Friday, 28 May 2010

Sock it to me

Last year I became a member of the Socktopus Sock club where a gorgeous sock yarn, pattern and secret goodie were sent to me every few months. Me, being me, thought that I was going to be all over this and knock out a pair of socks with each package arrival easily. But me, being me, obviously did not and most of the fabulous sock packages are still sitting in my stash waiting to be started. I did manage two of the patterns; Heart and Sole and the Om Shanti Bed Socks.

Today I received a curious package in the post in the trade mark Socktopus silver postal pouch. My club membership has been over now for a few months so I wasn’t sure what this mysterious additional package could be. When I opened it up I found these cute little sock patches designed for you to show how many of the Socktopus patterns you have completed. How cute! I shall wear my two patches with pride.

At the moment I’m just catching a quick break from the hospital at a nearby WiFi restaurant. Flo is now out of the High dependency ward and we are now staying with her in her ordinary hospital cubical. It’s lovely to be a bit more like a parent and have to look after her properly rather than watching someone else do it for us. Today I got to give her a bath for the first time ever! She really enjoyed it, which I really wasn’t expecting. These are the things that keep me going as we continue to take things one day at a time.

Saturday, 22 May 2010


Today is a good day. It's sunny outside and Florence has been moved out of ICU and into a High Dependancy ward. Sadly there aren't any windows in the ward and so Flo can't enjoy the sunshine with me, but I've just taken a walk and am about to bring some sunshine back with me for her to enjoy.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Oh, How Very

There are some shops that I go to in London just to look. For example taking a walk around the opulent food halls and grand Egyptian escalators in Harrods or wandering through the handbag section at Selfridges is all like being in a very expensive dream. They are the places where every time you dare to look at a price tag it takes your breath away and you end up having to hide it with a pretend cough or ridiculous comment like “oh, how very reasonable”.

My fabulous friend Katherine gave me a break away from the hospital yesterday and we went to another of these shops, Liberty. I do visit Liberty fairly regularly as they have a good knitting and haberdashery department but they are currently having their annual Arts and Crafts Exhibition on the 4th floor, so if you need a reason to go, here’s a good one.

The exhibition is showcasing beautiful furniture and wall art from 1850-1950. Sadly there is no knitting displayed but there is lots of very intricate and delicate embroidery. My favourite piece was a lovely art deco embroidery of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. There is also a gorgeous bed spread with birds embroidered all over it. I would have liked to have taken some pictures but despite Katherine’s constant prodding I really didn’t want to get chucked out of Liberty’s for taking a photo.

If you’d like to have a look yourself the exhibition is free and is on until June 13th. Oh and all the pieces are available to buy if you’re stinking rich.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Team Florence

You won’t believe how amazing the care is that Florence has been receiving at Great Ormond Street Hospital. During her stay at ICU she has had a nurse by her bedside literally 24 hours a day 7 days a week. They’re not even allowed to go to the loo without someone to take over their position! They do 12 hour shifts, which never ceases to amaze me. The medical machines and drugs that Florence has had access to are out of this world expensive and we would never have been able to pay for the care she’s been receiving, let alone the parent accommodation we’ve been able to use for the almost 3 months we’ve been here so far. Basically GOSH is awesome.

To show our appreciation we have decided to raise money along with our families and friends and have joined up to do the Race for the Kids. This is a 5k fun run on Sunday 6th June in Battersea Park in aid of the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. The money raised will go into the hospital’s redevelopment project, which includes building new facilities to treat more patients as well as toys, machines and even beds to help the patients and their families to get through some very tough times.

Check out what it’s all about here
And if you’d like to donate some money please sponsor Team Florence here.

And just to be clear, it’s a fun run, so that means I can walk it... right?

Monday, 17 May 2010

Mr Nick’s Knitting

It was my birthday yesterday and although it was sad not to be spending it at home I still managed to have a lovely day with family and a few presents.

By far the best present I received was from Florence. OK, so the Mr might have researched, found and bought on her behalf, but he said it was her idea. He told me that she wanted to get me something that we can both share and is reflective of what I love and she loves.

This turned out to be a beautiful children’s story book called Mr Nick’s Knitting by Margaret Wild and Dee Huxley. This book is so incredibly apt to our situation right now I almost can’t believe it. It is about Mr Nick, who enjoys to knit on the train to work with fellow passenger and friend Mrs Jolley. One day Mrs Jolley gets ill and has stay in hospital for a long time and so Mr Nick knits her a blanket to brighten her empty hospital room. So here are the parallels; I used to knit on the train to and from work every day, Florence unfortunately has been and will be hospital for a long time and I have knitted her lots of little blankets to brighten her cot and to show her how much I love her. It was very emotional to read for the first time, but I really truly love it. Granted the story is a little depressing as Mrs Jolley is still in hospital at the end of the book, but I admire a book which presents real life to children once in a while.

The book is beautifully illustrated and on the back it has a quote from Kaffe Fassett, internationally renowned textile artist and knitter. It says “A charmingly illustrated book. How refreshing to see use male knitters entering children’s folklore.” And indeed it is refreshing.

When I read this lovely book to Florence, all snuggled up under the blanket I have knit for her, it will mean so much to both of us and I’m sure will be a book we will keep reading for many years to come.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Cleo says ‘Knit me’

Keeping me busy whilst at GOSH with Florence is this lovely Purl Alpaca’s skirt kit. I bought it at the I Knit weekender last year and then had gotten cold feet at such a big project and hidden it in my cavernous yarn cupboard. When I popped home recently to pick up some bits I decided that now was a good time for some hardcore knitting and this was the project.

The pattern is easy enough for me to plod along with on these long days but interesting enough not to make me brain dead. The cable and short rows are keeping me on my toes! The yarn is lovely and I’m knitting it on my faithful Denise interchangeable needles as they are just so fabulously flexible and portable; perfect for jamming into a bag when you’re in the middle of a row and need to get up and go.

The great thing about this project is that it’s a really versatile finished piece. It can be worn as a skirt, poncho or dress. I tried it on as a dress at the show when I bought it and thought it looked too cute to resist. Now I’m thinking that a poncho is what I need with this unexpected May chill we’re having now.
Purl Alpaca’s is a lovely company with some really great designs. All the kits are named after the Alpaca that provided the fibre for the beautiful yarn and this one’s name is Cleo. The other great thing about the kit is that it all came in a simple fabric bag which I am now using to cart all my crap about the hospital after my handbag got stolen the other week. Having everything together in a kit is perfect for me right now and I would certainly recommend you check out their latest collection on their website:

Monday, 10 May 2010


So if you don’t know already I’m Laura ‘Purl Princess’ Parkinson. Founding member of Stitch and Bitch London back in 2005 and writer of monthly column Purl About Town in Knitting Magazine since 2008.

I am currently taking a break from the column for a very sad reason. My daughter, Florence, was born on March 3rd 2010 with a floppy heart and consequentially had multiple organ failure. She was taken to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital straight after the birth and has been there ever since.

Here’s a picture of the gorgeous little Flo herself

I have decided to write this blog for many reasons:

· I’ve always fancied writing a blog, but never really had the time. At the moment I have quite a bit of time on my hands as I’m less of a Purl About Town and more of a Purl About Hospital.

· I want to keep my hand in with the knitting world and thought that this was a good way to do it.

· I need to keep myself busy so that I don’t spend my whole week sitting in the hospital, although this does provide good knitting time.

In essence this blog will be an extension of the Purl About Town column and so will involve me sharing my knitting adventures with you all, wherever they may take me.