I Knit London Tweets

Monday, June 30, 2008

Woolfest memories

Straight after Thursday's knitting group meeting Gerard and I travelled oop North for our first Woolfest. I'm a Cumbrian boy, born and bred, but we hadn't had the chance to get up to the show before. Ooh, the excitement was barely contained! After a stop off at a motel outside Preston (nice) we arrived on Friday morning and headed straight for the venue. It was a brilliant event - beneath the metal roof of a giant cowshed were yarns, fleece, sheep and alpacas, angora goats and rabbits, spinners, dyers and fibre fans from all over the place. We spent almost the whole day there, feeling up the fleeces. Gerard had a go with the world's biggest knitting needles (below) (you can have a go too, when Ingrid comes along for I Knit Day in September) and he gained a healthy obsession with the curly Wensleydale sheep and bought his first drop-spindle with a view to being a beginner spinner sometime soon. It was great to meet so many familiar faces and meet up with loads of people who we only know as Ravatars! We saw the sheep shearing and felt compelled to buy a fleece - no idea how we'll wash it, perhaps it'll be a 'gift' for someone...and we scrounged our way around the stands collecting for The Great British Sheep project with some success. Thank you to everyone who got so enthusiastic about it and watch out for our first photos from the fete this weekend. Personally I fell for the Herdwicks (pictured). I want one!

We stayed at a lovely hotel in Cockermouth, the Allerdale Court, and noted that it was pretty much full of knitters too...ProbablyJane's name we spotted in the signing in book, there were little knit sessions in the hallway outside our room, and in the evening knitting in the bar. Even at breakfast we saw the Freyalyn witch (sans hat as the ceilings were too low). We loved it so much we went back on Saturday for more! Our boot was stuffed by the end of it all and our pockets a bit lighter.

But this being my 'home country' there were friends to catch up with, family to visit and amazing views to be taken in, plus sampling some local beer here and there. On Sunday we headed off to the fantastic Kirkstile Inn in Loweswater for a post-Woolfest knitting group meeting. If anything it was worth it for the drive and the spectacular location, nestled at the foot of Mellbreak and with stunning views...and the sun even came out for us! A perfect end to the weekend, and thanks to those who made the journey there to join us. Heading back to the motorway we both felt like we were hoping for a reason to make us turn back.
You can see all of our Woolfest Weekend 2008 photos now in our Flickr gallery.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Crochet Jam!

Saturday's Crochet Jam at the Riyal Festival Hall was so much fun! The Jam was to encourage people to crochet and to contribute to the Hyperbolic Coral Reef at the same time!

We had a great team of teachers including Sue, Yvonne, Claire, Denise and Maria. Thank you to all for being brilliant.
We had the Shellac Sisters, Virginia and Ms Pip, to keep swaying all afternoon and the most amazing Kalki Le Hula spinning a different way. It was brilliant to see almost 100 open mouthed crocheters as Kalki worked her way through a stunning hula hoop twirling performance. She even crocheted while she was twirling!

Even though it was quite hot in the Clore Ballroom we produced a mighty bunch of hyperbolics which were ceremoniously pinned on to the coral mound and is now on display at the Festival Hall.
Amy Lamé was great, as usual as our host and I was marvelous as her not so glamorous assistant. I also got to be an independent adjudicator (for the second time!) when Amy did a quiz!

The exhibitions will be at the RFH and the Hayward Gallery until August. You can still contribute!!!


Friday, June 20, 2008

I didn't take any pictures last night, sorry I forgot. But these are pictures from a Thursday a couple of weeks ago.

Last night was very relaxed, we talked about Dr Who, British Pensions Schemes, campaigning and influencing policy, the crochet jam, rhyming words with horsey and saucy, doing TV quizes, Camp Bestival, cider, Fentimen drinks, free online patterns, Heroes, Woolfest and hotel in Cumbria.

We also talked about the virtues of Knitpicks needles. We sell quite a range of the now, the options sets included!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I Knit London knitting group at Concrete Bar and Café

Each Wednesday and Thursday we run the knitting group. We have done for over 2 years. We go to pubs, We sit in parks. We have our own knitting shop and sanctuary. We haven't done a regular blog until now - so each week we'll post a pic and a list of what he talked about....you never know who you'll meet, what you'll knit or where the conversation will lead!

Last night we enjoyed the bar's 'laughing hour' with buy one get one free on beer, wine and cocktails; amigurumi, Afghanistan, Ravelry, hyperblic crochet; Russian beer; champagne and peach schnapps; Kate Moss; tabloid news; The Great British Sheep; Woolfest; how to suck a vodka-soaked melon; Carlisle; gaydom; Matt Lucas' divorce; Dr Who; David Tennant in Hamlet....

The conversation continues tonight!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The World Wide Knit in Public Big London Knitty Treasure Hunt

Today, Saturday 14th June, was Worldwide Knit in Public Day 2008. All over the world knitting groups got together, large and small and knit together. Here at IKL we celebrated the day with the first ever London knitty treasure hunt featuring cryptic clues, celebrities, knitting around London's most famous landmarks, hunting knitty treasure and learning to knit and walk at the same time!

A massive thanks to everyone who came along to take part. We eventually had 20 teams and 63 entrants all of whom got well into the spirit of things and followed our clues from Waterloo, The Old Vic (below) along the South Bank, over Waterloo Bridge, into Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square (left) and home to the IKL shop via Big Ben and Banksy's Leake Street tunnel. Congratulations to the victors, team 4 Ply, a fabulous achievement especially as they produced the 2nd longest scarf! Late arrivals, team Unprepared who arrived about two hours after the first team had headed off and arrived back after the prize-giving ceremony with a whopping 117 points. They took home some prizes but due to their lateness they sadly didn't qualify but congratulations on a fabulous effort. Congratulations also to team A Tension Seeker for winning the WWKIP Day scarf challenge with a humungous 90+ inches long (beating the 4 Ply team into second with only 86")!

