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.

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!


Eventful Woolfest 2012

Woolfest. Woolfest. Woolfest. I love Woolfest. It was the first knitting show I worked at with p/hop and I love the way you can see the whole process from sheep to sweater in one show. This year I roped (should that be woolled?) MSF’s web intern Nick into coming with me.

While Nick isn’t a knitter, I think the fumes from all the yarn on my desk have infiltrated his brain, plus he hadn’t seen the Lake District. We were planning to camp, however the weekend before Woolfest showed a low of 2C plus ALL THE RAIN was forecast. Luckily my lovely knitting friends came to the rescue with offers of floor space for sleeping on, saving us from hypothermia and saving MSF money.

So on Thursday evening we set off from sunny London in Nick’s car, laden down with our beautiful samples and a couple of thousand knitting patterns and headed north with a cheerful sense of optimism. If only we knew what lay ahead…

After an uneventful journey we arrived at around midnight to find Larissa casting off a Jacqueline Mitt for our display. After a good night’s sleep we headed to Woolfest bright and early to set up our display. We had a rather unusual stand, the milk stand. As we weren’t going to do any milking we had to disguise the milking stalls. The upside was there were lots of places to tie washing line too and drape sheets over, plus Nick is six-foot-a-lot tall, so after a few tweeks and occasional inspiration we converted the stand from this:

to this! Ta daaaaa!

The space worked really well as we could fit two tables into the space, which we needed as we’ve now got over 40 patterns.

Its always interesting to see which patterns ‘sell’ at shows. The shawls and mittens are always popular, though the samples make a huge difference. BasilBogwoppit (love people’s Ravelry names) dropped off a beautiful pair of Ermintrude Mitts for us to borrow as a sample. As soon as they went on the stand the pattern flew off the table and we’d run out of copies in a couple of hours.

The teeny tiny teddy was also a big hit, which isn’t surprising as they are rather cute. Then there are the flurries of sock knitters who come to the stand, which I can relate to as I’m a rather avid sock knitter. To my shame I hadn’t brought any of my own hand-knit socks with me and I really could have used a pair as by the end of Friday the show was rather nippy. The storms that had been forecast had arrived and we could see sideways rain lashing across the car park, the continual river sound on the roof of the Livestock Centre and the wind howling through the aisles. Luckily fibre-folk are made of stern stuff and plenty of people came to the show. I was pleased we weren’t camping.

After a good first day Nick and I headed into Cockermouth, sampled some excellent Cumbrian beer as well as chatting with some interesting locals, had dinner and met up with other stall holders. We were staying with my friend Larissa in the cottage she had hired for the week, halfway between Kendal and Cockermouth in a lovely little village called Thornthwaite.

As we drove back along the A66 we discovered the first turn-off to Thornthwaite was closed due to the road now being a river. No problem we thought, we just carry along the A66 to the next turn-off. That easy drive became rather exciting/worriesome when the A66 became a lake. The rain was driving down hard and while I was tempted to open my passenger door to see how high the flood water was I was pretty sure that would let water into Nick’s car. After a seemingly endless slow slow crawl through deep water, our fingers crossed, with Nick’s car juddering forward, we came out of the flood. Luckily the second road into Thornthwaite was fine so we collapsed into Larissa’s cottage in a nervous heap. I was pleased we weren’t camping.

Needless to say we all slept well.

On Saturday morning we were ready to leave the cottage to head to Woolfest when we spotted a river, coursing down the side of the hill, that hadn’t been there the day before. On further inspection there had been a landslide just down the road (the only way out) and the road was now a river, complete with mud and tree debris. Nick was very MSF, put his wellies on and went out to help clear the landslide. It turned out the course of the new river was beneficial as it was stopping people’s homes from flooding, so the decision was made to leave the road blocked, with no plans to clear it until Sunday. WE WERE STUCK. We were also without a phone signal or internet. Imagine, four Londoners stuck without twitter! The horror, the horror!

Luckily text messages worked so I sent word to Jane and Natalie and hoped they would be able to set up the stand at Woolfest. I only had a pair of flip-flops and a pair of plimsoles (I’ve spent too long in London and lost my Northern common sense) so I was neither use nor ornament. While we were short of food (we had an egg, a tiny chunk of cheese and a portion of porridge between four of us) the neighbours were lovely and we weren’t going to starve, so I settled down to knit. I’d knit about one row when Nick came bounding in saying “the road’s been cleared”. Excellent news! We could even see the top of Skiddaw across the valley. We had an adventure-free drive to Woolfest, checked on Jane and Judith who had done a brilliant job of getting the stand up-and-running, and wolfed down a delicious Cumbrian breakfast in the Woolfest cafe.

The rest of Saturday went well, the weather was better than Friday and those of us who had been affected by the weather compared stories. I was pleased we hadn’t camped!

In the evening we stayed with the lovely Guild of Longdraw Spinners, introducing Nick to another realm of fibre-fanatic with talk of spinning styles and crimp. We walked into town, sampled a different type of Cumbrian ale, and taught Nick how to knit. Again, we had an encounter with an “interesting” local, who was fascinated by our knitting. He’d sampled rather a lot of Cumbrian ale and took to patting me on the head while I knitted. No really, he did. He also wanted a go. The thought of a lively young man wielding DPNs in a cosy pub was to much to bear so we managed to distract him and he went on his merry way. In the meantime Nick mastered the sticks.

The rest of our stay was relatively uneventful, aside from Nick trying the Cockermouth delicacy of curry with cheesy topping. On Sunday we drove back south via a visit to the pencil museum in Keswick which I’ve always wanted to visit (yes, I have another obsession) and got to see some Lakeland scenery.

