Knitalong fun

Our recent Commonwealth knitaglong went stormingly.  There were lots of knitters taking part and they have produced some gorgeous results.  Check out the conversation on Ravelry – they were/are a really chatty bunch and happy to share all their skills, ideas, hints and tips.

We all knitted the Dear Green Shawl by Anna Fisk (Narnie83 on Ravlery).  It is a lovely pattern, well written and quite intuitive when you get going.

Anna joined us on the knitalong too – here’s a picture of her knitting at the Commonwealth Games themselves!!

Narnie 83 at the Games


I had a small problem though in that the skein of yarn I chose just wasn’t long enough – by quite a long way.  Thankfully, Sadie (whiteheart on Ravlery) had had a similar problem so created a spreadsheet to we could all work out how much more we had to knit and therefore how much more yarn we’d need.  I decided to change yarns at the point where the fish tail pattern for the edging starts (same place Sadie did) and it worked really well – Thanks Sadie! :)

Kate's Dear Green 2  Kate's Dear Green

me in my Dear Green shawl (aka Katestwirl)

Here are a few other lovely shawls from the KAL:

Saide in her Dear Green  Whiteheart's Dear Green

Sadie (Whiteheart‘s) Dear Green Shawl

pmac39's Dear Green

pmac39‘s Dear Green

SilvrTabbyKnitter's Dear Green

SilvrTabbyKnitter‘s Dear Green

Streyknit's Dear Green

Streyknit‘s Dear Green

And finally, an honourary mention for Alessandra (PokedaGoblin on Ravelry) for her Hydrangea scarf with which she won first prize at the Worcester show on 17 August.  Well done Alessandra – you are a P/Hop stalwart and we love you! x

PokedaGoblin's hydrangea

Fibre East – Thank You!

Once again I had a fabulous time at Fibre East meeting and chatting with lots of lovely supporters.  Thank you so much to Janet Ellison and her army of fabulous volunteers for another great show.  We raised a wonderful £376.75.


The stall which raised £376.75 in donations

It was hot again this year, but that didn’t deter the fibre fanciers from coming for a great day out.  There was lots to do besides shop for yarn, patterns, needles and notions, spinning wheels, drop spindles, fleece (washed/unwashed/dyed/undyed/carded/uncarded… – very complicated world is spinning…).  Once again there was a great demonstration of sheep shearing on the field and you could buy the fleece after meeting the sheep!!  I was lucky enough to watch the demonstration whilst sitting under a tree eating my lunch – thanks for Judith (aka Jabberknit) and Tina (aka WickedWoolyWitch) for standing in for me.


sheep – waiting patiently in the heat to be shaun!

The site of the show is at Redbourne Community College and they have a small farm, which was open!  I loved my wander around the farm on Sunday when Jacqui (aka Tiggerbee ) and Heather (aka nearlythere )were manning the stall.  I love volunteers!!


Some less than usual “guests” at Fibre East

Fibre East 2013 was the first stand I ran as P/Hop Coordinator and, as some of you may know by now, Fibre East 2014 was also my last!  How sad, but also quite nice.  I have thoroughly loved being the P/hop person over the last year and a bit and am sad to be moving on, but my lifestyle has changed an I no longer have enough time to do the role justice.  If you can spare a day a week, love social media and all things knitty, then perhaps you could apply.  All details here.

Celebrity at P/Hop stall!

I have yet to get feedback following the delights of Unwind Brighton – will keep you posted on funds raised as soon as I know!

I do know, however, that we had a celebrity visitor to our stall.  Lynda from The Great British Sewing Bee, with her daughter, Sarah from Crafts from the Cwtch.

Lynda at Unwind

Great British Sewing Bee’s Lynda, wearing a P/Hop sample

Lynda and daughter at UnwindLynda being styled by her daughter, Sarah

Our wonderful volunteer Heather (aka Nearlythere on her blog and Ravelry) took these pictures.

