Saturday 23 September 2017


Its been a lovely, lazy Saturday morning so far but I had to share my delight in finding conkers! I collected a pile of them and put them in all the pockets in my coat. I felt like a child who discovered a secret treasure. I received a few funny looks from passersby but I didn't care - I was happy. I managed to grab one of the few sunny moment yesterday to take a photo. Don't they look rich and brown and lovely? I love the intricate patterns on the outside of each one. I have a feeling they will be resting in a bowl on the dining room table for a while to remind me of nature's little wonders. 

Do you remember playing with these as a child? I'm not sure if its specific to the UK?

Have a great weekend x

Friday 22 September 2017

Stash enhancement

If you're not interested in stash enhancement, look away now!

I've had two rounds of stash this month. First was from the Great London Yarn Crawl and second was my subscription goody from Knit Now. 
Knit Now gave me two Caron Cakes for signing up for their 6 month subscription:

These two cakes are 350m aran weight of yarn, 20% wool and 80% acrylic. On the left is Funfetti and on the right is Rainbow Sprinkles. I had no idea what to make from these at first! The ball band suggests a scarf.... Yeah no... Does anyone enjoy knitting scarves? Instead there's just enough in each one to make a Flax jumper by Tin Can Knits for the 1-2 year size which will be perfect for my two little cousins. Sorted -  pictures in the near future.

I had a great time at the London Yarn Crawl this year! I bought something from three of the four shops on my route.

From Sharp Works:

I love the soft pastels in this DK weight yarn from lilac to sherbet orange to mint green. I was again thinking of the little people in my family and making mittens. Still undecided though. 

I walked past this a few times. It was in a bowl with a range of dark metallics that shone softly in the light. I was expecting a scratchy yarn but its incredibly soft as its made partly with merino. No idea what to do with this - any suggestions? Its only 50g worth so it might be a good accent to a project.

From Loop:

Some more pastels! These are aran weight and next to them were a lovely mitten pattern (yep mittens again!) by Rachel Atkinson  - Ravelry link here

From I Knit:

The colours in the photos don't really match real life. Its a lot brighter and louder for both cakes of yarn and is truly eye-catching. I'm thinking a shawl with both colours for some brightness during winter. Any suggestions would be great. Perhaps the pattern - Girl from the Grocery Store by Joji Locatelli? TBC.

I didn't buy anything from the Handweavers Studio but I have booked a beginners spinning class there in November which I'm really looking forward to! I've tried a drop spindle a few times but would love to try a proper wheel. 

That's all this month! Now to start using some of my stash - any pattern ideas?

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Great London Yarn Crawl 2017

What a day last Saturday was! I took part in the Great London Yarn Crawl 2017 organised by Allison and Rachel from Yarn in the City and was part of Team Bakerloo. From 10 in the morning until about 8 in the evening I was surrounded by 10 lovely knitters from around the UK, Australia and Canada. All of us live in or around London although I know people traveled from a lot further in other groups. It was such a welcoming group with everyone chatting away and sharing tips and ideas for yarn as we went around London. This was our bag to match the Bakerloo's brown colour on the London underground map:

Inside were some goodies courtesy of the shops involved in the Crawl:

There was a skein of Luma from The Fibre Co. made from linen, cotton, merino and silk. Two mini skeins from Walcot Yarn and Qing Fibre. A button and ribbon from Sharp Works and various postcards with voucher codes from the different shops. And a pattern for the crocheted Contour shawl which happens to be in my Ravelry queue. Good start!

All routes has three or four shops around London. As mentioned in my last post, the Bakerloo route included Loop, I Knit, Sharp Works and The Handweavers Studio. A real mix of shops.

Our guides Ali and Natasha met us at a bakery near Sharp Works in Herne Hill around ten. As I entered the bakery I knew I was in the right place as I spotted a group near the back either knitting or wearing familiar knitted patterns. One woman had knit the Joji Locatelli Starting Point shawl and there were one or two Fireflies Rising shawls which was the KAL pattern for GLYC. Beautiful.

