I Knit London Tweets

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I love working in a wool shop!

I think it must be the best job ever!We've had lots delivered this week, including some fabulous Amy Buter bags. perfect for your knitting!

Sue has made some brilliant ladies under garments. It's a good job we have a manequin because it's freezing in this shop!
They came with a couple of pasties!

I though they would make a groovy eye mask for those delicates who are sensitive to light at night, like me.
Pom Pom International is about to take over the world. We've got lots of kits in the shop.
I also love the silk with stainless steel from Habu, it's amazing. I didn't get a chance to do much though.
And lest I forget the Sloe Gin.
I'm really looking forward to the IKL Christmas party tomorrow. The Bucks Fizz is chilling and I can't wait to open the pringles.
I love Christmas.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Panties and pasties....

Someone's getting an extra-special treat this Christmas! Back in October a friend of ours organised an exravaganza called The WOW Show at the Bridewell Theatre, with cabaret, dancing and a bra parade, all to raise funds for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. The event was a huge success, especially the auction of promises. Our contribution was the promise to provide a hand-knitted bra, panties and nipple tassel set - unique, one-off and tailored to fit the winner.

And here it is! Granted, it probably looks sexier when it's worn but it's truly fab. Our thanks must go to Sue (Knittiotherapy) who took the challenge (both of us boys were rather daunted by the prospect of knitting something so size-specific, if you see what I mean). Sue is a genius and the proof is in the pudding. The lucky winner should get the set in the post just in time for Christmas....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

stick your mince pies!

Craig and I have been excited recently by Sainsbury's promise of Ecclefechan Tarts. Craig might have been a bit more excited than I as I have forgotten go get them every time I have been in this week - I live very close to a massive Sainsbury's so I treat it like a corner shop.

I do try and use the corner shops but they seem to be run and staffed by such unpleasant people that I would rather spend my dosh elsewhere. Most of the people at the check outs seem to love talking to people and I always get asked how I am and they wish me a good day etc. They probably recognise me by now though! Anyway - why am I going on like an advert!

Ecclefechan Tarts is where I started. I remembered them this morning. Craig's Dad is from Ecclefechan, a Scottish Village, just over the border close to Carlise. We thought it would be nice to bring some to C's Dad as he lives in Spain.

I couldn't find any tarts; the place was over run with mince pies and reduced price Champagne. I was tempted by the Champagne on Saturday which probably accounted for me forgetting the tarts. After a while I plucked up the courage to ask the Sarf Landan branch staff where I might find the Ecclefechan Tarts. The third person I asked just turned away, probably beleiving that the wierdo in front of him surely cannot exist so it's ok to turn away. The fourth person took me to the Eccles Cakes. A fair try I thought. But, no, I wanted Ecclefechan Tarts!

The fifth person went into the stock room. The the rubber and clear plastic doors swished as she fled from view. Minutes later she approached me with a pen and a piece of cardboard box. 'Could you write down the name of what you want, please. No-one recognises the product.'

I did mention that there are boards hanging from the ceiling above the checkouts saying, 'as seen on TV', as there is apparently a national TV campaign about these tarts. Apparently they have sold 100,000. I supposed then that I had answered my own question.

I mentioned the boards agin. She asked me too take her to them. I did, there are several of them about 10ft square. She laughed and realised what I was talking about. She said I'll take you right to them. Almost at a canter we arrived in seconds. Obviously the shelf was bare. She got a supervisor involved. They are good at tracking in the stock room, apparently.

After more minutes he came out and told me that they had sold out. I felt like I needed to tell him all about Craig's Dad in Spain - why I needed them - but I refrained. I asked when more will be coming in; tomorrow, yay!

I thanked them as they had been lovely to work with for the previous 10 minutes. When I walked away I heard the super say to the woman, 'There was hundreds of boxes of them yesterday, what happened?' She said, 'we must have sold them.' As I said, 100,000!

Anyway, it's funny not having a 'proper' job. I love it.

I watched a little bit of a program on Channel 4 last night about the rise and fall of sex bloggers. I am sure this blog must be very boring in comparison.

That said I will leave you without knitting, but with the word Ecclefechan. Say it out loud.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Taking it nice and sloe....

When Gerard appeared on The Alan Titchmarsh Show last month ( a now legendary TV moment) he met Jonathan from Sloemotion. This small company, based in Yorkshire, handpick sloes from hedgerows and steep them in vodka, whiskey and gin to make their gorgeous, syrupy drinks. G sampled some live on the show and it was only a matter of time before it arrived, by the case load, at IKL. G has been sampling all week (in the interest of customer service, of course) and can safely say it's worth the £15 a bottle price! We'll be dishing out shots at the Christmas party next week. Yesterday, we had some friends over for a Christmas lunch (our flat is so small it's nice to have a knitting shop to do this in!) and the sloe gin and champagne went down a treat, alongside G's famous salmon en croute. It was a lovely afternoon, and we got our first handmade card of the year courtesy of Hannah - you can't beat a bit of glitter glue and plastic diamante.

