Last Friday saw the last of our summer After Hours for this year, at which we were descended upon by some 150 enthusiastic knitters and stitchers for Stitch London’s Stitch a Squid event.
Squidius knittius observes the great stitch up in the Museum's Central Hall
After an initial scrum in the Central Hall that reminded me of the wild pony round-up in Misty of Chincoteague, the stitchers settled down to a quiet hum of activity that lasted for the rest of the night.
There were 3 workshops for those who wanted to learn to knit, and Stitch London brought in their amazing Giant Stitched Squid (Squidius knittius as they term it, pictured above and right) which we put out on display in the Hall. Stitch London organiser Lauren O’Farrell gave me some fascinating facts about the squid. Some 162 orange recycled plastic bags had been turned into the 1,080 metres (3543 feet) of yarn from which Squidius knittius was crafted; and it took approximately 80 hours to knit on size 12mm needles.
I’d cadged some specimen jars in various shapes and sizes from Clare Valentine, our Head of Collections, and Stitch London used these to display their cute knitted interpretations of a coleaocanth, viper fish (see below), snipe eel and oar fish, all created from specimens in our Deep Sea exhibition.
Tony Rice, the equally enthusiastic deep sea expert, gave an extremely entertaining talk in the Attenborough Studio on the HMS Challenger voyage. Curator Andrew Cabrinovic from Zoology kindly brought along some specimens collected on the voyage as a bonus.
From 6 September, we start to dismantle the Deep Sea exhibition. It always seems sad after you have lived with an exhibition for so long, to see it taken down and an echoing empty gallery left behind. You can still catch The Deep Sea though if you are quick - it is on until 5 September.
But of course, unless they take down The Deep Sea we won’t be able to put Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year on, and I know that 1000s of you will want to be visiting that at winter After Hours, which begin on Friday 29 October.
Ahead of that, coming up fast apace like that herd of Chincoteague ponies out of the surf, is our massive After Hours: Science Uncovered night, our biggest ever after hours event.
More than 50 of our scientists will be in action on this night, and you can be a part of this intriguing event, like the half a million people across Europe who will be engaging with science in 200 cities on 24 September. Take a look at our website and see just what is on offer at the Museum.