Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Going Loopy

Here I am playing catch up again, this time with tales of a yarntastic adventure.  So without further ado...

Back at the beginning of February, it was finally time to cash in on a Christmas gift bought for me by my beloved.  You may have noticed I am rather partial to all things crafty.  I can sew, I can quilt, I can crochet,  and all sorts of other things besides.  One glaring omission seemed to be the fact that I couldn't knit.  I've pondered for years whether I wanted to learn.  Did I really have time for yet another hobby?  But back in my Den languished numerous vintage magazines and patterns full of the most desirable knitted garments.  What's a girl to do but give it a go?

So one fine Saturday morning, off I set to Islington and that mecca of knitters, Loop, in Camden Passage.  I have visited the shop quite  few times before so the prospect of attending a beginners' knitting course here had me salivating.
 

One can't help but stop and ponder the delights in the window.  I pretty much fell in love with this knitted bird.  Maybe next Christmas?


I spotted a new creature designed by a textile artist I much admire and whose work you may well recognise,  Julie Arkell.  She also teaches workshops here, not everything is solely yarn related.


It was a treat to be let inside before the shop actually opened for business.  I headed downstairs which is where the workshops are held.  It's an inspiring place with lots of whacky and wonderful yarny creations on display and a large table for the seven of us to sit around.  A pair of needles and a ball of yarn awaited us.  Yikes!  Our teacher was to be an American young lady named Meghan Fernandes (she also publishes a knitting magazine which you may know of, called PomPom).  She was to prove an excellent teacher and the group being small, had enough time to give us individual attention.  I was the only person who actually had zero knitting experience.  Oh!  Everyone else had at least had a go and ranged from the novice to the too-good-to-be-on-a-beginners'-course. 


I was distracted by a rather yummy barkcloth cushion on the bench at the end of the table, accompanied by a fine ripple blanket.


I found it quite ok to understand the way one knits and purls.  It took me a little while to get used to how to pass the yarn through my fingers.


Over the space of two Saturdays (three hours each time), I also managed to cast on and off.  I did find it harder when I got home though.  I could still manage the stitches most of the time but what I have found really hard is knowing how to correct a mistake.  If you are a crocheter, you will know that if you go wrong, you simply take out your hook and unravel the yarn.  Easy peasy.  But with knitting?  Oh dear.  That seems a whole different ball game.  I couldn't bear for any element of my knitted thingy to go wrong and it was most frustrating not knowing how to put things right and be able to move on.  Aaaarrrgghh!



Luckily, above me there were two floors of yarntastic delights to soothe and inspire me.



I pondered what my first project might be.  I liked this scarf, at least I knew I could manage the crocheted edging!  Ultimately, I didn't feel confident enough to actually start a project and felt I needed more practise.  Although the shop is chock-full of the most gorgeous yarn, I also didn't think it was sensible to buy anything expensive and fancy to practise with.  It's not as if I am short of yarn at home!


It didn't stop me looking though.


Look at that divine rug!  I think it may be the work of Nathalie Lete?


Yarn, yarn, yarn.


I did buy a book to help me on my knitting quest but I must confess, that I have not attempted to knit for weeks.  Naughty.  One thing I am finding hard is that there are so many other things I can do which I am better at and so give me instant gratification.  I have been really busy with quilt commissions recently so that has been one thing keeping me away from the needles.  I've now finished this gorgeous large Liberty Tana Lawn quilt save for adding a name patch and will post it out this week.


I have been baking for the Sport Relief efforts at school.  I can  bake, oh yes indeedy.


I've been baking even more to entertain some friends.  We had a little afternoon tea together which was oh so nice.


And we are decorating yet again.  This time it's just a little teeny tiny room on the first floor, I call it the "throne room".  You probably get my drift.  Teeny it may be but it's still hard to get it done on top of everything else.  It has meant, however,  that I've tried another little crafty project for the first time.  One that has turned out rather well.  It's created a little flurry of excitement on Instagram, I think it's fair to say.


I've promised to post a little "how to" in the near future so when the room is finished, hopefully not too far off now, that's exactly what I will do.

Toodle pip for now. Xxx

38 comments:

  1. I was a crocheter for over 40 years before I ever learned to knit. I could sew, cook, bake and crochet. Just like you. Knitting was so intimidating. What finally REALLY helped me was utube videos. You can put any stitch or stitch pattern in the search box and a nice little video walks you through it. You can rewind, stop, or watch as many times as you need to at your own pace. It was what finally got me knitting and loving it. It was like having my very own teacher at my disposal whenever I wanted knit! I highly recommend it. I'm now as addicted to knitting as I am to all of my other hobbies. I'm willing to guess you will be too! :-)
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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    1. Thanks so much Betsy, I am glad to hear you have mastered the art of knitting! I looked on Youtube about casting on and found it very helpful so when I have a moment I will follow your example and watch some more.
      Hen x

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  2. This is a great shop, the next time I visit London it will be on my list! About the knitting - perhaps a babyblanket? One that is made up from small squares wouldn' t be so intimidating. One of the vintage magazine could be a good source for a pattern, I guess....

