Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Continental knitting anyone?

On Saturday, I found myself in Hampstead, North London.  I hadn't been there for many years, but I lived there for 3 years in the early 1970s when I went to University.  Sadly, Westfield College, the arm of London University that I attended, has long since been merged with Queen Mary College, and all the wonderful buildings and spaces we lived and studied in have been converted into luxury flats.  It was jaw-dropping to see 2 bedroom flats in our old library building being advertised in estate agents' windows for £1.1 million!

But I wasn't there for nostalgia, I was attending a knitting workshop run to raise funds for Knit for Peace, in their headquarters in the quaintly named Radius Works, Back Lane, Hampstead.  The workshop was for continental knitting and fair isle, and was led by expert knitting tutor Juliet Bernard.  Wool to practise with was donated by Rowan Yarns, and Juliet, as well as giving her services for the day for free, also provided one of her own patterns for us to have a go at.

I've mentioned in a previous post that I struggle to purl in the continental style, and Juliet showed us several ways to do it so that we could select the one that worked best for us.  I practised on the rib of the hat, and, as the picture shows, I have a long way to go before I can call myself able to do it properly, but at least I now have a technique that I can manage with.

I enjoyed the day enormously, partly because I went with my niece, Amelia, so we were able to catch up as well as compare one another's progress.  The picture above shows how far I got with the fair isle hat, although I have to admit that I went horribly wrong with following the chart and had to frog a few rows before I got to that stage.  I will be carrying on with it, and will report progress in future posts.

It was good to be in Knit for Peace's HQ too, and to see where they sort the garments they are sent.

There was also a table full of all sizes and types of knitting needles and crochet hooks that had been donated, and were awaiting being sent out to different projects where people are being taught to knit and crochet to be able to support themselves and their families.

Altogether it was a lovely day spent knitting with like minded people, in the knowledge that, while enjoying learning new skills, we were also supporting a charity that helps others both here and abroad.


  1. When my sister was choosing her Teacher Training College she went to look at Westfield. She came home saying how lovely the student accommodation was. She went to a different college with not-so-nice accommodation. I never knew why.

  2. It sounds like a great way to spend a day Barbara, I would love to attend something like this, your hat is looking good. I always find it weird revisiting places from the past, I passed by my school a couple of weeks ago only to find that the school is no more and they have built rows of new houses in it's place, it gave me a strange feeling as if a huge part of my past had been wiped out. :) xx


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