Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Encouraging the small supplier

...and other justifications for retail therapy.

In addition to yarns and roving, Ally Pally is a wonderful place to enjoy the enthusiasm of specialist booksellers and a whole range of talented craftspeople whose work makes knitting, which is a visual and tactile art that much more pleasurable.

Most of my knitting is done on double pointed or circular needles. However, there are occasions when straight needles are called for so I treated myself to a couple of pairs of Lantern Moon rosewood needles. They really are beautiful objects. I am already using the 4mm pair on my Lady E and I have to admit that they add to the tactile pleasure by being very smooth and with tapered ends that don't get caught up with all the backward and forward knitting involved in entrelac.

The needles are resting on an interesting addition to my knitting book collection full of wonderful traditional Scandinavian knitting designs which can be used on hats, mittens, jumpers and all manner of things. They remind me that I must not neglect my Norwegian colour work cardigan... I bought them from Felicity J Warnes which is a remarkable second hand book shop specialising in textiles and textile arts. They are based in a residential street in Enfield, north London, so I will definitely be making a trip to see them in the near future when my purse has recovered from Ally Pally.

I have struggled to find a sensible storage solution for my double pointed needles. I started with a jam jar which had its limitations, both aesthetic and practical then invested in a Lexie Barnes needle case where pockets were just the wrong size and shape such that my needles either disappeared down inside the case or fell out in a jumbled heap. This Lantern Moon case appears to be just the thing.The needles are secure, accessible, and the case is very very pretty...

I was completely ambushed by this knitting bag on the Hipknits stand. I walked away once, honestly I did, but then realised that I had a mental picture of myself carrying it so I found myself heading back. It's a Hab Bag which is made from a lot of recycled materials and found objects such as pebbles and shells from the beach. I would much rather support someone who is using their skills to produce one of a kind, beautiful things than buy from chain stores so I had to make it mine. It's the first time I've ever had a made for the purpose knitting bag so feel terribly grown up.

Finally, let me introduce you to a friend I met at the Knit and Relax area. Woolly is an Estonian sheep, the pattern for whom can be made from a recent issue of Spin Off Magazine. As you can see - he is an extremely talented knitter. Of course he has his own blog here .

I think I have covered pretty much everything from Ally Pally except one -Socktopus. I picked up an order I had previously made from Alice which is so extensive and gorgeous that it really deserves a post of its own. Watch this space....

5 comments:

Nikki said...

I'm in awe of your knitting bag. It's very pretty. I can totally see why you went back to get it! I remember the same feeling when I got my real knitting bag. :)

picperfic said...

oooh oooh oooh!! so many lovely things, especially the bag! I discovered Socktopus at the show on Sunday, bought some ever admired Koigu and have now bookmarked their website! Ally Pally was brilliant and I love the way different people had different experiences there. I was like a child in a sweet shop!

kathryn said...

Ally Pally was wonderful wasn't it? I love Lantern Moon needles and the dpns case is so pretty and what an interesting bag from Hipknits! I missed that -it's amazing how different people have found such different things.

Heather said...

What great purchases! Well found. I totally agree with you about Felicity J Warnes, I have come across her at beading shows too and she stocks some fantastic and hard to find books.

Jen said...

Thanks, the photo turned out great and woolly is now hoping all the ones on the disposable camera turn out just as well.