The 'sloe' pun is slightly misleading as, actually, we are both knitting furiously having left Christmas pressies too late yet again. I've just finished the Chulo hat in Artesano Hummingbird alpaca for an old friend, Ann (can't show a pic cos she reads the blog and it'll spoil the surprise), Gerard has started a shawl for his stepmother-in-law in the new Habu stainless steel and silk laceweight (below), and I'm now working on a really cheesy Poodle wine bottle cover from Erika Knight's New Knits book (although I've seen this particular pattern in many an old knitting pattern book from the 60s and 70s.

Of course all this means that my own Cobblestone Pullover by Jared (from IK Fall edition) will probably have to wait until the New Year, although we are going away to Spain for Christmas so I could start whilst lounging by the pool! In fact, Jared's a bit of a favourite at the moment, Gerard is working on the amazing Koolhaas hat too. Could it be for my Crimbo? Mmmm, probably not. Looks like my Secret Santa at work will be getting a quick knit Rowan Big Wool chunky scarf too so there's lots to be getting on with over the next week. I must remind myself to take my knitting along to the knitting group at The Cock this week - last pub meeting I grabbed my bag and discovered on arrival that I was both witless and knitless.

Our Sunday ended in the same way as many of our nights seem to end these day - in the Vauxhall Griffin. It's our local and it's a great antidote to going home and being sensible. If the Aspall's blush cider wasn't enough we are now completely addicted to the Carry On Quizzing game on the quiz machine....oh, and we get a few rounds of pool in too....

Friday, December 07, 2007

the new issue of www.knitonthenet.com is live and it's great. I especially love the scarves!

I love the cowl and hat, the talk of the town, the jaffa cake, the beanie and scarf, the socks, erm, and the bolero and the little black dress. I don't think the dress would suit me, though, I suppose it depends on the what invitations the party season provides...

Congratulations to kotn for another fabulous issue, and happy birthday to you!


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

there's a river
running underground
underneath the town
towards the sea
that only I know all about
On which
from this city
we can flee
I started looking for this river ages ago.
I've just found it!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Weirdos at The Water Poet...

Last Wednesday we were knitting once again around London town - this time the pub was the cavernous Water Poet up by Spitalfields, which proved quite tricky for some to find - even G was ringing me at the shop asking for directions! I don't know about you, but I always find out where I'm going before I set off...?

But it was a good 'un. Early on we had a visit from a Belgian TV crew (will add picture later when Blogger is less temperamental) and we had some new boys learning too (above right). Go on lads! Jenny, in the same pic, put forward an idea about starting a group at her Uni, and we're up for that...more news as and when it happens. The other pic is representative of every knit night we have - a bit of knitting and a pint of beer. Perfect.

In fact, the Water Poet seemed a perfect location. Massive place with plenty of space, light enough to see your stitches and a good selection of booze. It all went a bit sour when the lights dimmed...but we asked nicely and they obliged, although the barmaid did say 'we have to think about the atmosphere' - as G said, we were the atmosphere! Anyway, when she raised her eyebrows and called us 'weirdos' I thought it was hilarious.....sadly, we probably won't patronise them again.


Carlisle, capital of....?

Last weekend we took a short break up to the Lakes and my hometown, Carlisle. Doesn't it look lovely with all the Christmas lights out? Sadly, I was a bit disillusioned by the way the place turned. Every time I go back it feels like the heart's been ripped out of the place - and just how many pubs and clubs does Carlisle need? There's a particular area of town that's been the major part of the city 'regeneration'...and all they have to show for it is a few hundred yards of bars, bouncers and pools of puke. I'm sure I'm upsetting some folk here, but I do love Carlisle, it's history, it's location and it's small-town feel, but each time I go back there's something else that makes me wonder if the council are out for making a quick pound at the expense of the city. The clincher this time was where once stood a bookshop now stands a KFC! And still no theatre.

Anyways, rant over. We spent much of our time out and about in the countryside. A very close pal, Ann (above in my new knitted hat that didn't fit my big head), moved out of town into the back of beyond last year and it was the first time I'd been to see the new cottage. Loved the isolation and the misty view, and the chickens on the run around the garden....her vegetable patch looked a bit worse for wear at this time of year but G and I were jealous as hell about the fact there was even a garden, let alone livestock and homegrown veggies. we are looking forward to our Christmas hamper of damson gin and chutneys. We're trying to convince Ann and John that what they really need is a couple of angora goats and a constant supply of fibre for IKL.

