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Stop terrorizing the playground, make your own indoor swing

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Step 1
An upcycle mission

You may have seen these colours on the high-street, lining the windows in technicolour lattice of one much-adored brand of the people… Uniqlo! (Although I’d have taken McDonalds for an answer too – McCheese-strings can totally be a thing.) Celebrating their 100% Extra-fine Merino Wool collection, Uniqlo had their windows bedecked in an installation that involved meters and meters of elastic strings – seven boxes of which ended up in my cave of a flat early last week for a rather exciting upcycling collaboration.

Now, don’t let the breezy number ‘seven’ fool you, because the boxes held over four hundred rolls in 65 different shades, which is naturally 64 more than my hamster brain can compute. Mind-boggled, I called Gyu (a CSM knitwear graduate, who, for long-time followers should be familiar from previous posts) for advice. ‘Oh jeez we can build an Oompa Loompa village with all this‘ was her greeting when she stepped into my apartment blanketed with a layer of awkward-shaped rolls of rainbow strings… We flirted with ideas like tents, trampolines and canopies, and tested the strings with various tension swatches (double-crochet, knitting, weaving, braiding…). Finally deciding on building a hammock, she left me after a few lessons on macramé techniques (promptly forgotten the moment she was out the door…)

Turns out one needs a company of veteran knitters to accomplish anything as big as your body. Well, I should’ve known, I have troubles applying body lotion.

So that’s the story of the swing.

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Gyu testing single-crochet in a swatch

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Step 2
What you’ll need

Extra-strength yarn (I used three colours – 1 skein of the main colour and a bit of the other two) · knitting needles (appropriate for the choice of yarn, I used 6mm) · crochet hook or yarn needle · 7 meters sturdy rope (before purchasing, make sure to determine length by measuring height to ceiling) · 2 x stripwood (cut to 25cm long. Make sure they’re wide enough to fit the rope with enough room around) · 2 x D-rings · Optional and depending on method: Sandpaper · drill · 2 x ceiling hooks.

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Now, I really do recommend testing elastic tension for the swing seat by knitting up a square swatch before starting the project, and putting your entire weight on it. You might find that your yarn, or even knitting tension calls for some mini problem-solving/improvisation. Alternatively, this project can be done with cotton fabric, which can easily be sewn around the stripwood.

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Start by knitting the swing seat – cast on 30 stitches and knit in moss stitch (Mine shows garter stitch) until work measures the width of ONE thigh – the seat will expand when sat on. Cast off. (If adventurous, try the herringbone stitch and knit until work measures about 30cm)

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1. Drill two holes big enough for the ropes at each end of the stripwood, leaving at least 1.5cm space around the hole. 2. Bind the knitted work to the stripwood using the Crocet hook or knitting needle. 3. Insert one end of the rope through the hole, and make a knot. 4. Loop the rope into the D-ring and hang onto ceiling, then repeat step 3 once the length is determined. Repeat on the other side.

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Step 4
Swing & tips

The best way to determine how high the swing should hang is to measure it about an arm’s length higher than your normal dining-room chair. That way, the swing seat will extend to a natural hanging-length. Adjust the rope knots for length if too long. Depending on the type of rope, you will need to secure the edge with duct-tape or seal with a flame. For mine, I wrapped a bit of yarn in a different colour over the duct tape for visual effect. Consider adding tassels or wooden beads to your swing if that’s how you roll.

I personally live in a flat with a mezzanine so I hooked the D-rings to the upstairs bars and let it hang it that way, but do purchase a strong ceiling hook if you wish to hang on the ceiling. Alternatively, skip the D-rings and simply loop the rope around the hook or bar.

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In collaboration with Uniqlo; Photography – Park & Cube aka tripod

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Coat – H&M. Skirt – Next (Similar). Boots – Zara. Bag – Kurt Geiger (Similar). Turtleneck – American Apparel.

Clocking up nearly eight years in this city and having seen the fantastic variety of elements the sky had for offer (and spewed down regardless of preference) across any given season, the only way I’ve found – so far – to tell apart the damn seasons, was the flower market on Columbia Road. Granted, it’s still a pretty shoddy technique, because I’ve seen snow on sunflower petals, rainwater dousing a perfectly fine barbeque… and so on, but it seems to estimate better than anything else. Anything else, namely, being the date we’ve nominated ‘the official first day of Spring’, which I find basically as credible as me declaring: ‘From now on, I will blog diligently’. It’s Christmas-degrees on the ‘first day of Spring’; 2-week blog hiatus because of jetlag… = same unreliable shebang. At the flower market however, the tell-tale signs are in the flowers: the species, colours and sizes. While I won’t dare to boast I know my flowers, the familiar superstars coincide with the season’s traits: Daffodils, daisies and tulips quickly ensued by the sweetness Springtime; Sunflowers and Dahlias with balmy weathers of Summer… and so on. After a couple of weeks of indecisive selection of evergreens and rust-coloured hydrangeas, last week the market was suddenly flooded with yellow Billy balls and multicoloured tulips, so I picked up a bunch in the name of finally teasing the sun out from behind the clouds… now let’s wait and see if the theory sticks, shall we?

