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.



p/hop at the I Knit Fandango

We are well in to the summer yarn festival season here in the UK, and we’re having an amazing time!

A few weeks ago we headed to a pleasingly local event in London, the I Knit Fandango.  It was pretty special to be able to get to a two-day yarn show just by catching the tube!

The event took place at the beautiful Lindley Hall in central London.  It was such a rare treat to have a yarn event with so much direct daylight streaming in through the massive glass roof.  I can only assume that the natural light helped people with their yarn purchases.

p/hop was given a fantastic, double-size stall to display our patterns and to show off our samples.  These photos show only one half of the stall!  We were able to lay out our patterns over two tables – very helpful so that everyone could have a proper browse.

p/hop stall

p/hop stall

This was an event where a whole team of  supporters came together across both days to help run the stall and raise awareness of how knitters can support MSF.  I’d like to say a huge thanks to the following volunteers for their support:Emma (@KnittingintheStow), Amelia (@woollenwords), Louise(@madmumknits),  Su (SuLam), Jacqui (Tiggerbee), Jane @probablyjane) and of course Clare (Gingerknits) who was able to revisit her former life as p/hop co-ordinator.  I’m sure it brought back memories!

tiny ted and rudolph

Thanks to everyone’s efforts and contributions, we were able to speak with loads of knitters who hadn’t known about p/hop, and the support was fantastic.  Lots of people left with armloads of patterns!  On top of that, we raised a wonderful £611.85 at the event.

It’s just been confirmed that the Fandango will be happening again next year, and we’re already looking forward to it.

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!



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?

Edinburgh Yarn Fest

The planning for this year’s knitting festivals is well under way, and the first event that p/hop will be travelling to is the fabulous Edinburgh Yarn Fest on March 14th and 15th.


I'm going to Edin Yarn Fest!We’re getting just a wee bit excited here at p/hop, and I can’t wait!  We’re in the early stages of getting everything organised for the p/hop stall and we’re looking for volunteers to help out at the stall to talk about p/hop and MSF (and flog the patterns.)  You’ll even get to wear an exclusive p/hop t-shirt if you like!  Please drop me a line if you can help out for an hour or two on either the Saturday or the Sunday.

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.


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!! :)

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)

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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.