Saturday, December 01, 2012

English Notebook: Two

I spent one entire day in England at Loop.

loop-sign

Loop is a yarn shop–the English often say "wool shop"–in a London neighborhood called Islington, on a sort of street called "Camden Passage."

When they call it a passage they aren't trying to be cute. Look.

camden-passage

It's exactly that–a narrow passage between old, low buildings. Most of Loop's neighbors sell antiques, and on certain days of the week the streets around fill up with more antiques dealers.

This is the Loop classroom. It holds eight, including the teacher. If you're going to teach at Loop it helps to be small and/or short.

loop-classroom

Loop's owner, Susan, has a gift–there is no other word for it–for arranging her stock in beautiful and unexpected ways. You don't just see the pretty things, you feel inspired to take them home and play with them. Before classes began, I had the place to myself and spent the time drinking it in.

loop-chair

loop-bunny

loop-needles

loop-shelf

loop-birdie

I was so enchanted I wanted a picture of me in the shop, as a souvenir.

loop-mirror

The students were lovely. We gathered around the table and had tea and little pecan tarts, and played with at lace and old patterns. The day flew.

To top it all off, I had the pleasure of the company of Jean, whose work and words I've admired almost since the day I began writing this blog. She knits everything, but it's her lace that first grabbed my attention, and I doubt I could have finished my first major piece of lace without her. She alerted me to Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting, and to Bridget Rorem's lace alphabet.

Jean came all the way from Scotland to meet me at Loop. I was almost too shy to ask if she'd have a picture with me after class. (My first impulse, on seeing her coming down the stairs, was to run over and hug her in shameless American fashion.) But I spoke up, and she obliged.

loop-jean

If you're one of Jean's fans, I can now tell you with certainty that she every bit as witty, sharp and fun as you'd think from reading her blog. I have a good mind to find a way to get up to Scotland and stalk her in her natural habitat. Fair warning, Jean. (And thank you.)

If you find yourself in London, you probably ought to go to Loop.  Really, you ought.

By the Way: 2012 Holiday Ornament

The annual Panopticon Holiday Ornament is ready to go. This year, the theme is yarn...and puppies.

2012 Holiday Ornament

Just realized I spelled "blogspot" wrong in the watermarks. Aw, screw it.

38 comments:

meezermeowmy said...

Love the Christmas lights criss-crossing the streets at the Loop. They look like the decorations in Iowa when I was a girl (1950's).

Thank you for "introducing" me to Jean. I've subscribed to her blog and look forward to reading another intelligent knitter (besides yourself).

M-H said...

I think we've been passing each other... We were in Cambridge, and at Loop too on our trip in November. Tell me you were at Covent Garden and we've hit the trifecta.

Slip, Knit... Meditate said...

Islington...Loop...Camden Passage...Great shops in that Area...My Favourite Part of London....LOVE

Phyllis said...

Franklin and Jean, one hot pair of lace knitters!
It's hard to tell who had more fun that day.
Thank you for all the pictures, I enjoy seeing it all.

Francesca said...

*sigh* What beautiful words and pics. I had a mini-break in London a couple of months ago and made sure I visited Loop. Luckily I had limited luggage (and money) with me, otherwise I would have bought half of what's in there...

wendy said...

Loop is indeed the King Tut's tomb of wool - many wonderful things! Did you spot the tiny spools of musk-ox wool om the counter, a mere £60 for something you could tuck in your cheek like a hamster? I wonder if you went to Ally Pally for the knitting show....

Pretty Knitty said...

Love the visit, part two...now, I'm going to have to book my own passage to England to visit Loop. I sure wish I was made of money some days. Oh, and "Hi!" to Jean!

Seanna Lea said...

I wish I could go to all of these places. I count myself lucky that I managed to get to Canada!

Sally said...

Oh my! What a lot of joy you're spreading! Thanks, Franklin.

Panhandle Jane said...