I thought I didn't have many photos but actually there are loads. I blame the yarn haze that descended at each shop! My camera also seemed to have a bit of a haze though as all the photos had random blurry bits that I only spotted when I got home. You might want to grab a tea and a WIP, this is a very picture heavy post!

First stop – Sharp Works. Based right near Herne Hill station and surrounded by lovely cafes and bakeries. I had a look on their website before going but it didn’t do the shop justice I don’t think. They had a space at the back for classes:

At the front there was a vintage cabinet filled with drawers of yarn.

And more shelves stacked with yarn

There were also sample knits to try on and admire. This cardigan/ coat was so comfy I don’t think any of us really wanted to take it off.

Sharp Works runs classes for crochet and knitting at very reasonable prices. The lady who runs the shop was so friendly and you could tell how much she loves the shop. Definitely returning here at some point.

Our next shop was Loop. I have been meaning to visit this place for nearly 4 years! Based in Camden Passage, I nearly walked past as its surrounded by unusual shops selling vintage, curiousities and other oddments.

I even remembered to take a photo of the front of the shop. Loop has two floors and the yarn is organised so that 4 ply, lace and sportweight are on the ground floor and double knit or thicker is on the first floor. Really good idea I think. The ladies who work there were friendly, enthusiastic and helpful (the word friendly will be mentioned a few times in this post!). All the walls were packed with either yarn or samples. So many samples.

And lots of colour

Another sample knit with Jamieson’s spindrift from the picture above:

Loop runs a knit night every Thursday from 5.30. Tempting!

Shop number three was The Handweavers Studio based near Finsbury Park station. This is a bit of a departure from most shops on the GLYC as its aimed at spinners, weavers and dyers more than knitters and crochet-ers. However, they sell cones in DK and 4 ply so its worth a visit anyway. As a novice weaver and owner of a drop spindle this place was a dream. The shop was filled with what looked like bookshelves except instead of browsing books it was cones of thread. 

And fibre

These are merino tops which are usually used for felting. They also had buckets of fibre made out of everything from wool to cotton to recycled plastic bottles to banana. Amazing!

We also received a spinning demonstration from the owner:

Look at all those wheels in the background! I was so impressed that I have since signed up for an Introduction to Spinning class there. They have a whole host of classes for weaving and spinning listed on their website. I also had an interesting discussion with the owners husband who is an IT specialist about the links between weaving and computing in particular the Jacquard loom, Babbage and Ada Lovelace. I wish I could have stayed longer to talk more about this!

Last and certainly not least was I Knit near Waterloo. The centre of the shop had a very welcoming group of chairs and a couch which we all flopped into gratefully. It was around 4 at this point and I think the caffeine had run out in the group. 

I Knit sells lots of different yarn brands as well as its own yarn dyed in house there. I bought two skeins of their yarn which I'll show in another post.

Again its amazing how friendly everyone was, from the person working there to other customers browsing and knitting away. It had a great atmosphere and I can imagine whiling away an afternoon there sitting and chatting.

I can safely say that I am planning to visit all four of these shops again after I’ve used up a bit more of my stash! In another post I will show my stash enhancement from the day in case anyone is interested.

Our final stop was the GLYC afterparty but I’ll mention that in my next post as this one is far too long already! One thing I want to say before I go is that I was so lucky with all the people in my group as they were such a lovely lot. We may even meet up at Unravel next year for a little reunion which I cannot wait for. 


Friday 8 September 2017

One day to go - Great London Yarn Crawl 2017!

How is everyone? I am very excited that it’s finally Friday not just because it means it’s the weekend but also because tomorrow is the Great London Yarn Crawl!! I have mentioned the Crawl before (here and here) and am really looking forward to going to my second one. GLYC will be five this year and is a great way to explore different yarn shops in London with a group of like-minded people. Its split into different routes covering different shops and so allows you to explore different places each year. This year I’m going to be part of Team Bakerloo which will be going to Sharp Works, Loop, The Handweavers Studio and I Knit.

Sharp Works

Sharp Works is based in Herne Hill in London. I don’t know much about this shop and I’m looking forward to reviewing it after tomorrow. They have a website but it doesn’t show all their products. It appears to be a mix of yarn and haberdashery which is a nice mix. More after tomorrow!


