I Knit London Tweets

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Woolly weekends in West Cumbria

What a scorcher! It's been a HOT weekend and it's getting hotter. Where we were on the hottest weekend of the year so far? We were surrounded by fleece, having a woolly time at Woolfest; we were working on a Whopper and paddling at the seaside...
Woolfest takes place every summer in a glorified cattle shed on the outskirts of Cockermouth in Cumbria and it's our favourite knitting show of the year. With a leaning towards natural fibres there's a huge amount on offer, as well as alpaca and sheep to 'ooh' and 'ahh' at. They always look a bit bored of the camera lenses poking into their faces, or maybe it's just embarrassment at the new short back and sides. This year we spent all day Friday and a little bit of Saturday touring the stands, meeting friends and having a good natter. Gerard was especially (and surprisingly) restrained this year, although his first purchase (cashmere laceweight from Knitwitches) was enough by itself to break the budget. The portable Ashford spinning wheel was calling to him but I persuaded him that we could probably do without it right now! You can see all of our Woolfest photographs in our gallery.
We made more of our weekend away as an excuse to have a short break too. I'm a local lad so we met up with friends and spent the rest of the weekend in their back garden barbecuing veggie burgers and drinking organic pear cider and gin. It was lovely just spending time in the frsh air with only the bees, the chickens and the home-grown salads for company. And Ann and John, of course. On Sunday we made the pilgrimage along the Solway coast to Allonby, a one street village with sea views and a ninety-year-old sweet shop called Twentyman's. Their legendary Allonby Whoppers are a challenge to even the biggest ice cream fans (and the biggest gobs).

Whenever we get the chance to get away from the shop Gerard makes the most of it knitwise. As I'm the designated driver it's his chance to sit back and relax for a few hours and get some knitting done. Gerard gets his best knitting done on the M6 and it's seen some of his best work over the last few years on trips to Liverpool and Carlisle! This year is no exception. Aptly, on the journey up he made headway with Jared Flood's Girasole shawl (pictured) - for sun-worshippers everywhere, this circular laceweight shawl is named after the sunflower. He's knitting one up using a natural, undyed laceweight from Garthenor's organic British wool range. Chris from Garthenor was at the show and was delighted to see the yarn in progress. On the way back to London G started on an ambitious multicoloured intarsia hat from Charlene Schurch's Hats On! collection, using the glorious JC Rennie 4 ply that appeared in the shop last week. While I was contending with the worst hailstorm I've ever had to drive through and 3 mile tailbacks, G only had about a million ends to contend with.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Knitting in public and hunting sheep...

Saturday was Worldwide Knit in Public Day and knitters the world over were out and about doing their thing. Here in London we hosted our second IKL Treasure Hunt, sending teams of knitters and their friends scouring the streets of the capital looking for sheep, answering our tricky questions, popping balloons and knitting at all sorts of places.

The theme this year was sheep, and over the last two weeks we've been searching high and low for them. There are surprisingly quite a few dotted around London, from pub signs to historic monuments. The Treasure Hunters visited the 17th Century Painting Rooms at the National Gallery to track down Rubens' A Roman Triumph (pictured); they headed east to St Paul's Cathedral, via the historic Fleet Street and Covent Garden; north to Lamb's Conduit Street, the Lamb pub and Coram's Fields; back south to Waterloo, Lower Marsh and I Knit London. It was brilliant to see everyone - almost 100 people took part, with 30 teams traipsing around the capital. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and it was great to see some teams taking it so seriously!

There were some highlights of the day - Rowan, the phantom balloon burster - did his best all day with quite a few teams making it as far as the end of the street before their balloons (worth an extra 5 points!) were a goner! But he had his comeuppance in Bloomsbury Square when his attack was thwarted by the WNKers team (pictured) who were ready to defend their honour at any cost. Bottled water was involved and it was a nasty skirmish that left the enemy deflated and sodden. For those who think it wasn't worth the fight...the WNKers were overall winners by four points, so that balloon was all-important! (Just to clarify one thing...the team name refers the the Wednesday Night Knitters...OK?)

Part of the challenge was to keep knitting, and the longest scarf of the day went to Denise and Christine, with an astonishing 94 inches! Looking at their answer sheet we do wonder if they did actually do any of the other bits of the Treasure Hunt, but we have some proof they did. They are pictured here (surprised) at Middle Temple Lane on Fleet Street where they were struggling to find the answers to some fiendishly difficult clue whilst being distracted by the wine shop.

