After being disappointed that I didn’t get to go on last year’s Great London Yarn Crawl, I stalked the page this year to ensure that I got tickets. I picked Team BFL, and we were the first team to sell out!
The whole event was in aid of the women’s charity Refuge, who provide safe houses for women and children who have faced domestic abuse. A very worthy cause! GLYC 2014 supported Refuge through both ticket sales and by offering raffle tickets (and potential prizes) in exchange for much-needed warm, knitted items.
The total raised for Refuge was an astounding £812 and 149 donated items!
I personally donated two items that I had knit for myself but no longer wore—a rainbow scarf and rainbow mittens—as well as two cabled hats that I knit up over the course of the yarn crawl itself!
So, without much further ado, I present to you my account of the day!:
I met with our team at a lovely cafe right near to our first stop, Fringe. I wanted to give a shout-out to the meeting place—Owen’s Cafe—as they have a selection of crocheted vegetables currently on display in their windows, and serve pots of tea with cute crocheted cosies.
We pootled off to Fringe after the handing out and swapping around of goody bags. Fringe has a decent selection of yarn, however, it also featured many other craft supplies for sewing, felting and embroidery. I loved the huge selection of kits for sale, including kits for the giant knitted animal heads on display in the windows. It was great to be able to browse through some of the sewing books, as it gave me an idea of how I might want to learn to sew (which I do, at some point).
There was also an exhibition in the store; Kathy Needham’s ‘Deeply Felt’ textile art including felted wall hangings and felt bowls. I love the idea of textile as art.
Nest in Crouch End supplies only natural fibres and has a lovely large seating area where we all gathered around to drink tea and get to know each other after perusing the store. This is where we were joined by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade.
I opted to purchase a couple of skeins of Drops Karisma in two blue shades, with the idea that I attempt some colourwork… more on that in due course!
After nest, we decided to head off to find lunch. We went to a little cafe called Hot Pepper Jelly just down the road. They cater well to those with special dietary requirements having vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options available on their menu. However, being particularly fussy, I had packed my own lunch and was given a plate so that I could eat with the rest of the group!
Prick Your Finger
I have to say, Prick Your Finger was my favourite shop of the day. Located in Bethnal Green and furnished entirely from second hand items and reclaimed wood; the owner, Rachael Matthews, explained that the shop expanded and moulded around the stock she has in at any given time.
All of the stock at Prick Your Finger is natural, British wool. When we visited, there was a large selection of John Arbon’s Knit By Numbers, which I love. There was also some Guernsey yarn (to make a Gansey with, if you dare!), as well as Wensleydale longwool. The main attraction, however, was the huge selection of naturally hand-dyed and hand-spun yarn on offer. Check out their manifesto! Now that’s some yarn I can get behind!
I purchased this beautiful skein of hand-dyed Romney wool; probably about as locally produced as I could get.
Wild and Woolly
Wild and Woolly is the new kid on the block when it comes to London yarn stores. It only opened in Hackney in May, but has already earned quite the reputation for being a friendly place to browse, knit and be inspired. We certainly received the most gracious welcome when we were presented with tea and cake on arrival.
I, of course, loved the knitted vegetable patch display in the front window. I wonder if one day I could yarn bomb my allotment.
After drinking a mug of tea, and after the previous group had left and everything became a bit calmer, I had a good opportunity to look through the yarn and opted to buy a sweaters worth of Cascade 220 Heathers in a dusky green. 8-for-7 was offered to yarn crawlers in addition to a 10% discount, so it was a great deal! I can’t wait to knit with it.
The After Party
The venue for the after party this year, The Parcel Yard, was an improvement on last years, where people were apparently struggling to fit into the room! The setting was lovely; a grade I listed building with so much charm. It was nice to have a sit down and a chat with team-mates, and get my final hat donation finished before the raffle winner was drawn.
There were a number of door prizes that were handed out to random attendees, all donated by various sponsors of the GLYC as well as some of the yarn stores featured. I was lucky enough to win a door prize donated by Wild and Woolly, featuring some alpaca yarn, a True Brit Knits pattern, knitters notebook and badge. I already had a Knitter badge (and wear it everywhere with pride), so I gave it away to a team-mate to share the love.
In all it was a great day out, I got a great haul, and I will definitely be attending again next year!