YARN

Hello! I’m just home again after a fantastic trip to London. I was there to attend the opening of the Sonia Delaunay retrospective (of which more shortly), but I also . . .

fortnums

. . . had a wonderfully jolly time in Fortum and Mason with top wool comrade, Felix. We drank posh tea, talked feminism and politics, and filled our faces with finger sandwiches and cakes. The battenberg comes highly recommended.

loop

. . . spent a lovely afternoon with Rachel (brilliant tech editor, talented designer, fellow northerner, and all-round good egg). It was ideal weather for some leisurely pottering around the streets of Clerkenwell, hanging out at Loop, sampling the unbelievably delicious wares of Paul A Young, and finding a length of beautiful fabric at the Margo Selby sample sale.

foundling

. . . spent a morning at the Foundling Museum – an institution of which my background in eighteenth-century history means I know a reasonable amount, but which I’d never visited. Nothing can really prepare you for the profoundly moving affect of the ordinary objects and textiles that parents left as identifying “tokens” for their children. (If you’d like to know more about these, do go and explore the excellent website associated with John Styles’ Threads of Feeling exhibition)

sevendials

I also had the very great pleasure of meeting up in Covent Garden with one of my knitting heroes – the incredible June Hemmons Hiatt. I only spent couple of hours with June, but could honestly have sat and talked matters knitting and otherwise with her all day. Every project June undertakes speaks of a truly exemplary care and thoroughness and I find her tremendously inspiring. We all have The Principles of Knitting on our bookshelves. We know it is the book any designer or knitter can turn to with any kind of technical question, and be certain of finding a clearly-written, well-illustrated answer. For over three decades this book has set a standard, and we are all beneficiaries of June’s hard work. I have often been struck by the fact that this repository of knitterly wisdom has emerged from the tireless research of one individual over several decades, and if you’d like to read more about the process of creating (and recreating) The Principles of Knitting, there’s a really fascinating account on June’s website. As someone who knows a reasonable amount about the interconnected worlds of scholarly research and book production, I find what June’s achieved pretty staggering.

stpauls

Thankyou, London, for the sunshine, and the inspiration!

I’ll be back tomorrow with Sonia Delaunay.

43 thoughts on “a trip to London

  1. Kate
    You teach me something with every entry – thanks for including the links for additional information- my next trip to London will include a few new spots to explore.

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  2. I was thinking of the Foundling Museum last night while watching the 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre on BBC2. The scenes in the school immediately sent me to search out a painting by Sophie Anderson of girl foundlings at the Hospital in the mid 19th century. Of course, it is impossible to watch that film without thinking also of Paula Rego whose illustrations of Jane Eyre (which became postage stamps) featured in a recent excellent exhibition at the House of Illustration in Kings Cross.

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  3. As the others have said you look radiant and happy! It sounds like it was rejuvenating for you and I am envious! I want to thank you for the link to June Hiatt. I learned to knit over 50 years ago and do not have this book in my library – yet. What a wonderful woman, I cannot thank you enough for leading me to her.

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  4. Ah ha! I regularly enjoy your writing and photos, and now you’ve been wandering around in my neck of the woods! From work in Clerkenwell, Loop (Smug, next door) and the amazing Paul A Young are my ‘crap day pick me up’. There’s nothing like the smell walking into Paul A Young, though if thre was a chair in the corner they would probably not get rid of me, I’d just sit inhaling all afternoon. I do hope you had a salted caramel… or a pack of hot chocolate… or one of the brownies… oh the brownies!

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  5. I took a look at the online exhibition from the Foundling Museum, it is quite ‘lump-in-throat’ inducing. I hadn’t heard of this museum before, but I’d like to visit it when I am next in London. Thank you.

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  6. So glad to see that you’re feeling well after your “Bleugh” period that you were able to make the trip to London & take us along with you.

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  7. I was so happy to see you looking so good and out and about with Felix!! the Foundling museum…….those little pieces just ‘kill’ me looking at them………:( but thank you for sharing them with us.
    Yes, June is a wonder, how lucky you got to meet with her.

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  8. I’ve already extended my trip to London in May from passing-through to staying-overnight, and here you are with more wonderful things I would love to see and places I would love to go! Thanks so much for giving us a glimpse of such riches. LizM

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  9. Fortnum’s tea room hasn’t changed since years and years ago, when I visited (except there was no Battenberg on the menu :( )

    I love your dress. And now I know where all of our sunny weather has gone. Hey – we have London’s rain, if anyone is missing it.

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  10. How delightful to see you looking so happy & healthy ~ and many thanks for sharing Threads of Feeling, Foundling Museum, and June Hemmons Hiatt links. Also can’t wait for your Delaunay Tate exhibit review!

