Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Liv in action.

First of all I must apologise for not writing sooner, it has just been a combination of being busy and because of that feeling shattered.  Unfortunately I always pay one way or the other but it has been worth it.  So thank you for all of those emails and private messages on Ravelry enquiring as to our health, we are okay.  Son no.2 will be back to see the specialists about his fatty liver soon and my doctors are slightly concerned about 'stuff' but we are okay.

So what has been happening?
My dad has had his birthday, so I took Mum and Dad and the boy out for a meal.  I think there was a mini competition of the impressive beards.
We had our wedding anniversary which was lovely.  And decided to as in way of celebration have a mini break in London.
We went to see the David Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy.  It was amazing!  We became members of the RA, as we are desperate to come back to see it again along with other galleries and exhibitions on show that we never seem to get to.  Mainly through exhaustion you understand. 
I showcased Liv throughout my visit to London and it seemed to be going down a storm.  For those that don't know, this was the piece of knitting that was carted around with me whilst son no.2 was very poorly recently.  It kept me sane in what had become a world filled with pain and anxiety and one where all I could do was cry, in-between comforting our son. A sock wouldn't have had the same comforting effect but this, when I knitted, stitch by comforting aran weight stitch was to me a god send.  And I am most glad that I started it the week it all went wrong and only later realised that the pattern was called Liv, (my photocopy which I made from the original book didn't have the title on, it was only later when I checked the book I realised)  which was when we were two weeks in and it had become very serious.  Of course that made me cry even more, but it also gave me hope, that somebody up there was doing strange things and sending me a message of hope.  That and that there were many, many people, world wide, many with pointy needles that were praying for my boy by this point.  I still weep at the thought of that and am so very grateful. 

Liv was designed by Martin Storey and I made it with Rowan Scottish Tweed in Aran in colour way Lewis Blue.  I haven't weighed it yet so I can't tell you how many balls I used. 

Back to the trip.  (I am keeping this brief because I need to get to bed!)
We went to the British Museum, I'd never been before. 
I like it when buildings make me look small. 
There was a very scary cat. 
And I loved this ceiling and feeling of space in the museum. 
I would have gone to see this building just for this. 
And a chap playing a harp very beautifully in the underground. 

And we did lots more, notably seeing Quentin Blake's illustrations at The Foundling.  Don't forget to look out for there free app. 

Friday, 6 January 2012

Dishcloths.

Years ago, (many, many years ago) my nan used to knit her own dishcloths. They were sturdy and used to last for ages, not like the flimsy things we have these days. I saw some dishcloth yarn in Birmingham market last year and cast on, but must have been side tracked by something knitterly and put it down. I found this started project the other day and have enjoyed knitting these cloths in the late evening when all I want is to settle down with something soothing.
It will be interesting to see how they last. Another thing that tickled me is that the unbleached yarn is very pretty and all the rage and put together with a nice bar of soap from the French market which appears once in a while and tied up with a pretty ribbon it would make an ideal present which is completely on trend.

Even the boys have shown an interest in them and talked about their usefulness compared with the shop bought cloths. I find it very interesting when knitting leads me down a path I least expected - talking about dishcloths with son no.2 could not have been predicted, but I am very amused by it.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Banished.

It was son no.2's birthday yesterday and what he decreed would be a perfect birthday present would be to banish us from our home for the 'whole' day. He was hoping for us to stay out overnight so that he could have a 'free one' as they call it in these parts. Unfortunately we disappointed him on that score, but we realised we would have to make ourselves scarce on the day, so he could relax and have his friends around. Although why they wouldn't want me around making them pizza and popping in and out of the living room for the odd little chat, I have no idea.

We decided to take this opportunity to visit an art collection that has been calling to us for a while. So we gaily booked inexpensive train tickets to London and decided to do this trip on the cheap, meaning no expensive restaurants for us, just cheese butties, bottled water and a few biscuits. With our passes for the underground in hand, we set forth.

We arrived in Euston and quickly made it to Bond Street via the Northern and Central lines. Where we found we were much too early, so had a quick wander around Selfridges which was quite enjoyable. The meat counter was interesting with some nicely aged beef that made us hungry just looking at it and a full array of game, both feather and fur with which to tickle the taste buds. After half an hour or so of amusing ourselves as we drifted around the store it was time to head off to our intended destination.
Although on the way we saw this wonderful window display from Selfridges made entirely from pans and lids.

Within just a few short minutes we had arrived at
The Wallace Collection, It is currently in an extensive programme of refurbishment so I am unable to bring you the frontage of the building in all its glory. As we entered the building we both gasped and realised we were in for a real treat. I won't bore you to tears, the website is extensive, but I will leave you with just a few highlights, tiny details on which to ponder.
with five generations of collectors there were treats to the eye at every turn,
and even what would normally be simple details in a room have become highly embellished
with the most exquisite detailing
The Wallace Collection's stunning courtyard is the glamorous location for Oliver Peyton's cafe and brasserie de luxe. I have to say the service is impeccable although we only stopped for a quick coffee the speed and attention to detail was noticeable. The menu looks very attractive, to be considered, perhaps, on one of our future jaunts.
This painting was one of my favourites, although there were so many I really don't think I could have a favourite. The laughing Cavalier by Frans Hals painted in 1624. The amusement in the mans face is quite captivating and it took quite some time before I was able to walk away.

We took five hours of intense viewing before being able to leave, we loved this collection and will be back for more. As we say if its good enough for Michael Winner (he had his evening reception for his wedding here!) its good enough for us.

We had a quick pit stop and ate our cheese butties and then resumed the plan which was a quick trip to the National Portrait Gallery We walked back to Bond Street station and caught the Central and then Northern lines to get to Leicester Square, a few short steps and we were there. We nipped up to the second floor to view the Tudor and Jacobean portraits and then realised it was time for more coffee so stopped for a little rest and I knit a few rows of the sock I was carrying before setting off for the rest of the pre planned jaunt.

So back to Leicester Square and caught the Northern and then Central line to Oxford Circus. Now the cleverer ones amongst you will have noticed that we have just gone back on ourselves, which seems a bit daft, but not once you realise that now
it is dark. Regent street was looking very pretty and was
full of people enjoying the January sales. The atmosphere was wonderful and we gained a second wind. (thank goodness)
Which was just as well, as we were aiming for Liberty. Liberty was enchanting, all lit up like a Christmas tree, it was lovely to see her again, especially in this setting as I have never seen her during the dark or at this time of the year. We quickly entered and I found a comfy seat on which to deposit an exhausted husband whilst I entered the fray of the January sales with renewed vigour. Liberty has so many pretty things that I must come back when I don't feel quite as tired.

Next we hastened over to
Carnaby Street, viewed as one of the best displays of Christmas lights by Time Out, London. Oversized mistletoe chandeliers with berries that change colour in time with the music. They were fun.

Feeling we could do no more, we headed back to Oxford Circus and took the Victoria Line to Euston.
Our train was waiting for us, so we boarded, and settled happily into our seats.

Later at home, hubby worked out our costs for the day and found that our underground travel, seven trains, four journeys had cost us the princely sum of £7.00 each. I still find the tube incredible, how quickly and easily it is to move around London. Especially with trains coming every couple of minutes and then the price, it is ridiculously cheap.
There may have been a little something, something for me to admire on the train on the way home, after all I am female, I am never too tired to shop. The lovely assistant at Liberty was just marking the Rowan down to half price, there was a cardigans worth of aran felted tweed in a mandycharlie colour, what was a girl to do.

(I am off to scratch one of my new year resolutions off the list, its only day two!, still I did get the exercise in!)