Craft shopping

After my post on my London WE which strayed from knitting matters, I thought I had to go back to basics. During this WE, the Woolen Republic GDP went through dramatic cuts, for the greater good.

From the most knitting-related purchase to craft-related home decoration, here is what I bought:

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Well, yarn, yarn and more yarn, straight from Loop shelves! From left to right, top to bottom:

a)Bright blue baby alpaca chunky (a fave of mine) from Misti Alpaca, a brand I had never heard of. How was I supposed to resist this huge, supersoft skein?

 

b)Two Blue Sky Alpaca Gold Dust Metallico skeins (I also have a thing for golden yarn, but I will be coming back on this pretty soon), half alpaca half silk, that is top quality yarn, with which I plan to make a shoulderette.

 

c)Tosh Sock yarn from Madelinetosh, a brand I had never heard of either. Sounds like someone is making a first foray into sock knitting really soon!

And there, some books:

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To be honest, I hardly buy any craft book – I think the Internet has an amazing range of patterns, and it also allowed some avid knitters to launch their own patterns, so I usually pick up my patterns on the Web.

But one may sometimes make exceptions:

 

My Crochet Doll by Isabelle Kessedjan is an amazing book to make lovely amigurumi dolls.

(Ok, I might have been influenced by the supersweet pictures)

Creative Cabling from Debbie Bliss has gorgeous patterns:

This great jumper will hopefully be mine in the next couples of weeks.

 

 

Lastly, I quite enjoy buying vaguely craft-related vintage stuff, and Camden Passage was the right place to shop.

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The picture caption says “Porter! Stop the train! I left my wool in it” (1915). 4£

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(Rabone ruler,  Moore&Wright callipers – only the vintage bobbins are from Portobello Market). 25£ for everything!

London Knitting (& other nice places)

(NB Very sadly I forgot to take my camera for my  weekend in London, so this post will only have Internet pics, with references and links provided of course).

(And I will post what I bought in the next article)

Last Friday, Mr Republic and I went to the vibrant English capital for a little weekend – I thought I should go to Angel station and have a look at the Loop Knitting Shop.

And I am  glad I did! First because the shop is right in Camden Passage (not related to the overcrowded and not-so alternative Camden Market) which has a very cool antique market on Saturdays (and  going there on Saturday is way nicer than going to the overcrowded and not- so-alternative Portobello market which still has some good stuff but where tourist crap definitely took the upper hand.).

(Source : Yelp)

But back to the knitting point. Loop is the place to go for any knitter visiting London as it is the candy shop equivalent for yarn! The shop has a huge range of different yarns, with many brands that are  not sold in France (even if you still find Malabrigo and other classical yarns). The decor is very sweet, with handmade pillows and cute knitted toys everywhere.

In a word, the place is worth visiting even if you do not want to buy anything! It is just too sweet to miss!

Source : Kitty Couture

**

And while I am sharing my Londonian fave places, I’ll just stray from knitting-related topics for a minute:

RESTAURANT

Harwood Arms

The Harwood Arms is the first (and only?) pub to have one Michelin star – it is an ideal place to enjoy top quality British pub food. Locally sourced products, a cosy wooden decor – using hunting lodge elements but with some good taste- and a friendly staff have made the Harwood Arms a successful restaurant for a few years now.

Source : noreservation

The restaurant is a few minutes’ walk from Fulham Broadway.

Ordering from the menu will cost you about £40 per person but we had a weekday lunch and the three-course specials are 25 £ (20£ for two courses). We had a cauliflower soup with some almonds and savoury English muffin, slow-cooked lamb neck with artichokes and rosemary custard and a fresh mint tart with chocolate biscuit. I would not have spontaneously went for such products but it was all beautifully cooked.

HOTEL

Our ho(s)tel was not outstanding but we managed to get a double room with private bathroom for just 100£ a night. It was at the St James Backpackers, by Earls Court station. The price/quality ratio was good with full continental breakfast.

