Bath’s knitters are being invited to take part in a very special event to raise funds for The Big Issue Foundation. Details below - we'll be there!
The Bath Big Knitathon will take place at St Michael’s Without Church on Broad Street between 2.00PM and 6.00PM on Saturday 17 November and will form part of a nationwide attempt to break a Guinness World Record for the most people knitting simultaneously.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the Foundation’s work and of homelessness and is being held in conjunction with the magazine’s 21st birthday celebrations, following on from other fundraising drives such as The Big Sleep Out.
The Bath knitters will be aiming to produce a large volume of knitted squares which will be made into a patchwork blanket after the event. It is hoped that the blanket will be put on display to continue raising awareness of the issue of homelessness in the city.
The Big Issue Foundation is a national charity which believes in giving a hand up, not a hand out. It provides homeless people with the opportunity to earn a legitimate income and connects vendors with the support and solutions that enable them to move away from homelessness and to rebuild their lives.
Each week around 100 people turn to the Big Issue for an opportunity to help themselves at a time of personal crisis and at any one time, across the UK, the Foundation is supporting 2,500 vendors.
The Bath Big Knitathon is being sponsored by Sharon Spencer of Great British Yarns, a mail order knit company which is supplying the wool for the campaign. It will be opened by the Chairman of Bath and North East Somerset Council and will begin with a talk from Samantha Grief, Vendor Service Broker at the Foundation’s Bridewell Lane office, who will then introduce a vendor who has agreed to share their story.
Bath vendors who will be taking part in the Bath Big Knitathon recently took part in a knitting lesson as part of Aspirations Week, an annual event which aims to encourage vendors to find new passions or learn new skills. They are looking forward to putting their new skills to good use during the record breaking attempt.
The Big Knitathon is open to people of all ages, genders, and knitting abilities and anyone who wants to take part but who can’t make it to the St Michael’s event is encouraged to think about holding their own event, perhaps in their local church hall, library, café or even their living room. The campaign is about communities and friends getting together to raise as much sponsorship as possible to donate to the Big Issue Foundation. Participants can knit anything, from hats and clothes to blankets, and could even donate what they knit to their local vendor.
To register for the Bath Big Knitathon at St Michael’s Without please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information about arranging your own event and to request an event pack, contact Lizzy Ellery at email@example.com or Samantha Grief at the Big Issue Foundation at 01225 337050 or by email at Samantha.firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can follow the campaign on Twitter, @Bigknitathon.
The wonderful Eirlys has some upcoming Spring workshops - the poster is available here (Download Crockadoodledo upcycling sewing season spring 2012; PDF). They look great! There is even a discount for bulk booking and one for Mothers' Day :)
Here's some info from her about the first one:
Anyone care to join me to make beautiful necklaces out of Liberty lawn scraps? Crisp new fabric scraps, mind you! Well, mostly; the odd deconstructed lightly-worn garment may sneak its way in. And wooden beads. Lots of fun, really satisfying, and surprisingly fast. Takes place at Crockadoodledo, Larkhall, 10.30-1.30pm, Thursday 29th March.
On the subject of tweed: some Scottish friends recently told me about Studio Gnu. Isn't it beautiful? I'm a zoologist by background and I love the way Studio Gnu combines taxidermy, tweed and ethics into pieces of art. One for the wish-list.
2nd July, 10.30am-1.30pm (£20)
New Oriel Hall, Bath
9th and 13th July at 10am-1pm (£25)
The Makery, Bath
24th July (see their website for more details)
It's a lovely publication - and a snip at £5 for the first 3 issues ♥
Keep eyes peeled for formal strawb workshops with Eirlys coming up soon (more details here when they are firmed up) - any finished strawbs can be added to the Flickr group (love the steampunk one!)...
Butterflies in a specimen-case, crochet and a community project...what's not to like?
Having had flu over Xmas, the winter of my 2011 has had to be slow. Mostly a sleeping kind of slow.
Those who know me will know that I do not find this easy. But, it transpires, 'slow' is something we can learn. Turns out 12 weeks of post-flu wipeout means that I no longer find slow things terrifyingly boring. Actually, I've learnt to relish them.
I've only recently got into graphic novels, after watching Persepolis (based on a graphic novel of the same name).
Hereville's a lovely and touching tale, suitable for children and adults: I highly recommend it.
If you also like words, this is a treat as it intersperses English with Yiddish (which, luckily, is translated in footnotes).
And, as a Gentile, this was a beautiful insight for me into some of Orthodox Judaism (did you know that on Shabbos [the 7th day of the week] no work can be done and the day before they do everything in preparation...........even pre-ripping the loo paper...?)
Oh my, I ♥ this idea. A lovely message to someone, support for Macmillan, and some political campaigning - three valuable things, wouldn't you say?
Just some little thoughts about crafting - thought you might like it too. (Just in case us knitters needed an excuse to knit.)
It's on the corner of Quiet Street and Queen Square in Bath. They sell Italian wools and also do clothing alterations; the owner, Heidi, is a weaver (Wendy tells me).
It's like buses, none will come for ages...then you get two at once! ;-)
There's been some press about a recent Dispatches programme (available through 4oD until 08/12/10).
