I spent one entire day in England at Loop.
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.
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'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.
I was so enchanted I wanted a picture of me in the shop, as a souvenir.
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.
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.
Just realized I spelled "blogspot" wrong in the watermarks. Aw, screw it.