I – Cord icicles and so much more!

What a fantastic few weeks! I’ve had plenty of work, met some brilliant people, found out loads more about the Basque children in Salford and even managed to pull in a bit of volunteering – just not had enough time to write it all down in the blog!

So what have I been up to? – in no particular order…

My alter ego Nana Knitwit was so busy at The Ordsall (Hall) Ball of Wool that she lost count after the first 55 adults and 15 children had made pompoms, knitted squares and had a good old natter! Conversation ranged from the route of the tram, through recycling and how things used to be and football (have discovered that boys like making pompoms in their football team colours). It’s a lovely event but I never get time to look around, although I did manage to get a few words with Lucy the Tudor.

I have been in contact with some really interesting people in my research into the Basque Children in Salford and have found out so much more information that I will pull together for my next blog post.

I spent an evening with six fabulous women at the Deli-Lama cafe in Salford knitting I-cord icicles at a craft drop-in, a formula Linda the cafe owner and I are trying out: enjoy some reasonably priced craft and have your tea with your friends! The icicle, which I designed myself using traditional I-cord knitting, was a hit and we had a really fun evening filled with laughter.

Every three years (going way back to when I worked in social care) my colleague Di and I get invited to work with DIY Theatre Company to facilitate their three year plan and, unbelievably, three years have passed since we did the last one.  This year we took a different approach.  Previously we have used a planning tool called a PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope), a tool that was originally designed to plan with individuals with learning disabilities, but is also a great tool for planning with groups.  The company (of actors with learning disabilities) has been going for 18 years and really understands the planning and evaluation process, so this year we created something a bit more sophisticated, working with the full theatre company, the Friday Group (Arts Award delivery in schools) and their Board over three meetings. I’m going to be working with them next year on a Heritage Lottery Project, “Picking up the Threads” to celebrate their 18 years and record their memories and those of their carers and friends and the impact the company has had on all their lives.

I’ve just become involved in an upcycling project with Ordsall Community Arts, which involves community groups creating products to sell from the waste that can’t be recycled through the domestic collection bins in the area.  I’ve been asked to look at ways we can use waste textiles and I’ve been researching how textiles have been traditionally recycled in the British home, from rag rugs to patchwork, and how other cultures recycle fabric, such as kantha and sashiko quilting. I would love to hear of any other simple ideas for recycling fabric using nothing more complicated than a straight stitch, and using jersey fabric in particular. I could also do with recommendations for books and websites on rag rugs if you know of any.

Volunteering with Ordsall Community Arts for their “Lighting the Legend” festival in early November was a joy.  I spent three days making lanterns with local kids under the instruction of Fi Smith, a brilliant community artist, and I made new friends along the way with the other volunteers.  John and I also volunteered as marshals at the parade, looking very official in our yellow reflective jackets.

Now it’s all quiet again I’m hoping to get on with my own art work and make some curtains too…