Skein Queen, Cupcakes & QI

First thing – Happy Birthday Frank!! Hope you have a great day today.

Fabby weekend. Really there are times when I totally love that live in London and this weekend was one of them. Hauled my 1kilo cone of Kilcarra Tweed to the southbank for a QI recording session. Waiting in line the security guard checked our bags – and was amused to find Norbert (my big old cone of tweed, who I have decided is such an entity he deserves his own name), and A & E’s knitting bags too. He assured us that the show was really quite amusing and that we wouldn’t be bored! Anyways, we wandered up the stairs into the recording studio, and had a blast watching Stephen Fry, Alan Davis, Liza Tarbuck, Philip Jupitus and Sean Lock.

First time I’d ever seen QI and, like many British ‘game shows’ it isn’t so much a game as a salon all about wit and banter.  Even the points handed out at the end are made up (at least I couldn’t see any rhyme or reason to how they got points).  But I guess it’s hard to pitch a game show that really is just about a bunch of funny people sitting around chit chatting. But what fascinating chit chat!  Alan Davis’s tangental fantasy about stopping time and getting people’s willy’s out (in a Vegas casino at the roulette table), then starting time again was very funny, though somewhat disturbing if one stops to ponder the mind that created the fantasy…. the power to stop time, and well, that’s what you’d want to do? Pretty funny if you ask me. He tweeted that BBC thought the cocks bit was too offensive and had to be dropped.

Yes onto tweeting – Stephen Fry is a Tweetaholic. He started the show with a tweet and an audience shouted G word. He gave us a word, the definition (which I have already forgotten), and got us all to shout it at the same time. He records this, and tweets it to see who can guess. He played back what we’d shouted and, well, it was damn near indecipherable. Kudos to whoever gets it! Phil Jupitus took a bunch of photos before during and after the show for tweet pics, and A swears she caught Stephen Fry checking his tweets during the show. What a phenomenon. We laughed and shrieked. Good echos of humour flowed into Saturday. We rounded the dinner off at Chez Gerard. A very passable steak (sirloin) rare with chips and bearnaise sauce. Am itching to try Entrecote in Marylebone – because the sauce is a house secret and just yummm. Mmmmm.

Anyways, onto Saturday. I gave two classes – first up a sock class cuff down. I really enjoyed this class, and my student completed her whole sock in the class.   It was really gratifying to see.  Second class was a cast on class – we covered loop cast on, long tail, variations to both, channel island, crochet provision, tubular (both 2 strand and provisional cast on method), and star cast on (a modified Emily Ocker cast on without crochet stitches).   I just loved exploring the techniques and working them through with my student. And she was brilliant too!  All in all a very nice way to spend a Saturday.

Saturday evening David made my favourite pasta – crab linguine out of the River Cafe cookbook. Sooooo easy and just delicious. Except I cut chilis and I still have to be careful with my fingers – they still burn a bit! We went to watch Angels & Demons which was enjoyable if you didn’t think too much about it. Star Trek and Coraline up next.

Sunday was awesome – Debbie Orr from Skein Queen came and had a trunk show at the shop.

This is the lovely Debbie with a beautiful array of yarns (Kimono – silky aran! BFL sock! Merino silk Lace! Cashmere! ooooh yummmm) and shawls and a blanket knit by Suzanne.

Of course there were cakes from Bittersweet Bakers. Delicious, as always!

There was much knitting…


And fondling (hi Kai!)


I was knitting away with Norbert and looked over to see this.  Nick look away now. Nothing to see here. No of course that is NOT your wife holding a gazillion skeins of DIC!  Don’t worry, she left with none of those. 🙂


And more knitting with some super cool knitters.


And this week – a jewellery beading class on Wed & Thurs with Zsuzsanna Banfi (Hungarian bead artist), then the long weekend. We’re down to visit FIL & MIL on the Island, seeing the ebulliant Piffy & Irmgard on Saturday and baby shower for a dear friend on Sunday, and goddaughter time on Monday. Viva Londra!

Central Park Hoodie & Irish Tweed Yarn!

Introducing my Kensington Park Hoodie!

central park hoodie

central park hoodie back

Done in Classy, Flamingo Pie. Took 5.5 skeins, size 40. Great easy pattern and totally love my cardi. No zipper, still debating whether I can face sewing one on.


