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February 2013

Auntie B - an internet knitting whizz

Because I've been a bit quiet on the blog of late (apart from this week) I haven't told you about Auntie B, demon knitter and proto-silver surfer.

She's the sort of lady who has a massive collection of vintage aran patterns, has used the same DPNs almost constantly for 30 years and until recently was more interested in whether internet cafes had good scones rather than good bandwidth. But now she's discovering the joys of Ravelry, downloading patterns and meeting other knitters online

Auntie B is the central character in my new column for Simply Knitting. And I made her up. 

But she owes a lot to my real life Auntie Betty, doyenne of the WI and someone who made a impact on everyone she met. I can certainly imagine her doing all the things my character does.

So I hope the column will make people laugh and find out more about all the internet resources there are for knitters - and perhaps get to know Auntie B just a little bit.

Column 1



Highgate Knitters - crafting in a craft brewery

It's more than a year since Anke Holst and I started a knitting group in The Bull brew pub in Highgate, London.

We'd never met before our first knit night - although we knew several people in common including my sister - but luckily we got on with each other and the venue.

Since then we've met lots of lovely knitters, taught people to knit and made new friends - and more recently I was interviewed about Highgate Knitters in a feature on knitting groups in The Knitter.

We meet every Tuesday evening from 7pm and the pub usually reserves a table for us - if you are ever in the area do come and join us, to chat, knit, crochet, learn or just admire each others' yarn.

Knitting groups 1

Knitting groups 2

Totally unravelled

I finally made it to Unravel this year - the yarn festival at the Maltings in Farnham, Surrey.

Saturday morning was bitterly cold which made it easier to spot other knitters emerging from the station - a fine array of woolly hats, scarves and gloves was the clue. And more knitting soon brightened our day with a yarnstorm of signs.

The show had just opened when we arrived and there was still a queue but at least everyone was entertained by a few welcoming sheep like this one.


I'd also planned to take pictures inside but it was so busy that didn't seem practical. But I can confirm there was plenty to see with yarn pretty much everywhere.

There was a fantastic variety in fibre and style of yarn and a tremendous array of colour. 

I wasn't really on a shopping trip because I have plenty of yarn (I would never say "too much) but did plan to allow myself a couple of advance birthday treats (it's nearly the right day) and I was also making one particular purchase for a friend who'd asked me to look out for a merino/cashmere 4-ply in gold as highlight colour for her Pinion cardigan.

Instead I was mainly there to see what was going on, get a feel for what's popular right now, admire yarn and talk to lots of lovely knitting folk.

And lovely they all were too. For example one lady offered me a seat on her stand - I think it could have been Debonnaire - because she'd overheard someone asking me about my back problems and I didn't look well.

Nearby I admired Millamia's new designs for adults and was recognised as "one of the people who told us we should do an adult collection". I was particularly chuffed because it was a single conversation at another show several months ago.

At Sparkleduck  I got a chance to show Heather what I'd been doing with some spectacular yellow yarn I'd ordered from her earlier in the week (of which more in a forthcoming blog). 

And there was a chance to catch up with Anna from Onehandknits and Sarah from The Bothered Owl - a talented designer and a clever accessory maker respectively as well as being lovely people I don't see enough of.

IMG_2516Then there was catching up with friends and meeting online ones face to face at last as well as bead sourcing, yarn squishing and admiring at so many stands including Fyberspates, SkeinQueen and EasyKnits where I was completely smitten with this pumpkin coloured sparkly 4-ply.

It's likely to turn into a lacy scarf or a shallow crescent-shaped shawl that will look stunning over a dark jacket or coat.

It just hasn't quite decided what it will be yet.

Oranges and browns were clearly my colours of the moment on Saturday. Almost as soon as I arrived, I spotted some Fibre Harvest Alpaca laceweight in a coppery colour (officially Rust) and a skein had to come home with me especially as it was on offer for the show.

But all morning I kept thinking about a dark colourway they had as well. So much so that after a lunchtime sit down for a cuppa I was plotting a striped circular shawl. And so the inevitable happened...


I could easily have spent much longer at Unravel, if it hadn't been for the opportunity to indulge one of my other passions. 

My second ticket of the day was to see England versus France in the Six Nations Rugby Champs at Twickenham - and believe me after that (and the 3 trains between Farnham and Twickenham) I was truly unravelled but still very happy.