Monday, 25 March 2013



Yeay! A weekend in which we see W O O L!
This weekend, we went to Somerset House to see the Wool House exhibition by The Campaign for Wool. What a *fab* event: room after room furnished almost entirely in natural wool fibre and plenty of mannequins sporting British tweed, too. Even the carpet runners had been crafted for the exhibition, as had this felt-covered chair by Claudy Jongstra:
We loved the light and the natural colours in Josephine Ryan's Natural Room, inspired by her Irish roots:
The chairs are covered in Aran jumpers!

This free exhibition was jam-packed, too, showing how many people care about just what things are made of. As well as these 'still life' rooms, there was a room with bowls of yarn including my Hiking Hat favourite, Debbie Bliss' Blue Faced Leicester Aran, as well as Rowan Pure Breeds and Blacker yarn from the Falklands. Sadly none for sale, though! Not every room showcased the practical, utilitarian uses for wool: there were sculptures, tapestries, bed-steads . . . all showing just how useful but also beautiful and decorative woolly things can be! Twitter tells me that the exhibition has hosted classes in knitting and weaving, too, and that yesterday they held a Tweed Tea-Party. Hurrah for The Campaign for Wool - a great show.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Ipswich, Part 2: LYS, Jenny Wren's Yarns

On a freezing cold day in Ipswich, I set off down St Peter's Street to find Jenny Wren's Yarns. Luckily, it was well signposted, and I was armed with the great @BettyBlueHat vintage Ipswich map! You can see the map here on the @IMakeFunStuff blog:
I was going to interview Lois Mickleburgh, who owns the business with her mother. It's named after Lois' Grandma, a keen and busy knitter - and I really like that detail, as my Grandma was a great knitter, as I've mentioned before here.
 My stealth plan is to interview lots of women wool-shop owners - so I started here, in a lovely room in a shop shared with Cathy Frost of LoveOne.
This room is stuffed full of wool: great selection of Jarol (my mum's current favourite wool - it has lovely, rich colours and is a mid-price wool), but also lovely Debbie Bliss and Artesano, including the latter's British wool - here, under the Rico Chunky (also very nice!):
Look how lovely this knitting corner is! I could just imagine myself (if I lived in Ipswich!!) popping in here to knit in my lunch hour:
There are more lovely things in here which I didn't photograph: lovely button jars and lots of patterns - when we went back last weekend I managed to buy two completely unnecessary Rico patterns - as well as all the needles you could ever want.
Upstairs is fab vintage furniture shop, @BettyBlueHat - with all the 1970s lampshades and 1960s ceramics you could want, as well as some gorgeous crochet and dark wood bedside cabinets. @LoveOne, too, has got great gifts: I couldn't resist their "Practically Perfect in Every way" gift tags.
Meeting Lois was really heartening: we discussed the persistent interest in knitting and crochet; the fact that it hasn't turned out to be a fad, but a really enjoyable and, now, sociable past-time too. We looked at British wool and talked about the increasing number of British spinners. I did buy some lovely mustard-coloured SMC double knitting (merino) for some lovely gloves I've seen in the Grannies, Inc knitting book, and left happily, having found a great LYS that I'll certainly revisit next time I'm in Ipswich. Thanks, Lois, for such a brilliant visit!