Knitting Stories

‘..Yes, I’m in the wool shop. So I might be a while.’

When is a WiP not a WiP?

We know that knitting monogamy is not for everyone. Unlike human partners, knitting which gets passed over for a while in favour of another project, doesn’t experience feelings of abandonment or jealousy (as far as I know). And far from slowing things down, plenty of knitters hold that working on several projects simultaneously means there’s always a suitable project to… Read more →

And now for something completely different..

Weird, curious and baffling but also brilliant and often beautiful: there’s a niche category of knits which Brontë and I reserve a special fondness for – the ones which take us in an unexpected direction on account of the designer’s imaginative construction genius. These are the patterns which get you there and do it marvellously but which veer away from… Read more →

How to Open a Wool Shop Part II

..And then the shop opened. Knitters heard that there was a new yarn store in Hackney and the non-knitters also wanted to see what was going on in that place with the kooky things in the window. They pushed the door open and came in: shawled, scarved and some not wrapped up at all, fairisled, cabled and some just plain.… Read more →

How to open a wool shop Part I

It was on a sunny Wednesday morning in the spring of 2014. There was a chill in the air, not that different from today. I wedged open the shop door with the fire extinguisher and the shop was finally open to everybody for the very first time. It had taken the best part of 3 months to get to where… Read more →

Somewhere in between

There may be practical reasons for dividing the year into 4 separate seasons with beginning and end dates, but real world weather doesn’t always seem to get the schedule. No sooner had east London got its first dose of proper coat-free warmth this year, than it seemed to turn its back on spring, for another go at being winter again.… Read more →

Block and Roll

In my knitting-as-a-story sense of a project, there’s a pleasing simplicity to the way that the beginning, middle and end, map so nicely onto swatching, knitting and blocking. 3 critical sections, each of which contributes to the whole, but the first 2 of which tend to get the most attention. So in the interest of balance and completion, today we… Read more →

Activistas de la lana.

“Now I have to find more wool. There are many flocks, but they don’t all have the right wool. Some are more like goats with their long hair.” Elena Solier has sold out of her last batch of Xolla Wool and is uncompromising in selecting fleeces for the next spin. She lives in Catalonia, making wool from the entrefina fleece… Read more →

I get knocked down but I get up again

It’s not often that you get to make a link between the lyrics of an anarchist punk band hit from the 90s, the spirit of hand knitting, and a shop window display. Perhaps this is a tenuous one but hear me out. There’s this thing that happens with our knitting – especially sweaters, and especially in the rows and rounds… Read more →

Sweaters on Toast

What is it about the knitwear in Toast? I’ve lost track of the number of people who come by to the shop with a picture of a Toast sweater, asking me to recommend how they can make it themselves. Why don’t we get the same questions about sweaters from COS or Uniqulo? I know folks are spending time online looking… Read more →

Bobble Trouble

For the most part, us knitters have plenty to feel good about – our pastime is good for our mental health, it keeps us and our friends warm, it supports sheep, shepherds and hillsides, and it’s spawned a creative scene that’s full of talented designers. But just in case we need reminding of the imperfect nature of the universe, we… Read more →