World TB Day – please help!

Squeaky bacteria by Dawn Finney

Knitted Squeaky Bacteria by Dawn Finney

For those of you wondering where your lovely money goes, here’s bit of information about the work MSF does in the fight against the ever spreading, drug resistant tuberuclosis (DR-TB).  World TB day is on Monday 24 March 2014.

Every year, around eight million people worldwide fall ill with TB and 1.3 million people die from the disease. Standard TB is a curable disease, but an inadequate global response has allowed the growing epidemic of drug-resistance to take hold.

Now these deadlier DR-TB strains are spreading from person to person – even to people who’ve never had TB before.  You can read more about the epidemic on the MSF website.

What does this have to do with knitting, I hear you say?  Well, more than you’d think.  Not only is it true that the more money P/Hop raise for MSF the better MSF will be equipped to tackle the problem, but P/Hop also has an evil TB namesake.  Our lovely Clare discovered, back in 2010, that there is a gene in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the TB bacteria, called PhoP. The PhoP gene plays a role in making TB more virulent.  This gene could be a good target for new drugs.  If the PhoP gene can be stopped from working, TB will spread less.  You can read Clare’s Blog, p/hop v PhoP here.

How can you help?

Please read and sign the “Test me, Treat me” DR-TB Manifesto and support the campaign for better DR-TB care.  Many thanks!

Bacteria by Erica McBride

Crocheted Bacteria by Toy Amigurumi

Thanks to Dawn Finey and Erica McBride for use of their photographs.  Patterns are avaialable to buy on Ravelry.  Sadly, they are not P/Hop patterns.

PomPom Party People

We are very pleased (and a little over excited) to have been invited to host a stall at PomPom Quarterly‘s very first Christmas Party and Pop Up Indie Yarn Market, where we hope to raise some much needed funds for MSF, in the wake of the disaster in the Philippines.

This stylish event will be held in The Crypt of Christ Church, Spitalfields on Commercial Street in East London on Friday 6 December from 6.30 pm until 10pm.  There will be drinks, nibbles, music and yarn – what more could we ask?  A pompom themed fancy dress prize – apparently! ;)


We will be there with our seasonal favourites:

IMG_4923Teeny tiny TeddyTis the season ident

Star Hat and Mittens

and some new patterns – coming real soon and, fingers crossed, in time for this party!  Actually they are existing patterns but will soon be available as P/Hop downloads for donations and at P/Hop show stands:

Iconic Diana sweaterNovember 2013 021P1040755

Diana Black Sheep Sweater  by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne, the Eyre Shawl by Karie Westerman and the Diamond Dot Scarf by Kate Ellis (me!).


Crochet Bonanza!

OK bonanza is an over exaggeration – but we have, not just one new crochet pattern, but TWO.  Yes! TWO brand new crochet patterns to get your hooks waving.

We have a lovely triangular lace-weight shawl from Katherine Mills of Redclover Crochet and a fabulous retro baby buggy blanket by Helen Westerby, aka ThredHED.

October Leaves Baby Blanket 2

The October Leaves Shawl and the Retro Baby… Buggy Blanket

For more info click on the links below:

The Retro Baby… Buggy Blanket by Helen Westerby

October Leaves Shawl by Katherine Mills

We are thrilled that these two designers have donated their patterns to raise much needed funds for MSF.  A lot of work goes in to pattern design, so please remember to make a donation so they know how much their work is apprecitated.

Fancy a KAL / CAL?

 The Teeny Tiny Teddy

The wonderful Jo of the Shinybees podcast and blog is very kindly hosting a P-hop  knit/crochet along on her Raverly forum.  We are very grateful to Jo, for choosing to have a KAL of any p-hop pattern, which will spread the P-Hop love to people who may not have heard about us yet.   So, if you knit or crochet, want something quick and simple, or something a little more challenging, we’re bound to have a pattern for you, so that you can join Jo and me (Katestwirl on Ravelry and Twitter) in the knitalong.

