I Knit London Tweets

Friday, January 23, 2009

I've been knitting presents

There is a birthday coming up and I've been organised. This is the Forest Canopy Shawl, by Susan Lawrence, in Adriafil Cashmere. It's nice and chunky and so soft.
The yarn works really well with this lace leaf pattern and it took no time to knit. It feels like real luxury and I can't wait to send it to the birthday girl.
I've also made a surprise baby jacket, Elizabeth Zimmerman. This is for Rosie's baby - as yet unborn but due last Friday! Rosie taught me to knit and I'm especially excited about making stuff for her baby.
I've noticed a green theme. I love green. I used Manos Wool Classica for this jacket, a solid and a variegated in lighter tones to make the stripes. I'm not very good at determining the size of surprise baby jackets. The last on I made was for my nephew, Louis, who was six months old. It came out just the right size to fit a very small newborn. It wasn't wasted, it went to my other nephew, James, who was then yet to be born.
You may not be able to tell from this photo but this jacket came out just the right size for a toddler. Oh well. Rosie still wants it so that's marvelous.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

aren't they lovely?

Thank you all for your comments. I know I'm part of a community of brilliant people and I appreciate your support and sentiment. I'm sure the person who took the hat was not a knitter. How could they be?
This is a picture I took on Thursday night. Aren't they gorgeous?! We had a special visitor from the North. She brought good tiding and fabulous hand made wood buttons and shawl pins. Chris, just at the end of the table with short hair and teal sweater and a raised arm, is just gorgeous, she runs A Fine Yarn, a wool shop in Darlington.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

at times like this I used to say, 'I hope you fall down the stairs'

I'm very sad today.

When I closed the shop yesterday I noticed that the beautiful green and pink cashmere beret from my book was not sitting on the blonde wigged poly head at the front of the shop near the door.
It is nowhere.

It's been stolen from the shop.

I was so upset that I ate a whole packet of biscuits, thanks Juliet for bringing them. Craig and I are very sad.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I'm just a curio who can't say no...

I've been on the telly again this week. Working Lunch, BBC2, asked me before Christmas to be a guest on their show and talk about whether knitting is an inexpensive option compared to high street shopping, in the current financial climate. I got the impression they wanted me to say yes it is, so I did.

Knitting can be really expensive and as I own and run a knitting shop I do tend to use the more expensive yarns, I'm a little spoiled, I know. We all know there are really good value quality yarns, we sell lots of emu superwash DK and it's great, we recommend it for all kinds of people, not just beginners.

However, there are some very fabulous natural fibres that don't cost the earth, Wensleydale Longwool for example and Colinette point 5. Manos Silk Blend is also fantastic given the meterage! I could go on.

I took some wool to the studio with me, I even brought some Qiviut but I didn't tell them how much it cost.

I didn't realise that I would only be there for 90 seconds and I had so much to say that I didn't get the time to. (Polly, the researcher who escorted me to the studio asked if I was nervous. I told her I wasn't, excited but not nervous as I spend most of my time talking about knitting so I was in gear and raring to go!)

Personally, I don't think knitting and high street shopping are comparable but as the title says, I can't say no! I reckon that in the long run knitting is less expensive than buying clothes from 'hideous' high street shops. (I was impressed with myself for saying hideous live on the BBC.) I think that we devalue clothes that cost a few pounds and when they loose their lustre after a couple of washes lots of people will simply discard and replace. The big difference with handknitting is that the individual pieces are not so easily replaced and even if they could be they are so valuable that we mend, darn, repair.

The other argument, that I will not go into here, is the questionable sources of the clothes in some of the high street shops and how much the people who make them are being paid.

While I was in the studio I met a very nice man, Hamish, the ceo of the institute for practitioners of advertising. Then I met the presenters, who were great - one of them even knits, but I was still left with the impression that maybe I am not the best ambassador for knitting as I feel like a bit of a curiosity and it's becoming harder to smile through the surprise and inevitable question "but you're a man and you knit?'

Honestly, it's not amazing and I don't really think it's that great. I love knitting and I love talking to other knitters and seeing their work. Maybe I'll start saying no. But how could I say no to Kirstie Allsopp? I love her and I'd love to teach her to knit on her new channel 4 program! And Richard and Judy want to film our book group!

And I'm on Market Kitchen this Saturday at the behest of the gorgeous Amy Lamé.

Anyway, it's rather nice to be back! I'm sorry my anti Pope rant was up for so long but we were having password problems (and it was Christmas). I did lots of knitting over Christmas. I did a Charlene Schurch hat for my dad. In red and white with a Norwegian star design. He loved it. I loved that he loved it. Craig loved it and so I did him a similar hat and I have 3 other orders.

Finished Norwegian Star Cap

and oh my god look at Melissa's sock, it fabulous!

Monday, January 05, 2009


We've been a bit quiet as we were having a lie down! Now it's 2009 we're gearing up again for another year of yarny things and we can't wait. It's only the 5th but already Gerard has been on the telly (he jokes that he'll do anything to get on telly...and I';m starting to believe him). His 2009 debut was on today's Working Lunch where he spoke, very briefly, about how knitting, although not cheaper than buying from Asda, is a quality alternative to having clothes that fall apart and that handmade clothes simply mean more than those made on machines somewhere in the world. He took along some qiviut and some affordable wool to show that there's a huge choice...but didn't really get to speak about it much. You can watch it on BBC iPlayer this week (programme dated 5th January).

So, the world is falling apart...but we're still knitting. It looks like the knitters are going strong too. We've been closed over Christmas and New Year but opened up again on Friday and were swamped with yarnoholics after their next fix. It was a stampede. OK, it wasn't a stampede but it was encouraging to see that not everyone has retreated into hibernation until this credit crunch thing is over. Of course, for every ball of cashmere there's a ball of Emu Superwash so even with tight pursestrings there's still opportunities to make stuff. We splurged over Christmas and actually spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in a lovely hotel overlooking Big Ben and the London Eye. Sadly, despite the shop being closed I still had to go to work on Boxing Day (and every day since then) but the 2 days were a nice little respite. Locked away in our posh hotel room felt very decadent - but it was more chocolate and crisps than champagne and cocaine. Still, it felt good!

We both got a little bit sick after that and we spent NYE watching the telly at home instead of venturing out. Is it age or common sense? Or both? London on NYE just doesn't do it for us anymore. We like a comfy sofa... and it's too bloody cold to go out!

So, what happens now...? More of the same I suppose. We are starting tonight with our second annual Big New Year Knit-In at the Royal Festival Hall. An excuse to get the year started with a group of knitters, lots of chatter and all the chocolates we didn't manage to get through...