Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Yarn Hunt

A couple of weeks ago, I took what can only be described as a tortuous trip to London.  Let me explain.

It all began a few weeks prior when I was spending a very happy Sunday mooching around central London - a rare occasion for me nowadays when I decided to take off on my own for a day out.  Hubby was away with a friend so there was nothing keeping me at home and I fancied an adventure.  This adventure led me to the wonderful world of John Lewis on Oxford Street, a Mecca for crafters and my home-from-home when I was a student up the road at the London College College of Fashion in the late 90s/early 00s. It's changed a lot in the last fifteen years, but it's haberdashery department is still wonderful and stocks a decent range of yarns for knitting and crochet.  As is my habit, I always come away from a wool shop with a few balls of yarn for my stash, not really knowing what I'll use it for but keen not to go home empty handed.  I returned home with several balls of wool: a couple of chunky yarns by Debbie Bliss and two balls of Rowans Hemp Tweed in a grey/green colour called 'Pine'.

It was happy coincidence that around that time, I saw a picture on Twitter of a crochet design for a blanket by knitting-pro.com   It had a chart design, but no further instructions.  I thought it would also make a nice scarf, but I'm still a novice crocheter so I had to Google and make some guesses about where to put my hook.  Soon, I had a pretty nice scarf on the go.  But then disaster, the two balls of Hemp Tweed I was using would not be enough for a decent length scarf.  Argghh!!!!

My next day off, a Monday, and I planned to phone all my local Rowan yarn stockists to see if any had the yarn I needed.  I was prepared to travel, but not on the off chance.  My first call was to John Lewis in Southampton.  Their telephone office sent down a message to the shop floor with my enquiry and told me they'd phone back soon.  The clock ticked.  My fingers were raring to go with the crochet hook and my feet were itchy to get in the car and go out to buy yarn.  Silence.  Then, hubby said, "Why don't we just go to London, get your yarn and spend the afternoon wandering?".  This plan was fine except that by the time we'd arrive in London, it would be around 2pm so there would be little time to see or do anything other than the wandering part of the plan.  I reluctantly agreed.  We hopped on a train and with regrettable predictability John Lewis phoned to say they had my yarn....we were already half way to London by this stage.  And so began an afternoon of fighting crowds, overheated shops, sardine tube journeys, overpriced food and some bubbling squabbles.  We headed straight for John Lewis and captured my prize - the elusive Hemp Tweed in 'Pine'.  This is a wonderful and much underrated yarn - try it.  Whilst I had it in my sights, I thought I'd better stock up so I bought enough in blue to make another scarf.
Here is my completed scarf (I added a scalloped border).

In amongst the horridness of our London trip was a walk across the 'wobbly' bridge with it's stunning views, and a brief trip to the V&A before they closed.  Even a short visit to this amazing museum is enough to lift your spirits and I was beguiled by the wonderful Asian statues of Buddha and their Oriental ceramics.  Also of interest to me is the museum's collection of Arts and Crafts design which covers furniture, pottery, textiles, glass and metalware.  This is one of my favourite periods of design. There wasn't enough time to view the museum's fashion and textiles collection, but I'm sure I'll be back there again sometime.....well after the Christmas madness!!!!

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