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.

Happy New Year! Happy New Shawl!

Wishing all our wonderful P/Hoppers a happy, healthy and fulfilling 2014!

My fist day back in the MSF office and there’s been loads to do.  Two invites to shows were in the inbox with all the form filling that that requires to apply for a place.  The first is Woolfest in Cockermouth, Cumbria on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 June, followed by Fibre-East in Redborne, Bedford on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 July.  Both are lovely shows.  If any of you would like to volunteer to run the P/hop stall at either of these shows, I’d love to hear from you.  Either drop me a line at or contact me through Ravelry – I’m Katestwirl!

November 2013 021

We were also lucky enough to have the final bits of information needed for our latest pattern, which has been very kindly donated by Karie Westermann.  This gorgeous shawl is called Eyre Shawl and is now ready for download on the Eyre Shawl pattern page, where you can also read all about it.

It is perfect for keeping you cosy in this stormy weather while you’re sitting indoors reading the classics!  Think of poor Jane Eyre in that drafty school and pull it a little tighter!

Here is what Karie had to say about her inspiration for the shawl:

I first read Jane Eyre when I was fourteen. I had this mad, mad notion of ‘reading all the classics’ before I turned fifteen. I did not get far, of course, because I read indiscriminately and without any real understanding of what I read. Jane Eyre was one of the books I did read and I remember thinking it was ‘okay but a bit dull’.

Then I decided to revisit Jane Eyre last year and the novel took my breath away. What an intelligent, passionate, fierce book it is. It is both a Victorian literary equivalent of a Mills & Boon novel (“Reader, I married him”) and a proudly feminist book about the importance of knowing your own mind. The many knitting references were just cherries sprinkled on top! I swooned and cheered.

There was even a lovely bit where the housekeeper, Mrs Fairfax, says something in the vein of, “Oh, hang on a sec. Must. Finish. This. Row. before you dash off with the Master” – any knitter would smile in recognition. So, how could I resist designing a shawl to match Mrs Fairfax knitting away?

Please don’t forget to donate for patterns which you download.  Evey little bit helps MSF to help those in need wherever they may be.


Feeling rather Regal?

We have 2 new patterns for you, both with a Royal vibe!  The Diana Black Sheep Sweater and the Diamond Dot Scarf.

Firstly, and at last the Diana Black Sheep Sweater pattern from Muir and Osborne is finally available as a download from P/Hop.

Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne very kindly donated their pattern a long long time ago but we didn’t have the time to assemble it into a “proper” format for download.  The wonderful Bronagh (lapurplepenguin) helped enormously by popping the details in to a Word document and then, finally, thanks to the generosity of Clare from Yarn and Pointy Sticks who has donated her tech-editing skills, we now have a downloadable pattern.  It wasn’t easy – knitting pattern language has changed over the years… and the yarn it was designed for is no longer available!

If you fancy getting your 80s’ vibe on, then this gorgeous sheepy number is perfect for you!  Those little sheep are just soooo cute!

Iconic Diana sweater  Diana-car  Woman_magazine_web

If knitting up whole garments is not your thing, Kate Ellis (Kate’s Twirl) has donated her Diamond Dot Scarf pattern to us too.  The pattern was designed as an homage to Her Majesty The Queen for her Diamond Jubilee year and was previously available as a Ravelry Download.  You can now download it here for a donation to MSF.

P1040756  P1040771  P1040760

So, pour yourself a cup of Earl Grey and sit back and relax with a spot of regal knitting.

Happy knitting!


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!

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!! 😀

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.

Come and meet us at Fibre East!

The festival season is in full swing so this weekend,  Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th July the P-Hop roadshow will find itself in (we hope) sunny Bedfordshire for the second Fibre East festival which promises to be even bigger and better than last year.

Fibre East is held at Scald End Farm, Thurleigh near Bedford. It is a proper, working farm with a farm shop. We will be in Marquee C on Stall 25. We will have our full range of patterns with us plus some new samples. Look out particularly for some of our new patterns, especially the Ermintrude Mitts and Teeny Tiny Teddies – these were so popular at Woolfest that we ran out of patterns for both of these so come early!

Finally, if anyone would like to volunteer to help on the stall we would be very grateful – please get in touch here or on our Ravelry group.

Update: Auction for MSF

Hello to everyone,

For those who don’t know me, I’m Lyn, and this is just a quick note to update you on a recent ebay auction to benefit MSF and p/hop.

Here’s the story: I knitted a large scrap yarn blanket (the multicoloured kind – think technicolour dream coat) which ended up being about 5 by 3 feet, made of merino/cashmere/nylon sock yarn in lots of little different coloured mini skeins. I used this free pattern from ravelry by Debbie Orr: As I tend to knit because i enjoy the process, rather than because I particularly need the finished product, I decided that someone should have it who really liked it and wanted to use it. with this in mind, I contacted p/hop (you can take a look at this discussion if you like: ( and through contributions from all the members, decided to offer it up for sale on ebay. A very helpful raveler, Jo (aka josp on ravelry) offered to coordinate the actual sale. within a few days, everything was organised, the auction was being publicised on ravelry, twitter, facebook and by word of mouth and all we had to do was sit back and nervously bite our nails in anticipation!

To begin with, the total rose ever so slooowly, but (watched by anxious eyes) it topped 30 pounds, then 50, then 80, and on the last nerve-wracking day, climbed over the 100 pound mark and finally sold, to a very generous person, for the grand total of 122 pounds!

I’d like to thank (ha! I sound like I’ve won the Oscars… but seriously I am really grateful to everyone!) p/hop for first of all taking me seriously, then coming up with all these useful suggestions (someone even said we should time the sale so that it ends on a Friday, apparently people are more generous on that day of the week – where do people come up with these things?!), everyone who read the discussion, contributed to it,organised the auction, publicised the event, bid on the blanket and finally the very lucky successful bidder who now has a beautiful (if I do say so myself!) blanket to enjoy.

This whole experience was a bit of an experiment because to my knowledge, p/hop hasn’t auctioned items off on ebay before, so it was a learning curve for all of us, not only me. but in my opinion, it’s had a fantastic outcome and will hopefully be the first of many successful fundraisers for MSF and p/hop!

Lyn x

Festive Fun

We had a hoot at The Bothered Owl Christmas Party last week. There was tea, wine, mince pies, plenty of nibbles, good food and great company. It was a great evening for socialising and knitting in a lovely relaxed atmosphere. Onehandknits has written a good review of the evening here though I feel I should yarn you, it contains a lot of lovely yarn.


Sadie aka Whitehart and Sarah aka SarahAbroad volunteered at our table where we had our favourite gift knitting patterns available for donation. Sadie had brought along a pair of Cranford Mitts (I think the 8th pair of the nine pairs she has made!) which we borrowed as a sample. The Cranford Mitt-a-long was so popular we extended it to the end of December so please join in the fun over on Ravelry.


Sadie and her Cranford Mitts

We’re also having a knit-a-long for our Christmas Stocking pattern. I made one of these as I wasn’t sure if our sample would arrive in time for Christmas but it only took me a weekend to knit it. A big thank you to Crochet-y-knitter for her beautiful sample. If you’re a little nervous about stranded knitting take a look at this great tutorial (scroll down) to get inspired.

We raised £46.56 at the Bothered Owl party which is pretty good for an evening of scoffing delicious mince pies, vegan sausage rolls and eyeing up gorgeous yarn. A big thank you to everyone who made a donation and to Sarah and Sadie for giving up their free time to help out and a huge thank you to the Bothered Owls for inviting us to such a fun event.

Seasons Greeting to you all, I hope you have a peaceful and happy festive holiday.