Summer festival review: Woolfest

What a summer it’s been!  Amazing!  I’m talking not so much about the weather (of course), but rather about the wonderful events and festivals that p/hop has been at over the season.  Autumn is now upon us, and it’s a good chance to review where we’ve been and what we’ve been up to.

Back in June we headed up to Cumbria for the fabulous Woolfest.  By “we”, I mean me (Larissa) and the fabulous Emma (knittinginthestow).  The organisers of Woolfest have always been huge supporters of p/hop, and it’s great to be there every year.  Although I’ve been to Woolfest a couple of times before, this was the first time that I’ve run the stall.  I particularly enjoyed meeting so many people who make a point of coming over every year to see what new patterns we’ve got.  People always seem to remember exactly where our little stall is located (milk stall at the end of Aisle J, if you’re keeping note) and greet us like an old friend.

The stall is a very quirky space, and Emma and I had great fun converting it from a functional cow pen, in to a knitting emporium.

phop at woolfest


woolfest stall

We had enough space to spread out across tables on either side of the stall, so people could browse the patterns more easily.  Several times people would be ready to leave with a collection of sock patterns under their arm, only to realise there was another table of patterns for shawls and scarves!

It wasn’t all work though:  the lovely Jane Lithgow came over to help out on the stall so Emma and I could have lunchbreaks and a chance to look at the other stalls.

One of my favourite things about Woolfest is that it is held in a working agricultural hall, and this allows stallholders to bring along their livestock (sadly p/hop is yet to set up its own woolly farm).  Without a doubt, the absolute stars this year were these Valais Blacknose Sheep from Prendwick Farm.  They were so sweet and friendly, and I can’t believe they tolerated so many people patting and photographing them.  If my car was bigger, I would have been very tempted to engage in a bit of sheep rustling, and take one home with me.   Words can’t describe their cuteness.

Valais Blacknose

Of course after all that work, we deserved a little glass of wine with the travelling Teeny Tiny Ted:

teeny ted having a little drink

We had a great time over the two days, spoke to hundreds of knitters and crocheters (and I even did a little radio interview with BBC Radio Cumbria!)  I am very pleased to say that Woolfest-goers were incredibly supportive, and raised a whopping £910.35 for MSF.  A huge thanks to everyone!

Dates have already been set for next year’s Woolfest, so make sure to put 24-25 June 2016 in your diaries folks.



EYF: the final roundup

In our last post about our adventures at Edinburgh Yarn Fest I mentioned the fabulous team of volunteers who helped out over the weekend, raising awareness and raising funds to support the work of Medecins Sans Frontiers / Doctors Without Borders.  But it wasn’t just individuals on the day who helped us raise money, as we have a growing team of small businesses who support p/hop.

The p/hop stall at EYF was situated directly opposite Strathearn Fleece and Fibre.  This was incredibly handy, as Linda has recently become a regular p/hop supporter, by making p/hop patterns available for knitters and spinners who meet at her studio.  Linda donated the money that she has already raised over the past couple of month.  I got a good chance to admire her stall.  I especially liked this giant pile of pic ‘n’ mix fibre with an array of hand dyed Wensleydale, Bluefaced Leicester, and Texel from Linda’s farm in a range of delicious colours.  I just wish I could spin!

strathearn pic n mix


Thank you so much Linda.

It was also great to catch up with George from Yarn Garden, who has been a long-running supporter of p/hop.  George and Louise regularly put out their MSF collection tin at their shows for their Yarn Garden customers to donate, and they have also started donating the 5p carrier bag charge.  Such a great idea.   I almost got George to smile as he handed handed over their latest collection to p/hop!

Yarn Garden George


Huge thanks to George and Louise.

And of course, now you’re all dying to know just how much money we raised, right?

I had much fun counting up all the pounds and pennies, and I can now confirm the total amount that was raised at Edinburgh Yarn Fest:

a massive £995.58 (plus 6 Euro cents, 5 Brazil centavos, and 1 Hong Kong cent!)

This was such an amazing result.  Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who donated.  What an achievement!



Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Here’s a pyramid of Rudolphs for you, knitted by p/hopper Ros.

rudolph pyramid

Enjoy!  See you in the new year.

Festive knitting

Here at p/hop we’ve recently received two brand new patterns that are just perfect for the festive season both designed by Louise Zass-Bangham of Inspiration Knits.

The first pattern is Three Cheers, designed perfectly to hold a bottle of wine or non-alcoholic beverage of your choice.