As well as answering the questions and hunting the sheep, we had knitting on Routemaster buses, knitting with naked people, knitting with celebrities (a low count this year with only Richard Madeley and Neil Pearson cornered by over-excited ladies with needles exposed), knitting on things, in things and around things. Looking at the photos when we were adding up the scores it seemed like everyone had a wild time - the naked cyclists were especially popular!

But there could only be one winner. As mentioned earlier the WNKers took the title with an amazing 83 points. It was a close call for second place but Team Amethyst took it on the tie-break with a longer scarf than third placed Team Tired. A very special mention must go to team Hobble On who were only half a point away from the medals, in fourth place...and one team member was on crutches for the whole thing! That's dedication for you. Also to The Anzacs, made up of two stragglers with no team to go to - Sarah from New Zealand, and Carol from Australia (pictured). Congratulations to everyone who took part and a huge thanks for making it such a good day.

It took a while to get the score on the doors, but, in the meantime everyone enjoyed the rest and the fresh air out on Lower Marsh, with a few pear ciders and some chocolate biscuits.
You can see all of our own photos on our Flickr page, and, if you took part please upload your own pictures (we really want to see grumpy Neil Pearson!) to the I Knit on Flickr group. If you can't do this, please email your pics to us and we will post them up for you.
Now, what shall we do next year?!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Mickey Mouse knitting...

No, we're not being rude! Today we had a visit from the delightful Debbie, all the way from Florida. We knew Debbie was on her way as she posted in the Ravelry group and got quite a few folk excited about the prospect of bringing over from the States a supply of Cinnamon Tic Tacs. She brought those...and a special gift that could only be Floridian: a set of Mickey Mouse knitting needles and a Disney Learn to Knit book!

We've given the needles to Gromit who sits atop our fish tank and we hope Nick Park doesn't mind. They are brilliant! Thanks Debbie for popping in to see us and I hope you had a great trip. Send us a postcard from your part of the world when you get home - we collect 'em you see, especially if they have sheep on....are there sheep in Florida or do the crocs eat 'em all?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Not just knitting...

Because IKL started as a knitting group all those years ago, one of the things we've always tried to do is keep that social aspect of knitting. When we first opened the shop it was important that there was at least a little space for some bums to rest and some drinks to be drunk. That's where the Chesterfield came into play and comfy it is too. Over the past couple of years the shop has changed but we've made sure that there's plenty of other stuff going on in there as well as just selling wool.

Last night was no exception. A couple of years ago one of our regulars, Justine, suggested starting a book group. We were happy to provide the venue and see how it went. The Kniterati was born and it's been two years in the running now and with only a short break during the summer of 08, we've been having a bit of bookish banter every month. Last night's meet-up saw 18 folk knitting, crocheting and discussing Mrs Pettigrew Lives For A Day. Gin martinis were available (I think a themed drink and nibbles may well be in order for all future meetings) and when I arrived late it was all over bar the martinis! It's so reassuring to see the shop being used as we intended and to see everyone feeling at home amongst friends and strangers and yarn. We've recently opened up The Kniterati Book Group to everyone via the new blog where you can sip your own gin martinis and take part wherever you may be. Head on over there now to find out what the book for July is - the next meeting is on Tuesday 7th July...

Another one of our events looms large when Worldwide Knit in Public Day arrives on 13th June. The first time we took part in this global knit-together we headed off to Trafalgar Square and had altercations with security guards who were confused about our intentions! We said we were just knitting, they said we were performing without a licence. Much hilarity ensued. Last year we decided to take the whole thing a bit more seriously and launched the world's first ever knitting treasure hunt*. We had brilliant number of teams who headed off across London in search of celebrities, policemen, woolly things and more, all the while knitting scarves and carrying yellow balloons (as you do). So this year we're doing at again! It'll be a much more leisurely affair, with a sheepy theme. Teams of 2 to 4 people are welcome to join in. See the Treasure Hunt website for full details and come along on the 13th for a sheepy stroll through London town and back to ours afterwards for some prizes and a party! If you're not in London you can check out the WWKIP Day website to find (or start) and event near you.

