Festival Madness

Yes … the festival activities of August!

Life has been rather busy, especially work and the last thing I really feel like doing after a day’s work is sitting and writing, even if for pleasure.

Back to August. This year neither Rod nor I had much appetite for festival activities. Don’t get me wrong, I love that the world comes to Edinburgh, but some years I’m just not in the mood for it. This year Rod and I made it to one show together – a show by John Lloyd (man behind QI, Blackadder, etc). John Lloyd is a big favourite of Rod’s and we went to see his show last year which we enjoyed very much so decided that we would see his new show this year. It was as good as we hoped, no, better. Following the show Rod had a chance to meet his idol again as he signed books in the foyer. Rod added a QI book to his collection as well as asking John to sign his copy of the complete Blackadder scripts which he already owned.

I went to one other show in the Fringe, Stitch in Time: a knitting cabaret by Melanie Gall. Her show was a collection of knitting songs from World War 1 and 2, interspersed with tales about the songs. Melanie filled the small venue with her amazing voice. She sang many a song about girls called Kitten busy knitting mittens. I guess there aren’t too many girls names that rhyme with knitting related activities or outputs. One of my favourite songs was about a girl imagining the man who would wear her knitted offerings. There was a combined sadness and romance to the song. The show also provided a bit of education. I had know idea that Lord Kitchener was the man behind the kitchener stitch.
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I ended up having a bit of a fibre filled weekend following the cabaret show as I went to the Pringle exhibition at the Museum of Scotland. There was some very glamorous looking knits with intricate beadwork to greet the visitor on entering the exhibition.
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There were examples of more traditional pieces, more along the lines of what I expected to see.
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But also modern designs too.
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I particularly favoured the textured Knits.
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Below is a particular favourite.
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I didn’t realise that Pringle produced underwear. I rather loved this fine little vest.
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The Pringle exhibition was in quite a small room, but it was packed with an interesting history of the company. Pringle produced a lot more variety than I realised.

I decided to stay in the Museum and seek out other fibre related exhibits. I rarely spend time in the Museum of Scotland, preferring the older Royal Museum next door.

I discovered quite a reasonable selection of pieces on display ranging from spinning to weaving and knitting.
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I really ought to spend a bit more time in this side of the museum, but sadly I find the layout quite off putting so never venture too far in.

I had heard from a friend about an interesting exhibition at the Dovecot so strolled along there next. First I discovered another fibre related exhibition at the Dovecot that I had not expected relating to Bernat Klein. There was a mix of yarn, textiles and painting in all manner of bright colours. Not necessarily to my taste, but interesting all the same.
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I then got to the exhibition I was really there to see, Aggregations by Kwang Young Chun. His artworks were individual tiny little boxes wrapped in paper and tied with string then glued together into a larger piece of artwork. The time that has gone into each piece is clear to see. I was a bit click happy at this exhibition , but the artwork really caught my eye.
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My fibre filled month was rounded off by an evening spent at a work colleague’s house. She was hosting Janet Renouf-Miller on her Knit 1 Bike 1 cycle tour around Scotland. In exchange for food or a bed Janet was providing workshops as she cycled her way around the country. As a group we didn’t really need a workshop so instead Janet did an advice clinic and presented her journey so far. Her story was interesting and her crocheted creations rather impressive given she was not following any patterns.
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We had a lovely evening and I could have chatted with Janet for much longer but darkness was setting in and Janet needed to cycle on to her bed for the night.

August was not your traditional festival-filled month, but who said it had to be 😀

Indie Burgh Yarn Crawl

Jess, owner of one of my favourite local yarn stores, first let me into the secret of the Indie Burgh Yarn Crawl last year. She had the vision but not a name. Lots of words but nothing that pulled together so she asked for some suggestions. I can’t believe my title was chosen.

Of course I joined in the fun of IBYC 2014 with a few of my knitty friends. We had a great time and I wondered if the event might run again. I am pleased to say that the event was confirmed and expanded upon. IBYC 2015 spanned the whole weekend with yarn shops Ginger Twist, Be Inspired and Kathy’s Knits all participating again along with some workshops and a grand finale gathering at Safari Lounge.