MUSEUM

Now I would not call  the Tate Britain a hidden gem but it’s still the museum I would advise someone to visit for a weekend, especially in the morning when there is almost nobody. Turner and Blake galleries are a must-see, but paintings by Bacon, Constable, Sickert, and many, many others from early XVIth century to present days will make it a valuable experience too.

I am Kittygirl, hear me roar!!

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1992.

 

Tim Burton was back for a new Batman film and definitely felt more comfortable with the Dark Knight universe, so he decided to include some very Burtonesque origins for the villains. Beside a very gross Penguin, the eccentric director went for a sexy but really nuts Catwoman. And the metamorphosis from shy Selina Kyle into feline femme fatale remains in everybody’s memories.

Or does it? If not, you can still watch this video:

 

Not only Ms Pfeiffer is not too bad when it comes to grabbing a sewing machine and making an awesome vinyl suit, she has some interesting decor ideas too, especially when she makes her cheesy  Hello there neon sign into a Hell here one that definitely matches her new routine.

 

So, I was told the idea to start what is expected to be a long series of mill-knitted words (it’s more fun than kids’ names, and all the kids I know have endless names anyway).

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per votre fil de pelote no1, faire un nœud avec le fil de la seconde pelote et d’y aller doucement en moulinant au niveau du nœud.

My Hell(o) (t)here was mill-knitted with Lang Omega acrylic yarn, which is smooth enough for this kind of project. To change colour with a knitting mill, all you have to do is cut the yarn from your first ball, tie the end with another yarn, being careful with the not when it goes through the mill.

It’s quite a piece of cake.

Have you already mill-knitted any other words than names?


Bienvenue!

bannfr

 

If you have made it to this blog, it means you are on the English version of a French knitting blog (congrats).

My name is Pauline and I will be living in Oxford this year, which is why I first decided to translate my posts into English (being now bilingual-knitwise). Some of them are not yet on this blog but are already translated, you can find them by clicking on the icon on your right.

(I want to thank the lovely French blogger Camille – who now lives in the States – for her advice. You can find her great knitting&sewing bilingual blog here).

 

Films and books are often my everyday life inspirations when it comes to knitting new projects, which is why the next post will be a knitted parody of a very famous film! Meanwhile, I am going to enjoy what seems to be a very sunny Sunday).

A Toy foy my Valentine

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Mister Republic has one very fine quality when it comes to calendar as his birthday is three days from Valentine’s Day, so it is very easy for me to sneer at those who hold this commercial day as a very special day but actually I am just killing two  birds with one celebrating stone.

This year I decided to make a little knitted something. I wanted a cat-related project, I even thought of a cat cosy mug but then he does nos really use cosy mugs (neither do I I must say) so my gift would have ended up unattended in a drawer or in his coat pocket.

So I decided to do something really useless, but really pretty and I made a doll. Perhaps some Ravelry avid browsers recognize this cat-cutie : it is a pattern by Tatyana Korobkova for her Tanoshi Toys series, which features this girl doll in many different ways.

(c) Tatyana Korobkova (source Ravelry)

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Mister Republic has one very fine quality when it comes to calendar as his birthday is three days from Valentine’s Day, so it is very easy for me to sneer at those who hold this commercial day as a very special day but actually I am just killing two  birds with one celebrating stone.

This year I decided to make a little knitted something. I wanted a cat-related project, I even thought of a cat cosy mug but then he does nos really use cosy mugs (neither do I I must say) so my gift would have ended up unattended in a drawer or in his coat pocket.

So I decided to do something really useless, but really pretty and I made a doll. Perhaps some Ravelry avid browsers recognize this cat-cutie : it is a pattern by Tatyana Korobkova for her Tanoshi Toys series, which features this girl doll in many different ways.

When I saw the little kitty pattern in Tatyana’s poetic, dreamlike universe, I immediately spent the couple of euros (4£) to make it.