Heather also wrote a lovely little blog about being a P/Hop volunteer at a show.  You can read that here: P/Hop: putting the fun in fundraising at Unwind Brighton

Wonderful Heather loved volunteering so much that she did it again at Fibre East – THANKS so much Heather!! :)

Goodbye and thank you Kate, hello (insert your name here?)

Kate, your excellent p/hop coordinator, has sadly got to step down from her role in September due to work commitments. I’ll be really sorry to see her go as she’s done sterling work and gone above and beyond to continue p/hop’s success.

On the bright side, this opens up a great opportunity for someone else to volunteer running the best knitting and crochet fundraiser in the world. Could this be you?

“What does running p/hop entail?” I hear you ask. You can  download the role description here which has all the details in:

To give you a more personal idea of what running a woolly fundraiser takes read on dear reader, read on.

What does this role involve?

1) Running this blog, sharing the latest news with p/hop fans worldwide though social media and raising awareness about MSF’s awesome life-saving work!

2) Light touch pattern editing (mostly formatting to add the p/hop blurb) photo editing and coming up with creative ways to get people involved.
3) Occasionally taking p/hop on the road, meeting lots of delightful fibre-folk…
Me (Kate) standing proudly in front of my first P/Hop stall

Kate standing proudly in front of the P/Hop stall at Fibre East 2013

… yes, there may be sheep …
Woolfest sheep
…and you will end up being surrounded by squishy knitware samples.

Where do you do this?

Ideally we’d like you to come into the MSF office in Clerkenwell, London, so we’d prefer someone who lives reasonably near. MSF will pay your travel expenses and you get a lunch allowance. When I ran p/hop I found it really interesting coming into the office and learnt a lot about how a humanitarian aid agency works. Plus there is often cake and the people who work there are really friendly. There are occasional language courses and interesting talks which you are welcome to attend. And tea, lots of tea (or hot beverage of choice).

Who will I work with?

Me, based in the communications team (stop press!) as well as our friendly fundraising team.

How will I know what to do?

Training will be provided. Once you are up and running a certain level of independence and self motivation is required. The team will always be on hand to help (though most people in the office don’t know anything about knitting. The philistines.)

Have any more questions?

Kate’s the best person to answer your questions as she’s been running p/hop for the last year. You can email her here

The Wonders of Woolfest

I’ve just got back from Woolfest in Cumbria – what a great event.  P/Hop have been there for the last 6 years, but this was my first time.  Thank you so much to the organisers for their generosity to P/Hop and MSF over the years.  We really do appreciate it.

My good friend, Annette and I thoroughly enjoyed ousrselves.  The fun started when we jumped in our hire car and set off all the way from London to Cockermouth (according to the hire car invoice we drove a whopping 722 miles over the weekend).  We nicknamed the car Thelma and the sat nav was Louise!  Poor Thelma hated going up hills but seemed overjoyed to be going down them!  It was actually a really nice drive, starting in Lewisham, South East London we merely had to pop through the Balckwall Tunnel and then most of the trip was the lovely scenic and quiet A1(M) and then the A66.  We couldn’t have managed without Louise though – I booked a B&B in Caldbeck where the organisers of Woolfest are (The Wool Clip) instead of in Cockermouth where the event is.  This was 20 miles away and really very rural indeed – with some roads so narrow that you find yourself breathing in, in an effort to ensure that you fit through! 😉

Here’s Teeny Tiny Teddy and the view from the B&B – The Oddfellows Arms, Caldebeck, where we received a very warm welcome.

   View TeenyTinyTeddy with water Teeny tiny teddy on the road  Teddy rides the teapot

Sorry they’re a bit dark – my camera isn’t playing ball right now.

