Category Archives: Days Out

Fashion on the Ration

I took myself off to the Imperial War Museum during the week to see their new paid for exhibition about clothing and textiles during the Second World War.

It was really interesting.  My paternal grandparents were in the RAF/WAAF respectively and as my Gran recently died seeing the WAAf uniform was particularly evocative.

There were some fabulous utility dresses on display. My perception of utility clothing was that it was dull and rap but there was a gorgeous red wool coat and some lovely dresses.  Most were however from early in the war – maybe things changed? 

There was also an interesting section on make up and hair – it was basically decreed at government level that women should be encouraged to maintain an interest in their appearance for reasons of morale. Looking at the lengths they went to they certainly out did me and I have all the comforts of a modern home and no bombs to contend with! 

Distinct lack of pictures as they weren’t allowed.  Sorry.

Day trip to Bath

A lot of crafty folk have already made this journey! Or are planning to.

The reason? A retrospective of kaffe fassett’s work at the American museum just outside the city.

It was a bit of a hike to get to on public transport (sworn non car user that I am…. But I got there in eventfully via national express coach and back again via the train (latter was better and an hour faster but cost three times as much. If I hadn’t had an early work start the next day I’d have done both legs by coach).

The museum is a bit out of town. They run a shuttle bus but annoyingly a group of 14 (it seats 14) pitched up to get the scheduled departure I wanted just before me so there was no room for me, I then wandered off to get the local bus (no. 18 in the direction of the university) and discovered that this is a crazily frequent service. The museum is a brisk 10minute walk from the nearest bus stop. However, people with small children might want to think about this option carefully as you have to walk along a short stretch if rural road with no footpath.

Once inside the museum I met up with my lovely friend who lives locally(ish) and her boy. We had yummy but meagre lunch in the cafe, having just come back from the good old US of A I can firmly state that the museum is NOT Emulating the portion sizes found in the country it celebrates. On the upside we managed pudding! Something that only happened once in my week long trip to Louisiana.

However, I am digressing. The exhibition itself was smaller than I expected but a total riot of colour and there were some truly inspiring pieces. I was especially drawn to the quilted items. I’m not sure if this was because quilting is my new thing or because his knitting designs have not aged as well? Regardless I loved some of the pieces especially the blue star quilt.

An added bonus was the welcoming collection of yarn bombing that had taken place around the museum grounds. Decorated lamps, pom Pom trees and amazing handcrafted “windowbox” displays in reception.

After the museum I headed back into town and the local quilt/fabric shop, Country Threads.. It was amazing. So much fabric and very reasonably priced to my London eyes. The lady who was working (? Owner) was also welcoming, knowledgable by happy to allow uninterrupted browsing. I succumbed to some charm packs…

Rather conveniently there is also a fab knitting shop, Wool, just across the street. It had a great selection of yarns, perhaps slightly light on the artisanal dyed stuff that I love so much. In keeping with my yarn diet/ stash down I managed to keep my purse in my bag there!

All in all a very pleasant day out.

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Art of the Brick

An exhibition of art made entirely of Lego bricks. I’m still not entirely sure whether the work displayed was art – there were some copies of famous art works, some replicas of objects and some other things. You should probably go to make up your own mind.

It was interesting though and the flexibility of Lego never ceases to amaze although admittedly it is probably much easier to build stuff with an unlimited supply in colour coded bins stuffed full of pieces!

I went with some borrowed children (5&7) and the seemed to enjoy themselves although the build your own section at the end may have been the highlight of their trip.

Whatever you do don’t buy Lego souvenirs there the mark up was outrageous and disappointing.

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Open house London

This weekend was the annual extravaganza of queuing and building nerderythat is open house London.

I volunteered primarily to get my hands on a coveted queue jumping volunteers badge which I then failed to use as the places I wanted to go didn’t allow their use. Sob!

I must say thought that the Bank of England is really quite superb inside – although it was slightly disappointing, but perhaps unsurprising given the traditional nature of their business that so much of the previous building was simply recreated in the 1920s one. ┬áThis contrasts strongly with the other 20s building I visited – United grand lodge of England which was breathtakingly spectacular inside and very much of it’s time not a pastiche of an earlier time.

i took very few photographs but here is a challenge – where did I volunteer?

Making colour – national gallery

Another really good day out. Relies heavily on contributions from the national Gallery scientific department.

A whistle stop tour of how and when paint/pigments were discovered / synthesised and the effect this has on art. For example, ultramarine used to be the main source of blue. It was extremely expensive (more so than Gold) so was naturally used to colour the most important people in paintings like the Virgin Mary. Hence her seemingly obligatory blue robes.

There was also a brilliant section at the end about colour perception both for those of us with “normal” colour perception and those with “colour blindness” which as my friend Sam has argued many times is not colour blindness at all but altered colour perception. He still sees colour but comparative descriptions suggest he does not see them in the same way as his girlfriend or I. But then how do you actually know that anyone sees something the same way as you….

A fascinating exhibition and I shall use the colour theory introduction in my patchwork and knitting colour choices.