An Inspirational Saturday at Bristol Southbank Arts Trail

An Inspirational Saturday at Bristol Southbank Arts Trail

I woke up yesterday morning feeling like death warmed up.  A combination of a full working week, followed by my first shift in the pub and a sleepless night left me in urgent need of some coffee and some good food.  So after my friend Lucy asked me to meet her at the Old Bookshop I was more than happy to find this in front of me!

Breakfast at The Old Bookshop, Bedminster


We were about to embark on the Southbank Arts Trail, and I had no idea what was in store.  As it turned out, this breakfast was to set us up for the day, as we hit the streets on our bikes for the next six hours to cover only half of what we wanted to see.

One of the first places we entered was The Bed Workshop, which was decorated wall to wall with illustrations and would be hosting a ukelele rock opera later in the day.  Sadly we didn’t get to see that, however I did pick up these lovely cards by Melanie Wickham.

Bristol Hand Printed Card by Melanie Wickham - Southbank Arts Trail

Handprinted by Melanie Wickham

Handprinted Card by Melanie Wickham - Southbank Arts Trail


I also bought this print by Lou Archell, who I have just discovered also has a lovely blog!  I fell in love with this print – I seem to be rather attracted to tree type imagery at the moment.  Now to find a frame!

Lou Archell Tree Print - Southbank Arts Trail

My lovely new print by Lou Archell

We entered an array of houses and public spaces exhibiting everything from illustrations and photography, to pottery, glassware and textiles.  It was a real inspiration how motivated these artists are, and I found myself feeling a little bit overwhelmed!

Divaweaver's beautiful patterns - Southbank Arts Trail

Divaweaver’s beautiful patterns – click for facebook page

The artist that stood out the most to me was Angie Parker – aka Divaweaver – who took the time to show me how she makes her beautiful rugs and upholstered chairs.  I’ve never seen any weaving done before and was mesmerised by the loom and how the fabric came together.  Angie also had a great tub full of coloured yarn that I clocked as soon as I walked in, from which she had chosen some wonderful colour combinations for her rugs.

Heading homeward I decided I need to be more proactive when it comes to making things. I’ve been having trouble sitting down and getting things done recetly – I’m hoping this will all change when I finish working full time.

My knitting machine set up

All set up and ready to go!

So after knitting a few rows of my bolero and feeling sorry for myself this morning, I thought I’d give my knitting machine another go.  I want to make some fair isle purses for Art on the Hill, and that means knowing how this thing works!  I persisted and learned how to programme in my own pattern, taken from an image I’d found online, which I converted to a bitmap in Photoshop.


This is where I need some advice.  To programme in your own pattern on the Brother KH965, as far as I can tell, you have to sit for ages pressing one of two buttons, which makes the same shrill noise every time you press it with no option to turn the sound off.  I know this is an ancient piece of kit, but after an hour and a half this drove me nuts!

Finally I finished programming and rechecking, I’d done some practice rows of knitting, so it was time to knit the owl 🙂  I hadn’t anticipated what to do when the stitches come of the needles when you are knitting with two colours.  When hand knitting, I always fix mistakes from the right side of the work, but with the machine you have to work from the back, which is hard because you can’t see what’s going on in the pattern.

A poor attempt at machine knitting

Sad owl that looks like a cat

So here he is.. a sad, fat, pale owl because in my haste I forgot that I should have charted him in rectangles rather than squares, to allow for the fact that stitches are wider than they are high.  I felted him slightly, largely because I wondered how the yarn would react but also so it would like flat for a picture.   Not bad for a first attempt I suppose, though I am put off by the frustration I went through trying to programme this guy in.

I think what I really need is someone like this lady to come and rewire my knitting machine so my MacBook can talk to it:

Any volunteers?



14 thoughts on “An Inspirational Saturday at Bristol Southbank Arts Trail

  1. Sarah

    ohh a knitting machine! Sadly I can’t rewire it for you, but I look forward to seeing what else you can do with it! I love the new print too.

  2. Robin

    What a lovely day! Thanks for bringing us with you. For a first try I think the owl is sweet. Keep with it and you’ll have the hang of it in no time!

  3. Sandra

    Looks like you saw some lovely things, I really like the colours in that weaving – beautiful. I had a knitting machine years ago (a very basic thing, not one you could programme!) and I never really got to love it. Yes you could whizz up a piece quite quickly (once it was set up to go!) but I could never get a ‘feel’ for how it was going to turn out like you can with hand knitting. I think it was partly because of the weights you had to hang on it, I couldn’t judge how it would look unstretched. Having said that, I think your little owl is quite cute 🙂 x

  4. GrannyTaughtmeToCrochet

    Well I really like the owl. It looks really old I think because of the felting. I really do like it.

    You’ll get there, and when you do, you’ll be so happy!

    I’m just imaging some wrist warmers for the autumn with those owls on. 🙂


  5. Sweet Posy Dreams

    I once saw a circular knitting machine knitting sweaters on the Aran Islands. I had not even known such things existed outside large factories. I can’t imagine how complex it must be to set up.

    Lovely finds on the Arts Trail!

    1. buttons and beeswax Post author

      This one is really no harder than a sewing machine to set up, but the circular one sounds crazy! I’d like to see that working – I’d love to go to Aran too!

  6. Sue Speechley

    sounds like you had a good day. Your cards and print look great. The breakfast sure looked good too! Can’t help you with knitting machine advice sadly

    1. buttons and beeswax Post author

      Thank you! He still needs working on but I think he’ll be ok. I have a lot to learn!

  7. Evelyn

    Just have fun … remember that crafting is about the process so even your chubby little owl is a success. Thanks for sharing your Saturday — wish I could have come along!

    1. buttons and beeswax Post author

      Thanks Evelyn – you’re absolutely right! Its very easy to get carried away with these things 🙂

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