p/hop at Edinburgh Yarn Fest

Wow, what a weekend!  I’m still in recovery mode from the amazing two day event that was Edinburgh Yarn Festival.  It was such a whirlwind, I’m not even quite sure how to summarise it!

I caught the train up from London bright and early on Friday morning in time to set up on the afternoon.  My immediate impression was that everything was very well organised and professional.  Jo and Mica had clearly done a great job pulling everything together.

EYF exhibitor's pass

I was then faced with something very unusual:  a huge stall with actual walls!  I had a few hooks and clips that I’d brought with me, but nothing really suitable for setting up a display in the large space that we had.  Luckily volunteer Heather was on hand to help out, and we got very creative.  Heather was an absolute champion, tracking down hardware stores (no luck there unfortunately) before eventually stocking up on bargain price mops at the nearby supermarket to use the handles to display our samples.  I’m eternally grateful to Helen from Ripples Crafts who donated some hooks for us, and Yvonne from Dublin Dye Company lent us some dowel to complement the mop handles!

The stall came together brilliantly and we were all set for the weekend.

p/hop knitting emporium

We had lots of wall space to display our shawl samples, and these were incredibly popular.   The patterns for Crocus Pocus and Trinity literally disappeared within a matter of hours!  People really appreciated being able to see the patterns worked up in different yarns.

p/hop shawls

We now have 20 sock patterns available, and they went down really well.  And with patterns for kiddies’ socks through to man-size, we really do have something for everyone as they say!

 

p/hop socks

It was great to speak with so many people about p/hop.  There was a real mix of people who are familiar with the work of MSF (including those who actively support MSF through donations on a regular basis) as well as people who haven’t come across MSF’s work before.  I also got to meet lots of knitters who were totally new to p/hop, as well as knitters who have just about every p/hop pattern we’ve published.

Heather knitting at the p:hop emporium

We had a such a huge space that we even had a seating area for our own p/hop knitting emporium!  It was a great space for people to have a rest when the yarn fumes all got a bit too much (here’s Heather getting in a sneaky round before the crowds arrived).

All in all it was a weekend to remember!  I barely left the stall so have only a vague notion of all the other things that were going on, but doing the p/hop stall was so much fun I don’t feel like I missed out at all!

I need to say a massive THANK YOU to the volunteers who helped out on the stall over the weekend.  Firstly, thanks to Heather who helped out at various points over the entire weekend, and was even on hand to fetch lunch so I didn’t collapse!  Huge thanks also to volunteers Georgina, Jaele (Jaeliebean on Ravelry), Heidi, and Natalie, who all spent time on the stall.

p/hop couldn’t have done it without you!

I’d also like to say a huge thanks to Jo and Mica for inviting p/hop to attend and for donating the stall space.  Your support has been wonderful.

Fingers crossed for another EYF next year, perhaps?

Knitting and … running!

Here at p/hop HQ we like to integrate knitting with the rest of our lives.  We knit at home, we knit on the train, we knit on lunch breaks, and we knit at the pub on Monday knit nights.  These things all involve knitting while sitting down.  So far, so normal.

So how about knitting whilst walking/running/jogging?  There’s a whole different set of skills and co-ordination needed for that!

The 2015 MSF Fun Run is taking place on April 25th in London at the lovely Regent’s Park, and we’re feeling very inspired!

msf-fun-run-illustration-web3-2

 

We’re thrilled about p/hop taking part on the day.  What could be more enjoyable than getting out in to the fresh air in one of London’s most beautiful parks, knitting or crocheting your way around the course, while raising money for MSF’s life-saving work?

It’s not the first time that a p/hopper has been known to knit on a fun run though.  Check out this photo of our very own Clare with the Stitch London crew at the Race for Life back in 2010:

 

Clare knitting for life

Want to join us?

Join team p/hop as we knit and crochet our way around the course  (we’re personally going for the 5K distance.  Although the 10K would allow for more knitting time, we thought it best not to push it.  We’re not that silly).