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  11. So pleased you enjoyed London. Looks like you had some summery weather! I have read and saved some ‘foundling’ material recently; it’s very moving and fascinating. Had a cake from Fortnum’s at Easter, still exercising to remove the effects! You look well and happy.

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  12. My son has just moved to a new flat virtually within walking distance of Loop. I’m going down again next weekend, the train trip for me in only 90 mins. He occasionally treats me to a champagne tea in F&M. When we asked for a bowl to warm up the baby’s bottle, it was a very posh silver one!

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  13. Always a wonderful treat to read a post. I just love all your photos and tidbits about all threads of textiles amazing how we are all woven together.

    Your looking very healthy and ready for walks with Tom and Bruce!

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  14. The minute I saw the title of your post on my blogroll I thought, she’s gone to see Sonia Delauney so I can’t wait to read about what you thought of the exhibition. I’ll be off to London in June to see it myself. Love the dress too – I’m mad about all things indigo these days. Sounds like a really fun trip – cake, sun, good friends, yarn – can’t beat it!

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  15. Hi Kate – I would love to see the Sonia Delaunay exhibit but will have to live vicariously through you. I will check out the web links. And June – isn’t she awesome. She came and visited me here on our farm a couple years ago. I have both editions of her book and now they are signed by her! Love your blog and work. My best – Kristin

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  16. What an incredible exhibit, I had to stop the slideshow so I could read the notes. So much energy in those small scraps. Thank you for that. You look wonderful and happy, and yes that is a great dress! Lois from Hamilton, Canada.

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  17. Kate, As soon as I saw the fabulous photo of you smiling in front of the wall of yarn (You AND yarn: perfection!) I thought “Kate really should make a calendar for us to buy!” I just adore the photos you send, so inspiring and really lovely! Thank you for sharing your time with us….and I am in AWE of June’s work, done with great sacrifice and love; what a gift she has provided; I’ve so much respect for her, and I’m happy you got to spend time together!

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  18. I love Fortnum & Mason but have yet to go for Afternoon Tea, however that Battenberg is definitely calling me! So glad you enjoyed your visit and come back soon! xx

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  19. Battenberg ….It’s been years since I have had any. Being an expat has it”s drawbacks!
    You look fabulous by the way, (not just the dress!)

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  20. Hey Kate,
    I’ve wanted to Thank you for all your wonderful e-mails and updates. I always end up smiling like crazy when I’ve finished reading your roaming’s and what’s new in your knitting and textile life. You trip sound like tons of fun and tea and cake with a good friend, well what could be better. May the adventures continue!
    Safe journey home and we’ll be waiting for the next great adventure, whether traveling or casting on!

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  21. A lovely post- so glad it was so sunny for you. And you DO look fabulous in that fantastic frock. I will get to the Foundling Museum sometime, I really will – thanks for such a super post x

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  22. gorgeous post….. reading stuff like this makes me miss London sorely. May have to re-watch Run for a reality check…..! especially love your description of tea with Felicity, we all need mates with whom we can eat posh cakes and talk feminism…. xxx

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  23. Taking tea at Fortum and Mason looks divine! It reminds me of “high tea” on the knitting cruise I went on recently. And the Foundling Museum… no words can express how hard it would be to leave one’s child, and to see it expressed in the little stitched items… I must see this museum when I travel to London. With a huge package of tissues too, because just looking at the pic of the fabric heart… well it is very moving.
    What a huge honour to meet June Hemmons Hiatt! Will you be posting an interview with her on your blog? Oh, I hope so!! Thank you Kate for a wonderful peek at your trip!
    Something I often wonder: does Bruce accompany you on your travels? Did he scamper in London or Iceland?

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  24. Sounds like a lovely trip! Going to London for the day is one of my favourite ‘day off’ things to do. I nearly always find myself hitting the V&A – there’s just so much awesome stuff there to look at.

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  25. Wonderful to read of your adventures in London Kate… it is extraordinary that in all the years I lived in London I never set foot in Fortnum’s… how remiss was that! What fun you two must have had. Over Here in Perth Battenburg cake does not exist and my mouth is watering at the thought of eating a slice right now…. I loved your post today, thank you.

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  26. Kate, this looks like a wonderful mini break. I used to work near the Foundling museum and it is one of London’s treasures – those tiny scraps of almost nothing pull the heartstrings.
    Anyway – I need your dress!!! It is beautiful. The colours, the pattern design, the shape. Is it this season anywhere?

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      1. Thank you. We cross posted. I got a 10% off code, fortuitously, yesterday. They don’y often do codes. I thought it was a sign.

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