So, you may well ask if we ever actually do any knitting in between all this nonsense...? Yes,we do! Maybe not as much as we want to...but we do!
*as far as we know?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunshine, sheep-shearing and SE1...

We've been a bit quiet of late here on the blog, mainly due to all the other stuff going on! Gerard has taken to Tweeting on Twitter and has been distracted by the new high-tech till in the shop (it does barcodes and everything don't you know?) and we're still working on getting the online shop up and running...it's coming soon, we promise.

Despite all of these distractions we've had time to hold the charity tea party last weekend which raised over £450 for Diabetes UK, from the sale of raffle tickets, cups of tea and cake! Thanks to everyone who popped in on the day and to all those who baked cake and donated prizes. It was a brilliant day all round and we're looking at hosting a regular tea party now and then as anything with cake involved seems to go really well.

We're looking forward to the summer now. It's been a scorchio weekend here in London. Yesterday we tottled over to Spitalfields City Farm in the East End for their annual Sheep and Wool Fayre. We love city farms. We urbanites should do all we can to make the most of such oasises, especially those of us who live in blocks of flats with no green space. Their herb and veg garden put our window boxes to shame! There was a bit of sheep-shearing (Sophie the Southdown looked massively relieved to get that jumper off), felting, spinning, knitting and cakes, of course. It was slightly devastating to see that a huge swathe of the farm had been commandeered by TFL for the East London line extension. I'm only ashamed to say we'd never been before.
With the temperature rising we can't wait for the festival season. We'll be off to the Lake District again this year for Woolfest at the end of June (as visitors only) then in July we're hosting Camp Bestival's knitting tent again. After the success of George, The Great British Sheep last year we're preparing for a deluge of activity. This year's line-up (as well as us!) inlcudes Kid Creole and the Coconuts and Chic. Discotastic! A knitting tent in the grounds of a castle by the sea in Dorset. What's not to love?

Visitors continue to arrive from far and wide to our little IKL. Holiday season in London brings a fresh influx of foreign fibre fans by land , sea and air. We love meeting so many knitters from far flung lands. Last Thursday's knit night was overflowing and we set up a couple of outside tables to cool off as the sun set. It's a peculiarly English thing to make the most of what you've got....we haven't got a paddling-pool yet but with a bit of knitting, a bottle of cider and a bowl of pear drops...well, just close your eyes and you could be a million miles away from SE1!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Diabetes UK

Today we are celebrating Diabetes UK 75th year with a tea party (including lots of cake) and a raffle to raise some well needed funds for the charity.

Without hardly enough time to breath after the Race For Life event - for which the I Knit team have so far raised £4,000!!! - we begging for money again.

To entice the £££ from you we have managed to secure some brilliant prizes.
  • gold dial phone and jewelry from Radio Days, Lower Marsh
  • silver picture frame from Phillips Frames, Lower Marsh
  • precious stone tea light holder from Phillips Frames, Lower Marsh
  • afternoon tea from Greensmiths, Lower Marsh
  • £10 book token from Crockett and Powell
  • manicure voucher from Angela's Nails, Lower Marsh
  • book voucher and yarn voucher from I Knit London
  • luxury afternoon tea for two at The (soon to be reopened) Savoy hotel, The Strand
  • champagne at The National Portrait Gallery Panoramic restaurant
  • signed copy of The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
  • Two tickets for the ultra-hip Shoreditch House Literary Salon hosted by author Damian Barr, including cocktails
  • Four tickets to see the Tiger Lillies in their show Shockheaded Peter at the New Players Theatre, London
  • A bumper breakfast hamper from Grasshopper organic porridge
  • selection of signed books from award winning novelist Stella Duffy…and a visit to your book club from Stella herself!
  • signed copy of Allegra McEvedy’s acclaimed cookbook, LEON
  • Two top-price tickets for Sister Act: The Musical at the London Palladium
  • £45 voucher for Outsider Tart Bakery
  • £50 voucher from Search Press
We also have lots of cakes, some of them kindly donated by Konditor and Cook and The Primrose Bakery. Amy Lamé has even baked some brownies!!!

So, what are you waiting for, get down to Lower Marsh!!!

