Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
I went a little crazy on eBay. I got about 20 books in a week. All are great books, some better than others but I love them all. I think I might do some fair isle swatches and get them framed...
Practical Knitting Illustrated is brilliant and was published in 1930's I think - there is an inscription that says 1940.
this is Craig's only contribution! - not even if we had a dog!
I love this book. It has a section about designing sweaters and there are pages and pages of charts like the one below.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
They are by Take It Personally by Gifts By Tip and they are fab.
The kits consists of twelve 36" rigid wires, two 24" flex wires, twenty steel T pins, blocking instructions AND a yard stick. It all comes in a tube so storage is easy, too!
I love 'em, no excuses now!
here they are!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Here are a few pics as I have Craig's camera! (I've lost my camera and the cable that connects my phone to the computer!) I think we are moving the shop around tomorrow - that'll be the second time this week - so I might find them both!
this is a picture of my favorite knitting at the moment. It's going to be a glove with Icelandic heart pattern from Hélène Magnusson's Icelandic Knitting. I was thrilled that Hélène came to our show the other week and I fell in love with her as I had fell in love with the book. Hélène wrote a special message to me in my copy of her book. Also, I'm really glad to say we sell the yarn used in the book, Lodband Einband from Istex, pure Icelandic single ply lace.
Monday, September 15, 2008
It's been so long since I blogged properly that Craig has started gently encouraging me to get back to it. The thing is, I'm always so tired and never have any knitting to put up because, actually, running a knitting shop prevents you from doing any knitting. Which, I suppose, is one of life's little ironies.
Not so little, of course.
I still don’t really understand my life. I never have, really – Stephanie Pearl McPhee said that knitters are incomprehensible and I laughed knowingly. I’ve always felt incomprehensible to the people that matter most to me, another irony. This meant I often felt uneasy. I don’t feel uneasy any more though. This feels like the most natural way of being. I love this life, the knitting, the knitters, the events, the cider, the authors and designers, the artists and of course, the wool – ohmygod the wool, we’ve just got some of the most extraordinary Wensleydale in lace and DK, it made my mouth water. I wonder if I’ll ever get to knit anything with it?
The I Knit Day was amazing. I know lots of people enjoyed themselves and I’m thrilled. We worked really hard on putting it together and reading the blogs has been brilliant. A few of them actually made me cry because it made me feel so proud that I didn’t really know how to deal with it. We did a good thing and I’m glad loads of you enjoyed it.
The run up to the show was probably the single most stressful time, ever! We vowed that we were not going to do it again. However, we started planning next year as we sat in an (almost) empty Lawrence Hall waiting for the AA to come and start our van. It was the last thing we wanted but secretly I was so glad to be able to sit down and relax and eat some of the weird stuff brought from Netherlands by Hilly and Carla. The stroopwafels were great but there was some weird liquorice.
There are so many people to thank. I’ve thanked them in person so I wont name-check anyone here, except my Mum and Dad and sisters and nephews who traveled from Liverpool to share it with Craig and I. It was really important to me that they were there.
So Knitting…erm, I’ve started lots of things – tea cosy, anyone? More on that soon. Another Elizabeth Zimmerman surprise baby jacket, another EZ conch hat to replace the one Lorraine fell in love with, booties and socks using Natural Dye studio Angel. It’s amazingly soft – baby alpaca, cashmere and silk. I would put up pictures but this shop has bee moved around so often I’m dizzy. It seems to have swallowed first my camera and now my mobile phone. (not that bothered about the latter to be honest).
AND – the book is out soon! I’ll probably have copies with 6 weeks.
We’re already working on the next book! We’re already working on the next show, too, so please don’t miss out, if you thought 2008 was great you will not believe what we’re trying to make happen for 2009.
On top of all that, Strictly Come Dancing has started again! Well, that’s just a small extra when because I’ve got Craig. With every day he gets more amazing.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Recently, whilst taking in my daily dose I spotted a sad trend...Fred Crane, not a household name but an actor who goes down in history as having the first line in Gone With the Wind, passed away only a month after Evelyn Keyes, who played Scarlett O'Hara's sister in the same film. With only the genetically-prosperous Olivia deHavilland still with us for the main adult cast (her sister Joan Fontaine still going strong too) it's another door closed with that link to "Hollywood's Golden Age" (ask me about my obsession with Luise Rainer next time you see me!). Gone With The Wind is glorious. I remember seeing it at a screening in Sydney to mark it's 60th anniversary, in the same cinema where it was screened back in 1938 and there was a real sense of occasion. A film with an interval! Imagine that these days with the attention span of most audiences. Yes, it's a soap opera, but it's top notch soap.
Whilst our blog isn't all about knitting, there's a good reason to bring it up here too! GWTW does contain a couple of great knitting scenes (and there's plenty to get excited about if your just into pretty frocks). Whilst Rhett and the gang are out raiding the shanty town there's a brilliantly tense scene of the ladies waiting back at home for their return. Quite a bit of knitting going on there and it drives the scene along, the women busying themselves as the menfolk are away. It's interesting that Scarlett, ever the black sheep, does a bit of cross stitch instead! There's also a very moving scene of what I call Unfinished Garment Syndrome. This is a device I've spotted employed in films and telly, using knitting, where someone embarks on a project for someone else. Generally this means either the knitter or the knittee isn't going to make it to the end of the film, the Unfinished Garment being a symbol of the character's untimely demise. It happens here when Mrs Meade clutches her Unfinished Pair of Gloves for her son, recently killed in the war. There's nothing more poignant than a project languishing on the needles, never to be worn by the intended. Watch out for the UGS - it'll having you weeping into your WiP.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
But, for this year it was a culmination of sleepless nights, arguments, meetings, phonecalls, about a million emails and lots of persuasion, hard work and, well, money. We've been reading the blogs and the Ravelry forum with huge smiles on our faces and we're chuffed to bits that so many people enjoyed themselves. We're just ignoring the ones complaining about cups of tea and the rain. We know there were some problems which we'll sort our for next year but going around that fantastic hall on Saturday and seeing so many knitters with ridiculously large grins on their faces made it all worthwhile. Yes, of course, we're sorry the heavens opened precisely at the time hundreds of people were queueing for the Yarn Harlot (despite Gerard's likeness, he can't control such things!) and we're also a bit cheesed off about the sandwich situation - but nice to see knitters with initiative heading round the corner to the nearest café. But we hope everything else made up for it..and there was quite a lot of everything else!