Knit as one piece, dividing for arm hole shaping. Arms knit in the round as well. Knit band backwards and grafted to the body so that the edges would be cleaner. Pain the butt but totally worth it imho.

And Irish Tweed! I am soooo excited about this yarn.

Can you see the little flecks? They are really subtle in this colourway, which I’ve named Celtic Twilight. I’ve been trying to get this into the shop for over a year now, and finally it is here. It is original Donegal Tweed from Kilcarra – spun in the traditional way with flecks that won’t fall off. Very nice. The swatch is post blocking, and it bloomed from 6.5 stitches per inch to 4.25 (5mm needles). I’ve cast on for the Urban Aran and it is zooming na

Mad Bingo Knitters Unite!

Our second Maknichabi (Mad Knitter’s Charity Bingo) took place last Friday. First things first – we raised £310 for MSF.  A big old virtual pat on all our shoulders. Thank you Mad Bingo Knitters!  Some was raised on the night, some was raised by Out of Sighters via the raffle.  We had a great group of people.  There was drinking, cupcakes, nibbles, and bingo.  Loads of hardcore bingo-ers, and kudos to Tricia who was a true bingo head with THREE booklets!


Lovely Tash did the honours for the calling (that’s MSF Pete and Syn in the foreground).


My dear friend Clare (a *gasp* muggle! shock! horror!) was game to join the night and had a blast.


Hailey won the Out of Sight Raffle – enjoy your Cookie Book and yarn.

Nathalie & Michelle from Stash came to join the fun – and even went away with prizes! (next time I’ll have more cashew nuts for you Michelle!) 😉  Lucy Wollmeise Addict shows how to work the bingo books…


We had some fun after the bingo hanging out and chit chatting – I think we also drank some more.  I discovered the next day that alcohol and prescription antihistamines do not mix well.  Urgh.  But totally worth it. What a great night, so much fun with awesome people.  A huge thank you to everyone who made the night possible.  In particular:

Prize donations from:

Cookie A

Diane Mulholland

Yarn Forward Magazine

Natalie Fergie of The Yarn Yard

Nathalie & Michelle of Stash Yarns

Arianna Halshaw of Bittersweet Bakers

Alisha Irish

Zsuzsanna Banfi

Lucy Honour

Ling Lee

Justine Taylor

Buffy & Don Taylor of Shelridge Farm


Julie Campbell & Mike of (keep an eye out for Taste & Tweet – loads of fun and yummy wine!)

And indispensable assistants:

Zsuzsanna Banfi & Tash Barnevald for keeping it together for me

Everyone who helped to clear up – er, I have to admit that part of the evening is a bit of a blur. So thank you if I forgot/was unable to thank you then!

Clare Weaver & David Cotton (ha! textiles clearly are supposed to be in my life!) for getting me home.

Next MaKniChaBi is 19 June, from 630 pm. Doors lock at 730.  Tickets here

For Out of Sighters – you can get a raffle ticket by donating to the MSF P/Hop just giving page and entering MaKniChaBi in the comments.  £5 per Raffle Entry.  Prize is drawn at the end of the next MaKniChaBi.

Bingo! Come on down

Mad Knitter’s Bingo night is coming up tomorrow (all proceeds go to Medecins Sans Frontier), and there are still a few spots left! A £5 ticket gets you in, and it covers the rental cost of the rooms, and includes a glass of wine. There are loads of great prizes, including cakes and cookies and of course yarn and fibre. You can get your tickets here or under the Tools tab on the site. Wine is from and wine consultant Julie Campbell.  If you can’t make it, but still want a shot at some prizes, a donation to p/hop (pennies per hour of pleasure – more here ) will get you entered in the raffle draw. £5 =1  raffle ticket, and the prize is drawn from all names at the end of the night. Just put Mad Knitter Charity Bingo (or MaKniChaBi) in the comments section on the justgiving page.

More feel good fun: Last night was the 5k Race for Life event in Battersea Park, which I walked with a group of lovely knitters as part of the iknit race for life team. Gerard was there to lend support and I got to meet people I’d met at Ravelry properly! Well done Anna also for running it in 40 minutes!! and thank you to Nessa for organising it all. You can still donate at Thank you!

