On Sunday my friend Ellen and I spent the afternoon at the Spitalfields Sheep and Wool Fayre. For the uninitiated we aren't talking about miles and miles of rolling sheep country here. We're at a City Farm right in the middle of the east end of London.
Of course I made sure that I was appropriately attired.
Spitalfields City Farm is a community project which fulfils a range of functions. It provides an important educational resource for children who may get very few opportunities to get close to animals and to understand where their food and clothing comes from. It also provides meaningful employment for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems as well as playing a part in preserving rare breeds.
There are permanent display spaces for spinning and weaving but on this occasion the spinner was busy in the education area teaching children to spin.It was wonderful to watch children concentrating really hard on drafting the yarn and watching the wheel spin then emerging a while later with their first skeins of yarn. There were opportunities for children to try knitting and weaving, organised by Community Service Volunteers. I have given them my name and would be really keen to offer some of my time in this way too.
There was musical entertainment too. This very talented Latin American musician gave the event a festival feel. We happily settled down under a tree with our knitting and a cup of tea to listen to him. I did feel sorry for him though, at one point he was playing to an audience of two kntters, two rabbits and three geese. Those geese were harsh critics.
For a few hours the City Farm really gave us a sense of being out of the hustle and bustle of city life so my message to any townies reading this blog is, find out if you have a local city farm and give them your support.
Outside the farm, east London was also in festive mood with an arts event in Brick Lane where I came across some proper London Icons - a group of Pearlies! As this is a craft blog, notice particularly that their costumes are decorated with hundreds of pearl buttons sewn to form the words and patterns on their suits. Their roots are amongst the costermonger families of the various London markets and exist nowadays as a charitable fundraising organisation.
And of course, no east London event would be complete without an ex boxer Frank Sinatra tribute act.
A marvellous way to spend a sunny Sunday.