Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Knitting Story, Part 2

I learned to knit in the late 1960's!

My knitting story has about a 30 year hiatus. (I wish it didn't!)

I did not pick up knitting needles again until Christmas of 2004 when I was 44yrs old. There was a tremendous resurgence in knitting and fabulous yarn choices were available.

Back then fancy fur scarves were all the rage. My Mother admired them and I decided that I could knit her one. I was also house bound with an ankle injury so knitting proved to be perfect therapy. I joined the fancy fur scarf craze and knit my scarves with Lion Brand Fancy Fur from my local Michaels craft store. My Mother was thrilled with her frilly, fluffy scarves!

I soon gave up the Fancy Fur scarf trend and was ready to move on to nicer quality yarns. Before I knew it, I was researching yarn companies on the Internet. I was naturally drawn to English yarn companies like Rowan and Colinette.

In 2006 my real passion for yarn and knitting began. My husband and I had been married in Scotland in 2001 and were vacationing in England every year. On our 2006 trip, I was armed with a list of stores and a shopping list for yarn and patterns. And yes, I brought an empty suitcase along for this shopping spree!

Loop, Islington, England
My favorite London yarn shop!

2006 is also a very significant date in my knitting story. That is the year that I started my ever-growing yarn stash. (Back then I didn't even know what a yarn stash was!)

Loop in Islington (a suburb of London) really hooked me back into knitting. I found out about Loop in a British magazine called Homes & Antiques. There was a wonderful article on the shop and it's owner Susan Cropper (author of Pretty Knits) who just happens to be an American! Thanks to that article, I found Loop.
Loop is a darling, quaint shop on a narrow curvy side street in Islington. We had been to Islington before to it's Camden Market for it's antique flea market on Wednesdays. For this journey, my husband brought a book (thank goodness) along with him to read. He sat out front of Loop reading while I spent hours inside shopping!
At Loop I felt like a kid in a candy store. There were yummy colors and flavors of yarn squeezed in every nook and cranny in this tiny little shop. I fell in love with Colinette Point Five wool yarn, (hand dyed from Wales) in variegated turquoise blue shades. I had never been to a yarn store like this. This was not your English grandmother's knitting shop. Loop was cheery, colorful and had a very "hip" vibe. I was energized about knitting!
It was also at Loop that I discovered Be Sweet Yarns by Nadine Curtis, also a fellow American. Draped around the store were colorful Be Sweet Magic Scarves made from just one Magic Ball of yarn. With a Magic Ball, big needles and the simple garter stitch, one could produce a designer-style scarf with little effort. This was my kind of knitting! Buy gorgeous yarn and let the yarn do all the work. I loved this magical ball of yarn!
I also bought yarn at London's famous Liberty Department Store. (For the record... I also have a thing for Liberty's famous print scarves!) At Liberty, I discovered the Haberdashery Department filled with best selection of Rowan yarns that I had ever seen!
I returned home from that London trip with a suitcase full of wonderful yarn, along with Rowan and Colinette pattern books. I also returned home, as what I call, a paralyzed knitter. I couldn't bring myself to knit with my new yarns until I became a better knitter.
My goal now was to find a shop like Loop in America where I could learn to be a better knitter. That quest took longer than I thought it would. I finally found that store in early 2008. More about that to come.
...To be continued.

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