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  3. What a gorgeous shop and your stunning pictures really bought it to life for me! Thanks and good luck with the knitting!

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  4. What a fantastic shop and I so love the knitted fish. I love love love looking at all your fab photos. Thank you.

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    1. Whoops I meant bird, where the dickens did I get fish from, daft woman!

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  5. Oh Hen, this was so much fun to see. I know that before long you will have mastered all those knitting basics, got your knitter's tension+gauge figured out and will be experimenting will all sorts of colors and fancy stitches.

    Isn't Loop great? I loved spending some time in the upstairs room last October and wished that I could have returned many more times. Lucky I am to have some other knitting heavens over here in New York. Knitty City is in my home neighborhood, and Purl SoHo is very close to where I work. Very differing ambiance in these two, but each is a gem.

    Your quilts looks amazing...no surprise there. xo

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  6. I think that you are very talented, but oh so privileged. So what's with the fake nails - just asking!

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    1. What a judgemental comment. Incidentally, I've never had fake nails in my life, they're my own.

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    2. I just had to say something, the original comment has bothered me all day. Lovely to comment on how talented you are Hen, but I'm at a complete loss as to why this lady felt it necessary to add further unnecessary comment, if you're a sensitive soul as I am I'd have been quite upset. I for one absolutely delight in perusing your fantastic, colourful and creative blog and appreciate the time it takes to create such a blog. Why would someone comment on your nails for goodness sake, very bizarre!

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    3. Aww thanks, Sharon, it was a weird one, wasn't it? Not even very accurate. Why some people a) want to be unpleasant b) presume to know you in a way they possibly cannot, is beyond me. Thank goodness for kind hearted people like yourself, that keeps me going. I just tell myself that this sort of comment says more about the commenter than it does about me! I did, however, contact her and tell her that she didn't know me and she had been very rude!
      Hen x
      P.S. Sorry I couldn't reply to you direct (I also wanted to thank you for the comment about your first quilt, the other week) but I don't have your email address. X

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  7. Well done! I'm so much better at knitting then sewing so that's what I'm sticking to, we all have our talent but I'm sure you can do it :) One day I WILL visit Loop xx

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  8. Hi Hen, it's the other way around for me having knitted most of my life. I've always struggled with crochet until recently when I forced myself to hold the yarn correctly and now I'm loving it :-) Loop looks fabulous and I really enjoyed your post and pictures.
    Tracey xx

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  9. You can indeed bake the chocolate cake was scrummy...as were the biscuits and scones ! looking forward to doing it again, hopefully soon, another lovely blog xx

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  10. I tried knitting once but it didn't rock my socks so I returned to crochet (crochet - my big love!!). Nowadays I see sooo many beautiful knitted pullovers, dresses and so on, that I think I might try again... Which book did you buy to learn? There are tons on offer here in Germany but I would like to buy a really good one. :-)
    Take care and good luck with your knitting,
    Anne
    http://crochetbetweentworlds.blogspot.de

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  11. You are a talented lady! I always enjoy your posts. Thanks

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  12. I really enjoyed this post - the yarn shop looks heavenly - I could just dive head first into that yarn!! - your cakes look super scrummy too.

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  13. You are so talented, Hen. If you ever get stuck with knitting just email me and ask.
    Julie xxxxxxxxxxxx

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  14. I smiled when I saw your scarf picture. I took a pic of the very same scarf in Loop on Saturday. You could totally make it though, it's only stocking stitch. Hope to see you soon. It's been too long. We need a quilt planning and stroking date!! Hehe xxx

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  15. Well done for trying the knitting. I can crochet but have never got to grips with knitting. I find that it takes far too long to make anything unlike it does with crochet. Also, I find it hard having a needle in both hands! I must visit Loop one day. x

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  16. I must admit I don't hold my yarn that way for knitting and I've been doing it since I was 5 years old (now 56). I think you develop your own method when you've been doing it for a while. For me its crocheting I have difficulty with. I've tried to learn several times over the years but never managed it beyond edging clothes or a blanket with a few rows, and I can't get the hang of holding the yarn the 'right' way either. I've thought of taking proper lessons, but like you I wonder if I've time for yet another craft.

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  17. I feel your pain Hen! I am in the same situation with crochet. Should I carry on trying to master it or should I spend the time I have making quilts? So many lovely crafts, so little time - sigh. Re the comment on your nails, I would take it as a compliment. They are so lovely, I too thought they must be gels, but in a nice way!

