Saturday, 30 October 2010

Nest - New London yarn shop!

Nest is a new London yarn shop.  They are open as of today, Sat 30 October 2010.

Being located in my neck of the woods (I walked there, woohoo!) made it easy for me to go along and check out today.  And I must say: I am impressed.

It is a lovely shop with really nice yarn and lots of other items.  The mother & daughter team running the shop are warm and welcoming, and the shop itself has a lovely atmosphere.

I understand that they will have Drop-in evenings/times designed for people to come in and do some knitting, but I also understand that if you just want to sit and knit, waiting for a friend or spend a bit of knitting time with friends, then you you could pop in and see if it's convenient.  There is a very inviting area with seats and sofas at the back of the shop.

Of course I had to buy some yarn (when could I ever resist!):

And also a shawl pin:

There were two yarns that I am very interested in (the kind of yarns that will make me go back!).  The first one: Drops Alpaca at £3 is very good value for money, I liked some of the colours a lot and can imagine making something Fair Isle in this. Lovely!

Not the actual colours, but similar
 The second one is two weights of JC Rennie that you can buy off the cone.  Just as little or as much as you'd like, this is being sold by weight! Love the idea!
There is a worsted weight and a thinner one too (not completely sure if this was worsted or more a DK. The thinner one could be a 4 ply, but don't take my word for it).

There were quite a few yarns that I liked a lot as well: Fyberspates Scrumptious (I bought one skein in the bright pink, love it!), Malabrigo Lace and Worsted too, Drops Kid Silk and the Shilasdair come to mind.  There is also a very gorgeous but quite pricey Buffalo Gold yarn (which includes some actual buffalo fibre, as well as cashmere) in very nice colours.

Check out their website for more yarns, I only quote the ones I remember in particular.

I really like the fact that there is a bit of a price range - some yarn shops (the yarn boutiques) are very good at selling those yarns at the top end of the range, and then you get the older-style craft shops that are very good at selling the more affordable yarns.  But to get a good range is rare.  I very much commend them for that.

They also do quite a few other bits and pieces.  Again the website lists all of those, just off the top of my head: buttons, ribbons, cards, books, felting tops, kits, and some utensils for knitting and crafting.  There are probably lots more products that I don't recall just now!

The location is at 102 Weston Park.  This particular bit of Weston Park (the name of the street) consists of a small parade of shops.  There is a cafe/sandwich bar called Bon Croissant directly opposite that has some chairs and tables outside, but there are more general shops as well.  Not very many but a good variety.

This may seem a little tricky to get to, but believe me: it's much, much easier than Stash Yarns was, if you've ever been before they closed in Dec 09.  The W5 bus (from Archway to the Sainsbury's behind the Arena shopping centre in Haringay, via the Overground station of Harringay as well as Harringay Green Lanes) goes directly past the shop - no need to look for a bus stop, it's 'hail and ride' round there: pick a sunny spot, crane your neck, wave enthusiastically when you see something big and red come up (let's hope it's not a Royal Mail van instead) and the W5 will stop and pick you up. Fantastic!
It helps if you wait at the corner just 'past' a street crossing and not before as I did today...

There is also the W3 bus that takes you into Finsbury Park or to the Overground station Crouch Hill.  It really isn't very far and the area is a lovely, leafy neighbourhood of nice houses and lots of trees. Very pleasant!

We do not have enough yarn shops in London so it is particularly nice to be able to go to this one.  I would urge you to check it out so that they'll be the success they deserve to be!

PS: They will have an online shop as well at some point, I'm sure their website will say so at the time.

Knit Nights at Loop

Last Thursday I popped into Loop, for one of their Knit Nights.  The shop is open until 7.30pm and the upstairs (the area with the Sofa!) becomes a cosy haven of knitting loveliness from 5.30pm onwards.

I wanted to check it out to see what it's like as a general thing, more specifically I also wanted to do some more knitting out in town while sat chatting to others and thirdly: I had discovered the need (I call it a 'need', if you knew the exact extent of my yarn stash you would, no doubt, disagree with me strenuously on that... cough...) to get, you guessed it, yet more yarn.

I finally had occasion to wear my Aqua Malabrigo Shawlette, but found that the colour doesn't go with a great many things I wear.  But the yarn is so soft!  This mix of silk and merino with the Malabrigo typical buttery softness of the yarn that literally blooms when you block it: I just had to get some more of that!  It wafts round your neck like a delicious cloud: there is absolutely no scratchiness and it doesn't cling or stick and doesn't make you feel uncomfortably hot.  This yarn makes it the most wearable shawl I made (and I made quite a few, check out my Ravelry projects page if proof is needed).