Now for the important stuff: We raised a fantastic £906.44 at Woolfest! BIG THANK YOU to Woolfest for donating our stand, everyone who helped on our stand, Nick, Larissa, Heather and the Guild of Longdraw Spinners, and Jane and Judith for leaping into the breach when we were stuck behind a landslide. £906.44 will buy 3124 packets of Plumpy Nut, a is a nutritional supplement used to treat child malnutrition. That’s a lot of kids we’ve helped. Nice work fibre-folk!

Woolfest 2012

This weekend I’ve been busy unearthing our beautiful samples from their storages boxes, organising pattern printing and checking the weather forecast for p/hop’s annual outing to one of our favourite knitting shows, Woolfest!

p/hop has been a regular exhibitor at Woolfest since 2009 and so far you lovely fibre people have raised £2765.37 for MSF at Woolfest. Brilliant!

This year we will have several new patterns on our stand as well as your favourites. Another new part of our stand is MSF’s lovely website intern Nick, who is new to the knitting world, but he knows loads about MSF’s work helping people in need of healthcare. Please come and ask us questions about MSF’s incredible work as well as our fab knitting patterns.

As well as our patterns we’re hoping to raffle two gorgeous blankets which have been made with love and care by p/hoppers around the world. There’s the log cabin blanket (above) and barn-raising blanket (below). Ros, one of our talented designers who you can see in the photo above, is sadly not included as a raffle prize but she will be helping on our stand for part of the weekend.

Let us know in the comments below if you’re coming and we’ll keep an eye out for you.

See you in Cumbria!

If you can’t make it to Woolfest p/hop will also be at Fibre East on 14th and 15th July and at the Glasgow School of Yarn in October.

Iconic sheep sweater comes to p/hop

A few months ago I was at the Knitting show at Olympia, admiring the talent of Muir and Osborne, who you may be familar with for their brilliant Best in Show books.

I mentioned that I run p/hop, as I always do to anyone who has an air of a knitter about them, and they said “oh, we have a pattern. It’s currently on our website as a freebie but if you can use it to raise money for MSF that would be a much better home for it.

Now I hear this quite often, and these things don’t always work out, so I gave them my email address and if something came of it, well great, and if not, it wouldn’t really matter.

Now, not only did Muir and Osborne come through, they shone.

I give you p/hop’s first sweater pattern, and its not any old sweater pattern.

Oh no dear reader, this is a sweater with Royal connections.

There is a copy of this sweater in the V&A. Even David Bowie once had one of these jumpers.

The Eighties are back, and they are back with p/hop!

I give you the Sheep Sweater!

Iconic Diana sweater

At present the pattern is in jpeg format which you can copy and paste into word or print straight from your PC. We are working on an updated version which we are hoping to have on the website as a PDF in June.

So, if you fancy emulating a style icon of a generation, using your intarsia skills and knitting up those fab sheep here is the pattern.

There’s even a reworked version which has been spotted on the streets of hipster Hoxton in That London. Marvellous.

Fabulous Fibre East 2011

At the end of July p/hop went on the road again. This time not far from London but far enough for it to feel like another country. The day started bright (or should that be bleary) eyed at St Pancras station where I met fellow p/hopper and designer extraordinare ProbablyJane who helped me carry p/hop on the train to Bedford. After a relaxing journey and several cups of coffee we were met by the equally marvellous SarahAbroad and her lovely husband who drove us through idyllic countryside to Scald End Farm where brand new festival Fibre East was taking place.

The fresh country air was invigorating and we soon had our stand set up in one of the marquees, where RosClarke, designer of the Cantab socks and Cricket Tea Cosy, joined in the fun. There was some minor faffing and adjustment, mostly about which direction our sock samples should face, but we were ready and raring to go. Most shows are fairly quiet in the first hour or so so we were overwhelmed by a huge wave of eager knitters who descended on us at 10:01am. It was brilliant that a new event was so popular and the day flew by.

I had planned on raffling the blankets made by our Ravelry group, as displayed here, however we were so busy talking about MSF and explaining how p/hop worked that we didn’t have time to sell any tickets. We’ll come up with another way to use them as they are lovely so keep an eye here for news.

We met lots of familiar faces and plenty of new ones. Despite being busy we found time to have a look at the other stands and it was great spotting people who had picked up one of our patterns choosing yarn to make their new project. I really enjoyed the range of stands at the show and there were lots of demonstrations to see too, such as sheep shearing, a giant spinning wheel and plenty of animals. On the Sunday Wrigglefingers ran a couple of workshops on fleece preparation, fibre blending and a ball winding service and asked participants for a donation to p/hop for her time which provided a generous addition to our fundraising. Thank you Wrigglefingers!

There were ducks and chickens wandering around behind our marquee who I enjoyed chatting to when I popped out for some fresh air. I can now say Médecins Sans Frontières in hen. The weather was glorious and there was a friendly & relaxed atmosphere with fibre fans enjoying sitting on the grass having a natter. There are many more photos of Fibre East on Flickr.

I’d like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to the organisers of Fibre East who did a brilliant job, especially as it was their first ever show which was very well organised with a lovely friendly atmosphere, and also a massive thank you to Jane, Sarah and Ros for all their help and hard work (and to Sarah for putting me up on Saturday night, feeding me delicious curry, being my taxi service and providing the clothing rail for our samples) and finally an ENORMOUS thank you to everyone who stopped by our stand and made a donation.

We raised a marvellous £517.70 for MSF as well as lots of goodwill and awareness about the life saving work MSF do.

Since Fibre East I’ve received several new pattern donations so keep an eye here for new things to knit and change the world! Marvellous!