I popped along to the Spring Knitting & Stitching show yesterday.
It’s my first visit to this particular event although I usually attend the Autumn show at Ally Pally. The Spring venue is the Olympia exhibition centre, a much airier and lighter space with fully functioning air conditioning!
There aren’t as many exhibitors as at Ally Pally, but there is much more space between the aisles making for a much better shopping experience, and I arrived nice and early so had chance to chat with a few vendors before it got too busy…
Sheep of Steel have been on my radar for a little while now but I always seem to miss them at shows, however I finally got to see their amazing handspun art yarns up close and highly recommend dropping by their stand:
It was lovely to see their display of neutral accessories and garments in smooshy soft alpaca all with a refreshingly modern but very wearable look. Such a pretty palette!
Yarn store, Mrs Moon have launched their own smooshy yarn called Plump, an 80/20 wool alpaca blend in a single chunky ply and fab vintage colour palette. Stop by for a squish if you see them!
I then happened across Black Bat who specialise in spinning British breeds from small flocks. There’s an excellent array of sheep and yarn weights in the range and we had a good chinwag about the state of the British wool industry and the small value placed in fleeces.
I adore the colour of the Manx fleece, such a perfect shade of tan!
It’s difficut not to stop at the TOFT stand and I once again found myself drooling over their stunningly beautiful Ulysses yarn which is an absolute joy of a yarn and available in several different weights.
I had chance to catch up with owner Kerri who I have been working with this past week. SHe divulged some very exciting news about a forthcoming collection from a fab designer but yep, you guessed it, I can’t say anything…I’m such a monkey!
Last but by no means least I dropped by the Little Knitting Company where I always find myself admiring the rosewood needles and wondering if they are a good enough reason to return to working on straight needles?
Owner Ruth made me blush when she opened the desk drawer to show me her copy of my Reasons to be Cheerful sock pattern which are in her cast-on queue!
Very flattered, thank you. I’ve come away from the show thinking about the cotton/cashmere Amorini yarn which will be beautiful for summer garments or drapey crochet shawls…might have to investigate this further!
In fact I was incredibly good and didn’t buy a single thing. I still have all the fabric I bought at Ally Pally in October so I even resisted temptation at the fabulous Fabrics Galore stand.
It was a great show to wander around and so nice to be at a yarn event without being bumped and elbowed and cramped in which is what I think so many of us find off-putting about these type of things. I didn’t eat or drink anything so can’t give any feedback on the catering but it has to be better than Ally Pally!
The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show runs until 16th March at Olympia, London. For more information, a list of vendors and opening hours please visit the website.
Oh, and do keep an eye out for the hypnotic spinning knitted colourwheel!
But don’t stare too closely!
I was doing some long overdue filing yesterday and progressed onto cleaning my desk drawer out. It was absolutely jam-packed with bits and bobs of stationery and other ephemera, and inspired by Ann Shayne’s ‘Lighten Up‘ post on the Mason-Dixon blog, I thought I might as well take the bull by the horns and start throwing a few things away.
In amongst the pens, pencils, staplers (plural), bent paperclips, leftover ends of erasers, post-it notes, novelty sellotape and so on, I found a few reassuringly familiar items that seem to have been with me for a good portion of my life:
Exhibit 1: Box of 5000 staples, two-thirds full;
Considering I have 3 staplers, it seems to be taking an awfully long time to use the box of staples up, especially as the Marks & Spencer competition on the side expired on the 30th April 1995.
Exhibit 2: Royal Mail postage stamp;
Issued for the Millenium in 1999 and depicting ‘Mill Towns’ by David Hockney. I’m not a particularly big Hockney fan but Saltaire holds a special place in my heart so it’s possible that was the reason for keeping this.
Exhibit 3: Rachel notebook and pencil;
I think I bought this with my spending money on a family holiday to Cornwall so it must be at least 30 years old. I suspect it was deemed too precious to use as there are still blank pages in it.
Exhibit 4: 1970′s Sindy shoe in a bag;
Sent to me by my Mum when she was packing up and moving out of our old family home. It’s not out of the ordinary for me to receive seemingly random bits in the post from Mum, the tub of Vicks with a note to ‘rub it on your chest’ when I had flu at University has gone down in history.