Dispatches investigates the working conditions of clothing manufacturing units in the UK. With British consumers keen to buy the latest designer looks at cheap prices, this film exposes the real human cost behind high street fashion.
Over three months, secret filming is carried out inside a number of textiles factories and suppliers and the footage shows the poor treatment and illegally low pay of workers as they make clothes destined for major fashion retailers.
The working conditions are dangerous, poorly ventilated, dirty and cramped, and workers are paid as low as under half the minimum wage.
The film also reveals the high street brands whose clothes are being made by these workers.
Dispatches exposes shocking practices, more commonly associated with sweatshops in the developing world, but existing right here in modern Britain.
Of course, it's important to take these things with a pinch of salt, as exposés aren't known for their balanced views, but it does throw up some important points. The most shocking of which is that pay-slips can say £5.73/hr (min. legal wage) when the employee is only receiving £2.5/hr.
Certainly I know that that some jobs (fruit-pickers, etc.) can pay less that the minimum wage once training is over as the employees are paid per item (with the understanding that if the employee is working efficiently, then they will make the min. wage; I heard about this on Farming Today over the summer).
But I'm not sure how an employer can issue a formal pay-slip different to the amount that they pay - which is what seems to happen in these clothes units. And the other situation, of a cash-in-hand payment like the reporter got, is hugely liable to exploitation.
I suppose it just highlights that, no matter what protective legislations are in place, people will always be exploited when thay are desperate for money. It's certainly not a cut-and-dried issue (will the workers of the sweatshop be forced to leave now it's been exposed and find work in even worse conditions?) and I don't like the line forced by Tazeen that cheap clothes creates inethical practice. Certainly we'd be naive to assume that the higher-end clothes shops don't have this: they are profit-based companies, after all.
High-street fashion companies do have a responsibility to investigate thoroughly those suppliers that they use and I hope they chose them with more care in future.
If you'd like more information about how you can help, I recommend reading Labour behind the Label's website. A fascinating read from an active and useful group...
And, while on this subject, I'd highly recommend a book I read recently: Through the Eye of a Needle. It's a beautifully-written book, both poignant and funny, and hugely thought-provoking. I'll write more up about this later (my copy's with a friend - it's a book to be lent to everyone you know).
Postscript: More in the press today:
Lovely wee interview with Karl Lagerfeld on the Today programme - fashion is often more interesting in times of economic weakness. (Guess we shouldn't wish a further economic slump...?)
I've yet to watch this - but it promises to be great viewing...I'll write up notes here when I've seen it! :)
The knitting group in Bath meets in the Crystal Palace Tavern (Bath BA1 1NW) at 19.00 on Tuesdays. All abilities are very welcome!
If you have any queries - please email me...
There is limited on-street parking around the shops (click on the above photo, right) and nearby car parks on Manvers Street and Avon Street. The nearest train station is Bath Spa and there are several Park and Ride systems in operation in Bath.
I'm afraid there a little bad news: after a lull in attendance to the Sunday knit group we have decided to gently draw the curtains on this group. We may officially restart it at a later date, and there will almost certainly be unofficial Sunday knit clubs - but officially closing it seems the easiest thing to do for now, in order to prevent new knitters turning up when no core members can make it. Please get in touch if you would like to come along on a Sunday and I can spread the word and see if any other knitters are keen for an unofficial knit!
But the *good* news is that the Tuesday group has been growing! :)
So we have decided to tentatively roll it out to every Tuesday rather than just the 1st and 3rd of the month. We'll see how this goes! If there's a big enough core group established over the next few weeks, then we will keep this change to our meeting dates in the new year...watch this space!
When we were last in London I pootled along to the Fashion and Texile Museum's 'Horrockses Fashions' expo. Horrockses Fashions Limited was the manufacturer of one of the most well-respected, ready-to-wear labels of the 1940/1950s and, with their dresses often costing a month's salary back then, were extremely coveted.
As some of you may have picked up, I ♥ the 1950s with a passion. The boldness of the prints, the fullness of the skirts - aaah, beautiful! What's more, the Horrockses dresses were produced at Ivy Mill, in Failsworth, only a mile or so from where my mum grew up and where I lived when I was wee - so I felt even more of a connection to this expo for that reason...
Here are some of my favourite pieces (click on pics to enlarge). But there's plenty more to see, if you have time to pop along to the FTL itself.
This was designed by wonderful Ursula Hertz in the 1950s – it is unusual as it is printed across the width of the fabric and was particularly effective when styled as a skirt:
Dress design by Pat Albeck based on costumes from the opera La Traviata:
The designs in this pattern book were produced by various printers for Horrockses Fashions produced at Ivy Mill, Manchester. Printers, designers and studios are indicated as well as the printing technique used:
Unpicked skirt in a design of newspaper headers and magazine images (designed by Ursula Hertz). The design is printed lengthways on the fabric, which means the skirt only has one seam (almost 5 yds of fabric make up the skirt’s width!!):
Alas, I can't make it - but there's a fabulous talk coming up by Marion Foale at Milsom Place.