If you can't make it, raffle tickets can be purchased pver the telephone for £1. 020 7261 1338


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Designer Knitting

Designer Knitting arrived in the shop today and is packed full of brilliant patterns as usual. There's lots of big (dare I say - easy looking) shawls and wraps. Some of them are almost blankets but being lace, they are perfect for Spring.

There is a small article on the KNIFTAs which was a nice surprise. It's sets us up for planning the 2nd annual awards...

The online shop is still pending but all telephone orders are simple and easy.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Just as the newsletter gone out the zauberball arrived.
I love this yarn.

I'm not a huge fan of variegated yarns, especially socks but it can get a little annoying doing a whole sock or glove in a single colour. I really like the self striping yarns, for ease and my favorites are the huge stripes, like the zauberball. Its a single, which makes me love it more. It's a 4ply weight so perfect for socks and gloves and anything else small, like baby clothes, to keep the stripe. It's 75% wool, 25% nylon so machine washable - even better!

We only got 1 kilo so I doubt that will last long, Vanessa had already pocketed some and come up with 15 patterns to make things as sample for the shop.

Hayley has also made sure to stake her claim so they are reserved but that still leaves loads and more has been ordered.

We also moved the shop around a little at the weekend. We moved the sheep, again, and covered it with colinette point five. It looks great, I think you'll agree.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

NZ knitters and Sox Stix

It was a relaxing evening at the knitting group last night. Easter holidays have started so there was little more room than usual. If you're thinking of coming down tonight then you might be in luck with a bit more elbow room. We'll be closing tomorrow (Good Friday) and also on Easter Monday but if you need a knit-fix over the weekend come and see us on Saturday when we'll be open as normal (we might me shifting some furniture around but just step over us!).

One of the best things about the knitting group, and actually about having a shop in London, is the visitors. We love our regular family but there's always someone just in town for a few days who has looked us up and come along to check us out. It always feels like we have some kind of reputation to uphold, in these days of the internet you can read so much about us before you get here that we have a lot to live up to! Last night's international contingent was Amy from New Zealand (by way of Alabama), who was expecting a knitting megastore and found our little shop! But it's quality not quantity that counts I suppose. Amy runs her own knitting shop in Christchurch (The Loop Knittery) and we gassed for a while about everything from the price of Noro in NZ (shocking!), to the joys (or not) of acrylic. Look at her go with her two-socks-at-the-same-time shenanigans. I bored her with the I Knit story (which I am apt to do once I get started, sorry folks). It was nice to have time to chat and get out from behind the counter for once.

As I was telling the whole history of I Knit it reminded me of the days when we'd cycle across town with backpacks full of alpaca to do our Sunday market stall at Spitalfields. I was talking to Amy about how we'd grown from then but I realised that the links we made then are still going strong. We had only a couple of yarns (Artesano Alpaca and Colinette Point 5) and needles from Brittany and Lantern Moon, with a spattering of the odd sari silk or sock yarn. We still stock them all now. I remember when we first ordered Lantern Moon needles (for those uninitiated these are the mystical ebony, rosewood and palmwood needles, handcrafted in Vietnam and selling for just less than the price of your most treasured possession - but they could easily become your most treasured possession if you get your hands on a pair). When we first stocked them I remember the company were worried that a market stall in London wasn't quite the most suitable outlet for their lovely needles, but we talked them around. We haven't had them in a while but yesterday they came back into stock, as lovely as shiny as ever, including the Sox Sticks - five rosewood DPNs in their own little bag. Cute. Some people might baulk at £16 for a set of needles but these sort of things are what lift your knitting from a craft to a hobby - you don't really need to have rosewood needles, or gemstone stitch markers, or hand-dyed fibre from the arctic muskox...but it makes life much nicer and more interesting when you do!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Cryptic conundrums

We all know that knitting stimulates bits of the brain which supposedly means all of us knitters are brainier than anyone else. Or something like that. Well, maybe some of you could help out...

I have a penchant for the crossword of the cryptic kind. Every Saturday I have a bash at The Times and The Guardian with various degrees of success, but even if I don't finish it passes the time and de-stresses at the same time. Last weekend though I came upon the nonsense that is The Times' Listener Crossword. Now don't get me wrong, I'm no egghead but this was way beyond human comprehension!

