These were from New Lanark at the weekend.
I recently discovered we get all these corporate cards at work, and we’ve been working our way through all the places. This time we went to New Lanark, an 18th century textile mill town/village in the Clyde Valley and a World Heritage Site. It was managed by the ‘utopian socialist’ Robert Owen, and became an example of social reform, with things like good quality housing, free medical care and education for adults and children being provided for the mill workers. It sits in the bottom of the valley near some waterfalls (the mill was water-powered), and it all looks lovely just now with the autumn leaves. The exhibition focuses mainly on the history, and there’s also a great playpark (though it was too wet to stay there long) and a baby/toddler sensory room. My favourite bit was the historic classroom.
Though one of the main reasons I’d been keen to go was because they sell wool there! Lovely organic wool that is spun in the actual mills, in all weights, with some undyed options too. And good value – plus it happened to be wool week so I got an extra 10% off. I really feel they’re missing a trick, not marketing the museum more to the yarny community to be honest. The exhibition itself doesn’t talk much about the cotton/wool as a product, it’s more about the machines as machines that could have been making anything. I reckon much more could be done on that front with special exhibitions, and more of an integration of the wool shopping into the tourist elements. It’s not the most accessible site (it’s about an hours drive from Edinburgh, and 45 minutes from Glasgow, and you need a car to get there), but if the Edinburgh Yarn Festival and Shetland Wool Week are anything to go by, yarnies are willing to traverse continents to get to remote wooly places. Anyway, what do I know!
I got some lovely blue stuff, which I unfortunately failed to get a daylight picture of going to be a harvest cardigan for Milo, as a way of dipping my toes back into garment knitting (I’ve got a jumper I completed about 80% before I was pregnant with Milo, and I’m trying to build up the motivation to finish it). On the way home Milo was going ‘are you making one for me, and one for you, and one for papa?’ Slow down baby, let’s see how this one goes first!
Bit more sewing. I made this during a recent sewing blogger meet up in Glasgow which started as an instagram conversation between Helen, Kathryn and Jen, which was shamelessly hijacked by myself and others and then Jen organized a proper meet up at the Stitchery. I made this entire thing (including the cutting, with some help from Amy) on that day, so for once I know exactly how long it took me: 4 hours. The sewing day was for 5 hours, and I finished half an hour before the end, and I reckon I had about half an hour of lunch, swap and chatting. Maybe more. I’m pretty pleased with that! It was such a fun afternoon, so nice to be with like minded people and to get some proper sewing done without feeling like you’re being anti social.
Here’s everyone (note accidental organisation by height in the middle there):
And here’s the details on the cardie:
Pattern: Mouse House creations Julia cardigan, bought as part of a pattern parcel.
Fabric: 2.5 metres of bamboo jersey, I love it so. It’s £14/metre but it’s so easy to cut and sew with and did you know bamboo is naturally antibacterial? I always wonder if this is actually true, but I think it must be, because I can keep wearing it without it getting smelly. Same with my (non-me-made) bamboo leggings. I made the doubled over version this time, which is very fabric intensive, but it was worth it, because that circular hem nearly killed me on my first version.
Size: I’ve made this previously, in a L when I was pregnant. I went down to a M this time
Adjustments: I shortened the sleeves by an unknown number of centimeters (I helpfully wrote down ‘shortened slightly’. Thanks, past Franca). When I finished this I thought they were still too long but actually they are fine.
Good bits: I had a poor start when I managed to mangle both my cuff pieces, but after that it went swimmingly. It was nice to use the lighting stitch, which I don’t have on my machine at home.
Bad bits: Two very embarrassing mistakes. Firstly, all bits are cut the wrong way round, except the cuffs, and that’s only because I had to recut them after destroying them at the start. It’s really silly, Amy helped me cut and we had a discussion about which way the fabric was and everything but somehow managed to get it wrong anyway because we thought the selvedge was what it wasn’t. I honestly don’t even know what I was thinking, it’s quite obvious when looking at the wee knit stitches, which was what I did when recutting the cuffs. Luckily, the fabric has really good four way stretch so it doesn’t matter, but still! The other embarrassing thing is that I failed to change the needle before I started, and just used whatever was in the machine, which was presumably a universal one, not a stretch one. Apart from the cuff destruction it doesn’t seem to have made any difference though – phew!
Worn: Lots and lots and lots of times. Pretty much daily for a straight week – and I still haven’t had to wash it. I’m telling you – bamboo!
Will you make this again? I hadn’t planned to make it again, given that it uses so much fabric but I would quite like to make one with the pattern pieces the right way round. I do like to get patterns to a place where I have at least one version that is right.
I know we’ve just had a post with like 40 photos, well, here’s another one! These photos are from Stockholm, the day we went to Skansen open air museum and zoo.
This was the cutest contraption. There was a tube kids could throw their dummy in, and it would get wheeled away by the mucklas, transferred over to the cat and tipped away out of sight. I love these ways for kids to get rid of their dummies. Or you know, you can always go to Portugal and get your kid to drop it between lots of rocks by mistake
A couple of weekends ago, Dave’s mum was up and we took her for Afternoon Tea at Prestonfield House as a birthday present. Prestonfield House is actually really near where we stay, but we’d never been! It was a great day for walking around the grounds and trying to sneak photos of the peacocks! The interiors are all dark read, which I wasn’t really sure I would like from photos I’d seen (and actually doesn’t come through amazingly well in my photos either), but it was beautiful in real life! So rich and every surface was decorated differently!