We are also tweeting as we go.  The hash tag is #phopkal – sorry crocheters, but having a tag of phopcal at the same time would be tricksy so we would like you to use the same tag as the knitters – after all, a lot of us do both anyway!

Here’s what Jo had to say about it at the top of her thread:

“I’m starting a new KAL/CAL on 1st July 2013 – the phopkal.

This will be a knitalong/crochetalong of any of the 45 patterns currently available on the Pennies Per Hour of Pleasure website (and on here) which raises money for Medecins Sans Frontiers. So, it is charity knitting, but not as we know it!

The idea is to choose a pattern, which you download for free, but you make a donation to MSF on the P/hop website. I will be aided and abetted by the new P/hop co-ordinator, Kate – Katestwirl,who is well known for wanton enabling when it comes to KALs.

Let’s get some chatter going about which projects we will be doing on here before the mass cast on on 1 July. There are loads of patterns to choose from depending on how much time you have to spare. We will also be using the hashtag #phopkal on Twitter to keep up to date and have a bit of a giggle too. If there are enough of us, we can even split into teams based on the patterns we are doing.

Who’s in? More importantly, start flashing the yarn and project combos!”

Jo also talks about the knitalong in her latest podcast and about why she supports P/Hop & MSF and in particular their work in South Africa where she lives…. for now anyway!  Don’t worry that the official start date was 1 July – it’s definitely not too late to join – we all have lots of WIPs and deadlines and non-craft lives getting in the way, so don’t feel pressure to cast on right away.  It would be nice if you’d pop by and tell us what you’d like to make though…

I have chosen to knit The Trinity Shawlette, a gorgeous pattern by Anniken Alis.  It’s a rather simple but extremely effective lace pattern and, best of all, you can choose to knit it in 3 different ways! 

Here’s where I’ve got to – photographed very un-artistically on my P-Hop desk!


Jo has chosen the ever-popular Cranford Mitts by our very own and fellow P-Hop volunteer Jane LithgowDQKnits on Ravelry has chosen the Cranford Mitts too, from her ‘short’ list of 8 patterns!  Others included the  Twisted Twigs hat by Sarah Louise McAdie, the Minerva Cowl by Anna Richardson and the very cute Rudolph, that Reindeer! by Judith Baser. 

Carlé has chosen the uber cute Teeny Tiny Teddy, by Alessandra Parsons.  Carlé says  ‘I have a thing about taking a bear to Paris,…. long story’  - perhaps best not to ask! ;)

We have crocheter’s taking part too – gingerbreadbunny is making the Cable Scarf and CarrotyCarrots (her first ever KAL – we are honoured) is making the Mobeius Cowl, both patterns which were kindly donated by Laura Cracknell.

Please come and join us and share your progress and pics (we love pics) as you go and raise a little for P-Hop in the process.  You can donate here!  We are very nearly at £40,000 – it’d be so great if this little craft a long would take us there!! :D

Felted crochet bowl

Sue from Sheepfold introduces the crocheted felted bowl pattern they have generously donated to p/hop.

Felted crochet bowl

I became aware of MSF from news bulletins where the organisation was often giving aid to people in the most desperate of circumstances. Alice and I have science and medical backgrounds, so when the chance came to support MSF by donating patterns we have designed, we jumped at the chance.

I have long had an interest in crochet but shyed away from the contrasting colours of the 1970s and the lace chair backs of my grandmother’s era! I wanted to use the technique for something simple, that a beginner could do, and practical, that anyone could use.

This little bowl was originally designed in Wensleydale wool. This sheep is one of the lustrous longwool breeds and is found in Yorkshire, England. It is a large animal with a long curly coat with a staple of up to 25cm and fleece of 7kg. The curls return when the bowl is felted giving a boucle finish.
The design would work just as well in any wool yarn suitable for felting. It is essential to work the piece loosely, so  you must use a hook larger than you would normally use so that there is space for the wool to shrink into as it felts.

Thanks Sue

Hookers Without Borders

Laura Cracknell, who designed and donated her two wonderful crochet patterns to p/hop writes about what inspires her about p/hop.