It it’s been a while since you’ve done much exercise, you’ve got nine weeks to prepare (and this even gives you enough time to do the Couch to 5K if you fancy getting some speed up).   If that’s not your thing, we’d love you to support us on the sidelines as part of the p/hop cheer squad.  You can even register to be an official volunteer marshall and get to wear a high-viz tabard!

Bring your knitting.  Bring your pom poms.  Bring cake for sustenance and replenishment!

To take part on the day, just register here, and drop us a line if you’re taking part.

 

 

 

New pattern: Tomar Cable Socks

Here at p/hop, we love hand knitted socks.  We really do.  And did you know that we have 19 20 sock patterns available for download?

Sometimes what you really need is a good toe-up sock, that you can try on as you knit, and that allows you to use up every last scrap of your favourite skein.  And sometimes what you also need is a pattern that will work with the yarn that you have to hand, whether it’s a solid colourway, semi-solid, variegated, or even self striping.

This is where we come to the rescue with a brand new pattern release:  the Tomar Cable Socks by Luise from Impeccable Knits.

Tomar Cable Socks

This is the second pattern that Luise has generously donated to p/hop (the first pattern was the Northmoor Watchcaps).  Her patterns are so detailed and well thought out.  The Tomar Cable Socks have been skillfully test-knitted by a team of trusty Ravellers, and Luise has checked every detail of the pattern.  Even though it’s a brand-new release, you can be assured that it’s a great knit.  Thanks to Luise and her test knitters!

You can download the pattern here.

View all our sock patterns here.

New year, fresh knits

Happy new year everyone!  I hope you all had a nice break, wrapped up in snuggly woollies to keep warm and cosy.

Here at p/hop HQ we’ve been doing a bit of a stocktake of the amazing patterns we’ve got.  I’m amazed at how many fab patterns we have (over 60!), ranging from socks to scarves and shawls, tea cosies to cuddly toys, and everything in between.

 

PicMonkey Collage

We like to take pattern samples on the road with us, so that knitters can see how the patterns knit up in real life.  This really does make such a huge difference in inspiring people to use our patterns to make wonderful woollies of their own.  To do this, we need p/hop knitters to help us out to knit up samples that we can show off.

Some of our trusty ol’ samples are getting a bit tired and frazzled from years of being squished and tried on, and we’ve always got new patterns coming in that need samples knit up.  At the moment, we especially need samples knit for the following patterns:

Three Cheers

Gifted

Minerva Cowl

Oscillating Socks

If you’d like to knit and donate a sample of one of these patterns for p/hop, please just get in touch.

Your contribution will be hugely appreciated, and your handknits will have the honour of travelling up and down the UK attending all the best yarn shows!

 

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.

Smashing targets!

 

3

 

This is a little celebratory post to acknowledge that we have have reached our last fundraising target of  £47 500.  Hooray!  That’s the amount of money that the knitting and crochet community has now raised through p/hop for MSF!  That’s such an incredible achievement, all achieved through the donations of knitters and crocheters.  And I have to give an extra special shout-out to p/hopper Ros, who was keeping a very close eye on the target and made an extra donation to get us over the line.

It’s a pretty big sum of money to raise, and it can be tricky to visualise what that would actually achieve on the ground.  MSF’s money is always used in the most effective and efficient way possible, and directed in the areas of most pressing need.  This year for instance MSF has been doing a huge amount of work fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, as well as responding to medical emergencies across the world.  However I’ve done a spot of theoretical shopping with the money we’ve raised, and this is what the p/hop funds could enable.

What £47 500 could pay for:

  • three 45 square meter multifunctional field hospital tents
  • a disaster kit with drugs and medical equipment to quickly meet the needs of a disaster stricken population
  • tetanus vaccinations for 5 000 people
  • an emergency medical kit that can provide 10 000 people with emergency medical care for three months
  • 240 wool blankets to protect displaced people from the cold
  • a flexible water tank with a capacity of 5 000 litres
  • a surgeon to be sent in to the field for four weeks
  • antibiotics to treat 200 injured people
  • fluids to treat 200 people with severe dehydration
  • two full first aid emergency kits to be used in emergency settings

 

That’s a phenomenal list of what your p/hop funds can purchase.  Who knew that sticks and string could achieve so much?