The food was delicious as was the tea – I think we’ve been neglecting tea for coffee too much, spending a fortune on coffee beans but drinking Asda own brand tea, I think we need to redress the balance! As always, it didn’t seem like a lot of food, but I was SO FULL at the end of it, and that was with us sharing three portions between the five of us! I had also been pretty worried we were making a mistake taking our kidlets to a posh restaurant, but amazingly they were really well behaved and there was also lots of pother people with kids, so didn’t feel out of place at all.
Ellis’ first haircut! all the lovely curls are gone 🙁 but also no fuzzy felt on the back of his head 🙂
Milo in the hairdresser. She’s been on maternity leave for ages, and Milo’s hair was getting so out of control that I had to chop his fringe.
Something a bit different today.
You know I don’t talk about politics and the news on here. I never said anything about indyref or the EU referendum on this blog, but I obviously have a lot of opinions. I am absolutely terrified the way the UK government is currently pursuing policies that would fit right into 1930s Germany.
But there’s this hashtag #WeAreScotland that’s set up or at least promoted by the First Minister to respond to the xenophobia shown by May and Rudd. It’s quite heart warming to see all the tweets today (I started writing this on Saturday morning), so I thought I’d contribute. I started writing this as a Facebook post, but as ever, brevity is not really happening so a blog post it is!
So: My national identity is a bit complicated. I was born in Luxembourg, but I went to a European school where I was in the German section. I don’t speak more than a few phrases of Luxembourgish (I do understand it all though). On the other hand, while I have a German passport, I’ve never lived in Germany. So I never really identified as either, and I’ve kind of always felt in a constant state of outsideness, but not in a bad way at all. It’s a pretty interesting place to be. I do find national identity fascinating though. My undergrad dissertation was on European identity, my Masters on how New Labour constructed Britishness through a series of back to back immigration policies, and I’ve done lots of stuff on Scottish/English/British identity in my work as a government social researcher. So I do think I’ve got a pretty good theoretical academic understanding, I just don’t get it on an emotional, taken for granted level. When people say they are *proud* to be British/Spanish/Namibian/whatever, I don’t really know what they mean. It’s a bit like saying you’re proud to be tall, or have curly hair to me, i.e. something you haven’t chosen, or worked for for.
So all that being said, I would never describe myself as Scottish, even though I’ve lived here for 16 years, absolutely consider Edinburgh my home, and have zero intention of ever moving away. I guess I do tend to treat the actual being Scottish in terms of having been born here or lived here from a very young age, which I haven’t.
But it doesn’t really matter.
Because the thing is I do identify with Scotland really strongly. I’ve lived here all my adult life (I moved when I was 18), and I’ve worked for the Scottish Government for 10 years. I think of the news, including UK news, from a Scottish perspective. When Jeremy Corbyn was first elected leader, one of my main reasons for thinking this was a good idea because I thought it would finally allow Scottish Labour to say things about welfare reform, given that previously anything they ever said could be met with the point that their UK leader voted with the Tories when it came down to it. The reason I then went off him is because it became obvious to me that he had no understanding of Scottish politics or desire to learn. (I should say I’m not a Labour member or voter. But I really hope that Scottish Labour regenerate themselves, because a government without an opposition is never a good thing.) I do of course care about UK politics as well, but clearly not as much. My hopes such as they are in this awful time are almost entirely Scotland-focused.
So that was much more about politics than I meant to write really, but I guess what I’m saying is that is what I like about living here: that whether or not I identity as Scottish or not doesn’t really matter, what matters is that I’m here, and I’m doing my thing. No one is asking me to swear allegiances to anything, or to prove anything, I’m welcome whatever.
Successive Scottish Governments have done an amazing job at sending a very clear message that everyone is welcome in Scotland. Even when things went nationalist, it was always a civic, inclusive nationalism. I watched FMQs last week after all the Tory party conference horribleness broke, and everyone from almost all parties was falling over themselves to condemn what is being said down South. It does not take my worries away, but it did make me feel better, everyone saying everyone that’s here has a right to be here, and is wanted and we will fight for you.
And that is what #WeAreScotland means to me, and that is exactly why I can say that even though I don’t identify as Scottish, I do identify with Scotland, and I very much feel part of it, in my own national-identity-free way.
Unrelated photo is clickable for source
Laptop is back, phew, so catching up on the Project 52. It was a cable connecting the hard drive to whatever it connects the hard drive to, which is a common thing to fail on Macs apparently. At least it was easy to fix! Milo’s photo is at Prestonfield House, on which post next week, Ellis is just hanging out in our realistically messy living room.
So Monday is Project 52 day, and clearly there wasn’t a Project 52 yesterday. This is because my (8 year old and running fine until it collapsed completely!) laptop has packed it in, which means I have no way of getting photos off my big camera, and certainly no way of editing them (I do have a work laptop, but can’t install anything on it, and given non-Mac touchpad I hate using it without a mouse, which means it’s not actually suitable for using atop a lap). My proper laptop is away at the repair shop just now, I should find out tomorrow what the damage is – it’s looking vaguely hopeful that it might be a straightforwardish fix. But in the meantime I am slr photo less, and obviously the bulk of this blog is photo based. In a way this might be an opportunity to write some wordier post like I used to – and I do have ideas. It’s just that they take more time and head space to write, which in not sure I’ve got just now/will have for at l least another couple of years. So things may be a bit dead round here until the laptop situation is resolved. Wish me luck!
In he meantime, here’s an iPhone photo of the one of the Kanelbullar Dave made. It’s using this recipe, it’s a bit of a saga with two proving periods, and he misread the instructions a bit, so they aren’t glazed, but they taste delicious anyway! Both Milo and I have demanded that he make more!