And speaking of Spring…

Looking forward to going back on this potion that always takes me back to NY. Which reminds me, the Marc Jacobs Daisy pop-up store over NYFW was apparently a wild success. As I’d imagined, the #MJDaisyChain hashtag currency overpowered the $$, an innovative social media twist that really made this campaign all the more special. Like I said before, I’d have happily tweeted my tails off for a top-up of Daisy or a piece of Langley Fox Hemingway’s Daisy-themed artwork… or a Marc Jacobs Wellington bag (DAMN). Click on the arrows to navigate the slideshow! In collaboration with Marc Jacobs Daisy (conclusion).

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Coat – H&M. Jeans – DIY slashed Supertrash. Loafers – Hudson. Bag – Couronne. Sweater – Topshop Cardigan worn backwards. Bar bracelet – Zara. Watch – Larsson & Jennings. Tiger bracelet – Kenzo. Rings – Monica Vinader.

I have but moments before the car arrives to take me and one embarrassingly large piece of luggage to Heathrow – Seoul, here I come, start heating up the food. I’m putting this up right before I run out because, if I know my mother correctly, she will compose a short but powerful message on Whatsapp reading something along the lines of those broken jeans in your blog better not be coming with you to Seoul and this time I can be all aw but I’m already in the car. No. Don’t worry ma, I’m fully anticipating to go up a dress size or even two on this trip, I’ve basically packed fifty variations of sweatpants. (엄마 청바지 꼬메지 말아쥬쎄요ㅠ) Plus, after road-testing the jeans in London and finding out getting a sore throat thanks to cold wind through the knee-holes is the very definition of irony, I’ve decided to leave it out of the packing.

On a side note, I know I’ve put this up on Facebook already but I’d really love to get some recommendations of places in Seoul – I’ve never lived there properly and the only places I know are basically the Big Ben equivalents so please do help this hipster out if you can.

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Knit – H&M (vaguely similar). Pants – None (HAH) Yarn – Wool & the Gang (Pink lemonade). Photos with remote & Mr. tripod.

Still knitting like a mad dame, despite recently having to bump it down to Weekend-only practice on account of absolutely no work getting done during the week. And the fluff, pink fluff everywhere. Given the tendency of my husband eating things off the floor, it’s nearly every day I hear ‘ooh, cotton candy! OH BLEURGH, WHAT THE SH*T’ in the morning. Nothing compared to me accidentally scrunching up a handful of yarn and shoving it in my mouth every single day because I too need constant validation that it is not magical cotton candy. Also, those following on Instagram may have sensed, I’m nursing a growing obsession for anything pink these days, like I woke up one day in 2014 and decided to pursue with childhood. What did you get up to this weekend?

One other thing to take away from this post: No pants. Heck yeah.

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Plus, the winners for the 5th Anniversary giveaway!

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White coat – Charlie May AW13. Leather trousers – Topshop (similar Topshop). Shoes – Kurt Geiger. Sweater – H&M.

I’m a simple person, not minimalist simple, just tea in a mug, juice in a glass type of simple, in fact, I may be one of society’s flock of sheep that buy things with louder packaging. I’ll even add a beeehhh while I’m at it. Is it just me, or minimalist simple seems a somewhat superior form of lifestyle – I mean, how do you deal with so much white with all the food flying around in life? I have orange bedsheets for when I feel like taking my Spaghetti Bolognese dinner to bed, for example – which is every day except curry day. Curry day is green sheets day. I pinched this coat (Charlie May AW13) off Charlie’s studio the other morning when I’d arrived completely underdressed for a coffee date, and given my history with food/drinks and how famously it orbits the massive body that is, well, me, naturally I was hesitant to take it out. Alas, it was freezing and eventually I convinced myself that since I’m craving a flat white anyway it could as well be fine. I don’t know about the chocolate brownie though.

Thank you so much to those who entered the 5th Anniversary giveaway. Here are the five winners by random selection, congratulations!* Additionally, I’ve decided to pick 8 extra winners because I figured that’s the least I can do for the beyond amazing response I’ve had in the past week. I’m sorry if you weren’t one of the 13 to be picked, but if my love is worth anything you can download some here.

*Winners will be notified by email, please make sure you add shini@parkandcube.com to your contacts so that none of them end up next to ‘you win £3 million’ emails by Nigerian princesses, I can’t compete with that.