Here is the introduction. That's right, the introduction! Never mind that you then have to work out the answers to the clues after you've tried to work out just what the heck the rules are! In the first place, you have to get past this:

"In the contest between solver and setter it is generally to be hoped that the solver will prevail. Here, however, the setter has concluded this will not happen.
Solvers must enter single digits in a region of 36 cells, using A=1, B=2,...Z=26; where letters from crossing answers conflict, enter the difference. A three by three region is key. In each of three additional cells a two-digit number is required which exceeds the letter-value or difference by a multiple of 26. In each of two special cells the same appropriate outline shape is indicated as the entry, although in different sizes; for each clue affecting these two cells, the number in parentheses does not match the answer's length.
A portion of the grid shows the outcome as predicted by the setter just before the solver's final effort, which the setter has deemed unlikely to succeed. Solvers must draw a curved arrow through letters forming an appropriate word and relocate one of the shapes; they will then be entitled to adjust the numbers in two cells (and must do so), thereby proving the setter wrong. The Chambers Dictionary (2008) is the primary reference, but one clue answer is defined in the context of the puzzle."



Sunday, April 05, 2009

The recent Facebook debacle...(and Ravelry too)

Over the past few weeks I have been sorting out the number of websites I subscribe to. It was all getting a bit much there for a while and I wanted to take stock and clear out the virtual clutter! You know sometimes when you feel like there's too much going on in your head to cope with? It was bit like that....too much to do, too many log-ins to remember, too many places to go and update profiles, too many message boards and too much time spent in front of a computer!

So, while I was taking stock I left a number of sites, including Ravelry and Facebook. Ravelry was too all-consuming for my liking and after a couple of upsetting spats in the message boards (where, recently, the levels of personal attacks and bitchiness seems to have reached fever pitch) I've decided not to use it any longer. I'm a sensitive soul. The I Knit Ravelry group is still going strong with almost 1500 members, and Gerard is still an avid user, but I haven't been on the site for a month now and it's amazing (and a little sad) how much better I feel for it. I still have my log-in to update anything in the group if need be, but I'm prone to taking things personally and I can do without having to worry about where the next sideswipe is coming from when we've got enough on our plate at the moment as it is.

One of the side effects of leaving Facebook, temporarily, as I sorted some things out was that our Facebook Group was taken over by someone else. With a complete deletion of all of our information, events and message boards, the group is now under the control of someone called Birol Metin and is now an anti-Guantanamo Bay group. Even if you agree with the sentiment, you can't agree with the wholesale hijack of a group with 850 members. If you are in the group please use the 'report this group' link to do so then leave....and join our new Facebook Page instead!

There's little chance of the group being restored. Contacting Facebook in itself was a trial which took about 10 days and I have just had the response that, basically, it's not their problem, the group wasn't hijacked; I left so it's fair game for anyone to come along and message all of our members and change anything they like. You'd think that after the recent debacle over Facebook's change of terms and the backlash they had they would be a little more helpful and responsive. I'm amazed they think it instils any kind of confidence in using the site at all. I'm staying on there as I do find it entertaining and useful to keep up-to-date with friends etc but I'm deleting any photos and personal info as I simply don't trust them to protect it.

It's been a bit of a rant today, but it's better out than in my head. I need all my headspace to remember my online passwords and PIN numbers.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two weddings and a birthday...

We've been away. For ages. Well, for about 10 days, but in our world it seems like ages.

We should've been updating the Twitter and the blog during our little sojourn but a combination of big hills, posh hotels, sheep and country pubs distracted us enough not to bother. We spent the week in Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Cumbria and it was utterly lovely.

Firstly, thanks to the blog hijackers for the birthday message. I was being pampered and preened at a spa hotel that weekend having the stress build up of 3 years of running a knitting shop beaten and squeezed out of me buy the lovely Sarah at the Losehill Hotel and Spa. Three days of fresh air and luxury; gin and tonics, smoked mackerel and scrambled eggs and lots of cheese. A visit to the local Spar for a midnight feast and the new James Bond DVD were a highlight! Pampered and preened and full of the joys of Spring we headed north into Yorkshire...

Although we were off from IKL, we were still trawling charity shops for knitting books, and visiting local wool shops to see what joys they had to offer. It was a disappointing trip to Holmfirth when we discovered that Rowan have neither a mill or any kind of visitor facilities. We were turned away at reception and sent in the direction of their local stockist down in the town. Still, we did see the caff from Last of the Summer Wine and found the cutest little button / haberdashery / vintage knick-knack shop called Winnie's, up a cobbled lane from days of yore, so quaint you'd think it was fake!

