It doesn't quite have the ring of 'April in Paris', but May in Canberra is great - particularly if you are a knitter. Everybody who knows me knows just how much I love living in Sydney, but sometimes other places have great attractions. Some knitting friends and I spent last weekend in Canberra. A perfect few days away because of:
1 The weather. Except for the summer humidity of January and February I think Sydney has an almost perfect climate, but... we don't really 'do' Autumn. In late summer and autumn the leaves of the deciduous trees in Sydney gradually go dullish brown and then just fall off to make a sludgy mess on the footpaths. Canberra is sufficiently colder to have a wonderfully colourful Autumn.
Even better, though we had a weekend of relatively mild and bright-blue sunny weather, it was cold enough to wear lots of knitted accessories (hats, shawls, scarves, even arm warmers) and to spy out others wearing handknits.
2 The National Gallery of Australia.
One of the things I enjoy about Canberra is that I have a sense of proprietorship about its public buildings and institutions. I feel as if I own a tiny bit of them through the taxes I pay. I particularly have this feeling about the National Gallery and its art. I think this feeling is heightened because the National Gallery really only came into existence in the 1970s and so I've watched its development - usually from a distance - across most of its and my adult life. There are paintings I love to revisit, for example Morandi and Bonnard, and always new discoveries to make.
Just now it has unDisclosed - the second Indigenous Art Triennial. This is breathtaking. Go see it if you can. It's an extraordinary, beautifully curated selection of current Aboriginal and Torres Straits art that ranges from large, colour-splashed canvases from traditional elders versed in their country to complex modern melding of cultures and traditions in a variety of media. It's such a sophisticated and satisfying exhibition.
3 The Celebration of Wool at the Old Bus Depot Markets.
This is really the reason I was in Canberra in May. Perhaps by international standards this 'Celebration' is neither large nor momentous, but it is an opportunity for those of use who love fibre-related crafts to examine and exclaim over yarns and related products that otherwise we know only through online sources. This year we had a particular incentive to visit. Buttontree Lane project bags are a perfect combination of zingy fabrics, great design and impeccable stitching, but recently they've been in extremely short supply. The bags were available at the market and along with some friends, and supplied with orders from other Sydney knitters who were unable to get to the market this year, we made sure we were at the Buttontree Lane stall well before opening time. 1funkyknitwit immediately put one of the bags she purchased to excellent use. You see what I mean about zingy fabrics?
And these are my purchases:
My Buttontree lane bag, some merino/cashmere/nylon sock yarn from Fibrewebs who shared the Buttontree Lane stall, and two exquisite skeins of Swedish Kalinka linen yarn in a vibrant petrol blue bought from Suzy Hausfrau, whose first appearance at the market with a range of her wonderful yarns was a buzzing centre of attention. Also in the picture are two skeins of Italian-made German labelled Online Supersocke sock wool I bought after the markets at the Manuka lys - the Woolshed. I think I must be just about ready to resume sock knitting.
All in all - a most satisfactory visit.