Busy, busy, busy. The last week or so has been all go, finishing off the last of the custom orders from Unravel and beyond – just a couple of bag bases to put in and I’ll be completely done. Playing with Elias – lots of wrestling and giggling which has been very nice. Lots of reading with the girls and at least two days this week when both girls were off unwell and I had a terrible migraine. Most of that time was spent with all of us huddled under various blankets sleeping or avoiding the light. The kids were very kind and patient with me, mostly, which was much appreciated as I spent a lot of those two days completely off my trolley on codeine tablets to try and numb the head splitting itchy pain.
And then randomly yesterday Orlaith marched up and told me she wants me to teach her to knit so she can make herself some Harry Potter scarves and mittens. Hookay then. So I loosely promised her a trip to the wool shop today, forgetting that the one that’s easiest to get to from here is shut on a Sunday.
Luckily all was not lost as I remembered that the Knitting and Stitching Show was on at Olympia. Victory (and Yarn) could still be ours.
I girded my loins and set off in the rain with a slight sense of trepidation.
I’m so very glad we did decide to go out because we had the most randomly wonderful afternoon.
First, we got on the wrong train. Or rather, we got on the right train but got off at the wrong place. But that was okay as it afforded the opportunity to go to Pudding Lane. Orlaith’s been doing The Great Fire of London at school this year so she was really excited to go look at the Monument and the plaque that marks the rough area where the fire started.
And on the way the kids spotted this which they thought was hilarious:
I’m so curious to know who knitted the hat!
The kids were tuckered out by the time we got to Olympia but they perked up again after a plate of pasta and a drink.
We happened to bump into my friend Tina who joined us for some lunch and a wander. The girls were extremely excited by this point. There is something very funny about watching your kids partaking in an activity that you love. Seeing them both running up and down, squealing and cooing over everything they saw, wanting to stroke everything. I had to keep reminding them not to rub their faces on things and Esme in particular had real trouble keeping her hands off things. She’s extremely tactile.
They spent some time sitting watching a woman working with a spinning wheel – incredible how hypnotic and calming it is to watching someone drafting and spinning. They were totally fascinated but eventually we moved on to the next stand where they had a chance to try making and crocheting with plarn.
If you haven’t encountered it, plarn is yarn made from plastic bags. Supermarket shopping bags will do. Cut it into strips, loop them together to make long yarn chains, away you go. Knit with it, crochet with it, make it into pompoms, versatile and weirdly it becomes beautiful.
The women at the table were all dressed in the most amazing gowns covered in crocheted garlands with their hair pinned up in a weirdly Georgian/Tudor crossover style and again adorned with amazing plarn flowers.
Orlaith had a go at crocheting and really enjoyed it so I might try and get her going on that a bit as a stepping stone to knitting. She’s definitely becoming more adept at using her hands to manipulate needles, sticks and string.
The rest of the afternoon was spent pawing over various stalls and looking at shiny things. Here are some of the other bits we purchased:
Beautiful rainbow coloured yarn from Namolio. I missed these guys somehow at Unravel. I’m seeing it as mittens for the kids. I’ll have to soak it with some conditioner to stop the kids complaining about itchiness as it’s a little rough but the colours are just so delicious.
Esme fell in love with the knitted sample of Polly (the doll on the front cover) when we went past this stand. And the other knitted toys were just sot damned cute. I love that each one has a little story and I’m looking forward to reading through it with the kids and picking yarn for each toy we like together. Maybe everntually they’ll make fun projects to try knitting together. The pink yarn in the picture is the one Esme picked for her dolly.
I picked up a couple of glorious rolls of of fat quarters:
The kids spotted a stand selling decoupage materials and after about ten minutes of umming and aahing, they each picked a cardboard cat and two pieces of pretty paper to decorate them with. Elias chewed the end off the tail of his one within five minutes of being given it to hold. Esme carefully carried hers all the way home and has now started colouring it in with glee.
The best find of the afternoon was Orlaith’s and it made both her and me so happy.
When we first arrived she spotted the row of Folksy sellers by the cloakroom and made a beeline for them straight away. By the time I caught up with them, she and Esme were deep in conversation with the stall holders and they were both busy eyeing up the merchandise with glee.
Orlaith had her heart set on the most beautiful hand made leather bound journal and I said to her that if we went round the whole show and she hadn’t chosen anything else we could come back and look at it. She kept asking the whole way around and when we got back that way, she took off and went straight to the stall to ask how much it was.
The chap did her an incredible deal and she was so excited about it that I caved in and agreed.
And Orlaith was almost crying with happiness that I’d said yes. Every single person we bumped into on the way home got shown her new journal and the first thing she did when we got home?
It’s from these lovely people. I suspect that by the end of the week she’s going to have filled it with sketches. She’s been drawing non stop for months and I think this may end up becoming her sketch book. She likes to imitate the art styles of her favourite Phoenix comics artisits (Neil Cameron, Gary Northfield and Jamie Smart, I’m looking at you. You’re ENTIRELY responsible for the heaps of paper that line every spare surface in our lounge. Cheers, guys.) It absolutely made Orlaith’s afternoon and Esme also chose something, a felted soap stone kit which we’ll have fun making up tomorrow, I think.
All in all, it’s been a thoroughly fabulous afternoon. Hopefully the week continues in the same vein!