A leisurely drive through t'country and we stopped for the night in Skipton, which really took me by surprise. Lovely place, local market, shops etc and a gorgeous old cinema, The Plaza, where we had some M&Ms and watched Frost/Nixon. It felt like 1959 for a couple of hours and that's no bad thing. We spent the night in the Woolly Sheep Inn, on Sheep Street (we couldn't resist) and headed off in the morning, onwards and upwards. Tea and scones, with jam and cream saw us on our way. (I think I had more creamy, jammy scones last week than the rest of my life added together).

Two reasons why we extended our trip were invites to a pair of weddings....one in Burnsall, Yorkshire on Friday last, and one the next day in Cumbria. So it was off to Burnsall, where we stayed for three nights in the Red Lion and took advantage of the free days to take in Sheffield, Harrogate, Bolton Abbey and the open space. We couldn't spend time in this part of the world without dropping in to see Ann and Ruth (and David) at the Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop near Leyburn. We've been stocking their wool for a couple of years now but haven't had the chance to call by. It was a glorious sunny day and coming upon the farm in the back lanes around Garriston was quite exciting. What a perfect little shop! Full of woolly stuff and more.

This is Beryl who is one of their avid knitters, happy to while away the day, needles clicking, making the most beutiful Wensleydale jumpers and cardis. The hospitality, and the soup, were top-notch and we spent a good couple of hours putting the knitting world to rights and in great company. We were prvileged to see Ann's collection of knitting sticks too! It felt like the best place in the world to be hanging around. If you are ever close by it's worth dropping in.

Of course, if there's one place to visit when in Wensleydale it's the Creamery at Hawes. Home of the Real Yorkshire Wensleydale, we made it along after the sheepshop, but sadly they'd stopped creaming for the day due to the amount of milk they had delivered that morning. We couldn't watch the cheesemaking, but we consoled ourselves in the gift shop and have bought enough Wensleydale to last a lifetime. My favourite has blueberries in it.

Driving back across the moors was spectacular. We took the scenic route from Hawes back through Wharfedale and over the hills. There was a chilly wind blowing and the views were astonishing. There's something reassuring about a vista like this that hasn't changed for centuries; the winding lanes; the farms and sheep; the stone barns peppering the landscape. Back at Burnsall it was a pint of local ale and fish and chips to warm us up.

So the week ended with the wedding double bill! On Friday we attended our first ever I Knit London wedding! That's the first wedding for someone we met through the knitting group. Tom first joined us about 2 years ago at a pub in Soho one Wednesday night. Always up for trying new things he thought he'd give the knitting a go. Famously his first scarf took over a year, but what's the rush?! We've been seeing him ever since, and some of you might remember him as part of the IKL Eggheads team too. Congratulations to Tom and Claire, currently enjoying Malaysia!

A late night, then an early start to drive the Settle-Carlisle route for wedding number 2 in Wetheral. For a short time we were running alongside the Duchess of Sutherland and it was like 1959 all over again (again)! (If only we were on the train instead of driving). Ann and John were the happy couple this time, Ann's been a friend for 18 years and I thought this would never happen but she stalked John so much he finally gave in. We danced til morning and Ann's particular taste in music was confirmed at the first wedding I've been to where we had Rammstein, Gene Kelly and The Good Life theme tune. Congratulations to Ann and John, now enjoying the Isle of Skye!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Special Message .......




from all the

Staff and Knitters

(Apologies for the Blog Hijack!)

Friday, March 06, 2009

I Knit Weekender, September 2009

The tickets are onsale and we're raring to go!

We are so excited, guests include Alice Starmore, Debbie New, Susan Crawford, Lucinda guy, Pat Ashforth, Stitchlinks...I could go on but I'll leave it for you to discover yourself.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Gromit and bananas

Last week Celia, our Friday girl, gifted to us a wonderful Gromit. I love knitted toys so I was thrilled.

