Wednesday 29 October 2014

Yarnbombing in Malmo, Sweden

Found these yarnbombed musicians in Malmo, Sweden this summer...

and slightly further afield these cute creatures scrambling up a lampost ...

Don't know if they'd been made especially for the Malmo Festival or if Malmo is always a bit knitty.  Anyway it brightened up my day!

Friday 24 October 2014

Anselm Kiefer at the Royal Academy - 27 September to 14 December 2014

If you're in London why not go & see the Anselm Kiefer exhibition at the Royal Academy.  See sculptures and paintings on an epic scale.  Using lead, different types of paints, clay, ash, diamonds and plant material, Kiefer manages to produce some immense thought provoking works referencing memory and the human condition among other topics.  Some of his works have taken over a decade to complete.  

If you can't make the exhibition drop by the Annenberg Courtyard and take a look at the vitrines - Velimir Khlebnikov: Fates of Nations: The New Theory of War (see above & below)


Kiefer references Khlebnikov (Russian avant garde writer) who concluded that great sea battles took place every 317 years (or multiples of that).  Bit weird but worth a look!

Monday 20 October 2014

A Giant Poppy - More Extreme Knitting

Giant Poppy - detail

It's that time of year when we begin to think about poppies, symbols of remembrance and hope, especially as this year is the 100th anniversary of Britain entering into World War 1.  

I have been knitting a giant poppy on my extreme needles (1.9m long and 50mm in diameter).  As always with the extreme needles I find out something new every time I use them!  I used Lynn's Easy Ribbed Knit Pattern for the petals which I found on the web.  (This pattern is one suggested as part of Australia's 5000 Poppies project - a community tribute of respect and remembrance commemorating the Anzac Gallipoli landing.  Follow the link if you want to join in with that project)

Improvised end stopper

Back to the mechanics of it all - first challenge with such whopping needles, is finding some suitable yarn.  I used an old double duvet cover and pillowcases which I dyed red in the washing machine and then cut up into 6.5cm wide strips (2.5 inches) which I knotted together to form a ball of yarn.  Next,  I cast on my stitches - 60 in this case.  I haven't had so many stitches on my extreme needles before - and they stretched across the whole needle - and promptly fell off the other end!  So I improvised some end stoppers by wrapping some of my big yarn left over from other projects (e.g. the big jerseys in the Knit a Bike Installation in Rowntree Park earlier this year) on the bottom of both needles.  That worked a treat!

Yarn just about to run out!

It was rather tricky to guess whether I would have enough yarn from my duvet cover and pillowcases to finish my poppy.  And yes  - you guessed it - I ran out.  Fortunately I had a sheet waiting in the wings which I dyed and cut up to finish the job.  All in all my giant poppy used up about 175 metres of yarn. Next, I sewed up the poppy with my extra large sewing needle which is almost 20 cm (8 inches) long ...

So here we are - poppy petals complete.  They are about 90cm in diameter (3 feet) ...

Giant poppy petals complete!

Now it was time to create the centre.  I decided on finger knittng for this with some black super chunky, 2 lots of eyelash yarn and some double knitting yarn.  2.7 metres later with all the super chunky used up (200g) and about half the eyelash yarn (50g - 2 x 25g) and a fair bit of DK yarn, it was ready.  Once coiled up and stitched together, the slightly fluffy centre was approx. 30cm (12 inches) in diameter.

2.7 metres of finger knitting
Finger knitting coiled up to make the poppy centre

Now it was just a case of stitching the centre in place on the poppy. Et voilĂ  ...

Giant knitted poppy in the garden

I'm hoping to use my poppy in a project next year - watch this space .....

Tuesday 14 October 2014

10 things to do on a trip to Copenhagen

Colourful Copenhagen Bike

Recently we went to Denmark and spent several days in Copenhagen.  Here are my top tips of what to see and do.

1. Get a Copenhagen Card

This is well worth getting because it provides free entry to loads of museums + lots of transport possibilities (buses, boats, trains) are also free.  It means you can just take a look at lots of places and if you like them spend some time there and if not, move on!  They are available for various numbers of days - pick what suits you best.

2. Swim in the Canal

At Islands Brygge Havnebadet you can go lane swimming or do some jumping in and playing about.  This is me making a big splash!  It's free.  There are shallower pools for children. Lifeguards are on duty.  We went one morning and it wasn't very busy.  It's very bracing (that's code for "don't expect warm water!")