Thank you so, so much to everyone who has contributed.  Whether you’ve donated a design, purchased a pattern, volunteered at a stall, or helped to spread the words amongst friends and family, you’ve helped to make a difference.

For more information about the work that MSF is undertaking right now, please head on over to their website: MSF UK

It’s only sensible that our next fundraising target should be a whopping £50 000.  Do you fancy helping us get there?  Just download a pattern and click the button to donate what you think it is worth.

Thank you p/hoppers!

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.

Gifted

 

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!

 

Hi there, p/hoppers!

You may recall that a month or two ago, the call was put out to the community for someone to volunteer as the brand new volunteer p/hop co-ordinator.  Well, I heard the call, I sent in my application, and here I am, fresh in to the role.  Ta-da!

 

Larissa p:hop

 

My “real” name is Larissa, but I’m also known around knitterly places as travelknitter.  You might see me posting under either name from time to time.

I’ve known about p/hop for a long time now, ever since I first spoke with Clare at a knitting event several years ago.  Since then I’ve been quietly supporting p/hop in different ways, and looking back, the ways have been many and varied!  At various points I’ve helped out with the following:  helping set up the p/hop stall; knitting display samples; providing transport to shows; donating yarn to p/hop swaps (oh, and purchasing quite a bit of hopped yarn too!), and one time I even helped out with accommodation at Woolfest a couple of years ago when we were caught up in floods and landslides!  Good times.

The list of different ways I’ve been involved with p/hop over the years I think is a good reflection of just how much p/hop is really community-driven.   I love the way that people in the knitting and crochet community all pull together to make it happen.  The project is completely run on volunteer creativity and input, and as a community we’ve managed to raise nearly £50 000 for MSF.  Pretty amazing, huh?  That’s what makes p/hop so special, and why I’m so thrilled to be the new co-ordinator.

I’ve seen how Kate has done an amazing job over the last year-and-a-bit and I’ve very excited to be taking over where she left off.  I’m looking forward to getting to know lots of other p/hoppers, so please do say hello!

 

 

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 p-hop@london.msf.org

TAKE ACTION: it’s really quick and easy

Take action, you say? Why yes of course, do you want me to do?

 

 

 

Want more info? Of course you do, read on dear knitter/crocheter, read on…

 

You may or may not know MSF does lots of work on tuberculosis, especially drug resistant tuberculosis (TB). While we thankfully don’t see much TB in the UK, it is sadly prevalent around the world, killing around 1.4 million people each year. TB does not discriminate, anyone can catch it, and drug resistance is increasing making the disease harder and harder to treat.

 

Last year I met a young South African woman, Phumeza Tisile, who overcame extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, a disease that kills the vast majority of people it touches. She survived, but lost her hearing as a result of her treatment. She’s blogged about her experience for me at MSF and is a personal hero. We spent a week at the Union Lung Conference together in November and I can confirm she rocks.

 

Phumeza-and-Xolelwa_530

 

Phumza (L) with fellow XDR-TB survivor Xolelwa Joni, whose twin sister Xoliswa Joni sadly died from XDR-TB at the start of this year. © Mara Kardas-Nelson November 2013

 

Phumeza co-wrote this petition with her TB doctor and is speaking in front of the World Health Assembly in Geneva next week to try and get them to invest in better drug resistant tuberculosis treatment and diagnosis. Pharma companies, government and leaders need to step up and work on a next generation of treatment that 1) works, 2) is bearable for patients.
What Phumeza is doing is brave and huge and daunting and I’m asking for you to sign it specifically to support her, so that she walks into that room with thousands of people standing behind her. You will also be supporting TB patients around the world.https://www.msfaccess.org/TBmanifesto/

 

The UK is really lagging behind in signatures, only 1,400 people have signed from the UK, out of over 40,00 petitions, and the USA isn’t doing much better, but I know what knitters are like when they get their teeth (and pointy sticks) into something. Please share this far and wide on twitter, facebook, ravelry, you name it.

 

Cheers my dears
Clare