Hello everyone …thank you so much for the hearty comments in my last post & I’m sorry I haven’t replied to them en blog yet, I have not been able to, being away from home, but will be catching up with everything super soon. There is another massive apology due – the photos in this post are dire! They are camera phone pictures & as such look crappy ….but for once I thought the excitement generated might show through despite the poor quality. Imagine …me in my new spotty bow top & red trousers fumbling around with phone “where is the ‘trackball’?! ooops, it moved” & snigger OK?
So we went to Manchester. We love going to Manchester, one good, or actually that should be two good reasons is that it is where the boys live now & so there have so far been 4 years’ worth of pilgrimages “up north”. Oftentimes it is an extended group of us that includes the former Mr Scruffy Badger aka Mr Technical Pants aka extreme Morrissey fan. Frequently a further good reason makes this a triple pilgrimage timed to see the aforementioned 53 year old & incredibly awesome Mozza himself. This was one of those occasions.
We always gravitate towards the Northern Quarter, vintage, retro heaven sprinkled with interesting bars & restaurants. Slightly off the main drag near Piccadilly Gardens. It’s funny that over the four years I can see how it’s developed – some of the rougher edges are decidedly smoothed & there are many more cafes & tea shops there than when we first started visiting. We usually head to Affleck’s Palace, an emporium of collectables, vintage clothing, records, jewellery, computer games crafts & all that stuff you remember from the 70s & 80s arranged over ?4 floors perhaps occupied by lots of independent sellers. We usually partake in a slap up breakfast on the third floor…Anyway this is a long way to explain that this time I easily managed to persuade the men in our group that Saturday morning in the Northern Quarter would start with a full English then “just 20 mins” in Abakhan for me whilst they had plenty of poster, record & design shop options to keep them occupied.
So what’s the deal with Abakhan you might ask? It’s got a regular online shop & is frequently listed as one of the fabric suppliers for SewMag’s makes. But for me it was my first ever thrilling & slightly scary fabric purchase experience. You see whilst the upstairs are regular bolts of cloth measured out to your yardage, downstairs, on the ground floor you are faced with lots of this:
Lengths of fabric sorted into types & sold by weight. I tell you the first time it really knocked the fabric shopping stuffing out of me because I was overwhelmed & more than a little worried about how much it would cost. Have you ever weighed your fabric to know how much a length that might be a metre and a half would weigh so you could then apply some mental arithmetic to estimate the cost? What kind of unrealistic extreme pressure is this? Weighing & mental arithmetic?!
So you get the flavour. After I’d plucked up courage the first time, I discovered that it was a very fun & not expensive way to buy. In fact you can pick up some real bargains & some really unusual pieces with a bit of rummaging.
Luckily I had a good strong man to lug a large sack back to the hotel (all 4.65 kg of it).
Which looks a bit like this
I bought 4 lengths of lovely quality plain knit fabric (1.3kg @ £8.59 per kg ); some poly wool knits to make cardigans out of (hmm, interesting don’t you think?)- three lengths (unfortunately only greys) including that floral grey in the middle (1.6kg @ £9.95 per kg), & more …
Here are my faves
Some vintage jersey ruffle / crinkle (£2.03) that will be a cute skirt; the floral print poly wool knit (for a cardigan ) was £7.26; a small piece of super hero craft cotton for boxers (£3.10 way hey!!); cerise butterfly print lycra (£4.63 for loads) and a small piece, 1m perhaps of vibrant green/ yellow stretch lace (£1.07); So yes. I am going to experiment with sewing cardigans, what do you think of that? Plenty of room for failures as this is acrylic I’m working with, but no point in starting with posh expensive knits is there now? Anyone sewn a cardigan? I have Simplicity 2154 to draw upon, but think I might start from an old existing one….and cross it with Renfrew perhaps….
So just 30 mins after entering the shop, I deposited the sack in the hotel room & we went to the People’s History Museum which was totally interesting – looked at the events I remember from History lessons at school & made so much more sense, was so much more relevant as an adult. (I must have been so unenlightened as a child!) It covered two hundred years of the political struggles that have achieved the level of democracy & rights we take for granted these days: the Chartists, Tolpuddle Martyrs through to the suffragettes right through to the politics of the 80s. As a history of how political messages were communicated, it was doubly fascinating: satirical 19th C cartoons, a huge collection of awesome banners for trade unions & the artwork & imagery used in the posters were inspiring. Oh my camera phone let me down. All I could manage were these & they can only give you an idea of the ones I thought you’d enjoy …
So the visit was topped off by the Moz himself. I must say it was an awesome concert- he & his band were in top form, some of his songs nearly made me cry & I couldn’t look when they played “Meat is Murder” due to the PETA film footage behind. Maybe there will be some veggie converts as a result.
Top weekend (much needed) & back to normal now …kind of.