Exhibit 5: ‘Admit One’ ticket to The Music Factory;
As many Friday and Saturday nights as possible in my late-teenage years were spent out dancing at The Music Factory. Good times and happy memories.
I’ve put these objects back in the drawer, I couldn’t part with them now and if nothing else they make me smile.
What random ephemera do you have tucked away?
Josephine is the latest pattern collaboration I have tech edited for Loop, London and it’s a beauty!
Designed by owner Susan and long-time Loop customer Paulina Popiolek, ‘Josephine’ is a crescent shaped shawl with an intricate and heavy lace border incorporating a modern heart motif, cables, faggoting and a beaded edging which adds weight to the finished piece.
Starting from a provisional cast on, you knit the border in one long strip, then pick up stitches along the top edge for the stocking stitch body which is worked in short rows, before an optional looped crochet edging finishes it all off perfectly. The hidden beauty of this shawl is that it’s worked all in one piece so you never break the yarn!
Josephine has been designed to use just one skein of the heavenly Squoosh Fiberarts Merino Cashmere Lace yarn, a ridiculously soft, heavy laceweight with just over 500 metres to 114g, or 570 yards to 4 ounces in old money.
The gorgeous pattern photography by Loop favourite Kristen Perers is as stunning as ever. Kristen always captures the essence of Susan’s styling and vision so perfectly.
For my shawl I chose the teal blue shade ‘Depth’ and have found silver lined dark emerald beads to to bring out the green tones of the yarn. It’s been a long time since I worked beads into a knitted item and I’m pleased to say the crochet hook placement method used in Josephine is really very easy and far less frustrating than the threaded method. It’s going to be beautiful!
Josephine is available now as a hard copy in-store or mail order from Loop and as a download via Ravelry. I can’t wait to see all the new projects appearing, between the yarn and beads there are so many possibilities for colour combinations and the opportunity to make your shawl unique.
Main shawl images © Kristen Perers and Loop, London 2014 and used here with permission.
There’s been a fair amount of pottering between projects this week. The first of Mr K’s Labyrinth socks is off the needles:
However, there is a slight bump in my plans as I can’t find the rest of the Regia Bargain Balls and need one for the other sock. I suspect they are lurking at the back of Mr K’s warehouse which we used for temporary storage during our move last year. Fingers crossed the box turns up otherwise I have said he will have to use it as a Christmas stocking…it’s certainly big enough!
I’ve become slightly addicted to knitting my Brolly shawl:
I love garter stitch and I’m always surprised how the most basic of stitches never fails to entertain even the most experienced knitters. Such a lovely texture and always soothing to knit, knit, knit, knit, knit! And look, it’s even smiling at us:
Boxy is still in the naughty corner which suggests that it is never going to make it out of there. I think I’m calling it a day and will rip it out and use the yarn to swatch for the Bailiwick Pullover, seen here gracing the cover of the Spring 2014 issue of Interweave Knits:
In fibrey greetings card news, I found this charming card with an illustration by Hugh Ribbans, combining sheep with bicycles and perfect for Tour de France knitting and spinning fans, or even cycling shepherds like my Father, which is where this is headed!
Happy weekend all! Hope the sun shines and Spring springs forth where you are.
I’ve been working on the copy edit of a very cute crochet book and found myself returning to one of my constant tech editing conundrums; how to describe the number of chains you are required to work?
Knitting abbreviations put the stitch you are required to make first, followed by the number of stitches; K1 (knit 1), P3 (purl 3) etc. You won’t find 1K or 3P being used.
Crochet is the opposite. The number of stitches is followed by the type of stitch; 1dc (1 double crochet), 3tr (3 trebles) etc.
However the chain abbreviation (ch) tends to break this rule and you usually find ‘ch6′ rather than ’6ch’ which in theory, if you follow the general crochet stitch writing rules, it should be. Why is this? My Tech Editor brain needs to know as it twists my pattern writing standards!
I wondered if it is the way our brains are grammatically trained so ’6 chain’ doesn’t sound right compare to ‘chain 6′?
When the question was put out to a straw poll on Twitter, the vast majority of respondents err on the side of ch6. What’s your preference? Is there a set standard for crochet patterns that you know of? Any ideas as to why people favour ch6?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.