I am already a big fan of some amigurumi patterns but I am not convinced by amigurumi human toys, because I think the simple crochet stitch is somehow too visible whereas here, the stockinette stitch face is just perfect to me!

Let’s just make a quick list about the good points of this toy pattern:

a) Can it get any cuter?

b) It is an -advanced- beginner level. The only thing is that you must be able to knit with thin DPN, otherwise it is really easy!

c)It is an excellent stashbuster (the toy is about 9 cm high) – the only colour you should get right is the face, it should not be too rosy or white but rather a light vanilla/beige shade. Apart from that, the cat costume can be black, white, grey, striped, ginger…

d) It’s a great pattern if you have never made a toy before but would like to start, and it is super easy to customize!

I only made slight changes to the original pattern: I knitted stripes instead of a white tummy and I added a tiny felt scarf. I think some of the small parts of the pattern (inner ears) can be made with crochet instead of being knitted with DPN.

It could be left as a toy or I could make it into a bag accessory. Anyway, it really got me into the knitted toy craze, now I want to make tons of it!

(you even get a bonus track making-of pic! In case you would ask, yes I applied blush on the doll, and in case some girls would ask, my favorite blush brand is M.A.C.)

So what did you knit for your Valentine?

Knitting&Dickens

I have just finished to read Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities, and I must confess that I she a few tears during the last pages, and a great deal on  the very last sentence. I am quite curious to watch film adaptations, but rendering the puzzling atmosphere of this novel must be something of a tricky tour de force.

But that is not why I am mentioning this novel – as you may or may not know, the Tale of Two Cities features a bloodthirsty Tricoteuse (those French knitting women who attended executions by guillotine during the French Revolution).

(Mais pourquoi la fleur de lys ?)

The notorious Madame Defarge indeed silently knits with bloodcurdling steadiness- besides, she encodes the names of the people she wants dead through her knitting (which I must say is pretty cool, I’d like to be able to communicate secrets by knitting and purling). She ends tragically, but then she is the villain of the story.

Anyway, if A Tale of Two Cities was a knit, it would be a gorgeous Phrygian cap of course!  A vibrant, slightly felted hat which would keep your ears warm, even during winter- and no beheading for you if you wear such a thing.

… I know what you thing… not quite the casual style, eh? Well, no worries, because some Ravelry designer actually created lovely Dickensian mice toys patterns (cf pictures above). You even get the nice Peggotty knitter!

Photo : Alan Dart

Stitches for Bitches# Charity knitting in Oxford

Today I feel like sharing a charity event that took place last Saturday at the Big Society Pub, Oxford. It was a knit-in to collect money for the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary. While some little things, like accessories (for dogs and for the owners) and snacks were sold during the day, a party of merry knitters knitted away to make 6″ squares and  sewed them together into cosy blankets for the animals of the sanctuary.

Now you might think that knitting motley blankets for puppies sounds a litttle like  grannies knitting booties for their poodles (because I would not knit a blanket for my dog). But you should remember that the animals from  refuges usually arrived there in a pitiful state. They  often suffer from stress, fear, hypothermia, sometimes mange or physical injuries, so comfy bedding is a minimum – when there is no blanket, dogs sleep on old newspapers, that is why the sanctuary people actually asked that the Drunken Knit Wits would make blankets for them.

 

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I guess I should show you my two masterpieces for the cause: a terrific beige  garter stitch square a stockinette stitch one with two different yarns. Nine blankets were made this day, only short of a few squares from a tenth one and 80£ were raised.

 

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I am sharing this kind of event here because I tend to think that these spontaneous charity projects are way more common in the UK (or in the USA, in Canda…) than in France, while they would be quite easy to organise in my country too-all it takes is a nice café/bar, a money-box and a crew of nice knitters. So who knows, it might inspire other people, although I realize that these events are slowly developing in France too.