It was from a women's weekly pattern from a few years ago and it had 17 separate parts, most of which are made in Cornish Organic DK. As you can see from the picture he has found a home clinging to a tree while sat on top of the fish tank.
An another topic, how many bananas can you eat in one sitting? Well, to be part of the Go Bananas for Fair Trade world record attempt you only have to eat one! Almost 200,000 people have registered to take part already.

What a brilliant way to raise awareness, I have already registered. I don't eat enough fruit so I'm grateful for the reminder as well as glad to be part of something promoting Fair Trade.

Monday, February 23, 2009

And the winner is....

Whilst the big boys were handing out gold statuettes in Hollywood last night, here in London we were handing out something much more coveted - the first ever Knitting in Film and Television Awards! The KNIFTAs were conceived one night in 2008 and are a celebration of knitting and crochet on screen - the good, the bad, the weird. Last night's party saw tears of joy and emotion, competition was fierce, hooks and needles were out in force and the Hoegaarden was flowing (mainly into Gerard).

We gathered in the luxurious surroundings of the upstairs bar at The Crown and Two Chairmen in Soho to screen a selection of brilliant short films and to announce this year's winners. Gerard was Twittering live from the ceremony to the interweb and you can see our photos in our gallery, (if you were there, add your own to our Flickr group NOW!

And the winners are.....

Best Knitting Scene

Chi McBride for Pushing Daisies - Chi beat competition from Marion Cotillard and the Japanese film Wool 100% for this prize. The jury were impressed by Chi's willingness to learn to knit for the role...and his gun cosies!

Funniest Knitting Scene

Competition was fierce for this one. The original inspiration for the KNIFTAs, Jack McBrayer was in the running for his shameful use of a crocheted bikini pretending to be knitting in 30Rock. We screened the Bosnian-Herzegovinan Eurovision Song Contest entry by Laka (and his 'knitting' brides) too, but the outright winner was Jane Wood for going above and beyond in Holby City last summer.

We are pleased to say that Jane has made a full recovery and she was there to collect her award last night. Jane was great - and her acceptance speech was very moving, "I've been an actress for nearly 40 years, and this is the first award I've ever won!" She deserved it!

Best Knitwear

The award for the Best Knitwear went to British designer Ruth Myers for her cosy costumes in The Golden Compass. Ruth couldn't be at the party, but we'll be sending her award to her in LA this week.

Best Advertisement

We had two of the nominees represented at the awards last night so we had to keep them apart for fear of a ruckus! Both created by the furtive minds at the McCann Erickson agency the much talked about Shreddies ad was up against the less-seen Staples ad. It was a controversial decision but the winner was Staples. Georgina Landrey (above) collected the award on behalf of the team behind the ad...and Sam Lewis, representing the Shreddies team took his defeat on the chin like a good sport.

Finally, we had a short selection of clips from Wallace and Gromit to show off the work of Nick Park, winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Knitting in Film and Television. Nick's award is on it's way to Bristol as we speak and we hope it finds a place nestled between his Oscars.

We'd like to thank everyone who made the party possible last night, not least all the actors, directors and producers who gave permission to screen their films. We'd also like to say a big thanks to Vanessa, who handknitted the 'film strips' for each award and to Graham, our technical expert on the night. We're now taking nominations for the KNIFTAs 2010, so if you see any knitting or crochet let us know.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Rockpool Candy's Big Crochet§

My friend Inga is just the most marvelous crocheter in the whole of Norn Iron, and probably beyond. Inga, or Rockpool Candy, had a lot of work in last year's crochet coral reef exhibition at The Royal Festival Hall's Hayward Gallery. In fact much of the exhibition was her work.

I was astounded then by her work; it's so amazing that I just stood dumbfounded by the creative energy that obviously went into doing them as her work is often pretty big. Creative energy comes easy to Inga. It oozes from every pore. I loved seeing them for real as up to then I'donly seen them online.

You can catch Inga doing her big thing at a craft show last weekend in Leeds.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Knit Animals

We had a visit from Doctor Knit last night. Her real name is Denise and, with her daughter, was in London all the way from the Downtown Knit Collective in Toronto. Denise stayed to knit for a while in amongst the hurly burly of the knitting masses.

