I Knit London Tweets

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!


Elly said...

So true. Wonderful post. Ex

sarah said...

I'm so pleased those Sox Stix were in stock yesterday when I came in for my first visit. I have alredy fallen in love again.
I would replace all my needles with these if I won the lottery!

I'm just sorry it took me two years to make it to IKnit.

Thankyou for signing my book Gerard.

Anonymous said...

I was in Christchurch over Christmas, how come I didn't know about that shop!! I was just really sad that the knitting department at the main dept store there had closed :(

Amy said...

Hello All, Amy here from Christchurch! Yes, Ballantynes' haberdashery section had been there since the store opened ~100 years ago! It was a loss, but hey it's just change. The Loop Knittery is a web-based shop, but I do a weekly knit-night at a local cafe, organize the local WWKIP and film knit nights at the local guild.

I really loved meeting you all! I had a fantastic time in London... IKnit was the highlight of it! Your hospitality really made the difference. Big things come in small packages.
I just got back from my trip and I'm unpacking all my lovely wool and books! If anyone is coming this way be sure to drop me a line through my website.

M-H said...

iKnit was one of the heights of our trip to London nearly a year ago too. It was so peaceful - a real oasis after being buffeted at the Borough market earlier in the day. My son and his partner picked out some yarn for socks and hats and we knitted it up licketysplit when we got back to Aus and sent it back to them. I wish you had a Sydney branch. (Maybe you could open one next to the Aussiebums warehouse just up our street, hmmm?)