24 November 2006

Newest inhabitant settles in

Small quibble --

the sewing table, with its useful drawers, also holds many memories and is fine when the machine is used without its extension table. But with the extension, the machine has to sit further back and the knee lift can't swing far enough to work - and it certainly does have to travel! - the leg makes a 45degree angle to the body when operating the knee lift.
I nearly gave up on the machine immediately -it beeped every time I touched it. Fortunately it's easy to turn that off. Why does everything beep at you nowadays?

23 November 2006

Auditioning backgrounds

The background will show through the holes - but is this one too dull? Hard to tell here; the colours don't come through well, perhaps because of the shiny fabrics. I'm hoping to sew it together this weekend.

17 November 2006


Morning sunlight + wind = changing patterns on wall, intercepted by some metallic organza leaves I made (obsessively) several years ago.

16 November 2006

Up my street

Starting at the corner (to the left) and proceeding roughly northwards, we have an estate agent, the deli, a betting shop --a minicab place, a Turkish florist, the Cypriot greengrocer, a shop selling rather nasty cheap clothes --then a grocery store with a post office in the back, followed by a fishmonger who supplies the Mauritian fish restaurant (Chez Liline) next door. Then there's an internet caf and another cheap clothes shop before you get to the vast bulk of Tesco, the grocery store you love to hate (latest innovation: self check-outs, which talk to you relentlessly).

In the previous block is "The Fabric Store of Stroud Green Road", threatened again with closure, but meanwhile with an eclectic selection, including polyester sheers at £1.50 a metreand some "street furniture".

...and over the hill

Crouch Hill is the terminal moraine left when the glaciers receded after the last ice age, about 15,000 years ago. To the north is Alexandra Palace, site of the Knitting & Stitching Show in October. It's also famous for being the place where John Logie Baird sent out the first television signal from.
Turn around and to the south you see the plain of the Thames Valley, with a distant view of downtown London -- the new business district of Canary Wharf.

11 November 2006

09 November 2006

08 November 2006

Knitting UFO

Only two tiny moth holes, and only the top of one sleeve and the bottom ribbing to do. But is anyone wearing bobbles these days, and what on earth was going to happen about buttons? This is a blatant rip-off of something seen somewhere on Oxford Street last century.

Sunday morning art excursion

Off to Tate Britain, driving through Chelsea and along the river. A week into November, and the leaves haven't started falling yet.
Long shadows and Battersea Power Station in the distance.
We saw the Turner Prize exhibit and like most of the visiting public found much of it ugly and baffling ("call this stuff art?"). At the end, a room with catalogues of the artists' previous exhibits, and places all around the walls where you can vent your frustration in writing.
This comment refers to Mark Titchener's "Ergo Ergot" - revolving disks that give an amazing 3-D illusion. The video components get lost in the fascination with the optical illusions. It "uses light flicker and sound flicker to change the frequency your brain is working at" - the information in it, Titchner says, came from working with a civil rights group and is about threats to civil liberty. Knowing that makes the piece make sense - but it also makes it less "fun" all of a sudden.

Under one roof

Paper heaven ---Notebook heaven ---Filofax heaven ---Paperchase, Tottenham Court Road -- perfect for my lunchtime excursions. (But don't bother visiting their website; it's impossibly slow to load.)

07 November 2006

Sand animals

Selling at £2 each or £3 for two. Indonesian fabric, firmly sewn and stuffed with sand. Someone has done so much work, obviously for so little money. Charming creatures - but an ethical dilemma.

04 November 2006

Before and after


Jen asked what is domette -- it's cotton curtain interlining, with a nap. Even after washing and dyeing, when you cut it with a rotary cutter, it leaves tracks on your cutting board -- I've been using it instead of batting/wadding, doing the quilting on the domette and top layers, then sewing the blocks together and backing the whole thing.

Jen also asked whether I treated the papers used in the Moon blocks. Short answer is no - they are under a layer of fabric, and I'm hoping that's protection enough!

03 November 2006

Last year at this time

Melbourne, the Cochrane Collaboration conference, where I got to share my knowledge of editing. The conference reception was held in the National Gallery of Victoria, which has an amazing stained glass ceiling --Here's the view from the hotel, the Yarra river flowing through town, and beautiful sunny spring days --
But not all days were sunny --Here's that lovely river again, with the rain clouds clearing and the sunset starting.And again, from the Rialto building, 55 floors up (is that the Dandenongs in the distance?) -
A word or two about sport. It was Melbourne Cup time, with a parade and a chance to see previous winners close up - and there was also the delight of seeing race-goers in their finery as they had breakfast in town before going out to the racecourse.
Another sport is the race up the staircase of the Rialto building - part of an international circuit of races up the staircases of tall buildings. I think of that every time I walk up the four flights to the office.

01 November 2006

To Battersea

After being closed to the public for 20 years, Battersea Power Station is briefly open, on the pretext of showing installation art from China.
It was built in the early 1930s and had one turbine hall and a big room with the boilers where the coal was burnt to make the electricity. Then in the early 50s the bit on the right was added, such was the need for power. By the 80s coal was seen as a dirty, expensive fuel (and wasn't there some bother with the stroppy miners in the 70s?) so the power station was closed. It was sold for redevelopment and the turbines were sold for scrap and the roof of the central hall taken out, and then there was a change of plan -- so it's just been sitting there, an empty shell.This was just about the only bit of machinery left, in the accessible areas anyway.Every exhibition needs a shop. Here, goods were displayed in the FedEx and DHL cartons they'd been shipped in from China. (Translation: I buy, therefore I am.)And there has to be a cafe - this one put up by Yauatcha with gorgeous cakes. Lesley and I looked longingly but resisted.
If you want to see actual turbines, go to Wapping - the old power station now has the inevitable restaurant, but also art exhibitions and turbines left in place.
On the way back to Vauxhall station we stopped in at Lassco, an architectural salvage place. It's housed in Brunswick House, a Georgian mansion now surrounded by glass and steel redevelopment. Soon the entire riverfront will look like an enormous council estate.
The old Study now has cases of brassware - and costumes. At the rear, fairground and bar fittings, and this suitcase which was used as a comedy prop and now has a price tag of £375.

To the right of the glass doors are cell door from the Clerkenwell House of Correction, dated to 1614.

Upstairs, a cosy room with objects of all vintages.
You can just about see some of that encroaching glass&steel construction through the shuttered windows.