Along the way teams discovered bits of hidden London, they knitted on Routemaster buses, they knitted with policemen and street performers, pearly kings and queens and celebrities (congratulations to the teams who met and knit with Terry Pratchett and Una Stubbs!). We saw Laurence Olivier wearing a knitted hat, Field Marshall Monty with a legwarmer and Charlie Chaplin with a knitted scarf (all statues of course), and special mention to team Pop who, aptly, sabotaged the balloons of fellow treasure hunters in a display of ruthless competitiveness (which ultimately didn't do them any good!)

I hope a brilliant day was had by all. I popped over into town to search for teams mid-afternoon and got lost amidst the throngs at Trafalgar Square and Whitehall, but well done for sheer tenacity in finishing the course. We've even learnt to say "I Knit" in 21 different languages, including Urdu and Kiribati!

Please post your pictures from the day's events to the free I Knit on Flickr group. If you haven't an account you can join up now or send us the photos by email to info@iknit.org.uk and we can put them up for you - show everyone how you got on, and we really want to see Una!

A few of the challenges included:

knitting on a Routemaster bus - yes, there are still Routemasters running in london and a few of our teams managed to get on and knit on this London icon

knitting with a celebrity - only a few teams scored points on this ne. Terry Pratchett was popular with three teams knitting his presence, but top marks to the team who knitted with Una Stubbs (who was also an answer to one of the questions!)

dressing up statues in knitting - from Laurence Olivier and Charlie Chaplin to Frank Dobson's 'London Pride' sculpture, London statues were kitted out in knittiness from armbands and woolly hats to legwarmers and scarves

knitting with the Old Bill - London's boys and girls in blue were (for the most part) only too happy to pose with knitters for WWKIP Day!

knit at landmarks beginning with P, U, R and L - Ok, so we gots lots of knitting in front of the London Eye and the River Thames, but what about a Urinal!?

knit with a Pearly king or Queen - ah, yes, those quintessentially Cockney characters. We Londoners see them all the time right..? Well, surprisingly three teams did manage to meet up and knit with some genuine Pearly Kings and Queens!

find a knitty street sign - how about The Strand? New Row? Obscuring the letters of Wootton Street was a more creative entry!

Once again, HUGE thanks to all knitters...let's do it all again next year...?

Friday, June 13, 2008

time out

We are very proud to be number 6 in the Time Out guide to the best free things to do in London. We've been in this list a few times. Everyone knows that there is lots to do in London but not all of it costs money and it takes just a little investigation to uncover a mountain of free stuff.

We love our knitting groups and we would just like to say thank you to everyone who makes it what it is. 

We are particularly looking forward to the Knit In Public Treasure Hunt this Saturday. I'm sure it's going to be brilliant.

The article mentioned Thursday night particularly so... Here are a couple of pics from last night.
Knitters from the Liberty's group join us a couple of Thursdays a month and they are very welcome. Seeing people knitting in the shop is a huge reward to us, it's the reason we moved to a bigger space, although we often run out of space but we never run out of wine or cider.
p.s. I wish I could show you some of my knitting but for the past few months all I have been knitting for a book project. More news on that soon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Lesbians are revolting

"Is it fair that a Lesbian can't be called a Lesbian just in case somebody thinks they are...a lesbian" ;)

As we were away for the weekend (more of that in another post) news reached us, via the BBC Worldwide channel, of the Lesbian revolt of Lesbos, where one man's mission to reclaim the word has ended up in one of the best bits of telly we've seen in ages.

Watch the report here.

I love the bit when the old bloke says, "I am proud to be a Lesbian". Reporter: "But are you a Lesbian?". Huge sigh..., "A Lesbian from Lesbos, NOT a homosexual". The fact he's a bloke doesn't seem to have anything to do with it! But his sister is embarassed to be a Lesbian apparently.

We love Barbara though. She is priceless!

If the Lesbians think they have a problem they should feel sorry for the people who live here.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

We are the champions...

One of favourite haunts for the last few years, and an oft-visited pub for the I Knit London knitting group nights, is the Retro Bar, just off the Strand, in what landlady Wendy jovially describes as 'piss alley'. Lovely. Anyway, Tuesday nights is pop quiz night, which we've been going to for years but recently had to give up as the Vauxhall shop closed at 9 and getting across town, even pedalling at the speed of sound, wasn't possible. Now we're in Waterloo it's just a short skip across Hungerford Bridge and we're there.

So, last night we WON! Hurray. With the combined brainage of Gerard, SueMoon, Retro Rob and myself we managed 19 and a half (how do you write that properly on a computer?) out of 20! Blimey. Our knowledge of Barry Manilow and 90s trip-hop saw us through in the end. It's another personal notch on my own quiz show league table (you're in the presence of The Weakest Link winner here folks, as well as Blankety-Blank - I'll show my chequebook and pen if you ask nicely!) Just don't mention the Eggheads...what was that, did someone just mention the Eggheads?


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Plastic fantastic

As well as selling stuff in our shop we also like to see what people have been making and we get lots of people bringing stuff in to show us. Now, we've seen knitting with plastic bags before (we've got a bit of our own in the window at the moment) but these bags, knitted by Emily Blades, are amazing. The details that's gone into the motifs are incredible - by saving up bags from certain supermarkets and batching them together in colours Emily has managed to make a functional but beautiful bit of knitting. The fish, butterfly, heart, apple motifs etc show that knitting with recycled can produce great results and it's just as versatile as more traditional yarns. Her second bag, below, is finished off with some smart handles and is strong enough to use everday, not just for show. Stop throwing those bags away and get knitting!