The wealth of people attracted to knitting is amazing and the generosity and and good nature is brilliant.
This is a gift from Denise. We've never met before, and I'm sure doesn't know but my favourite character in His Dark Materials was Iorek, so it's perfect!
I Love It. The pattern is available from http://www.blogger.com/www.patternfish.com

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Handknit Heroes

OMG Handknit Heroes arrived in the shop today. I love it. It by a whole bunch of talented people - Stephanie Bryant, Marc Olivent and Errsie Major!

It's very exciting to have a comic book full of handknit heroes! Of course we always knew we were heroes, (me especially - see post below, thanks for your supportive comments, much appreciated).

You can buy it here.

I can hardly wait for issue two!


Monday, February 16, 2009

don't mess with the best

I've really been trying to post every day but there is just too much to do at the moment that I keep running out of time. I've just noticed that there is 1% left on the battery so this will take even longer to complete than I thought.

Don't worry, I wont waste the time, I'll do the post office trip while the battery is charging.

So, I blame Twitter and my iphone and applications called Fish Tycoon and Fantastic Contraption.

We've had a long a varied weekend. Films have been pouring in from all over the world to show at The KNIFTAs. Craig has done all the work on this project, I haven't done a thing, so I'm very excited to get to Sunday. It's going to be great.

A friend, who lives in the US, was in London this weekend so we saw a lot of him which was great. I've known him since I was a kid. We don't see much of each other because of the distance and it's great/weird to feel like a grownup and discuss how grown up our lives are. That is, until I fell down the stairs of a West End club - I swear it wasn't all the booze! It was the slippery stairs! I made a show of myself, as we'd say in Liverpool.

On the way home on Saturday night, as I say we are grown up now so it was only 11pm -ish, Craig and I were eating a doughnut near Trafalgar Square. We were merrily wandering home when a car, moving very slowly in traffic, wound down is window and a horrible little creep began to hurl homophobic abuse at us. I was mortified, but didn't stop eating my doughnut, and I have to admit we did a little shouting back!

We walked on but we were too incensed and I suggested we call the police as they are still stuck in the slow moving traffic. Craig agreed so I did. I called the police. I was a little sqiffy and told them I'd been homosexually abused by a thug in a car stuck in traffic. Craig screamed with laughter but I plodded on, correcting myself and walking back to the car. We found the car, windows rolled up. I asked the passenger why he'd been abusive (while on the phone to the police) and he said he hadn't and refused to get out of the car. Craig, meanwhile, was taking pictures of the car to get the registration.

I stood in front of the car and told the police the registration and make of the car and described the people in the car.

It was only the next day that I realised how bizarre the whole event was. The police came to see me at work today and took more details. I felt the need to apologise for calling them and acknowledged that I might have been a bit stupid to go after the car but I was so angry that some people think they can just treat people like shit and get away with it. We, not being shit or anything remotely similar, didn't let them get away with it.

The police said it was the right thing to call but the most that would happen, realistically, would be they would trace the driver and question him about it and ask who were the passengers. I was really happy with that, though. Imagine the driver's face when he gets the call about the hate crime he committed on St Valentines Day in central London!

Life can be very colourful.

I spent yesterday worrying that I would be in trouble with the police for wasting their time, and knitting a glove for the Old Vic's production of Dancing at Lughnasa.
It's not a great picture, sorry, it's from my phone.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Knit a river, a small update

I was typing away at the laptop this morning (the classes and presentations for the show in September is going to be great!) when a lady shopper asked me if I was the man who did knit a river. Craig was there so I said we both were. I forgot my face was on the flyer so that's why she recognised me.
She said that a portion of the river was delivered to her husband at The department for International Development. I could hardly believe. I'm not writing his name, but I did, recognise it and I was thrilled.I asked if he still had the section of river, she said, 'Oh, yes! He has it! It's still there!'She gestured with her arm to indicate it was up on a wall!

Love it! well done knitters!!!!!


Saturday, February 07, 2009

hot wheels

We've got spinners in today. I've had a little go myself earlier but a hangover and working in the shop is getting in the way, really.
There's a few different wheels and some drop spindling.
The shop is boiling hot with all the industry!


Friday, February 06, 2009

Sunday Knit roast

I thought I would share a couple of photos from our last Sunday Knit Roast. The photographs were taken by Debbie who is putting together a student magazine.

The next Sunday Knit Roast wil be combined with the Knifta's Awards on 22 February at The Crown and Two Chairmen, Dean Street, Soho, London from 4pm.