Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday the 13th and no accidents in sight

"Work hard, play hard", the saying goes. I have certainly worked hard lately, so I decided to sacrifice one of the few remaining days of leave and head for London for a prolonged weekend. There were several things I wanted to see and experience, the yearly Knitting and Stitching Show being just one of them. As always, I was full of good intentions and plans - last year I got a nice compliment from one of the absolute gurus of the modern knitting world, so the pressure was on to make something equally nice for this year's show, or if possible, outdo last year's scarf. The planning went well. It's just that the idea hadn't materialised by the time it should have. But, ever an optimist, I thought I'd have plenty of time to finish "it" on the Eurostar train and later I had the whole Friday for myself before I'd go to the KSS on Saturday and Sunday. This is the story what happened that Friday.

It was a gorgeous autumn morning: crisp, sunny and clear. Instead of taking the underground I decided to walk through the Hyde Park, and that was the right decision.

I passed Kensington Palace and continued past the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall towards the V&A Museum.

The reason for this early start was that I hadn’t ordered tickets in advance, yet wanted to be among the first ones in to see an exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci's drawings. This strategy worked really well, arrived at the museum right on time and with rosy cheeks.And what a show that was! Scribblings on ancient paper, 1-inch-tall figures of men performing various tasks, muscles and joints bulging and stretching in such a lifelike manner that you just keep staring at them, never mind the queue that keeps building after you. The Queen seems to own quite a collection of the original drawings, reinforced by several other sources, so that the museum can offer quite an unique and wide variety of da Vinci's work. I wouldn't have missed this for the world.

There was another interesting exhibition at the Victoria & Albert museum, Fashion from the 60's which, according to a Finnish magazine, should have shown the work of a Finnish knitwear designer as well. No matter how hard I looked, I couldn't catch a glimpse of it/them. Too bad - there would be something in the archives but I'd set my heart on seeing this particular collection.

There were hats,


more shoes and


which were a part of this whole outfit in plastic.

On the other hand, there were also paper dresses

bold and colourful

but probably not too practical when it happened to rain.

Knitting wasn't unknown, either.

And just look at this renegade fashion.

Here I have to confess that this photo wasn't taken from the 60's exhibition but is from permanent collections. Does anyone recognize the designer and the year?

Next I had to make a decision. There would have been another 'serious' art exhibition in the city, but by this time there were far more people around and I knew I would have to queue, if I wanted to see this gathering of masterpieces. Paintings had been flown in from several corners of Europe, some even from the U.S., and you don't often get a chance to see these portraits at one go. Holbein's paintings are on display until 2007, so I thought I'd save something for my next visit.

And what was the alternative programme for the afternoon then? Hihihii. I did go to an art exhibition, although not as serious one as Holbein's would have been. Beryl Cook turned 80 this year, and her speciality is painting ladies with a lust for life (and fabulous shoes). Wonder why I preferred this exhibition?

But there was still something bigger and bolder to look forward to. A couple of days before this trip I was watching the BBC news, and learned that there was a brand new piece of art of Carsten Höller at Tate Modern. The first three photos are taken of the tv screen just as those news aired - I just had to see this!

The longest slide is 58 metres and it takes only a few seconds to descent from the fifth floor. Oh what a thrill! People of all ages seemed to enjoy it. -- I've misplaced the leaflet there was, but when I find it, I'll add a quote. It sums up exactly what the artist wanted to give us, and he truly succeeded in it.

But where are photos of me sliding down the chute? Unfortunately the queues were so long by this time that I just couldn't wait that long to have a ticket. I just watched the others, making a pledge that I'd come back for another weekend and be there as the museum opened in order to beat the queues. It was late afternoon and I still had to find my way to a new yarn and knitting shop which was on the same side of Thames but not easily accessible.

I knit London has just opened a small corner shop, and even though I bursted in on a Friday night (which is dedicated to knitting men), they were kind enough to let me in and buy some yarn. And some needles. And... well, as the saying goes, 'just try to stop me'. They are involved in a campaign which aims at having clean drinking water and sanitation for everyone. This Knit a river project requires just blue yarn which is worked into either knitted or crocheted 15x15 cm squares and put together, forming a symbol of flowing water. There’s more info on I knit’s website (I won’t give you a direct link, since there’s so much else to discover there; go and explore!

Some parts of the river had flooded the shop floor, and another part formed a waterfall…or was it just a curtain?

This is how the shop looked like when I left. It was rather dark already so I had to modify the camera’s settings. To cut a long story short: Friday had passed and my scarf wasn’t going to be ready on Saturday morning, no matter how late I’d stay up crocheting at the hotel.

(to be continued: KSS on Saturday and on Sunday )


KirsiÄr said...

Groovy, baby! Kyllä 60-luvulla oli jännää. Veikkaan Viviannea tuon peribrittiläisen tyylin designeriksi.

Susanna said...

Voi että tuollainen liukumäki olis kyllä hauska. Aattele jos stokkallakin olis tuollainen, mummot sateenvarjo ojossa tappelis kenen vuoro mennä alakertaan :D

zeska said...

Oi, ihana liukumäki. Tuollainen ehdottomasti yliopiston uusiin rakennuksiin rappujen tilalle!

Mutta varsinainen asia: vastasin siihen Vogue Knitting kysymykseen, että ei, ei ole löytynyt ja omasta ylimääräisestäsi olisin hyvin kiitollinen! :)

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