I ♥ London Knitting

Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Especially about knitting. In the meantime I had another birthday which was wonderful. We had a Super Bowl Birthday party. I got a $50.00 gift certificate to my favorite LYS, (Yippee!!!),  lots of gift cards and other cool stuff. The day was nice, my church choir sang Happy Birthday. That hasn’t happened before. I’m sure I was blushing.

Last week we were in London for the Broadcast Video Expo. I didn’t work though, my DH did. We arrived a couple of days early to take in some sights. We took the tour of Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath. It was a day-long trip and as our tour guide said it was only a taste of each place. We could easily spend the whole day in Windsor or Bath. The first day we went to Kensington Palace and took the tour. Right now they have an exhibit called the “Enchanted Palace.” It was a bit Disney-esque, but fun. It was an historical and artistic account of each of the seven princesses who lived there. You were supposed to “discover” the names of the princesses.  Diana’s dress was on display as well as Margaret’s tiara and wedding gown.

We visited the Victoria & Albert Museum. I had to go back a second day to check out the textile exhibits and spent half the day looking at amazing and incredibly intricate lace.

Collar made of bobbin lace - mid 17th century

Collar made of bobbin lace - mid 17th century

I never knew such techniques existed. The thread was so fine, it looked to be even finer than sewing thread. I was simply blown away by the artistry involved in making such pieces. There was a French fan that was a landscape scene with a sluice sending water into a pond where a duck was splashing on one side, and moving into a veranda with trees and flowers on the other side. I wish I could find the picture of that one. I was too chicken to take any pictures of my own. It doesn’t seem to be allowed. Of course you can draw what you see, but I’m afraid it would just look like chicken scratch.

The next three days I spent looking for local yarn stores. I pretty much struck out on day one. The two in Notting Hill that I tried were not really yarn stores, but stores that carried a few skeins and lots of other stuff. The yarn they carried was readily available at my local Michael’s store. Not too exciting. The second store I tried actually turned out to be primarily a bead shop. I got a few items here and some blue rocaille beads to hopefully finish my “Lighter Than Air” shawl that I’m 3/4 of the way through. I got the yarn, Rowan Kidsilk Spray in Amsterdam several years ago. I also ran out of the yarn, so I’ve been collecting it as I see it come up on Ebay. So far I have not found the same colorway I started with and there is a wide variation.

Tricolette Purchases

The next day I tried a new shop near Abbey Road called Tricolette Yarns. A very cute shop. I liked the coziness of the place. She is very new, only open since October 2010. I was determined to only buy yarns that I can’t get in the States, especially British wool. I also found some cute stitch markers and a button that I thought I would put on the hat I was making from last year’s Wensleydale Longwool by Sheepshop. Yeah, I finally broke into that stash. Eh-Hemmm. I also made a pair of fingerless gloves for this trip from the pretty blue colorway.

I walked from St. John’s Wood over to Camden Lock by way of the canal running through Regent’s Park. I found Penny Burdett’s shop and bought a top from her. She is an original knitwear designer. Her designs are worked up on a machine. I also bought a few trinkets in the Indian shop and a couple of decorative lace scarves from some other vendors. I saw them last year and thought I could make them. Famous last words. This time I bought a couple. Now I can study them and make some…. yeah, right.

From Camden I took the tube over to Islington to visit one of my favorite UK yarn stores, Loop. I bought some  more wool, a pattern which I discovered is from Washington State and a copy of Piecework Magazine. Yeah, not British at all. Oh well. I was intrigued by the work I saw and after my day at the V&A the history described in the articles was compelling. I may have to subscribe. Loop has moved since I last visited. Luckily it happened to be in this little antiques alley called Camden Passage which is right off the tube stop. It was very lucky because Camden Passage didn’t even show in my map book. I think it may be a little old.

After Loop, I visited my second favorite UKLYS, I Knit London. There I found a lovely shawl pin and an even cuter button for my hat. The hat is wearing it right now. I bought only one skein that day, but came back the next to buy waaaayyyy too much Fiberspates Lace weight. What was I thinking? I bought upwards of 4000 yards! I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it. I’ve been eyeing this pattern since I saw it in Interweave Summer 2008. It is the Wakame Lace Tunic. I finally found the pattern after two days of searching Ravelry and finally my magazines. What threw me was I remembered the picture, but the photo on Ravelry was a different color and the model was seated so I couldn’t see the border. I thought I was going nuts!

So…. This pattern calls for DK weight and 1120 yards. yeah. Perhaps I’ll make some pretty scarves too.

Oriel called for sport weight and I used a fingering weight. Wakame might require extra panels. I promise to swatch diligently. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Till next time,

Knitter Ditter

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