I spent Saturday tripping along with a load of amazing people on the Great London Yarn Crawl, visiting yarn shops (and buying too much yarn), travelling across London south and north and having a great time at the Pompom Quarterly after party in King’s Cross Train Station. I will be reviewing the four yarn shops in separate blog posts – this is just the low-down on the yarn crawl bit!
The Great London Yarn Crawl 2014
If you’ve been hiding under a rock/are new to the blog (hello!), you won’t know much about this – and the fact that I was super looking forward to the Great London Yarn Crawl! To find out more about the event itself (and sign up to get notification of next year’s event!), head over to the Yarn in the City website. Run by Rachel and Alison, this is definitely one of the best events I have participated in this year – sorry to make you jealous if you couldn’t make it!
Quick summary, though: we signed up to join a team and visited four yarn shops across the day, then headed over to King’s Cross for an after-party with the Pompom Quarterly girls. There were twelve shops to visit and nine teams of roughly ten people each; it made for a cracking gathering when we bumped into other teams along the way!
I was on Team Romney, and with four yarn shops to visit from Wimbledon to Hackney, we sure had an early start. I got a train down to Wimbledon Park at 8 am on Saturday morning (ridiculously early…) and just as I was panicking that I had misread the timetable and arrived an hour late, I bumped into my team. Guided by the lovely Andrea and Kelly, our first yarn shop was Stitch Up, a little haberdashery shop run by the lovely Juliet. This was just one minute away from the tube station, and a nice and easy introduction to the day.
As I left, John told me to set a budget – I guessed a low number and he said I should go higher, so with money to burn in my pocket I was very excited to be out. If I hadn’t set the budget, I probably would have spent far too much…clever John!
As I say, the review of the full shop (I want to do it justice) will come later – suffice to say we had a lovely time and were treated to some tasty tea, coffee and biscuits. I bought some Malabrigo sock yarn and we headed out to get to the next shop.
Second on the route was Sharp Works in Herne Hill, a gorgeous shop which was just opposite the train station. With pompoms, vintage books and cinema chairs next to the door to have a sit-down, we were all like kiddies in a little sweet shop. I was absolutely thrilled to find a lace pattern I’ve been coveting since Buxton (more here), so I bought the book and yarn and petted everything else.
The lovely owner and her daughter (I can’t remember their names, I’m so sorry) were absolutely amazing, very chatty and helpful. They were terrific enablers! The daughter was wearing the most beautiful sparkly black dress that had been knitted by mum and finished the night before – isn’t this great?
We were a good long time in Sharp Works, then left and headed to Loop in Angel. We arrived nice and early, and myself and three of the girls on my team headed to Wetherspoons to have some tasty lunch. We had a good hour to knit here, which was welcome!
Loop is actually my Local Yarn Shop, so I was a bit quieter in the shop as it is a little small and with nine of us and ‘regular’ customers, I wanted to give the others a chance! I did try take some photos of the shop as if I had never been there before – absolutely fascinating to look at something you are well used to with new eyes, and something I shall be trying a bit more.
I think the shop had a great day – we bought a lot of yarn as a group, and judging by the amount of yarn the other teams had I’m surprised there was any left at all!!
We had to wait for a while outside the shop because we were all a little early, and when we left I decided to stay in the area and meet my team later. I had arranged to meet John in Loop because I had forgotten some things for the after-party, and he was a little late – traffic and other things got in the way of a prompt arrival. The rest of my team headed to Wild and Woolly, which I shall have to go and visit myself some other time.
The Parcel Yard
John and I had a quick pint (of Pepsi!) and I did some knitting, then got a lift with my private chauffeur boyfriend to The Parcel Yard in King’s Cross for the after party. I was super early compared to the rest of my team, so I grabbed a table for us and had a bit of coke to keep me going.
While we were waiting for the rest of the teams to arrive (one team was coming from Mrs Moon in Twickenham), there was an opportunity to buy raffle tickets and hand in the things we had all knitted for Refuge, the charity the whole event was in aid of. I tried to buy a glass of wine – and realised that I had no ID because I had sent my driving license off for the address change following our recent move! I was therefore a slave to everyone else for wine for the rest of the night.
I think everyone had arrived by about 6:30 pm, and a presentation of door prizes and raffle started. The door prize presentation was incredible. Rachel and Alison had managed to get some absolutely amazing sponsors for the event; the whole list is here, and this seemed to go on for hours! The results of the Pompom Quiz were also announced – we were robbed of the prize, although the decisions we would have had to made as we shared a bag of yarn were probably not a bad thing to have missed out on.
Kathryn, one of the girls on my team, won the raffle hamper as she had knitted almost a whole wardrobe for Refuge – she would have been robbed if not, she had about a hundred tickets! It was amazing, and a real testament to her generosity. Go and check out her stash here!
Then it was time to just chat and socialise. There were a lot of people I wanted to talk to, and unfortunately missed loads of them as they left early! It definitely wasn’t me who left early – by the end of the night, there were just ten of us left, the Great London Yarn Crawl 2014 survivors.
I had an absolutely amazing day. I loved seeing everyone and had a fantastic time sitting at the table with the survivors and declaring that we had to do this every week! Not necessarily the yarn crawl bit – I particularly enjoyed having a glass of wine with some of the most inspiring people I have ever met, so many amazing people in one room at the same time.
I particularly enjoyed chatting with Linda of the Kettle Yarn Co., Renee who runs East London Knit, Dani of Lioness Arts, Ce from The Uncommon Thread, Kate from YAK, the Yarn in the City girls and Ese from onayarnyday. I was saddened to say goodbye to Meghan from Pompom Quarterly, who has moved ‘back home’ (the States) but thrilled to get a chance to see her one last time before next summer. I have been inspired by the event and the people, and can honestly say my life will be taking a new direction as a result of a few of the conversations I had with these incredible knitters. I can’t wait until next year!