We walked the 5 clicks in about 45 minutes or so – Mel knit the whole way around, I have to say I gave up knitting as my balance while walking is already precarious. Was too much of a hazard for my fellow walkers so i put the pointy sticks away somewhere safe. Cakemix, Mel & Nessa:

Our team got a mention during warm up, and dear Mel was intererviewed at the finish line.

A few catch up photos:
Champagne Sunday in our courtyard – lovely lazy Sunday, how they were meant to be!

(note Emma doing ‘jazz hands’ – do a search on Flickr for this. Hilarious photos)

Some photos of Deuce & Barnaby at Natalie’s (taken on the iphone at night, so a bit blurry)

Deuce checking out Barnaby’s bowl. Gives an idea of the size difference.

And the two sort of side by side – Barnaby wouldn’t sit long enough next to Deuce. Maybe D has bad doggy B.O.?

Knit a Chair

Am off to South Bank today to check out Yuvee’s Knit a Chair exhibition in front of the National Theatre. It’s from 1-5pm today so pop along and knit a few rows. The Knit a Chair project is Yuvee’s graduation project – to cover those ubiquitous and ugly plastic garden chairs with something comfy and homey. We’ll have one in the shop soon for people to knit on.

Oh crikey – I meant to blog about Ali’s 30th birthday (which was hosted by the lovely Natalie of Stash), and Natalie’s hilarious giant dog Barnaby. Deuce came up to his knees. You’d think such a big dog would look at Deuce and think ‘pah! what manner of insignificant little buggy are you?’. But no, Barnaby is a sweet gentle softie, who is surprisingly timid. He met Deuce then promptly hid himself away. I tried to get some pictures of them side by side but Barnaby kept running away. Poor guy. Ali’s party was ‘da bomb’ with amazing food and wine and home made macaroons and Arianna’s cupcakes.

Last weekend went to see Madame de Sade with M, which was really fabulous. Judi Dench and Rosamund Pike in the leading roles. Fascinating and sort of weird. Lots of heaving bosoms and talk of raunchy S&M (they were after all discussing the Marquis de Sade). Was kind of weird hearing Judi Dench talk about cat’o’nine tail whips.

We had our first Champagne Sunday at the shop, which was great fun. Perfect weather for out of doors imbibing. Great to see lots of old faces – Meljay, Mel, Emily, Jaq, probablyjane, oooh I always try to avoid listing everyone because I invariably miss someone out so will stop here! 😉 Anyways it was a good afternoon. I got the thumbs up to apply for an alcohol licence for the shop so hopefully in a month’s time we’ll have a mini fridge stocked with goodies for an evening knitcap.

And coffeeeeeeeeee! I set up our new illy machine last week for the ‘sockto-cafe’ at the shop and have been experimenting with the steamer wand. I haven’t quite gottent the hang of the microfoam, my steamed milk is a little sudsy for my taste, but more practice will iron out the kinks in technique I am sure. The coffee I am pleased to report has a good crema, and is smooth and rich. We’ve got tea as well as some biscuits in the cafe, and shortly Arianna’s delicious baked goods. Hopefully we’ll have the cafe set up by next weekend with cakes too (definitely though for the Skein Queen trunk show weekend on the 17th – am very excited about that!)

Ooh and all the Sofa parcels went out yesterday. I really love this fibre and colourway. I’m already spinning it up cause I know what I will knit with it and want to get knitting! Won’t say anymore about it as want it to be a lovely surprise for the SoFA interns. Am all caught up on the Cookie book preorders, phew! Thursday saw 5 huge mail bags go out and yesterday I had 3 big bags. Next week time to catch up on admin – especially since a new shipment of Pagewood Farm Aleyska and Yukon just landed. I have to admit I snagged a couple skeins of the Aleyska to make a clapotis (why? why? it’s such an infuriating knit – but the end product is oh so infinitely sassy and wearable and dupes me every time into casting on). New colours so need to take photos and upload to the website – hopefully I’ll get some sun and quiet time on Monday to tdo just this.

Thanks to everyone who commented on my Owls! I really love my jumper. So cute. Must find buttons though!