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Friday, August 29, 2008

7 days to Yarn Harlot...

If you're wondering where we've been for the last two weeks, well wonder no more for we are still here. With so much to do for next week's show the blogging just hasn't been a priority. But, very late Friday night and taking a break from proof-reading our programme and trying to please everyone who's coming to the show I thought I'd pop by the blog and post abou what's been happening since 14th August.
One thing's for sure...not much knitting. Personally my knitting output has ground to a halt, while Gerard still manages to find time to get a little action in. But I don't feel the loss too greatly, after all the day-to-day business of 18 hour days keeps my mind occupied. Since the last blog we made the decision (which has been coming for some time) that we'd discontinue our Wednesday knitting pub nights. Not that the knitting group is going anywhere soon, we'll still be hosting that every Wednesday and Thursday, but we'll be inviting people to join us at IKL instead. There's many reasons for this, including the strain it's been putting us under keeping up to the chedule for the last, almost, three years. but we're all very proud of IKL and it's now a great place for knitters to come together so we feel like we're not losing out by having the knitting group here permanently. It's now so easy to get to that meeting in a pub a short walk away seemed a pointless exercise. Plus, there are now so many groups across London who meet up in the pub, or café or wherever that those who do miss it can get a fix pretty much any night of the week. but we're not giving it up completely...as always when one idea ends another starts and we'll be certainly doing more of our one-off knit sessions, special events to keep us occupied.

The knitting group were on the telly too - last Friday, Channel 5 News! Big time! Talking of which, Gerard may well be spotted in the forthcoming CelebAir reality TV show which starts on ITV2 next week. He was on the inaugural flight which left Gatwick for Alicante last Tuesday. He was there for about three hours, then he flew back again. The life of jetsetting knitting celeb is all glamour. How many of us can say we went to Alicante with her from Steps, Andi Peters and Chico? I know...I'm jealous too. Still, we have to big up Miss Amy Lamé and wish her the best of luck with the Great British Public. If you're likely to be taking a CelebAir flight in the next few weeks give her a good rating on your feedback form!

So, only a week to go before I Knit Day. It comes around so fast. Stephanie will be arriving on Friday and we have the honour of taking her out for a meal (a nice break from setting up 60 market stalls)...then it's showtime. In the meanwhile I'm just going to get back to my list of things to do. I'm up to number 24...only another 53 to go.
see yous all next Saturday (nervous breakdown permitting)


Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Knit Day looms...

To calm the nerves of knitters across the country we can categorically confirm that tickets for this year's I Knit Day have now been posted out! If you don't believe us here's a picture of Gerard with a box full of them, all stamped and ready to go.....
For those of you who haven't bought a ticket yet get yourself one now by clicking here and make sure you don't miss out on a brilliant day. I'll be updating the website tonight with more info about who you can see, meet, buy stuff from and have a drink with on the day. We've also launched our Knit Your Own Alien! Competition and we're working our way through the ranks of sci-fi celebs for a judge (to join Yarn Harlot and Mazzmatazz)...but it's not looking good. Sylvester McCoy anyone? But we need your entries anyway - your work will be shown on the day and you might even win our prize goodie bag, including tickets to see Dr Who maestro Russell T. Davies in conversation at the National Theatre.

Everything's happening so fast that we've hardly time to sleep, but we promise we'll hold off the nervous breakdowns until after 6th September. Until then, keep knitting and save your pennies for lots of loveliness at I Knit Day!


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Visitors...from Uruguay, from New Jersey, from outer space...!

Having a knitting shop in central London means we get lots of visitors...from near, from far and from all over the place. I sometimes wish we'd started some sort of album to record everyone we meet, whether at the knitting group, the shop or out and about. I think it was Quentin Crisp who once said his ambition was to meet everyone on Earth before he died. Well, we're quite far off but we do get the chance to meet quite a few folk! And knitters are generally a pretty interesting bunch. A few weeks ago we had a visit from Tom and Sue from Artesano, along with Rodolfo, general manager at Manos del Uruguay. Rodolfo and his wife were visiting the UK from, well, Uruguay, and visited a few shops sticking their gorgeous yarns. Manos is a co-operative of over 800 women, producing and supplying hand spun, hand dyed yarns and wools. It's one of Gerard's favourites. Just last week we had a visit from Doris Jenne who runs her own yarn store in New Jersey, A Yarn For All Seasons. We get a lot of yarn shop folks passing through on holiday and checking out the UK versions. We like to do the same - we popped into Knitwits in Penzance whilst on our hols last week.

One of our most regular vistors though is Mia. We're sad that we won't be seeing her much anymore. She comes in regularly to get out of the heat and/or the rain and have a quiet kip in our basement. She belongs to Andrea, lovely Andrea who sells flowers from her market stall outside the shop. Sadly Andrea's decided to give it up for now - so no more Mia. We're sad, we'll miss them! The picture is of Mia fulfilling one of I Knit London's remits - relaxing!

A few months ago we started to make a 'rogue's gallery' of our visitors to the knitting group witha Polaroid of everyone to put up on our wall - now Polaroid have only gone and decided they're not making the iconic Polaroid film anymore. It's a travesty!

Very soon we'll be invaded by visitors of a different sort. Our new Knit Your Own Alien! Competition has just been launched for I Knit Day! Originally we'd had the idea of a Dr. Who knitting competition but we've decided to shelve that idea due to recent issues with the BBC...but, not ones to give up an idea easily we've decided that knitters are far too creative to just copy other people's aliens, so why not just create your own? The possibilities are endless! Anyone can enter, any age, from any planet - you just need to get them to us by Saturday 6th September....or bring them along to the show on the day. Mazzmatazz, now something of an expert on such matters ,will join with Yarn Harlot to judge the entries and there may even be a special guest judge too (if they don't keep saying they're busy!) A super-sooper prize will be given to the winning alien entry, which we still have to decide on. Follow the link above for full details and how to take part.


