Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Yarn Cake

The Mr and I took Flo to see my cousins, aunties and uncles in Scotland last weekend. We had a great time seeing everyone and enjoying the lovely weekend of weather which was a bit of a surprise to everyone in Glasgow I think!

One day we took the bus into town and Flo fell asleep, thanks to the rather late night of partying the night before at my cousin's birthday party. It was the midnight lego session that did her in I suspect. So we decided to try and fit in some of the 'grown up' things we wanted to do while she snoozed. For me, this meant YARN!

A quick search on the iPhone bought up a short list of Glaswegian yarn shops but one caught my eye as I'd seen it advertised in Knitting Magazine and remembered the name for an obvious reason. The Yarn Cake is situated on Queen Margaret Drive in Glasgow and is a tiny oasis of knitting heaven. The shop is miniature but has literally everything you could need or want in a yarn shop; great selection of yarn, needles, notions and books. A cafe stocked with any tea, coffee and exquisite hot chocolate you can think of as well as some simply irresistible cakes! It's a wonder that they can fit in seating, tables and even a loo, which is essential for the long stay any visitor will clearly be making in order to sample everything the Yarn Cake has to offer.

The Mr and I shared a pot of Rooibos tea and a slice of the Rhubarb meringue cake. Yummy!

The service was excellent despite the two ladies in the shop having a great big order to unpack as I visited. The atmosphere was also lovely. The two groups of customers that came in to knit, drink, eat and browse while we were there all struck up conversations with us as we sat. For me it was everything a yarn shop experience should be.

While checking out the yarn selection I found some locally sourced yarn called New Lanark Mills. The red colour really popped out of me and it was instantly earmarked for my good friend and photographer James who really does deserve something knitted from me by now!

The trip was rounded off nicely with Flo waking up in time to meet some local knitted Nessies She was then given a little windmill by one of the lovely staff. It kept her quiet enough for us to finish our tea and pay for my yarn.

A final plug for the shop is that they are running the Glasgow School of Yarn on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th October. There will be workshops, a market place, book signings and of course tea and cake. If you're in the area, I urge you to check out the website and go!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Stitches - South African style

During the Olympics the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank was transformed into 'Ekhaya' (the Zulu word for Home) for all South African athletes & supporters. They had all sorts of dance, music and performances going on during the programme but my favourite part was South African arts and crafts displayed in the foyer. There was everything from embroidery, beading, woodwork to some amazing knitted and crochet pieces.

These gazelle heads were my stand out items for obvious reasons. The one above is crocheted from plastic bags and the one below is knitted with string and has a gorgeous cable running down the neck.
The crochet one is by recycled textile artist Magda van der Vloed.

Think I could make one for my front room wall?

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Bye Bye Games

What a Summer it's been!
After two failed applications to get Olympic tickets I finally got some for the Paralympics to see the athletics last week. I went with some of the girls from my knitting group and so we of course bought our knitting along. There was great debate as to weather we'd be able to get our needles in but security didn't seem to mind at all and before we knew it we were knitting in the Olympic stadium awaiting the action to begin.

The atmosphere was fantastic and it really was just amazing being in the park. The wild flowers were everywhere and simply gorgeous. When the action started we saw so many different events and rounded the night off with David Weir winning a gold medal for Great Britain in the 5000m. By the last lap of the race everyone was up on their feet jumping up and down and screaming. The noise was unreal and it was such a perfect end to our Paralympic experience.

Today I went to the South Bank where the Marathon was whizzing by and the Thames Festival was in full swing. I met my lovely friend Morag and I helped her get to grips with some intarsia, which created a few tangles but look at those colours!

The Games may be over but in my opinion the Summer is not yet done.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Nichols Buttons 3 day Open House

Nichols Buttons Three Day Westminster Open House 2012

Lionel Nichols was a lone glass maker who handmade couture buttons from 1946 to 1966 in London's Marylebone. His daughter, Dixie, has been gradually selling his remaining buttons, releasing just 5 selections per year. Here's your chance to see the latest selections in the flesh as well as tea & cake until Gin O clock then possibly a glass of wine in a most magical setting. Read on for more details!

12pm to 9pm Thursday 20th September

12pm-9pm Friday 21st September
12pm-9pm Saturday 22nd September

1 little Cloister, Dean's Yard, Westminster, SW13 3PL

The Cloister is very tricky to find in the twisting turning hallways of the Abbey and is not open to the public, so you must email for directions and to let her know you are coming.


I met Dixie Nichols many years ago at an event just like when I was running Stitch and Bitch London. The experience was magical to say the least. Not just because the buttons are stunning, so unique and original but also because of the setting. Little Cloister, Deans Yard is situated in Westminster Abbey, somewhere you'd expect to be some kind of museum or preserved guided-tour-only kind of place, but people live there. Dixie lives there! So even to visit the place alone is an opportunity you don't want to miss.

First you're walking the ancient corridors of the Abbey, then you're lead inside the most gorgeous little house packed to the rafters with the most exquisite handmade buttons you'll ever see in your life - guaranteed. 

Dixie always puts on a lovely open house with tea and cake and a spot of Gin-o'clock. One Christmas open house we were treated to fragrant mulled wine and mince pies. She knows how to get you hooked! You are able to wander the house as you please, browsing the buttons at your leisure and Dixie is always there for a chat and usually ends up imparting her excellent advice. Many times has she left me with some nugget of wisdom that I've held onto till this day. 

The open house doesn't happen very often so if you can, I urge you to email Dixie and go down for a visit this month. It really is a great opportunity to see an amazing place with some amazing buttons and the lovely Dixie too!

Happy Button browsing!