3. Visit the Tivoli Gardens

Go at night - it's all lit up.  Enjoy the rides or sample one of the many restaurants if you just want to eat out.  There are gardens and shows as well.  Entry is free with a Copenhagen card but you still have to pay for the rides.  We went on the Ferris Wheel (not too scary), had an Italian meal and wandered round - not all on the same night!

Ferris Wheel

4. Check out the Design Museum Danmark

Marcel Breuer display
Is it a tiny person or a very big chair?

Lots of interesting exhibits at the Design Museum and a nice cafe.  We saw the "Wegner - just one good chair" exhibition.

5. See Nyhavn, wander around (& do some shopping) 

Nyhavn is the colourful street by the canal that you often see on postcards of Copenhagen.  There are lots of restaurants and you can just watch the world go by.  Lots of canal trips start here.

Colourful Nyhavn
Quiet Copenhagen street
Street Art

Copenhagen is an interesting place to wander around, soak up the atmosphere, have a coffee and do some shopping

6. Take  a look at the Global Vizionary

Global Vizionary

Everyone knows about the statue of the Little Mermaid.  It is overrun with tourists and much smaller than you'd expect and altogether a bit underwhelming.  Take in the Global Vizionary instead.  He's bigger. You can sit next to him. He'll even hold your bag. Created in 2010-12 by Thezinker (Kim Michael) he's made of all sorts of scrap metal.  He's supposed to represent how humanity is made up of many different parts but from the same universal element - an intercultural landmark to show our joint and individual ability to influence the world we live in.

7. Go by boat

Harbour Bus

You get great views from the canals - you can take a tour or just hop on the harbour buses to get where you want to go!

8. Climb the spiral tower of Vor Frelsers Kirke

Vor Frelsers Kirke
If you don't like heights, confined spaces or ladder-like steps then this probably isn't for you.  But if you're feeling brave then you get great views from the top - 90+ metres up.  There are 400 steps - the last 150 are on the outside getting narrower and narrower till they stop.  It's a little bit daunting but quite exciting!

Steep stairs - some on the way up are quite broad and some ladder-like

Views through the gilded railings

9. Go to Helsingor

Helsingor Castle alias Kronborg Slot

Outside the Shipyard Museum

Helsingor is supposedly the site of Hamlet's Castle of Elsinore.  The origins of the Hamlet story are much earlier than the castle (Kronborg Slot - a World Heritage Site) but sailors from Shakespeare's time could have seen the castle and associated the two.  Kronberg Slot is generally referred to as Hamlet's Castle and is large and imposing.  We wandered round the outside rather than going in and had a very pleasant morning mooching round Helsingor's medieval quarter before heading off to Louisiana.  If you want to go inside the castle, Maritime Museum or spend time in the shops then you'd need longer.

10. Visit Louisiana

Sculpture by Alexander Calder
Louisiana is a modern art gallery just outside Copenhagen.  Standing on the Oresund it has great views, interesting sculptures in the extensive grounds and a fab cafe.  Indoors they have different exhibitions but not an extensive permanent collection so check what's on if you're fussy.

Friday 10 October 2014

New in at Blossom Street Gallery & Framing, York

Just made a delivery to Blossom Street Gallery & Framing in York.  Here's a flavour of what's new in ...

Vintage Button Brooches & Bracelets
Chunky Liberty Print Necklaces
Felt necklaces - different lengths
Felt earrings with sterling silver posts

Lots of yummy colours and textures - great for a present or for yourself.  

Blossom Street Gallery & Framing stocks all sorts of lovely artwork, jewellery, ceramics, stationery, cards & wrapping paper, art supplies and they'll frame your pictures for you - go take a look!

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Renzo Piano Building Workshop & Central St Giles

Window detail

Intrigued by the colourfulness (& I love colour) of Renzo Piano Building Workshop's Central St Giles I thought I should go and take a look in person.  Just near Covent Garden, you need a blue sky day to see it at it's best (which I didn't have).  So here's what I saw on a typical grey London day ...

the courtyard

The development is made up of offices (38 000 sq m) and apartments (109 - market value & affordable).  Google has lots of offices here.  The ground floor has several restaurants.  The internal courtyard which is accessible from various points around the development is mostly grey.  There are a couple of sculptures at the entry points on St Giles High St. 

The exterior facades are colourful.  From the street these coloured exteriors looked like they might be made out of plastic but are in fact glazed ceramic tiles.  Haven't decided whether I like this development or not - take a look and see what you think.

You can read more about Renzo Piano Building Workshop & Central St Giles here.