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  18. Oh my word Hen, how on earth did you manage to walk out of there with only a book? All that gorgeous wool. Mind you it is years since I did any knitting so I would probably share you resolve not to buy the really expensive yarn just to get back into the swing. I loved the elephant. I am so envious of you have that shop within reach. Good luck with your practising. Believe me, like everything else, it does get easier the more you do it. Philippa xx

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  19. I am sure you will persevere and soon master this new craft as you have many others. I do knit and crochet though not brilliant at either, but I do enjoy a change now and then. And Julie Arkell, what can I say. I adore her little people, and she looks so lovely( and very stylish) I am in awe. Good luck I am sure you will master it in the end.

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  20. I too am fairly efficient at quilt making, cooking, and crochet. I follow Loop on Facebook and was really excited about my learn to knit classes last summer. I am really good and fast with scarves but wished I had kept going to learn the hats and socks and sweater knitting. I like to use youtube quite often to "remember" all the stitches. I just like to keep my fingers busy.....the quilt cuts are beautiful can't wait to see. Love looking at your finished blankies!

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  21. Forgot to say I am attempting to do some Decoupage with sheet music over plastic eggs...for decorations :) First time to do this!

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  22. Don't worry with getting the yarn holding right - do what feels comfy and you'll be fine and keep an even tension. If you make a mistake just go back one stitch at a time until you can start again. I was taught to knit when I was 3: I still make plenty of mistakes nearly 60 years on! Plenty of good ideas about books and youtube in the other comments. I thought the comment about privilege and nails totally unnecessary. What's the old saying? 'If you can't say something nice ....'

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  23. I've been knitting for forty years and still don't do the yarn wrappy around the fingers thing, makes my tension looser, but then it easier to knit! I dare not go to Loop.Too much yarn awaiting my attention already, though I might need to go and remove that barkcloth cushion.I am sure they don't need it.

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  24. What a fabulous shop Hen, were in London soon....I wonder if I can persuade my little tribe to let me loose for a little while! I must admit I daren't even go down the knitting route....not enough hours in the day!!! :) x

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  25. Darling Hen what a fabulous post. As always you have so much to show us and lots of adventures to talk about. I know that you will enjoy your new venture and will be a huge success as with everything you do. Have a fabulous week Hen, sorry about the late comment but life not too good at the moment. Sending you lots of loves and hugs
    Dorothy
    :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  26. Hi Hen, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

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  27. Welcome to the knitter's world LOL!! Although I can crochet if necessary, I much prefer to knit… and for some things, I still consult YouTube (Kitchener stitch/grafting!) even though I've been knitting for over 40 years and am quite advanced, or rather, I will try anything, it doesn't always work out but heyho. Could you be motivated to practise on something useful - a knitted iphone/ipad/laptop cover that is a simple shape, perhaps?! Hot water bottle cover? Very vintage!!

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  28. Oh, how I wish I could knit properly too. I can do a plain stitch but can't cast on or off ... my mum always used to do that bit for me and I have only ever knitted scarves! I see so many lovely patterns but they look so daunting.
    Your nails look lovely by the way ... weird and unnecessary comment from 'Jak'!?
    M x

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  29. Like you, I've been crocheting for a very very long time, since I was a kid in the '70s. I always wanted to knit. So I went to Youtube.com and began watching video after video after video. And believe me, those first few months were HECK. How many times did I throw the needles down and pick up my hook and say to heck with it, I don't even know. But it kept "nudging" me to try and try again. So I kept at it. Three years now, and I am far beyond the scarf stage, and am currently making my first sweater. If *I* can do it, you can to. Take a hint or two from and old crochet'er. First, if you hold your working yarn in your left hand for crochet, that does NOT mean it will be natural for you to hold the working yarn in your left hand for knit (as opposed to what so many knitters will tell you, that's not always the fastest or best for everybody). I am right handed, therefore hold a hook in my right hand. With knit, I hold the working yarn in my right hand (English style, so I'm told). Its the only way to get perfect tension for me. Also, once you learn the lingo, like crochet, you'll be reading patterns in no time. Within a week or so of really setting down to do it, I was reading knit patterns fairly well. My advice, if you really really want to knit (and I did), don't give up! Stick with it, don't get discouraged. When I got discouraged, I'd go to Youtube and watch more video's. Eunny Jang has wonderful knit video's as well as "Judy Who Knits For The Stars", she's fantastic. Hand in there, I promise cross my heart, you WILL get it.

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  30. I'm SO envious of your trip to beautiful Loop. Very occasionally I am able to treat myself to a little something delightful from their online shop. Oh but to see it all laid out so deliciously. It brought tears to my eyes. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

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  31. What a gorgeous shop but I think I would feel overwhelmed by all that wool.

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  32. I know what you mean about doing other things you are better at. But I plodded on when I taught myself to crochet and now I am making blankets. Knitting has now taken a back seat. Great photos and wish I lived nearer to Loop but I should make a visit one weekend from Kent. Amanda x

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  33. thank you thank you thank you for sharing I can never get there. loop fills me with joy hx

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