We went to a medieval fayre while we where there. G was chased by ladies of a certain age after he asked after the price of stained glass candle holder; it wasn't for sale , 'but I can make you one if you are desperate'. We got lots of cakes instead. Far left is the delightful homemade mead which went down a treat. This was in the REAL back of beyond at Roadhead (find it on a map!) in 'Reiver country' (we Carruthers are descended from the Reivers who terrorised the Borders way back in the day).

Yes, that is a real pig's head!

This is a shrew. Cats are lovely, no? Another peril of country living - Ann's cats bring her lots of gifts:

There was something small and kidney shaped not far away from the shrew. There were also some entrails on the sofa. Neither the kidney or the entrails belonged to the shrew. We found all this when we went back to Ann's to lock up the chickens, just before we went for dinner.

We had a great time, it was difficult to come back, but we have so much knitting to do!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Liverpool, capital of culture

I went to Liverpool last weekend. It was great to see all my family and friends and their babies. I didn't get any pictures of baby Louie but I did manage a couple of my god-daughter and her brother, Iris and Daniel. Me and Daniel fell in love, it was also the first time Iris properly talked to me. I don't see them that often so I'm not that familiar but she caved when I presented her with her most favorite thing in the whole world. A tit. Well it's a booby-yacker and it's knitted but it was still very appreciated, especially when it was stuffed down her t-shirt.
Blelow is a pic of my sister wearing her fabulous scarf. It's from Victorian Lace Today and it's in Habu silk. I did it ages ago but never managed to take pictures. Max was into being in the picture and we were in a rush so no time to argue.
Max today had her first scan. She has a beautiful little baby niece or nephew for me. Little baby Gerard has only been brewing for 3 months so it's going to be a summer baby. Just like me, yay!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Another hangover, another knitting do last night. G and I went along to the official launch party for the new Weardowney: Knit Couture book in swanky Fitzrovia. As the event was partly sponsored by Hendricks Gin and Thorntons sweets you can imagine how my head and stomach feel this morning!

Weardowney launched at London Fashion Week in 2004 by founders Amy Wear and Gail Downey. Their fabulous Marylebone boutique offers custom-made handknits and more, in stylish surroundings and with a laudable outlook, promoting handknitting and creating some stunning designs. The party last night, at The Georgian Group, gave us all a chance to check out some of their creations, paw over the book and strike a few poses amongst the fashionistas. All that and cakes from Paul, canapés and cocktails!

We've had a copy of the book in the IKL shop for a while and it really is a thing of beauty. Quite inspirational too, G and I are constantly looking for new ideas and ways to promote knitting in all forms, so it's great to see we're not alone. Our brains are filled with ideas and shortly we should have more time to fulfill them! As the end of another year comes we're looking forward to 2008 with IKL going from strength to strength, expanding our knitty horizons - and everyone's welcome to be a part of it....watch this space!

After last night's party it's put us in mind of our own Christmas do too. We are having a well-earned break over Christmas so we've decided that on Thursday 20th, which will be the last IKL group meet-up of the year, we'll also host a little soirée for Xmas. Invites will be going out this week to all our Facebook group members, Ravelry group members and real-life group members too!


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Beautiful Bonnington Square...

G is away in Liverpool for a couple of days, visiting family and friends, and staying out til 4am according to his phonecall this morning. At our age that's a bit reckless. Anyways, I opened up the shop this morning and upon entering the world of Bonnington Square came upon this fragrant steaming pile. Now, we've been in the square for over a year now and it throws up some bizarre sights every so often, but piles of giant dinosaur turd, fresh, isn't a regular occurence. For anyone who has visited the shop they'll know just exactly what the square is like - an oasis, a sanctuary, a surprise. It's also home to the small but perfectly formed 'pleasure garden', a piece of reclaimed land that serves as a community garden, children's playground and refuge from the rest of Vauxhall. This is all in zone 1, just yards away from the six-lane South Lambeth Road, railway bridges and packed Vauxhall bus and Tube terminal. I remember first discovering the place a few years ago, meeting G for lunch in the brilliant unpretentious café and just being in awe of the place - not just the quietude, but the totally unexpected community feel, the jungle-like streets and the exotic flowers and plants. It's only because of the café that the shop, as it is, and where it is exists. We have often talked about the square here on the blog and at the knitting group but I don't think we've ever really given it, and it's people, enough credit for what they have created and for what that gives to us at I Knit London. We're the only shop anywhere near and some might say it's a business nightmare...but for us, our little knitting shop and sanctuary seems the perfect fit.
So, back to the pile of poo...the tireless garden association were having one of their regular gardening days today, hence enough manure to save the Amazon rainforest piled in the street. One of the wonders of the square is the upkeep, the spirit that keeps the square 'local'. Here's Draeyk, one of the first to pop his head round the door when we opened and a constant inspiration. If you've never visited the Bonnington Square café try Vegan Thursday - superb food, more than you could imagine and all fresh too. Apart from watching the squirrels playing in the square in summertime, the other thing that makes me smile is Draeyk cycling past on his way back from the allotment with a bike rack full of veg, knowing a few hours later it'll be served up to a packed crowd in the café!
The square is a model of how to still remain a community in the heart of a capital city and everyone who takes part in this community should be rightly proud. If you come along to any IKL event at the shop you must add a trip to the café to your visit - real food, great atmosphere and nastertiums in your salad!
(Thanks to Lynsey for the pics)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Here we go round the Mulberry Bush...