Unfortunately I was working on the Saturday, but I had enough time to run up to GTS shortly after 11am. I couldn’t believe that there was already a queue of people outside waiting their turn very patiently to enter Jess’s little shop. GTS really is a little shop, but it is packed full of wonderful goodies to delight any knitter, especially her hand dyed yarn. Us knitters can be quite an orderly bunch when required. Every time one person squeezed out of the shop another squeezed in. I already had an idea about what I was after in GTS. Either her special dye lot for IBYC 2015 or another of her hand dyes. As I got to the front of the queue to enter the shop I spied the one-off colour, a lovely shade of purple. Decision made and as I entered the shop I picked up a skein, paid and had a brief chat with Jess and the wonderfully talented Claire Devine. I made my way out the shop and headed off to work for the day.

Sunday morning Rod had to finish off from yesterday’s work so I grabbed a lift from him up to Kathy’s Knits. I was rather surprised to see so few people in, but perhaps most people ran around yesterday or perhaps people were enjoying a bit of a lie in and would descend upon the shop a little later on. Kathy’s shop is quite local to me but must admit I’ve only been in a handful of times. Isn’t that terrible of me 😕 Kathy sells some really wonderful yarns, focusing primarily on British yarn. Her shop is full of temptation and I had no idea what would catch my eye. Temptation didn’t take too long to take hold. I thought Titus could be a contender, but then I spotted that Kathy had some Easy Knits in. Oh how I love the colours that Easy Knits produces. Right at the top of the pile were two skeins of a lovely denim blue. I picked them up, I squished them, Kathy told me they were new out. I just had to have them.

I walked up to Frederick Street to catch the bus up to Mei’s. I had just missed the bus and had half an hour to kill so stopped in to Hotel Chocolat to buy a hot chocolate. Maybe just missing that bus wasn’t so bad after all.

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Mei’s shop, Be Inspired Fibres was my final stop, the least local of my local yarn stores. Mei specialises in more luxurious yarns. I always struggle to make a choice in Be Inspired as it’s all so enticing and my budget doesn’t allow me to buy everything. I entered the shop to find it also wasn’t crazy busy. Sunday was clearly the best day to yarn crawl. I was able to wander around the shop at leisure. I jumped from yarn to yarn, overwhelmed by the choice. I finally settled on a skein of Fyberspates, a small ball of Ito Gima and a Madelinetosh Unicorn Tail.

Working yesterday, I didn’t get much chance to be outside so I enjoyed a walk back down the road (including a side visit to the museum).

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Although I’d already covered GTS on the crawl I stopped back in there. Business was steady but the place wasn’t packed so I was able to spend some time in the shop and chat.

Another successful Indie Burgh Yarn Crawl is over. I think it’s safe to say that this event is now firmly established in the knitting calendar. Gosh, we knitters are rather spoilt in Edinburgh.

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Hidden Doors Edinburgh

Hidden Doors was my latest adventure. The event is a collection of art and gigs in a hidden part of Edinburgh – somewhere you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to access.

The location of this Hidden Doors looked to perhaps be old council offices and depot. I attended with a couple of knitting friends and I was instantly impressed as we entered the courtyard. It was absolutely buzzing. We entered the buildings surrounding the courtyard, working our way along corridors, peaking in every open door to see what was hidden inside.

I don’t pretend to understand art. I am a very visual person and I like what I like. That’s as far as it goes really. I need to know the story behind a piece of art to “get it”. Even if I don’t “get it” I may still enjoy looking and feel inspired to take a photo. 

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I wish I were artistic. I have ideas swirling around in my head but just have no idea how to get them out there. I feel torn over which idea to work with as there are so many ideas. I fear that anything I produced would actually be crap. I have no idea what I’d do with any finished art (don’t live in a big enough place to  keep anything). So many struggles so I end up creating nothing but thoughts and take photos of art that I particularly like.

Thank goodness for knitting. I may not create my own patterns, but every project I follow at least makes me feel creative.

Time for Tea

Rod has been searching for food and drinks suppliers for work and has uncovered a little gem of a tea shop in Edinburgh called Anteaques.

It’s a little shop selling antiques and teas and there’s a few tables where you can sit in and enjoy a tea or two and a scone.

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Haha … see what they did with the name?!!

Anteaques is run by a charming French man named Cedric who is very knowledgeable and passionate about antiques and tea.

There are a huge number of teas to choose from and it’s really quite atmospheric sipping tea amongst so many beautiful curiosities.

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People of Edinburgh and visitors to Edinburgh alike, if you like tea then Anteaques has to top your list of places to visit.