The show itself was great fun, despite being pretty hard work.  Annette and I both slept like logs on Friday night.  I love yarny people – they’re all so friendly and accepting, not to mention very generous.  Lots of people stopped by to say hello to me too, not just P/Hop supporters but people I know from Tweeting and Raveling as Katestwirl and in from my yarny business The Golden Skein.  Annette was a little bemused by how many people came over on Friday to tell me that my “Waterlilly” (the knitted top I was wearing) looked even better in real life.  It’s rather odd to be well known in the knitty world, but I rather like it! 😉

Another favourite part of the show for me is the lifestock sharing the stalls with us.  The event is held in a cattle market and stalls are interspersed with sheep, alpaca and even angora bunnies in pens.

black and white sheep

Jacob sheep

On the Saturday we were joined by the wonderful Natalie (KnattersKnits) who was a great help and good company on the stall.  Natalie’s help meant that Annette and I could see a bit of the show together.  Thank you so much Natalie – you were fabulous!  I’m afraid that we did encourage her to go spending at the show too – sorry I’m a huge enabler!  I enabled myself more than anyone this time though and bought 3 skiens of yarn and 2 birthday presents, one for my dear friend Kat (whose birthday party I had to miss to go to Woolfest) and one for my lovely mum – her birthday isn’t until September, but I saw just the perfect thing!

I even had time to cast on a P/Hop pattern whilst I was there – The Eyre Shawl by Karie Westerman.  The shawl is named after Jane Eyre from Charlotte Brontë and completely by accident, Annette and I went to Haworth, birthplace of the Brontë sisters, so a bit of it was knitted there!

November 2013 027

Karie’s Eyre Shawl


Kate’s Eyre Shawl (in progress)

Finally a huge THANK YOU to all those who chose patterns and donated funds to MSF.

We rasied just over £677 – Hurray!

We’re on the road again at Unwind (12 & 13 July) and at Fibre East (26 & 27 July) if you fancy helping out on the stall for an hour or so – just pop by and chat to whomever is there.


Woolfest 2014, Cumbria

Well, we are all packed and ready to go to WoolFest this week.  I am very much looking forrward to it.  I’ve heard wonderful things about the show and this year is their 10th anniversary so I’m axpecting it to be fantastic!

All the different fibre crafts will be there, spinning, knitting, crochet, weaving, tapestry, and various other yarny artforms, as well as some wooly livestock.  I LOVE sheep!

WoolFest yarn

Woolfest sheep


WoolFest stalls

Pictures from WoolFest website

I’ve packed a huge suitcase full of lovely patterns, knitted & crocheted samples, collection buckets, MSF literature, tablecloth, flag, postcards and all sorts of paraphernalia to use for display purposes, oh and two polystyrene heads!  It’s amazing what you can squish in.  It’ also amazing how much it all weighs!  And that’s just the suitcase.  I’m also taking 2 director’s chairs, some rubber matting to stand on and the MSF poster display stand, as well as my overnight bag – thankfully, this time, I am not doing it by public transport AND I have a lovely friend, Annette, coming with me to help! #lovevolunteers

If anyone else fancies manning the stand for an hour or so we would be very grateful indeed.  We’d love some time to see the rest of the show.  Just pop by to stand J225 if you have an hour to donate!


The HUGE p/hop suitcase

We will be bringing a few new patterns to the show.

Dear "Blue" Shawl knitted by SuLam as a sample for P/Hop - Thanks Su!

Dear Green Shawl pattern by Anna Fisk, knitted by SuLam as a sample for P/Hop – Thanks Su!


Southfields sweath by Miranda Jollie (Hanwell Knitter)

November 2013 021

Eyre Shawl by Karrie Westerman


Diamond Dot Scarf by Kate Ellis (aka Katestwirl). That’s me that is!

High Line (2)

High Line by Janet Cullen

October Leaves

October Leaves by Katherine Mills

Major Groove Mitts

Major Groove by au fils des jours

Baby Blanket 1

Retro Baby Blanket by Helen Westerby

The best thing about any yarn show is the people!  We will be on stand J225 next to the Milk Stand, so please do pop by to say hello and to browse the latest patterns and some old favourites.   We’d especially love to see you if you’re wearing a p/hop creation – or generally fancy a chat.

If you’d like more info on the patterns featured, just click on the photo.