I always find it difficult to get out of bed of a morning, especially on days like today. One of those gorgeous winter dawns where the sun is shining but the air is crispy and curling up under the duvet is like being back in the womb. Sadly, needs must and up we got.

I have a knitting hangover today, thanks to another great I Knit London knitting group night at the pub. Our alternate Wednesday pub nights continue apace with new knitters, old knitters and some crocheters too. Last night we met at The Mulberry Bush, a Youngs pub on the South Bank and were well met by a packed bar, Winter Warmer Ale and some smily knitting faces.
This was a new pub to the IKL club and it suited well. Good enough light, three choices of ale, plus the usual light pub grub. The evening was a little surreal as the venue is opposite the London Studios and The Graham Norton Show were filming 'ladies taking off their bras without removing their tops' at the front of the pub. I've been reliably informed that this is actually quite an easy thing to do, although none of the knitters felt the urge to get up and do it on the telly. I'm slightly bemused by this obsession gay men have with breasts - G, can you explain?
Another highlight of the evening was a FWIP moment (finished work-in-progress) - Alix held aloft her majestic lace shawl and it was a sight to behold. Still, after two years of doing all this pub knitting it's still surprising that our little gatherings are seen as so eccentric by some of the other drinkers. But, deep down, we love the attention!
More of the same in the shop tonight, and twice a week for the forseeable future!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

it all happened so fast

Lots of people have been telling us how much they enjoyed Saturday. Thank you, you're welcome.

We were thrilled it went so well. I'm still in shock about the whole thing to be honest. For most of the day I felt like I was watching it all on TV.

Thank you to the Knit on the Net team. Our proud sponsors!

Most of all, thanks to everyone who came. People keep saying 'thank you' but really, we just told you where and when to turn up, you did the rest.

If you have any pictures we'd love it if you added them to the flickr group. Craig and I only took a few.

Should we do it all again?


Sunday, November 11, 2007

The morning after the Stitch 'n Bitch Day before...

How was it for you?

From the first excitement back in April when Debbie first asked if we'd like to host an event "around my new book and my first trip to the UK" right up until Friday's night's set up I think we both were still pinching ourselves, feeling like a bit of a fake and wondering how did this happen?"!

From an original germ of an idea, something like Debbie in a room, a pile of books and a few pens to sign them with....we expanded...and expanded and settled for what happened yesterday. What did happen yesterday exactly?....ProbablyJane summed it up brilliantly on her Ravelry post this morning - it was like a big knitting party! Those who know us or come to our knitting group meetings will, I hope, agree that we've always wanted I Knit London to be more than just a shop, or a knitting circle. The social aspect is key to making everyone feel welcome and everyone feeling like they are part of IKL - and everyone is. Yesterday would not have been possible without the cool knittersand fabulous friends who turned up and stayed for the day - settled down, shopped,had a drink or two, met new knitty friends and learnt new stuff in the workshops.

For me, it was just thrilling to see everyone having such a good time, and a genuine 'buzz' about the place (thanks must go especially to the Shellacs for looking glorious as ever and providing the perfect backdrop to the day). I guess we need to thank everyone, from Debbie all the way down to the very last knitters who stayed to the bitter end....

We've set up a Flickr group for y'all to share any pics from the day (did anyone get some of the fashion parade - we'd love to see those!) Feel free to join the group and post away....

We especially liked to see our name in lights at last!! (Even if they did spell 'stitch' wrong - German girl input this apparently.) Come to this week's knitting club night at the Mulberry Bush on Wednesday for more SnB Day backstage gossip!

...and despite running around like headless chickens for most of the day, Gerard and I really, really enjoyed ourselves! We must do it again sometime...

Origins Ginger Knits stand


Pom Pom International!

Knitted hamsters!

...and lots more!