Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I am going through customs to enter Belgium. I show my passport to the woman at the counter, waiting for my special stamp that declares "Yay I am in Belgium!" Anticipating this great moment, I watch her pause before she smashes the stamp down on my passport. She looks down at me and asks "Why are you coming to Belgium today?"

I tell her what has been on my mind since February, "To go to the MOMU in Antwerp!" with a huge grin on my face. I have been waiting for this moment for months. I was going to see the Unravel exhibition at the MOMU. I was finally going to see the knit pieces that have been my inspiration for pursuing my love for knitting in art. I was going to see works by Sandra Backlund, Mark Fast, Sonia Rykiel, etc etc. OH MY GOODNESS!!!

She looks at me and says "What is that?" I answer, "A museum," and she responds with "You have come all the way to Belgium for one museum?"

"Well.... Yes...."

A very awkward moment I shared with this lady.

But she stamped my passport anyway. So I went to the MOMU, and it was brilliant!

The exhibition wasn't only about garments as an end product, which I really appreciated. I thought it was a very comprehensive exhibit that went through knitting history, affects on society, and its processes. There was something for both people that don't know knitting at all and those who have been doing it forever.

For those of you who missed it, try to buy the catalogue online. It is worth it!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Knitting Worshop

I participated in a knitting workshop at Central Saint Martins last week. It was short but full of new information and techniques that I tried to cram into my head. We spent most of the workshop learning these new techniques which the students then will hypothetically use in their future projects. I thought I knew a thing or two about knitting machines, but this class proved that there is SO MUCH MORE for me to learn. The only complaint is that I wish the class was longer!!! I had a great teacher, Alice Wellbeloved, who is amazing. Seeing her samples of her knit textiles blew my mind. And the samples she showed us were all done on a standard home knitting machine! Oh the possibilities are endless with even just a home machine. We had a guest cottage industry knitter, Amy Hall, come in to show us some of her pieces from her previous collection and a sneak peak of her new summer collection! Coincidentally I had already been following her through blogger. The wonders of the internet! Again, another inspiration to see someone start a business on their own doing what they love. I met some really nice people from all over the world in this workshop, and it felt like home to be in a room full of students. Creepy I know, but I really like it when the whole room sounds like a sweatshop spilling out colorful crazy knits. I am going to try to take another class this winter or next summer. I am crossing my appendages!

I was going to show you pictures of my samples from the workshop, but an overzealous janitor must have gotten his/her hands on them because they disappeared on the last day of class. Oh woe is me. Just means I have to make more samples which is probably a good thing. Instead here are photos of half of a room full of home knitting machines (the other half industrial knitting machines), and MY FIRST PAIR OF FULLY FASHIONED SOCKS OFF THE KNITTING MACHINE! Since these were done not on a double bed, they have a seam on the inside, and I know that they are just socks, BUT it is still awesome to me.

Basically, I loved taking this class and I have to go back to take another. There is no age limit, you don't have to be a student, you just have to shell out the cash and you can attend. I realllllly recommend others to do it if they can. Saint Martins is apparently moving from their South Hampton location to a new place on Kings Cross so next year it will be in a new fancy beautiful building! GO GO GO!


Saturday, August 6, 2011

London Yarn Stores

Ok, I am doing a really bad job updating so I will try to catch up on my trip.

I am loving England way more than I thought I would. It just has so much history and I have had really great hosts this week who have taken me around A LOT. I have been really lucky to be able to see not only London, but other more rural parts of England as well. It is just beautiful here. After spending my first week in London, I forgot that the rest of England actually has GRASS, and living plants. So many hydrangeas! I love it. My sister and I go back to London tomorrow and I start my class at Central Saint Martins on Monday. We'll see how that goes...

Here is a list of yarn stores I have gone to in London. They have a lot of them but the ones I have gone to are pretty different from each other.

This is my favorite yarn store that I have been to in London. They have a knitted stork in a nest of yarn in one corner and a little mushroom/flower scene upside down on the ceiling in the other corner. It is full of upcycled yarn (yarn made out of discarded materials such as old t-shirts or plastic) as well as regular yarn. They have all of this in crazy fun colors and a knitted sink in the back!!!! The two girls working there were really kind and inviting. They made me want to own my own yarn shop. It is nice to NOT see examples of really boring cardigans and shawls and 3284932794 baby stuff for once. Granted, some of the stuff there is weird, but it is nice to see something different and creative. It was hard for me to choose what I wanted, so I left with a bunch of stuff. Problem solved :)
This is some of what I left with. I am ridiculously excited to make stuff with it.

I went to a vendor who had some beautiful Israeli 100% merino that is washable. WHA???? Yeah, it is unbelievably soft and I got 2 balls of it. That sounds weird, but it is true.

JOHN LEWIS: It is like a small Joann's but in a department store. Convenient with a big selection but nothing too special.

I KNIT: Regular knitting store. A good place to look at a large selection of books on knitting. The highlight is the cute small dog that sleeps on the couch. The owner looked really unenthused or maybe I came on a bad day?

I tried haggling sort of and it didn't really work. I am a horrible haggler. But I still got 3 balls of yarn for 5 pounds. Not too bad but I could have done better. For some reason I am really attracted to lace weight hairy yarn but I fail to remember when I buy it how frustrated I get when I am trying to knit with it... Hopefully I will push myself through it when I use this.

This yarn store is so very cute. They have a great selection but it is not cheap or even close to cheap. But this is the only place I have found yarn from Habu Textiles which I looooooooove. So having a weak spot for cool yarn, I went ahead and broke the bank buying some Habu stainless steal/silk yarn as well as its cotton boucle which I probably didn't need but still love.

Probably the all around best place to go for anything related with yarn. It is mostly directed towards weavers, but there are a LOT of options for knitters too. They have the biggest range of colors I have seen yet. It is like a twin of the Yarn Barn in Lawrence. Except they also have a basket of abaca for some reason? I asked what they used it for and the girl at the counter had no idea... so I bought some to experiment with, along with some mercerized cotton in different colors... I am not going to have any room in my suitcase!

Ok so that was probably really boring for most of you, but it is a good way for me to remember what I liked and disliked and if anyone ever ends up in London looking for some yarn shops, here is a small list. Maybe I was a cat in my past life because I LOVE YARN! and cats.
i miss kitty!