This is it: Malabrigo Silky Merino - a DK weight

Colourway Mattise Blue 415

51% Silk
49% Merino

Gorgeous! (I want some more of either the 428 Pink Panther or the 421 Blackberry! Or the 30 Purple Mystery? Yum...)

I even got half an hour's worth of knitting in!  Loop are lovely hosts: there is coffee and also cake, for reasonable prices.  Sorry, I got there so late (had to work lnoger than normal) that I ran to get my yarn and then threw myself into knitting, - I was completely oblivious to the sustenance available that I literally only noticed as we were leaving.  Note to self: must come back for cake...

The Velvet Damson Juneberry Triangle

Saw the pattern, loved it. Tried to get it, couldn't (the magazine was only available in North America, tut!). Waited till October, found it on Ravelry (yay!), bought it, downloaded it, picked a yarn from my stash...

...and guess what!
It's already finished.

I was chomping at the bit to get into this!  But I'm still very surprised that I managed to knit this up so quickly.  I was expecting it to take a month, or so, so imagine my surprise when it got done in a week.  Being on holiday and able to knit all day might have something to do with that though, funnily enough...

Here it is:

Isn't it gorgeous?

The yarn is Colinette's Jitterbug in Velvet Damson, I used a bit more than one skein (check the yardage given in the pattern, I think I'm very close to that).  I knit this on 4mm needles, the nice pointy ones from Hiya Hiya I think (if that's the silver ones? I get confused, I have so many).

The pattern is a little tricky: the WS rows are not just purl but lace knitting as well, but they are quite repetitive so not too difficult to do.  The edging is a bit more challenging, I needed to refer to the chart all the way round - it is easy to see what you're doing on the RS rows!

I realised quite late in the day (when it was too late to do anything about it) that the nupps didn't pop out on the RS very much at all.  Instead they just look as if the knitted fabric is a bit denser in those areas.  Must be down to my knitting?  In the edging I knit another row and only then decreased back to one stitch, that worked a lot better.  I'd like to make this shawl again and then I intend to get those nupps to behave!

One alteration to the pattern: I didn't like to miss out on the garter edge to cast on anew for the edging, so instead I knit up the three garter stitches, back and forth, for long enough to pick up 19 stitches along the relevant edge (3 per two loops), that together with the stitch from binding off those three garter stitches then gave me the 20 stitches specified to start the edging chart.  I should have probably started three rows into that chart to get to a similar point in the repeats when I got to the triangle's top point to get the nupps placed symetrical, but hey: it's handmade, what do you want.  Not perfection, that's for sure.

I'm loving it, I can't stop wearing it.  Which is the best sign that it's a successful project!  I love showing it off too.

PS: I just uploaded lots more piccies onto my Ravelry project page, if you'd like to take a look in closer detail.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Brooklyn Tweed's Juneberry Triangle is now available on Ravelry!

I am so excited! I adore Brooklyn Tweed's Juneberry Triangle - but I was unable to get this before because I couldn't get hold of the magazine it was in.  The publisher only sells it in North America and eager knitters in Europe and Australia just don't get a look in.  And the Internet is supposed to make it easy to sell your products internationally!  That shows a lot of marketing nous.  Great.  Makes me feel like a second-class citizen, thanks for that.

I was so frustrated about that that I emailed Jared Flood to ask about the pattern's availability, and I was incredibly touched and pleased that he answered. The magazine had six months' exclusivitiy on the pattern but from October 2010 it became available on both Brooklyn Tweed's site as well as Ravelry.

Guess what I just downloaded!

Copyright Brooklyn Tweed

This is it in all its glory. Isn't it out of this world gorgeous?

It costs $6.50 which translated to £4.23 just now. This kerchief is so yummy it's well worth that.  I was also very impressed at how easy it is to both pay for this (nice and safe via PayPal) as well as download it - it's all one smooth, uncomplicated process.  What a great way of getting a pattern that I'm raring to get started on!

And the timing couldn't be better: Ally Pally is taking place this weekend! I'm so excited! I'm bound to find myself 450 yards of a sportsweight equivalent, in fact: I'm sure I'll be spoiled for choice.

Can't wait!