Three Cheers
The second pattern is Gifted, a knitting pattern for a gift bag in different sizes, and it’s easily customisable to whatever size you’d like.



These are quick knits, and can be lightly fulled/felted in non-superwash wool. They’re bound to be appreciated by both knitters and non-knitters alike.

There are only ten knitting days left before Christmas, so race over to the pattern pages and donate and download now!


Getting ready for Glasgow School of Yarn

Although we’re based in MSF’s London office, here at p/hop we know that knitters do travel!  We like to head on the road to as many knitting and fibre events around the country as possible each year.  It’s a great opportunity to step out from behind the computer screen and catch up with knitters and crocheters face to face, including so many people who have helped out p/hop through donations.  Over the year there are so many yarny shows happening from north to south that there’s no way that one person could possibly attend them all.

That’s when our amazing p/hop volunteers from far and wide step in.

This upcoming weekend is the fab Glasgow School of Yarn.  Due to my pesky day job getting in the way, I won’t be able to attend in person, but the wonderful Clare has stepped in to organise everything so that p/hop can be there.  She’s taken the lead, recruited some other local p/hoppers to help out, and she’ll be making sure that the p/hop stall is running smoothly across the weekend.  Glasgow School of Yarn has always been a great event for p/hop and raises much-needed money for MSF’s work, so I’m chuffed that Clare is at the helm.


GSoY 2014(2)


Just because I’m not going to be physically there, doesn’t mean I’m kicking back doing nothing!  I’ve been busy getting our show kit ready to send up to Clare.  A big part of this involves printing off lots of patterns that knitters then “buy” for a donation (although if you like to save paper and knit from a digital gadget, you can always download p/hop patterns here).  We’ve now got over 60 patterns available, and we like being able to show what they look like knitted up.  Cue the photo of me scrabbling in the floor sorting out all our lovely knitted samples:


sample sorting

If you’re lucky enough to be in Glasgow this weekend, please do stop by the p/hop stand and discover some fabulous patterns.


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!


Show off your scarves!

Now that the miserable dark days of rain that we were blighted with over the holidays seem to have stopped we are being blessed with some bright blue skies – problem is that bright blue skies at this time of year make the temperatures rather nippy.  Ah! but there’s always a plus side and that is that we can all don our wonderful hand knits and keep ourselves ever so cosy!

The Guardian seem to have had the same idea and are looking for stories of hand knitted scarves.  You can upload pictures to their website with tales of when and for whom they were knitted and whether it was fun or a chore…  They’re looking for disaster knits as well as our favourites, so if you’ve knitted a scarf recently, why don’t you tell them about it?   This is the link: Wtiness Guardian

The best contributions will feature in the February issue of Do Something, the Guardian’s brand new monthly activities magazine, so your scarf may become famous.  There are 8 days left, so if you’re really quick you could start a scarf now!

Or you could just knit a scarf for yourself or a loved one to keep you cosy in these chilly January and February days.  Here are a few suggestions from our lovely P/Hop pattern designers:


Riviera Scarf by Rachel Atkinson

Dido scarf/lapurplepenguin

Dido Scarf by Åsa Tricosa


Diamond Dot Scarf by Kate Ellis


Elizabeth’s Scarf by Joy Edwards

Flowers in the Rain by Jacqi Walker

Flowers in the Rain by Jacqui Walker

P/Hop in the field!

We did a shout out for teeny tiny hats, way back in March 2012 and thought you’d appreciated an update.  Judith, one of our midwives in Pakistan has sent us a few pictures of the baby hats which she recently took with her to Quetta.  Here’s what she had to say:

hats and baby 004-1  hats and baby 005

hats and baby 002-1 hats and baby 003-1


Dear Everyone especially those in the MSF. UK office
Some photos to show you the hats in use and how very appreciative we are of them.
The weather here in Quetta has changed dramatically freezing cold and dry. We here cannot thank the ladies of the Pennies per hour of pleasure enough for their dedication in passing these hats to MSF for use within the projects

When I counted the hats on arrival here at Quetta there were three hundred and fifty hats  and we have divided them so both projects benefit from them. The project at the Quetta children Hospital which is MSF-OCA based and the Kuchlak project.

Just to add we have now combined these two projects as one.

