Thursday, 27 February 2014


We have all these tiny dinosaurs running around London, and, far from being amazed at how frickin awesome that is, we treat them as pests - letting our kids and Jack Russells terrorise them, shoeing them away and covering everything in spikes to stop them sitting down. 
So, to remind us all how bad-ass the now humble pigeon could have been if it were just a little bigger I whipped up an embroidery of it's most identifiably dino-bits - it's bones.
The whole time I was making this, the guys at work were trying to guess if it was a Compsognathus or Deinonychus. No, gentlemen... it's a pigeon. That's how entirely brilliant evolution is.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

An Open Letter

I fairly recently got into reading graphic novels, having been lead there (predictably enough) by Neil Gaimen. Under guidance from friends, I've ploughed though a few classics of the genre and am starting to develop my own tastes. A colleague - rather an aficionado - told me to check out the London Comic Mart, so that's where I went yesterday.

The fact that most of my fellow attendees were men was not a surprise. Their reaction to my presence amongst them was.
The staring.
My goodness, the staring.

Do you have any idea how intimidating that is?
I actually went to the loos to check that I didn't have my skirt tucked into my pants. No, I didn't - I looked pretty much like I always do - headscarf, coat, black tights, heels. There were six other female comic-fans walking around the crowded rooms, compared to whom I was maybe a bit over done.... but, compared to the majority of female characters in the available reading material, I looked like a nun.
Yet, I had eyes trailing me as if I was suspected of shoplifting. Under such scrutiny, I became hyper-aware of my every movement and facial expression - my usual background level of awkward became massively magnified. Could that really all because I had visible legs?

Combine the incessant need to stare at my back with a complete aversion to interacting with my face, and a weird, scary atmosphere is created. Salesmen who were trying to chat up every other passer-by became suddenly engrossed in paperwork while I browsed their wares. When I actually tried to make a purchase, the attendant was so surprised that he visibly jumped. I swear, he'd have been less shocked had my cat expressed an interest in volume 3 of Fables. Apparently unable to rise to the challenge of asking if such an aberration as I needed a carrier bag, he wordlessly ran away to find someone else who could serve me. 

Now, maybe I'm reading too much into it - maybe it's not my double x chromosome that caused such a reaction. I was too upset and intent on getting out to try to gauge how the other women were being treated. But I can't think what else it could be. Please, if my unfamiliarity with some detail of etiquette was the cause of the hostility,  tell me - I'm shy, but friendly, so you can approach me to let me know. I'm new to this world and would be happy to learn it's ways.

I know that, individually, none of you meant harm - but collectively, you were really very unwelcoming.
I'll be coming back - there were interesting books at good prices, and I'm goddamn stubborn. So, I'd really appreciate it if next time you'd treat me like just-another-human (even if I'm part of the 50% with differently shaped genitals to yours), rather than like a rhinoceros who should be re-captured by the zoo.


Friday, 14 February 2014


There's something weirdly pleasing about the texture of embroidery on paper - running your finger along a row of stitches like this is one of those odd little tactile experiences that calls for repetition, so you find yourself stroking the needlework. Maybe best not done in public.

More photos of my crazy-patchworked paper bookbinding here

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


A jumper. I made a chuffing jumper.
It's one of the most badly made jumpers you're ever ikely to see - but it is fully functioning, with a head-hole and body-hole and two arms (the same length!). And so it is officially declared a successful jumper. And that, I reckon, means I'm officially a knitter.


I love getting craft requests. Love it. It's awesome. Because I love to make things for people, and it's even better if those things are actually something they want. In fact, making craft requests is really sensible for anyone related / vaguely acquainted with me, since odds-are I'll make you stuff anyway, so it may as well me something that you actually like, rather than another delightful fringed scarf.

My youngest-elder brother has wised up to this and asked for a throw to go in his new pad. Thus, my first attempt at moss stitch - and biggest knitting project to date (though done on massive 20mm needles, so I did cheat somewhat). Home Sweet Home, Bro :)

Saturday, 1 February 2014

OHM; Resistance is Futile

I went to this festival in September (err, yes, I am a little late blogging this). That will surprsie you, because as you know I do not possess any taste in music (I willingly - nay, happily - listen to OBCs from 80s musicals). Also, I am unable to dance, or talk to people... and am generally adverse to the concept of 'tents' (more to the point - the resultant concept of 'no hot water / hair dryer / handy library').

OHM, though, is somewhat different. It stands for Observe Hack Make. It's for nerds. 
It basically comprises of a couple of hours of everyone being socially inept with occasional sheepish grins to each other, and then 5 days of everyone comparing home-made 3D printers. There was a metal working forge, a whole village dedicated to 80s arcade games, and lectures about digital authoritarianism in the middle east.

And.... becasue I happen to know a certain woman* who was on the organising committee, I was allowed to pay for my ticket in hoopla (well... Hoopla and a small amount of banner painting) instead of money. 
Only one word applies; badass

* a woman who, on a scale of 1 to awesome, is somewhere near the Kuiper Belt

Some of my hoops were 3D

Others had embedded flashing LEDs. 
If you ever see me looking glum, hand me a roll of conductive embroidery thread. It's happiness in floss form.

I didn't manage to get a proper shot of the finished, lit up (and unobstructed by speed limits) result - but our banners tested my long forgotten paint-shop up-scaling skills - all hand-drawn from A4 sized sketches