knitting · sewing · travelling


So yesterday we went for a little wander. We popped into town to trade some DVDs for cash at CEX and set out to walk home, via a particular place that we wanted to visit.

In our new house we’re still sat on beanbags as we haven’t been able to get a sofa yet (saving!) but were told of the Poverty Aid UK warehouse/shop not far from where we live. This place is a treasure trove of furniture, clothes and totally random stuff. So we set off in search of a sofa.

The shop is located on a street in Leeds called Cardigan Road – it’s about 2 miles and on the way, you walk past this:

Cardigan Road Bear Pit

What is it, I hear you ask?

This, ladies and gentlemen is the Cardigan Road Bear Pit. When I first heard of it, I was extremely dubious as to whether or not that was actually its name and where said name came from.

Well, there’s an amazing site called which is a photographic archive of Leeds – and it has more information and pictures on the bear pit here. There used to be a Zoological and Botanical Garden in Leeds which opened in 1840 and closed in only 1858 – apparently the entrance fee was a bit steep.

Alongside the bear, there were also monkeys, swans, an eagle, a multitude of exotic plants and much more. The little turrets etc in the photo fell into a state of disrepair and were restored in 1968. The turrets were built as “safe” viewing platforms to observe the bear who would be in the circular pit behind the wall.

Seriously odd, eh? A Victorian zoo in a quiet suburb of Leeds! On top of which we also took some pictures of some very nice railings:

Nice Railings!

Mmmm…. cast iron.

Speaking of which. We popped into the shop looking for a sofa and have successfully managed to locate one (provided nobody beats us to the purchase) but I also came across the below. Trev says my face was a PICTURE when I saw it:

Singer Sewing Machine 15k

A vintage Singer sewing machine! Set inside a cabinet (which we couldn’t open, so no idea what’s inside):

Singer Sewing Machine 15k

We’re pretty sure the cabinet is original – as we saw another one just like it on eBay. Unfortunately it wasn’t priced up, so I have no idea of what it costs and whether or not I can get my grubby little paws on it. But I took some more pics and went away to do some research. It has a beautiful faceplate:

Singer Sewing Machine 15k

It’s also motorised:

Singer Sewing Machine 15k

Singer Sewing Machine 15k

The serial number indicates that it’s a 15k class machine, but I’ve no idea of the actual model. It’s a 1950/1951 machine – but I’m not sure whether or not it came out of the factory with a motor. The design of the cabinet and the others we’ve seen like this were treadle machines, with a drive belt that got the wheel going. It’s very possible that the motor was added later, as this was quite commonly done, but with it being a 50’s machine it may have been made that way.

So I’ll have to hope I can get my hands on it for a bargain price and bring it home for some research. Of course, I’ve now been browsing vintage machines on eBay all day and eyeing up the beautiful turn of the century and 20’s machines with Egyptian decals and much more. I can see a little collection forming here. But it would be great to get this one as it’s a) local and b) in excellent external condition. There’s a shop in the city market who can give it a service for me, so I’m sure it wouldn’t take long to get it up and running.

I’ve also been having some fun with maths! Before Christmas, I agreed with two friends that we’d have a mini-KAL and all knit Audrey in Unst by Gudrun Johnston in varying shades of red Wollmeise. I am the last to start – by some margin. One is finished, the other is in progress, but at least I have now wound some yarn and swatched. Here’s my yarn:

Wollmeise 100% Bussi

Bussi – a strong, cold red. I love it. It’s much more solid than some of the other colours, but I think I’m still going to alternate my skeins, once I’ve wound the other two. So I’ve washed and blocked my swatch and as expected with a lighter yarn, I’m going to have to make some gauge adjustments. I’m in the process of working out what size I need to make to end up with the correct finished size and I’ll cover that off in later posts once I’ve figured it out.

But this will be my first proper sweater and I’m quite looking forward to it – if a little trepidacious! (Is that even a word? It is now!)

Now off to finish my second Spice Lady sock (on the cuff now) and wind some more yarn (if I can bribe the hubby sufficiently to help me.)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend 🙂


3 thoughts on “Exploration

  1. Good Lord I love that sewing machine. It would go lovely next to the vintage typewriter I own. Really. It would. 🙂

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