Sunday, August 03, 2008

GA, IKL, BA(Hons), KCG....F.U.N.E.X?

We didn't really announce it properly, but a couple of weeks ago Gerard was voted in as the new Vice Chair of the Knitting and Crochet Guild (KCG). The guild is celebrating it's 30th year this year and is looking forward to another 30 and more. Set up in 1978 to preserve and nurture the skills of knitting and crochet and to conserve what is a major part of our cultural and craft heritage, they continue to devote time and energy to promoting knitting and crochet throughout the UK. The Guild has also been successful in mounting exhibitions and running courses and workshops as part of an expanding education programme; those who have attended any of the major knitting festivals in the UK will have come across their stands. It has been active in producing commercial publications, establishing a book and Pattern Search Service and HelpLine. The guild also produces a quarterly journal (SlipKnot) which includes news and interviews, reviews and information. They actively set up regional groups, providing displays and clinics at national yarn fairs, selling Heritage Kits and much more. You can be a member of the KCG too and join up via their website, or pick up an application form in the shop. Help them take knitting on into the 21st century whilst retaining an important link with tradition and knitting history.

I'm sure that Gerard will report here on the blog himself about his first KCG meeting in a few weeks' time. Meanwhile, when I heard he'd become GA of the KCG (which sounds a bit like a character in a Bond film) it reminded me of one of my favourite Two Ronnies sketches...F.U.N.E.X? It's a classic and any tenuous link to get a chance to share it is taken!


Friday, August 01, 2008

Knitting SW and weekly round-up!

We've been away again! Breaks are like buses for us - we don't have one for ages then two come along at once. No sooner were we back from Camp Bestival than we headed back to Dorset for a weekend with Melody Rose. Melody is a mythical, legendary being - for it is she who taught Gerard how to knit. A very special person indeed I'm sure you'll agree. Please give up the love to Rosie on Ravelry (melodymolyneux)! We had a great time down SW, a weekend that involved sea walks, ice creams and trespassing in stately homes. Whilst in Worth Matravers (if you visit over the summer do pop in to see Rosie selling her ice creams in the village 'shop') we discovered the grave of Benjamin Jesty - ever wondered what else you could use your knitting needles for? Well, it's said that Mr Jesty, who discovered innoculation, did so by experimenting on his family, injecting them with cowpox using a knitting needle. Lovely. By the way, if you're visiting wareham don't bother looking for old knitting patterns in the charity shops because we cleared them all out. Some cracking ones to boot.

On Monday we headed further SW to Cornwall. Those who read the blog and come along to the knitting group or the shop may have met Tom Tillery, our knitting gent and sometime actor. Tom is appearing at the incredible Minack Theatre in(pictured) all this week in Curioser and Curioser, based on the stories of Alice by Lewis Carroll. Sadly, Cornwall seems to be the only part of the UK without sunshine - so we endured gale force winds and rain for the three days we were there - the theatre is carved into the cliffside overlooking the sea and that can get a bit choppy. Tuesdays performance was abandoned halfway through, but there was still a frisson of excitement sitting high up on the cliffs watching the show. We were camping at a nearby site and the lovely last night weather really cheered us up. Thought we were going to get blown away, tent and all, in the middle of the night. But, long walks during the daytime around some of the hidden coves and country lanes more than made up for the crap weather, along with some rather nice local cider.

Back to London and quickly back to normality on Wednesday for knitting at the Royal Festival Hall. We melted. Last night wasn't much better at the shop either, but things are looking up folks! Looks like it's not so sunny today. We were packed in last night and the new Brothers Pear and Strawberry cider was going down a treat. it was good to see an illicit Adipose pattern wafting around too - IKL, a den of smuggling and black market shenanigans!

Whilst we were away there was, of course, the excitement of the Guardian knitting supplement which, to all intents and purposes, did the job and went down a treat (mostly!). To see knitting in mainstream newspapers is always exciting, so to see a whole supplement was almost orgasmic, whether it includes Gerard or not. Congrats to Mazzmatazz (unmasked at last!) and those who put the thing together. On the flipside of that we also had the knitted Hitler debacle, which was whipped up by The Sun and The Telegraph to name two. Rachel Matthews' latest publicity stunt seems to have polarised opinion...but one thing that everyone seems to agree on is....Why? It now seems there isn't a book of knitting patterns for Pol Pot etc after all. Oh well, still got in the papers didn't it? We are a bit peprlexed by the whole thing. Oh, yeah, right we knitters are all cool, edgy, subversive blah, blah, blah.

Yesterday we went along the the Royal Horticultural Halls to do a recce ahead of next month's I Knit Day. We came away much encouraged by proceedings - we think it's going to be great (but we would, wouldn't we?) There's a good chance there'll be a small number of extra tickets available for the Yarn Harlot talk now that we've done the sums, counted the chairs and measured the space! We'll announce details of these, and standing room, in our weekly newsletter for those who wish to snap them up. but, tickets are still available right now for the show which gets bigger each week - just confirmed is Sasha Kagan!

Also confirmed for a bit later is Franklin Habit. Also known by his blog, The Panopticon. Franklin will be along to I Knit London on 13th November to launch his new book of knitting cartoons, It Itches, and talk about his blog and stuff. We're very thrilled indeed. We're looking at more of the same for IKL over the coming months, so look out for more special guests poppping up.

That's about it for a round up of this week's stuff. We'll get back to regular randomness now we are back in the swing of things.

I have photos to add, but as is usual with Blogger they don't load. I'll try again later.