Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Blankety-blank - Sock blank dyeing in Bradford

 It's been a while since I've done a blank canvas (sock blank) dyeing workshop so it was fun to go to the Bradford Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers and spend the day with the members producing exciting, colourful knitted fabrics ready to be unravelled and knitted into socks, warps and other such interesting pieces.

The Guild meet at Bradford Industrial Museum which is a super place to visit if you're in the area.

Bradford was, of course, one of the main centres of the woollen industry and the museum has some great exhibits - steam, textile machinery, printing and vehicles. And of course, no discerning textile enthusiast would want to visit Bradford without making a trip to the amazing Saltaire village. At the moment there's a super exhibition on there, Cloth and Memory, and there are regular exhibitions at Salts Mill.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Gig update! SB6, Hadouken, Bleach Blood, Sharks, Current Swell, the Skints

Lots of gigs since April, too!

Sonic Boom Six and Hadouken at Manchester Academy
A perfect pairing of two of our fave bands :-)

Take a look at the new SB6 video and, for anyone who likes a bit of drum and bass, crank it up loud and have a listen to Hadouken's Levitate.

A great night followed by a trip down memory lane with a visit to Big Hands on Oxford Road. In our day it was Champers and served carafes of killer red wine, usually accompanied by large slabs of garlic pizza bread (presumably so our stomachs didn't completely disintegrate). Champers holds a special place in my heart as it was where Pete and I had our first kiss (awww!) so it's fun to go back there and find it hasn't changed that much (well, to be fair, it does serve a rather wider range of beverages and the dodgy red wine has gone!). Happy Days!

Bleach Blood and Sharks
Bleach Blood features as its lead singer former King Blues guitarist Jamie Jazz. The band's set was short but punchy and the new songs are impressive with a very slick and powerful performance for a relatively new band. If you fancy checking them out, you can grab a download of their four-track EP FREE! and as it includes my personal fave track, Anything Anything, I'd highly recommend it.

Sharks delivered a great performance and it would have been great to hear more from them but sadly the band announced their split shortly after this gig :(  (pretty sure it wasn't anything to do with us, honest!)

Current Swell
We did miss the very start of this set and my first thoughts were eek, country and western (not my genre of choice by any stretch - me and Robert Plant nearly had to part company over Alison Kraus). However, my bad, this was an unfair early judgement. Hailing from British Columbia the band describe themselves as acoustic rock, blues, reggae and, having heard the rest of the set, that was fair for sure. If I tell you I bought the CD even tho' I had to fight my way back up two flights of heaving full stairs to get it, you'll get an idea what I thought!

The Skints
Our second outing to see the Skints and Marcia and the band did not in any way disappoint. Knitting afficionados note the stylish take on the Fairisle sweater as sported by drummer Jamie in this video - nice!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The club catch-up to beat all club catch-ups!

Mortified to discover how long it is since I last blogged! Well, not strictly true as I've been burning the metaphoric blogging candle at both ends trying to keep both this blog and my OCA degree blog running simultaneously - quite the challenge as I have discovered! And it has to be confessed that the OCA blog has had to take precedent as it counts towards my degree. So, forgive me if this is a rapid canter through the clubs for the last few months......

We had Robin Red-Breast in December (yes, December)

Star Coral in January

Magpie for February....

Moving swiftly on to March we had Ochre....

April brought the Kaffe Fassett inspired Where it all Began (my colour hero!)....

Part two to follow.....

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Inspiring careers for aspiring kids

In January I took part in a brilliant event organised by Manchester City Council. The Careers Aspiration Day was an amazing opportunity for young people to come and have a taster of a huge range of diverse careers. Students were making videos, rescuscitating bodies (not real ones), trying their hand at building design, fashion, manicures (and they were just the ones I saw!). I lost count of the number of plates of cheese and onion pie and Eton Mess I saw being juggled by patient teachers as students enthusiastically raced round trying all the activities on offer.

My little stall was introducing students to careers opportunities in textiles and fashion and I had a constant flow of students keen to try their hand at mini-weaving and finger knitting. There was lots of interest in knitting and craft clubs and many students took away details of Craft Club and how they could find out more about knitting and setting up their own club. I spoke to a number of teachers about Arts Award, Open Badges and some of the fantastic new courses being offered by local colleges and universities in the Creative Arts.

Opportunities for photos were a bit limited, mainly because I was so busy, but I did get a couple of snippets to show you...

Some mini-weaving...

Finger knitters in action....

And some lovely finished scarves, complete with fork pompoms (yes, making dinky little pompoms with forks we borrowed from the catering staff!)

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