If you go, please report back or write something up for this space! :)
I was listening to this Radio 4 programme earlier today...can it really be nearly a year since the floods hit? It made heartbreaking listening :(
There is talk of a surreal situation whereby the stock of a small wool shop (located near to the point where the river banks broke) was flooded out, unravelled and tied the entire town together.
Apparently it caused problems as it hindered the rescue boats but, in a sense, the imagery of the whole town being physically bound together (as it must have been in spirit) is quite lovely.
I always pop to the V&A when I'm east - even just to potter about the beautiful corridors, gaze at the wonderful Victorian toilet tiles (left) or have a coffee in the Gamble Room (right). The Fashion & Jewellery collections are vast and exquisite [but will be shut from mid-Nov 2010 til Spring 2012!!! :( ].
Whilst we were there we saw the 'Fashion Fantasies: fashion plates and fashion satire, 1775-1925' expo. (I had to ask 3 members of staff where it was as no-one seemed to know...so I guess it's not that popular - but it's a wee gem in my opinion! It's in Leighton, room 102 (which is acutally a corridor).)
A lovely little collection of satirical fashion giggles - here is my favourite:
Punch kept a long-running campaign against the crinoline, claiming it was an example of female frivolity and excess. Here a fashionable woman confronted by the ghost of the over-worked seamstress who stitched her enormous and elaborate dress. [The Haunted Lady, John Tenniel (1820-1914)]
Me and Him Outdoors are off to London Town this weekend (to see this and eat our body weight in macarons from here) but I'm making time to pop into the Fashion and Texile Museum to see the expo about Horrockses Fashions Limited. I am, needlesstosay, delighted...it is no secret that I am 1950s-bonkers...can't wait!
Another thing on my list is to see the expo on 'Fashion Fantasies: fashion plates and fashion satire, 1775-1925' at the V&A...will keep you posted.
Alas, with train tickets already booked, we are missing the Savile Row Field Day on Monday...am gutted!
Go if you can, please, and report back! It's on my list for next year, so I must be patient...
If you have a spare 90 mins, I'd really recommend watching this programme about this history of cotton and textiles: 'All Our Working Lives'. The first hour is a replay of the original 1980s episode, with the last 30 mins being an update of the years since.
Beware: it's remarkably moving. The footage of the men smashing up the unwanted weaving machines was almost too hard to watch...but then, as the daughter of a Lancashire man, it was always going to feel close to home for me...
It's astonishing to think some 700 miles of yarn were produced weekly at each mill back in the day: and all these mills were concentrated in a few square miles around the NW of England.
(For those of you not able to watch it, I'll watch it again with a notepad and pencil and write it up here in due course...watch this space please..!)
Last year a lovely vintage row counter (inside this wee waxed-paper packet) came into my possession. It is my favourite colour (Cornishware blue) and had a teeny-tiny tape-measure in the middle of it...
Does it sound like an overreaction to say that it's transformed my life..? Never again will I be found rootling around the house for a ruler, or using the quirky thumb-joint-equals-an-inch trick on the train...
I cherish it dearly...
At least it'd keep the bride turning blue if it was brisk weather!
British Designers @ FashionCapital boutique launch event is tomorrow (02/09/10) at 14/15 Milsom Place, Bath BA1 1BZ from 16.00-19.00....enjoy high tea, champers and some great designer fashion all at once! :-)
Boutique designers include: Atalanta Weller, Bora Aksu, Emma Cook, Erdem, Felder Felder, Goat, Hannah Marshall, Jean-Pierre Braganza, Julien MacDonald, Louise Amstrup, Osman, PPQ in room 1.
In room 2 there is up and coming names such as Romeo Pires, Zoe Boomer, Safron Knight, Hemyca, Dean McConell and many more...
Please come and support this worthwhile venture...more information is here.
[Listen again until 20/08/10.]
I've long reached for a pint of dark over a G&T - which does occasionally seem to raise some eyebrows. Especially in Manchester - my hometown - which, until recently, seemed to mind girls drinking a pint nevermind a pint of ale.
"Synopsis: Mine's a pint: - why more women are
reclaiming real ale as their drink of choice. Beer and real ale is
going through a revolution. The industry, which had been awash with
cheap and cheerful lager, is welcoming back local micro-brewers . And
the complex and crafted flavours combined with a sophisticated
marketing campaign - and a proven track record to contain less carbs
than wine - are winning over the thirsty women of Britain. We will be
looking at why the number of female ale drinkers has doubled in the
last two years, and Jenni will be making her own mind up, as she tries
some of Britain's best flavours.
Bluegrass from Devon - The Carrivick Sisters are twins Laura and Charlotte who play the traditional mountain music of Appalachia, with a west country twist . They've been playing since their early teens and this week-end they're appearing at Saltburn festival in North Yorkshire. So what's the appeal to these young sisters of the American Roots Music made popular by the film Oh Brother Where Art Thou? Hear their Bluegrass fiddle and banjo live in the studio.
Knitted Lives - an exhibition of everyday objects knitted by women in Newcastle."
Some more info on Knitted Lives expo is here....smashinng stuff.
(Makes me miss Scotland even more than ever...)