As much as we need medical care, drugs and people to manage within the field it is the little things like the hats that go a long way in assisting with the care

Many many thanks from all those at the Kuchlak-Quetta project

Judith Nicholas

Expat midwife



We can not accept anymore hats for the time being (we just don’t have the space) but if you’d love to knit for others, check out the UK Hand Knitting Association’s website – there’s a great long list of charity knitting projects for you to get your needles clicking for!  Knitting for Charity

Yarn Festival Season

Laura having a well earned rest before the rush!

Wow! It’s very busy at P-Hop now that we are well and truly in festival season. Woolfest was a couple of weeks ago and Fibre East is only a couple of weeks away on 27 and 28 July, in Ampthill, Bedford.

Jane (ProbablyJane on Ravelry and designer of the ever popular Cranford Mitts) and her team of merry helpers had a very busy time at Woolfest, raising a whopping £744.55. They “sold” lots of patterns, which means I’m busy printing new ones for Fibre East.

Jane said: “Woolfest was full on but great fun – I’m secretly glad we were so busy as it stopped me spending a fortune on yarn and fibre I don’t need!” I know what she means – I’m saving up for Fibre East, but my stash is already 2 baskets full, but as baa baa black sheep has 3, I’m probably doing ok…right?

Laura was a fabulous help to Jane. She drove Jane and all the boxes of patterns all the way to Cumbria, helped on the stall for both days, and drove all the way back to London again. And, as if that wasn’t enough, she donated lots of books for the swap too! THANK YOU LAURA!

Others who gave up their valuable yarn shopping time to help were were Sadie (Whitehart on Ravelry), Joy (Thimblina) and Jude (Paraknit) and the wonderful Natalie (theyarnyard) donated a big pile of yarn and fibre. THANK YOU SO MUCH LADIES!

Joy was chatting with a fellow supporter, who said that she first heard of MSF through the P-Hop stand last year and that she now makes a monthly donation. That’s great to hear. You too could set up a monthly donation to MSF or you can check out the other ways to give here.

Hoping to meet lots of you at Fibre East – it’ll will be my first show and I am getting very excited! :) Please wear your p-hop creations and pop to the stall so I can take your photo. Here’s a couple from Woolfest!

Sadie’s (Can)tabs. We love her shoes too!

If you’d like to show off your talents, then you could always join the Shinybees P-Hop KAL/CAL and then wear your efforts at Fibre East. Jo from Shinybees will be joining my on the stall for a bit of Saturday – so you could meet us both!

Joy’s Cranford Mitts – love the colourway!

Expanding our Social Knitwork


I am Kate, the newest P/Hop coordinator here at MSF.  We’re building a nice little team, so you can expect our posts, patterns and general activity on the social knitwork to grow over the next few months.

The point of this post is to introduce myself to you all, so you know my knitty credentials and explain how I came to get involved in this fabulous fund raising initiative.

Like almost all other knitters, I was taught as a child by my grandmother, but didn’t really become an avid knitter until the turn of the century when my friend and I were both going through a dodgy job situation and started knitting to pass the time.  Initially, we knitted Easter chicks for charity, but we  soon advance onto other things and now have lives which revolve around knitting!  I tend to be a shawl knitter – they’re quick and small and don’t cost a fortune in yarn.  I love lace and sock weight yarns, and hate casting on hundreds of stitches, casting off hundreds of stitches and sewing up – so you can see how shawls appeal.  I do like a nice top down once piece cardi too….

Some of you may already know me, as I am quite active on the social knitwork already.  I am Katestwirl on lots of social networks: I blog, Tweet, have a Facebook presence (mmmm – it’s a bit weak, but it’s there) I have a Ravelry page and a group and I dabble in pattern design – basically, I already do all the things that I will be doing for P/Hop.

A lovely friend, Jo from the Shinybees blog and podcast pointed out Clare’s post for a new volunteer around a month ago.  I was very excited – some may say over excited!  Here was my chance to do what I already love doing (sharing my love for all things knit) at the same time as being able to help to make a real difference in the lives of those who desperately need it.  See here how MSF spend your donations.

This role was so perfect for me that, I confess, I squealed and then applied straight away!  The application was quite easy, because it was by letter explaining and getting my enthusiasm into the letter just came naturally – due to the over excitement!!  The hardest thing was coming up with a Tweet to show my suitability – probably the most important 140 characters I’ve ever had to write!

Here’s what I came up with: @msf_phop Compassionate and capable, I blog, tweet and knit.  Hoping this make me perfect for it!  #P/hop #volunteer #msf

I am thrilled to have become part of the team and am very much looking forward to getting to you all over the months and years to come.