costume and knitting madness!

Are these Mr Bump costumes amazing or what?! This morning I got to judge the Book Week costume parade at James Allen’s Prep School in Dulwich, and wow, did they have some fabulous outfits.

Among them you can see the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland, The Diary of Anne Frank (with opening front cover), David Almond’s Skellig, Emma Thompson’s Nanny McPhee, JK Rowling’s Hedwig the owl and Enid Blyton’s Noddy.

I hadn’t quite realised how fraught with politics this judging position would be, and I hope I haven’t made any sworn enemies of anyone by not voting for a costume. But I played it very straight by just voting for the costumes that had the best home-made craftsmanship, and let the two librarians on the judging panel sweat the hard stuff. Fraught, but very fun. Great job on your costumes, everyone, and thanks for inviting me!

Librarians Gail Hodson and Nicola Jones

And then it was on to Ally Pally! Our studio, The Fleece Station, took a stall in Alexandra Palace’s Knitting & Stitching Festival. I’d never done anything like this, but it was fabulous for people-watching. Some of these knitters/crocheters/sewers/quilters/etc are real characters, and the most fascinating of them all is our Lauren O’Farrell, aka Deadlyknitshade, who engages in illicit graffiti knitting and shady Stitch London schemes. Vern the sheep is a big fan:

Here we are on Thursday morning, having gotten up at the crack of sparrow fart to set up our stall at lightning speed before the waves of wild-eyed knitters plunged through the doors. (We were really supposed to set up on Wednesday, but we just finished in time!)

You might remember the Stitch Yourself exhibition by Stitch London at the Science Museum. (Everyone who took part knitted or stitched a 6-inch high portrait of themselves.) Well, that installation only went up for a single night, and so many people wanted to see it that Lauren decided to take the exhibition on to Ally Pally. It’s been great fun listening to visitors exclaim over all the weird and wonderful details on these little people: miniature tattoos, knitting needles, fancy knickers, handbags, and passports, just to name a few things.

The show goes on for two more days (Saturday and Sunday), and Gary and I are selling our sheep comics: Derek the Sheep and Vern and Lettuce. Although, strangely, for the last two days, Morris the Mankiest Monster has been far outselling my sheep comic. You just never know with these things. Except for the badges, they’re always a sure-fire hit. And a corner of our stall sells some merchandise to benefit the excellent charity Médecins Sans Frontières.

More news soon about last night’s brilliant launch party for the Etherington Brothers’ Monkey Nuts comic (congratulations, guys!!!), but now I need to go to bed. Good night, everyone!

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