As a keen supporter of p/hop it’s been incredible to watch the total given rise and rise over the last year, and I got a great deal of pleasure myself from the leftovers from last year’s huge swap at iKnit.  But having nobly helped to clear the huge pile of yarn, I found that as a crocheter, there were no p/hop patterns that I could use my newly increased stash on.

Of course, there are plenty of other patterns out there, and I certainly got my hours of pleasure from working p/hop yarn, so the thought went out of my head again.  But watching the news this year, I knew that MSF would be out there, right in the middle of the disaster zones, and I started doing some reading.  What really struck me was that MSF aren’t just there when there’s an emergency.  They’re in countries for longer periods, dealing with long-term health problems as well as responding to acute need.  So I decided I wanted to do something more than just make a one-off donation, and hopefully give something that would go on being of use for time to come.

I’d been using these patterns for a while to teach improvers crochet classes, although I’m also very grateful to the p/hop group on Ravelry who helped me iron out the creases and correct my stitch counts.  Because they were for intermediate classes, both patterns use techniques that beginners might not have come across before.  There are full instructions for making crochet cables in the cable scarf pattern, and for the Moebius cowl, there’s an alternative starting row for anyone who isn’t confident with foundation stitches (I recommend looking them up, though!)

Ultimately, I want people to enjoy making the patterns, because the more pleasure, the more pennies, and the closer p/hop gets to raising its next £25,000!

If you look to the right…

…you will see our new video made by Ghadas who is a nurse working for MSF in Nigeria who is also a fan of the fibre arts.

Once you’ve watched Hadas’s video scroll down and check our current out UK total. Not bad eh? I was hoping we’d reach our £23,000 target in time for the Just Giving Awards but didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. I suspect this has something to do with a knitterly meet up in York last weekend (more on that coming soon!).

I took a moment to gaze at the percentage total at 101%, but like MSF we don’t sit still for long (unless knitting or crocheting of course) so I’ve upped the target to £25,000.

When you watch Hadas’s video you may notice a slight irregularity, though looking the the granny squares in the video brings me on to what’s happening in our Ravelry group. Every year the group comes together making blankets for the festivals we attend. Currently there are four, yes four, on the go covering 3 weights of yarn and two crafts. If you like knitting or crocheting please feel free to join in. The main blanket thread is here which has links to the four projects at the top of the page.

I wonder how much p/hop will have raised by the end of 2011, sending more brilliant and committed people like Hadas into the field. Nice work knitters and crocheters.

a sneak peek inside my knitting bag



The life of a textiles designer is ironically often quite frantic, due to the slow and steady nature of the crafts involved meaning some projects can go on for months.

Last week was one of those busy-busy weeks, with lots of long projects nearing completion at the same time.I have had four knitting and crochet projects to swatch, finish making and/or write patterns for, as well as the day job, a launch party, knitting lesson and Christmas market preparation and some embroidery projects to complete. Phew!

The picture above shows some grey garter stitch, which is a sample of the cowl we shall be knitting in a beginners class coming up this weekend, a mock houndstooth fairisle knit coming to a magazine near you very soon and a couple of crochet swatches for throws. The nice thing about working on so many different projects is that you don’t get bored, or suffer so acutely with RSI or tennis elbow due to the differing patterns of your fingers when working crochet and knitting or chunky and fine yarns.

I have also been planning more adventurous projects, dreaming up and sketching wonderfully glamourous knits for a possible new book, here’s a little exclusive preview of a fringed number. Have been wanting to make this for what seems like forever, perhaps now will be the big chance!


So glad that this week is panning out a little more relaxed so I have finally had a chance to blog and direct people to the fantastic p/hop cause; hopefully all you generous knitters will get huge pleasure from knitting something from the site and be able to take the time to enjoy the process as well as the donating.


Thank you very much Claire. You can read more from Claire aka Montyknits here.

Remember you can get all the blog-a-long updates by following p/hop on twitter and in the p/hop Ravelry group.