I have been meaning to go to Loop for aaaages. Its not that far from my normal commute through London and it has been mentioned on quite a few podcasts previously. Loop sells a broad range of yarns including Brooklyn Tweed, Malabrigo, Madeline Tosh and many others including indie dyers. Loop hosts classes and a weekly knit night on Thursdays in their shop in Camden Passage, Islington. Check out their blog here.

The Handweavers Studio

Slightly different to most of the other shops in the Crawl, the Studio is aimed specifically for weavers. They sell cones rather than skeins and also have wheels and looms for sale. I have been here once before and they are really helpful and patient with new weavers! They run weaving and spinning classes and a weekly evening for general weaving with a teacher to help you. This is beyond my budget at the moment but I think would be an invaluable way to learn! The Studio is based near Finsbury Park station.

I Knit

Another new to me shop! Gerard the owner dyes yarn and also runs classes in the shop. The shop is a stone’s throw from Waterloo Station. That’s pretty much all I know except that they have a knit night on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

After the Crawl I’m hoping to give a bit more of a review of each shop and how the day went! After trailing around London there is a mini yarn market with 13 different stall holders. If you’re interested in the Crawl but haven’t got tickets this year, sign up to the Yarn in the City newsletter (here) for news about tickets for next year and their other event  - the Yarnporium. 

Have you got any plans this weekend? 

Wednesday 6 September 2017

The Frog and the FO

This seems to be a week of firsts! I finally frogged a project and I finally finished a project. I started the Hermione socks but having changed both my needle size and starting number of stitches the sock was going to be far too small. So the logical choice was to rip back and start again. It's amazing how reluctant I was to do this! I think the knowledge of the time spent knitting up to that point meant that every stitch I pulled off the needle felt like time lost. Conversely poorly fitting socks would be far worse in the long run and would remind me of time wasted making a whole two socks that didn't fit.

The sock

Back to the start

Another exciting first for this week is my first ever finished object!! I counted the other day and I have 16 works in progress (WIPs) currently sitting in my room. I can now say that's down to 15! Still a huge number but I'm getting there. No new projects can be cast on until I'm down to 10 projects. I think I'm going to set that as my new maximum. What's that I hear you say? You don't care about WIPs, what's the FO? Fair enough really, I am rambling...

Well back in July I went to PomFest (see my post here) which was a combination of a yarn market and a series of talks. I made it to PomFest late on Saturday afternoon so missed the talks but still got to see all the yarn stalls (yay!). I got chatting to the lady running the Garthenor stall and ended up standing there for a good twenty minutes. Garthenor is a company based in Wales which sells 100% British wool yarn and has been around for a few years now. Inspired by her enthusiasm and humour, I bought 100g of Llanwenog DK yarn which is naturally a beautiful creamy white colour.

Garthenor has a huge range of yarn from different sheep breeds from around the UK and on their website they have a page for each one explaining their origins. I really like their story of the journey from sheep to finished ball of yarn. Their website is here.

Less than ten minutes after getting home from PomFest, I cast on the Llanwenog to make a hat! My first ever hat as well. The yarn is described as giving good stitch definition so I chose a cable hat pattern. My Ravelry pattern notes are here

It started as a moustache of a hat while doing the rib.

Then a fringe:

I quickly got to the cabling, the best bit! I think basic cabling makes a plain hat more interesting without much extra effort. At this point I went to Tanzania on holiday so of course I took some knitting.

This hat was knit on a plane: (with a cheeky G&T)

And on a beach in Zanzibar: (yes those are my pale english legs)

And then finally finished! 

It's surprisingly hard to take a photo of a hat on yourself! The first three photos looked a bit manic because I was concentrating so much, looking at the floor seems to be the way to go!

If you would like to try Garthenor yarn but want to squish it first, they are sponsoring the Great London Yarn Crawl after party and will be there with a stall. Tickets are already be sold out but there may be a waiting list. More details on the Yarn in the City website here. I think I might take my hat and show the people at the Garthenor stall :)