Knit in Public Week

Kate knittig in public

Kate (aka Katestwirl) knitting in public

It’s World Wide Knit in Public Week, apparently!  So get out there and show off your yarny skills to the World at large!!

I haven’t had too much time but I managed to knit in a restaurant on Saturday.

I was also knitting these lovely stripey babies on the train on my way to MSF/P/hop this morning.  I love knitting socks on the move, they are just so portable, especially if using magic loop rather than DPNs.  I even managed to keep knitting whilst changing trains and platforms at London Bridge – That’s proper knitting dedication that is!

Kate's portable sock knitting

Kate’s portable sock knitting



If the urge to knit some very portable socks hits you, then here are plenty P/Hop sock patterns to choose from!  Here’s a small selection – click on the photo to go straight to the pattern page.

Molly Weasley's Gift Socks by Susan Sharpe

Molly Weasley’s Gift Socks by Susan Sharpe


Spiral socks by Jane Lithgow

Spiral socks by Jane Lithgow



Wimbledon Footlets

Wimbledon Footlets by Ros Clarke


Of if those 3 beauties don’t suit you, there are lots more on our sock pattern page.

Happy knitting in public!


Get ready for a Commonwealth Knit-a-long!

Glasgow at night.  Photo credit: TripAdvsor

Glasgow at night. Photo credit: TripAdvsor

The Commonwealth Games is being hosted in Glagsow, Scotland from 23 July to 3 August 2014.  We think it’s the perfect excuse for a p/hop knit-a-long. – So get your knit on whilst watching energetic types on the telly and helping those in need, all at the same time – now that’s what I call multi-tasking!

It’s time to dive in your stash or otherwise source your yarn for a Commonwealth Knit-a-long for p/hop.

So what are we knitting?

The Dear Green Shawl by Anna Fisk.  It is perfect because it was designed as a celebration of Glasgow and donated to p/hop to raise funds for MSF.  The shawl is also a prize winner from the Glasgow School of yarn, so definitely has good Scottish credentials.

This is what Anna says about her pattern: “Glasgow’s name means ‘dear green place’. The city’s coat of arms and motto refer to the stories of its patron saint, St. Mungo: ‘this is the bird that never flew / this is the tree that never grew / this is the bell that never rang / this is the fish that never swam.  The shawl uses lace motifs representing a bird in flight, a tree, and a bell, ending with the traditional ‘Shetland’ fishtail lace pattern.”

Dear "Blue" Shawl knitted by SuLam as a sample for P/Hop - Thanks Su!

Dear “Blue” Shawl knitted by SuLam as a sample for P/Hop – Thanks Su!

How does it work?

1. Download the knitting pattern from the pattern page by clicking here;

2.  Make a donation (in any currency) based on the hours of pleasure you think you’ll get from the knit-a-long, by clicking on the JustGiving link on the right;

3. Choose your yarn (hardest bit);

4. Pop over to our Ravelry group, say hello to us all and tell us which yarn you’re using in our Knit-a-long thread;

5. Cast on on the 23rd July and knit your socks off until 3 August;

6. Have fun sharing your pictures, yarn choice(s), queries, failures and triumphs and generally chatting over on the Ravelry page or tweet and instagram using the hashtag #Commonwealthknitalong.

P/Hop needs you!


Lighting the Knit Signal!


There are lots of brilliant ways that you can help P/Hop to raise funds for MSF.  P/Hop was set up as a community project, so that lots of people could get involved.  I donate one day a week plus additional work when we have shows to do, but there is so much more we could do with your help.

Besides downloading our patterns for a donation, or giving us a donation at a yarn show, there are several other ways that you can help raise funds for, and awareness of, MSF:


Get in touch / spread the word / Social Knitworking

We are always open to new ideas and fund-raising suggestions.  If you have a brilliant idea we would love to hear it.  Either start a thread in our Ravelry group,  email us, tweet us @msf_phop or post it on our Facebook page.  If you do have a great idea, we’d like you to help run it – there’s only me volunteering for one day a week so we’d like all the help we can get.

