Hunterian

Yesterday was one of the weirdest and funnest nights I’ve had in my whole life! Have you ever thought of putting the words knitting, museum, medicine, craft and beer in the same sentence? I sure hadn’t, but since last night – I can! This week museums in London are doing one of those open-after-dark thingies with lots of events, but my friend Tamsin and I chose the one that fitted our tastes best – the Hunterian Museum, where the happenings were organized by Stitch London. I was basically just looking forward to seeing the museum and settling down among the exhibits to do some knitting surrounded by nice people. There was certainly plenty of that!

Something about seeing a line-up of knitters all busily working away always makes me smile. Almost like we’re in some hand-knitting factory. :)

The girls from Stitch London had lots of needles and colorful yarn for any newbs that wanted to give it a try! I was quite proud that my friend Giselle was one of the teachers!

And we sure were in an, to say the least, unusual setting for knitting!

Very soon after we arrived, though, I realized there wouldn’t be too much time for knitting! Why? Because there were a ton of free workshops with enthusiastic teaching volunteers! I was keen on one or two, but in the end I did most of them, because it was hard to pass by a group engaged in one of the activities and not think Ooooooh that looks like so much fun, I wanna do it too!

First I tried my hand at spinning, which I had never done before.

I don’t have a desire to spin my own yarn in general (it seems that most knitters develop it as they get more advanced, but for now I can’t be bothered), but the process was quite a mystery to me, so my aim was primarily to demystify it… I love demystification! :)

We were allowed to take home what we ended up with, though I can’t say that was a lot for me! The wool kept breaking up and ending up either overspun or too thick. Still, I came away with this little blob of, um I guess you would be allowed to call it – yarn?

After the lesson was over, I walked around to find Tamsin, who had been taking a card-making class at the same time. As I arrived, she was still very much engrossed in it.

And when she showed me what she was making, I had one of those oooooh moments, so I decided to snatch up the free seat next to her and make one of my own!

The atmosphere was very much school-workshop-y. So lovely to be able to do it without feeling silly at the age of, well, not 9 years old!

My butterfly ended up all lopsided and sort of looking like a scientific specimen, but I kind of like that! :)

After we finished our cards, I walked around a bit to see some more of the museum and what else people were doing. The weaving class was crowded, and there were plenty of men trying their hand at it!

They were surrounded by some interesting paintings.

I’m guessing this one has something to do with evolution – it was too crowded for me to be able to study it more carefully…

The Hunterian is, after all, a medical museum, but there seems to be a good deal of craftiness involved in some of the exhibits, like the handsewn skelleton cape and the inner organs model. That must be such a fun thing for kids visiting!

Finally, the time came for our suturing workshop. Yes, you read correctly – suturing.

We were taught by real-life surgeons, and the lady who was teaching us was so lovely – if I ever needed a surgeon to stitch me up, I would want it to be her! I asked her if she was still in the 14-hour-shifts stage, and she said yes with a smile, but even after that and two hours of teaching amateurs, she was still cheerful, smiling and incredibly patient.

I sure hope she doesn’t drink beer while she’s doing her real-life work, though… I was definitely not being the best surgeon in the world, I seemed to be more concerned with siping my beer and taking silly photos of myself with my ‘patient’. :D

In the half hour we had, I did manage to give it three ok-looking stitches, though. If you look closely you might be able to see them (hint – the thread is blue).

After this, Tamsin and I found a quiet bit of floor and settled down exhaustedly to do some knitting, finally… We soon started dropping our stitches in the most unusual of ways, and realized that there had been too much of excitement and of bubbly to lead to any good knitting… We headed home satisfied and happy. I wish there were more nights like this one!

I hope you have a weird and crafty weekend! :)

p.s. If you wanna see the photos in better resolution, you can find them on my Flickr here.

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About fridica

I started knitting completely by accident, when I was visiting my parents for a holiday in 2008. On a boring Sunday afternoon, I decided to dig through their stash of books to see if there was anything interesting to take back to my apartment. A knitting manual happened to be one of the books I found. I got curious, my mom immediately dug out her old needles and yarn stash (which she hadn’t used in a decade at least), and in a few minutes we were both casting on - she by memory, I by following the instructions from the book… :) Since I normally prefer learning from books, this was ideal.. I took the book home with me, and very very soon - I was an addict.

13 thoughts on “Hunterian

  1. Wow it sounds like you had fun! My daughter will be at Oxford this summer. I told her if she gets a chance she needs to go to this museum. What a variety of workshops. You could spin the thread to suture the patient and then make a get well card for them ;-)

    • It’s an awesome museum, I’m planning to go another day to explore it more thoroughly. And as most museums in London – it’s free. :)

    • I know, it’s one of those only-in-London kind of things (though it really wouldn’t be that difficult to organize it anywhere else, it’s just the people with the will and the ideas)… Yeah, it was all free! So nice of them!

  2. Oh wow, I’m so jealous! It looks like such a fun evening. I’ve tried spinning with a drop spindle too, and I was useless. I kept dropping the spindle on the floor and breaking the yarn. I think I’ll leave it to the experts…

    • It was fun trying without worrying about being good at it! I really don’t have any ambition to become a spinner at this point, so I didn’t mind. Some of the people were naturals, though! :)

  3. OHMYGOODNESS I wish I lived in London :( Glad you had a great time! I’m totally up for some suturing….which is strange as I can’t stand the sight of blood :D

  4. Pingback: sheep « fridica

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