I can't remember when I have ever posted about knitting in my journal and I have to say that although I absolutely love hand knitted things, I have not been one for doing it myself. My Mum was a wonderful knitter and I did learn when I was a youngster, but apart from a brief flurry when my kids were little, in general I haven't done much wool work at all. That doesn't mean, of course that when I am at the Knitting & Stitching Shows, I don't somehow get sucked into the wonderful world that is hand knitting today.... long gone are the days of boring old patterns and the rise of artisan wool and a community that is incredibly creative means that the choice out there is fantastic. I do have a small stash of things that I have collected and love some of the vintage patterns that have been re-created with a modern twist. For example, at least 20 years ago I bought the yarn for a Rowan pattern that had been sitting in a carrier bag in the back of cupboard ever since. Recently a very, very kind friend of mine knitted it up for me.....oh gosh, it is just to die for....honestly it is almost too beautiful to wear and I could quite happily have it hanging on my wall like a work of art.
I was however feeling rather guilty that I didn't make it up myself and also rather inspired to get out my knitting needles and have a go. This was further boosted by the fact that as a huge fan of Carrie Bostick Hoges and Ashley Yousling's 'Making' magazine, in which a lot of the projects are knitting, I was totally swept up with the idea of artisan wools which just oooooooze organic naturalness! I picked a simple shawl pattern in wonderful seascape colours and decided to take the plunge and in doing so revisited the most amazing wool shop in London 'Loop'. At first I was forced to admire this enterprise from afar, up here in Yorkshire, but a couple of weeks ago, I got to actually visit the shop in Camden Passage and it was like walking into a little bit of heaven. Anyhow, more about that later..... meanwhile, I ordered online the yarn specified in the pattern. In fact it is American and although I might have preferred to try to find a British substitute, I decided that I should do the 'proper' thing for this first project, especially after so many years of slumbering knitting needles. What can I say....'Quince & Co' yarn is, of course, absolutely divine (I am not sure 'Loop' sells anything that isn't divine actually). Soft and light and gorgeous hazy colours. I began with the darkest colour.
The pattern is worked from one corner and has a simple eyelet detail at the end which is just so easy and yet so charming. It was a joy to do and I was surprised that the tension in my stitches seemed even, so I carried on.
It is a quick make and soft as a whisper when it is finished. The colour blocks stride out across the shawl in a dramatic wavelike way and it looks absolutely fab when it is done. I know it is not a fancy pants affair, but I love the simplicity of it and it reminds me of the ocean. You can add some quirky accessories to make it even more fun. This much treasured Sophie Digard velvet brooch is the perfect accompaniment to my Seascape shawl.
This brooch is from a selection at Loop and was of course one of those impulse buys that was just irresistible. I think it is a good job that I don't live near London, but for sure, I will be making a trip to Loop every time I am up in the City. It is one of those rare gems of a shop, tucked away in little passageway, just a few minutes walk from Angel Tube Station. You are greeted with colourful the shelves are full of 'nothing ordinary'. From fabulous artisan hand dyed yarns, to unusual haberdashery items and a stash of amazing publications. Knitted samples hang from every available space and you simply want to make EVERYTHING! I loved meeting the team there and they were super helpful for a relative novice like me. Susan's instagram feed is like an early morning tonic that sets your day off with glorious inspiration and a warm glow. As for my Seascape shawl, I know this is going to be much worn, so I am thinking a little wool embroidered clutch bag might be in order?
I have some rather gorgeous vintage linen threads from Linladen which I feel are perfect for the job and a piece of winter wool in a rusty colour which matches the brooch, so I think I will give it a try and see what happens. Meanwhile, I am determined to keep on with the knitting and have a new project just waiting to go... this one is simple garter stitch cardigan. I am a little anxious as it is knitted on a circular needle and I have never used one before. It is a very modern way of knitting, all in one piece, but it seems to be rather sensible. I have chosen a pretty soft green yarn, this time it is an rowan aran weight. We shall see......
I know it will take me some time, but it is good to have something to work on in the evenings, away from the sewing machine and embroidery hoops. For the moment though, I shall just revel in my albeit first level my knitting success, read 'loopknittingshop's' gorgeous blog and at least I will be looking forward to winter coming..... Links for everything are here:
Toodle....oooo, Ruby x