole bunch of classes and workshops when I get back. In the mean time, a good place to start would be warming up my sketching muscles. I bought a sketch book and a set of pencils and plan to record the beautiful cities of Europe in graphite. I’m not planning on recreating the Renaissance, just get myself going after a long break from pencil and paper.

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Warming up by doodling some shoes.

Part 4, the photography.

After a few months of being camera-less and having to rely on my phone/iPod to see my through, I have finally got a new camera, and I love it and I’m so excited to use it. While taking pictures might seem like standard holiday making, I’ve decided to set myself some boundaries. Looking at old family albums, they’re so much more interesting to look at than photo’s on Facebook, because when you were limited to 32 exposures on a roll of film, you took 32 different pictures. So, I’m limiting myself. 10 pictures a day of culture and 5 a day of selfies and the like. No deleting pictures to make a space for another, I make my choice and I stick to it.

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My new baby!

See you next week!

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