What a lovely post for all of us who travel virtually! Thanks also for the link to Jean's blog. I was fascinated and just put her on an RSS feed.

Nicole said...

What a wonderful passage! I would love to explore there. In the fourth picture, do you know what the pattern is for the beautiful grey shawl with the look of tiny bows? I think it is delightful!

Deb F. said...

Nicole, I think that grey shawl (which I, too, deeply covet) is Marin, by Ysolda Teague. It's a beauty, isn't it?

I had a chance to visit the Loop while I was in London far too briefly this summer, and it felt like fishing in a jewel box-- everything in exquisite taste, although, alas, much of it beyond my humble means! And I have never seen such an incredible assortment of Jamieson & Smith colours. Their button collection is stunning.

Liz said...

So nice that there are places (other than aiplanes) where being short has advantages. Am now determined to visit Loop.
P.S. We say "wool shop" here in Canada too.

patricia said...

Yes- visit Loop! I was there at the same time last year. In the dark, in a drizzle. Walked by it twice. Wish I had time to visit in the daylight.

Anonymous said...

Not to worry, Franklin, about the "blogpsot" - it's not what we notice when we enjoy your delicious photos. Besides, it's correct on the first two.

As the others have said, thank you so much for taking us along with you when you have these lovely adventures. It's generous, informative, and amusing - what could be better?

So Thanks.

Irene On The Road

Anonymous said...

Two postings in three days....yikes! What riches!

Just to dot the final 'I'....do you know about the LIVE broadcast of The Festival etc from King's College on 12/24 at 9am CST? On NPR? It's my Carved in Stone thing to do on 12/24. It's wonderful to know people from all over the world and you are experiencing the same heart-breakingly beautiful music at the same time.

Lee in Iowa

Anonymous said...

The mutual admiration of exceptional knitters warms my heart. Jean is amazing, no? As are you.

the beadslut who can't make this work

Margarida said...

I do love this shop!
Everynow and then I go there and sometimes just to look around and to "feel" the shop - it's so inspiring!

Unknown said...

Lucky you! I'm a long time admirer/reader of Jean's blog.

Roxie said...

You are such a dapper dresser! The bow tie is cheeky and fresh, yet not inappropriate. Just like you!

Anonymous said...

What is the name of the pattern for the shawl(?) in a brownish yarn at the top of the fourth photo (loop-chair)? It's multidirectional garter and stockinette stitch and I really want to see the whole thing!

Deb F. said...

Anonymous at 2:50 pm, that shawl is Marin, by Ysolda Teague. Lovely!

Unknown said...

LOVE Loop! And Cambridge! Gorgeous photographs, Franklin. You really know how to capture detail.

Mutare Posts said...

Thanks for sharing, I want to see and hear more! Yes the 4th image has ysolda teague's "Marin" at the top of the pic. I love that beautiful and clever design.

Aline said...

oh wow! thank you for this post. i own a wool-shop and love seeing inspirational pics of other cool shops. you look so happy in your photo with Jean! are those needles in the jars for sale or just decoration? very fun post. i woul love to visit Loop someday :D

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all for the info that the project is Marin...and a slap on the forehead to myself for not realizing that it is sitting in my favorites on Rav. I KNEW I liked it!

Kathleen Dames said...

Jean is one of my favorite bloggers. So jealous that you got to meet her, and I love that she is as excited to have met you :)

FiberQat said...

I'm tickled that you were shy to ask Jean as she was shy to ask you for a picture. I'm glad it worked out for both of you.

stair step basket said...

Very nice and beautiful!

Nia Ceridwyn said...

Loop reminds me of the yarn shop I used to work at, until the owner got bored and closed up shop. Lovely!

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for pointing me to Jean!!! And I'd love to go to England one day. I'm short; I should fit right in! :)

Nini Andrester said...

Thank you very much for that extraordinarily first class editorial! Very creative and innovative one.



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