For us, this started back in February, but the reality kicked in on Thursday morning when Stephanie touched down in the UK. Gerard swiftly headed off to her hotel with a fruit parcel and a bottle of bubbly in hand. Reading Stephanie's blog over the last few days has been entertaining and eye-opening and it's great to see the city from someone else's view, especially someone with such a way with words. I'm really pleased to see that Stephanie did what I advise all visitors to do; stay off the the Tube and walk. You see so much and the city just opens up before you; history, culture, community, London life. I've spent hours trawling the streets and there's always something new to see. Stephanie's jetlag meant we didn't get to meet her in person until Friday when we recce'ed the venue (see Steph's Friday blog - yes, she really did say "I'm not doing it!" We just laughed nervously.) Then it was off for lunch with Stephanie, Roz from Search Press, Claire Bowles (PR), Billy and Joanna from Melia Publishing and the two of us. After the meal, and a few beers, we were happy to find that Stephanie was well up for it. Phew!
The rest of Friday is a blur really. I think we probably spent most of the evening carrying heavy boxes of books, loading our van and driving to and fro. It's not all glamourous celebrity knitters you know? We do work too. A special part of the whole weekend was having Gerard's family together with us for the first time in London - his mum and dad, two sisters and two nephews all in tow to lend a hand, show some support and generally look all glowing and proud. We spent late Friday in the pub at their hotel and calmed down before the day ahead. We should mention here that, although this whole event has been planned and organised by Gerard and myself, we would not have got through the whole thing without the help of friends who volunteered to help out on the day. From the moment you stepped through those (fabulous) Art Deco doors you will have met a whole host of people who worked their socks off to keep the whole day running. They are old friends and new friends from the knitting group and at the risk of gushing, they are all brilliant and without them we'd have been lost. From ticket takers to queue movers, chaperones and booksellers they kept the whole thing going while Gerard and I ran about like headless chickens!
So, Saturday arrived. we were up at 5am to load more stuff, including the big sheep, and head off to the venue. Waiting outside at 8am with an expectant group of exhibitors was an interesting experience. This was it. When those doors opened we were the only two people who knew what was going to happen, we were (gulp)...responsible. Us? How did that happen? When the queue started to form outside the main entrance just before 11am the realisation that all these people had been brought to this place by us set in...and the realisation that if this all went t*** up we'd be surrounding by thousands of angry knitters (and we know what they're like!) with pointy sticks. The thought of escape crossed our minds a number of times. But, when it came to it, seeing those first few faces entering the hall to be met with a deluge of yarn and a big smile put my mind at rest. It was to be a good day.
The rest of the day is also a blur, but I remember a few things distinctly; I remember Jane Sowerby's table-ful of the most amazing lace shawls; I remember a glorious fashion show from Susan at knitonthenet and Jane Wallers' A Stitch in Time; I remember Gerard in Erika Knight's fashion show taking the easy way out with a hat then looking super in his chunky cabled cardi; I remember hundreds of eager knitters queueing in the rain to see the Yarn Harlot; I remember the rapturous welcome we gave her when she emerged from behind that curtain; I remember seeing Elly for the first time in ages and giving her a great big hug and feeling a bit emotional about it; I remember getting one chance (and one chance only!) to wander around the hall and check that everyone on the stalls was happy (they were); I remember introducing Mazzmatazz and feeling a frisson of excitement from the crowd; I remember saying "Erika Knight is here!"; I remember thinking, on more than one occasion, "is it me or is this just the most bonkers thing we've ever done?..."
By 7 o'clock it was all over. There are just too many things I've forgotten to mention, too many people to thank. But, to all of our special guests, to Stephanie, to everyone who booked a stand, to all the charity projects, to all the knitted aliens, to everyone who bought a ticket and to our sponsors at http://www.knitonthenet.com/ we just say "thanks and we'll see you again next year".
One final thing to say is that I'm devastated that we didn't get a single photograph of the show. With this in mind we make a plea that anyone with pics share them on the Flickr group. If you don't mind me taking a few to illustrate this blog please let me know and I will do so.
Friday, September 05, 2008
We've been to-ing and fro-ing form the Horticultural Halls all day in our big van, loading, unloading and stopping off for a couple of hours for lunch with the Yarn Harlot. Stephanie, it was really very nice to finally get to meet you in the flesh and I hope you find your knitters tonight...or maybe you've snuggled up in the hotel away from the weather...?
Anyway, this is short and sweet as I'm being called to carry some more boxes and Gerard can't quite believe I'm writing a blog when there's so much work to do! I mean, honestly, after almost 9 months of work I think I can take a few minutes to say a few words....?
Up at 7am for an early start in the morning...then the fun really begins.