We’d also love you to share amusing or interesting knit/crochet/yarn – funny cats etc so please do.


 Ask your LYS to stock some P/Hop patterns

The lovely George and Louise from YarnGarden have a selection of our patterns available for donations – we think this is a great idea.  So, if you own a yarn store or rung stalls at various shows (or are friendly with someone who does), perhaps you could download a selction of our our patterns, direct from our website, and make them available in-store for a donation to MSF.  You could also use our patterns to showcase your beautiful yarns.  We’d be happy to send you some MSF literature and a collection box.  Please email us if you would like more information.

George & Louise at GsoY

George and Louise from YarnGarden handing over their pattern donations


Volunteer to help run a stall for an hour or two

P/Hop currently have stalls booked at the following events and would love some helpers:

Woolfest in Cockermouth, Cumbria Friday 27 & Saturday 28 June

Unwind Brighton Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 July

Firbre East  near Bedford Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 July

I will be going to both Woolfest and Fibre East and would love some of you to help for a while – to get to meet you and so I can take the odd loo break! 😉

Sadly I cannot make it to Brighton.  We have a few volunteers already, but I need to make sure that we have enough to cover the whole event.  The wonderful Hilltop Katie from Hilltop Cloud has offered to take our stall things to and from the show, but we’d like a couple of volunteers to set up the stall (it’s really quite easy and I’ll give you full instructions) and to take it down and pack it away.  Please email me if you think you can help.  Kate Ellis, p/hop Coordinator –


Me (Kate) standing proudly in front of my first P/Hop stall

Me (Kate) standing proudly in front of my first P/Hop stall


Run a P/Hop stall at your local yarn show

Whilst we’d love to attend all the wonderful fibre events around the country, we simply don’t have the resources.  However if you would like to run a stall at a yarn fair for P/Hop we would love it.  We’ll be able to guide you and send literature on MSF, collection buckets and stickers and some sample knits etc.  Please email us if you are interested.


Hold a P/Hop Yarn Swap or other event

Get a few like minded people together in your area and hold a yarn swap – well any kind of swap really.  If each person takes some yarn or craft books which they no longer want they can swap them for something that someone else has bought.  You can ask everyone to make a donation to be able to take part.   Check out the yarn swaps that have already raised loads of money and awareness for MSF.

If you are holding a knitting, crochet or other fibre related event for MSF please let us know, we would love you to write a blog post about your event, both publicizing it and writing a review of it for this blog.  We can help share your event on Twitter and Facebook.


Design and donate a pattern

We wouldn’t get far with our fundraising if we didn’t have lovely designers donating their patterns to us.  We are always looking for new patterns, so whether you’re an experienced designer or just starting out, please get in touch if you’d like to give us your pattern.

Our submission guidelines are here.


Whip up a sample

We find that patterns are more popular at shows if there’s a sample or two of the fnished article on display.  We are currently looking for samples of the following patterns, but any samples are always greatfully recieved!

High Line


The Diamond Dot Scarf

Retro Baby Buggy Blanket
October Leaves


This is a community project, the more knitters and crocheters put in, the more MSF and the people they help get out.

Thank you.

Knit Now

We were delighted when the  fabulous Kate Heppel from Knit Now magazine rang to offer us a whole page in this excellent magazine.  Publicity is very much appreciated by MSF & P/hop.  The more people who know of P/Hop and our patterns, the more money and awareness we can raise for MSF and the more people we can help.

We are featured in issue 33 on page 77. 

Knit Now

I think the advert looks fantastic.  It’s great at creating awareness of MSF (Medecine sans Frontieres/Doctors withour borders) and shows off a couple of our lovely patterns.

Knit Now Issue 33 April 2014

The two patterns featured are The Diamond Dot Scarf by Kate Ellis (Katestiwrl) and the Rerto Baby… Buggy Blanket by Helen Westerman (thredHED).  You can down load them by clicking on the links below:

The Diamond Dot Scarf

Retro Baby… Buggy Blanket

Please don’t forget to make a donation.