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I was surprised to see that visitors to London's galleries and museums are down as the National Portrait Gallery(NPG), cited as having the largest drop in numbers, was busy when I visited earlier in the week.

The busiest part was the Portrait Award exhibition and while the pieces were technically brilliant only a few grabbed my attention.

People often get hung up on art, what should they like, what's the correct way to talk about it. I say ignore all that and look with an open mind. If something takes your fancy, great, if it doesn't, move on. Someone else will like it.

If you can't make it to the NPG you can see all the entries online. Here are a couple I like. I'm not going to say anything about them. It's up to you what you think about them. If they intrigue you there's more info on the gallery website.


Patchworkby Paula Wilson © Paula Wilson



The New Religionby Conor Walton © Conor Walton


It is disheartening to see visitor numbers are down. The Portrait G…
Recent posts

WIPalholic

I've known for some time, ahem years, that I have several WIPs (works in progress) that need attention. I've avoided them, hiding them in project bags and cupboards - out of sight, out of mind - the lure of casting on new items, telling myself they are more important, they will be more interesting, distracting me from the irritation of the unfinished.


Truthfully they are not out of mind as they irk me whenever I go on my Ravelry project page, pangs of guilt for socks and sweaters I could be wearing.

A post shared by clarestorry (@gingerknits) on Jan 2, 2018 at 8:05am PST

In the post Christmas lull I decided to tackle a few, at least getting them out in the open, matching first socks with partially knitted second socks, finding patterns and checking needles sizes. I haven't found them all, that way lies madness, and I do want to cast on new projects as well as tackling the unloved.

I outed myself in Instagram as a serial WIP procrastinator and invited others with my afflict…

Food: easy five spice soda bread

In that idle time between Christmas and New Year some have dubbed Twixmas, I found myself recuperating from spending a week with my very intense mother-in-law by watching mid-morning TV.


I flicked over to Nadiya's British Food Adventure where this recipe for red split lentils and five-spice soda bread caught my eye.

I'm a big fan of curry; it's my favourite cuisine and the combo of lentil soup and soda bread ticked the right boxes. My dad is a keen breadmaker and he talked about making soda bread over Christmas which had tickled my interest. While I like the idea of making bread, I'm unlikely to have bread flour or yeast in and I find the kneading and proving off putting, but soda bread is doable.

The lentil soup was eaten before I thought of photographing it. It's similar to dhals we routinely make for dinner - so cheap and easy to do - though the garlic and butter were a treat. The bread has lasted for a few days as there are only two of us in the house. I manag…

Am I back?

Like many people, I've been contemplating picking up my blog. Heck, I've been doing this for over a year (53 drafts saved???) however the time now feels right to hit the publish button.

Twitter is crowded and I seem to just retweet excellent content rather than making my own. When I do make my own it feels like I'm repeating what others have already said. Plus it's turned into an outlet for people understandably frustrated and angry by the current political climate, myself included. I miss the old knitting conversations which naturally drifted into a range of random topics.

Facebook. I have issues with Facebook. Their algorithms skew what I'm seeing, hiding friends important news, repeating the mundane, endless ads, the list goes on. I liked it in the early days when it was a simple list of what my friends were up to. It was enjoyable and useful. Now it's a bizarre construct whose main goal is to keep us on Facebook. The only reason I still use it is my friend…

Monogamy

I've been a fairly faithful knitter over the last couple of months, working almost exclusively on the Box-Set Blanket. Nephew Two is due at the start of July so I'm hoping to have it finished by then. I'm on the final round of colours, although this is deceptive in terms of knitting as the last few stripes include some pretty wide sections. One upside of the miserable summer here is I don't feel guilty about staying in watching box sets and knitting.



We visited my brother-in-law and Nephew One a few weeks ago and it was lovely to see Blanket One being used every day. The kid takes it to nursery for his afternoon nap and it goes in his pushchair when not at nursery. Makes all the knitting worthwhile! Hooray!

I'm enjoying the garter stitch though I'm starting to hanker after something a little more complex and have plenty of WIPs sitting idle which I'm looking forward to picking up once the blanket is done.



I did have a fling with a pair of baby booties for …

Deja deja decisions

After all my decision making in my post yesterday, and my eagerness to cast on, my brain interfered again and I spent most of the evening playing with colour combos in Excel.

It looked like this:



I stared at it for ages, showed it to my other half, stared at it again, showed it to my other half*
*repeat until bedtime.

I decided to get stuck in having whittled it down to two possible layouts. I'm still not one hundred percent sure but I'm hoping I'll have a better idea by the time I'm at the next colour change.

Deja decisions

Almost two years to the day that I cast on for what has so far been my biggest FO, I'm casting on another.

When I found out my first nephew was on the way I um'd and ah'd over what to knit for him; i.e. I spent hours browsing Ravelry looking at ALL THE BABY THINGS.

I wanted to make him a blanket, something he'd hopefully use and keep for several years, maybe into adulthood. While I like knitting modular patterns, crocheting motifs and generally being a clever clogs, my brain kept on returning to a simple yet effective pattern.

#knitting pattern is Teddy blanket by Millamia A photo posted by clarestorry (@gingerknits) on Apr 20, 2014 at 9:44am PDT

I've worked with MillaMia in the past and their oh so cheerful Teddy Blanket had always attracted a lot of attention at yarn shows. It's a very easy knit though it is an exercise in stamina.

After doing more browsing (thanks again Ravelry) I decided on it but using Rico Essential Cotton, not MillaMia yarn, as although …