So we're now counting the days until Saturday's opening day at Waterloo. There seems to be so much still to do, which isn't helped by finger injuries and bad backs! One of the things you lucky knitters can look forward to is the new loo! For anyone's who's been along to the knitting nights at Bonnington Square you may have experienced the basement toilet, which is functional but memorable for all the wrong reasons. The new shop had a fairly grimy counterpart until I took a hammer to it. That wasn't my best idea, although it does mean we have a nice new one for everyone to sit on. Hurray. Pictures are proving impossible to load, but maybe that's a blessing!
The shop is taking shape. It's an empty shell with some of the previous fittings and fixtures in place. In an ideal world we'd start from scratch but time and money are against us on that one. We're of the opinion that IKL is more than just bricks and mortar though, and when it's filled with the sound of chattering knitters it could be a barn and it'd still be great. The best thing about the new space is that it's so much bigger...which means more room for yarn, more room for lounging around and more room for classes. As Hal David once wrote, "A room is a still a room, even when there's nothin' there but gloom. But a room is not a house and a house is not a home"...which, basically means I'm trying to say that it's what happens inside IKL that's the most important thing. Having said that, we have splashed out on some lovely new IKEA furniture to fill up with yarn and there's even a chance our new sign will be ready before we open, or perhaps not.
One of the things I'm looking forward to the most though is being part of Lower Marsh. Gerard and I both worked at the National Theatre (I still do!) so it's somewhere we're familiar with as it's so close to the South Bank. It's a really 'local' street, and there's been a market here for centuries. I'm always telling the story of how we stumbled upon the shop in Bonnington Square, and the same serendipity has landed us with the new address. Wandering past a few months ago I noticed the empty shop and thought we'd make the big decision to go for it. It was a clothes shop called The Closet (and all jokes about us both moving into the The Closet have already run dry!) There's a brilliant shop called Radio Days which has, in the past, been a destination for the ladies of the box office at Christmas Party time for a fancy frock or two. I like rooting through the fabulous vintage mags from the forties, and have picked up a few vintage knitting patterns in there too. Further up there's the retro What The Butler Wore for some 60s/70s fashions and next door to that one of the city's best kept secrets, the Scooterworks café. All this and a local bookshop, a couple of nice pubs, Iceland, Boots, sex shop and even the woodwind instrument shop! All it needs is a fabulous knitting shop and you've got a village in the centre of London! I fear that with Cubana at one end and The Walrus at the other we may see late nights at IKL go on til the wee small hours.
For a history of Lower Marsh and a view of some of the shops and cafés you'll find there check the Lower Marsh website.