London, Knitting, and the search for yarn.

Whew. You’d think in a place like London would have so many yarn shops. You’d be wrong.

I managed to make it to John Lewis today, albeit in Cambridge, who stock “the usual suspects” according to wool blogs about the UK. Funny when these usual suspects are Rowan and Debbie Bliss, and that Patons Australian wool is more expensive. Your usual suspects cost roughly A$10-13 depending on which one and the exchange rate. Patons Patonayle sits at a cool A$15 in John Lewis, and not stocked at iKnit.

Ah… iKnit. When you’re not a yank (apologies to the Americans who read this for almost gross generalisations), who walks around going “Well gee, honey, ain’t this town just so quaint!” you’re considered a local, because London is such a melting pot that you don’t assume anything. This is a problem when you’re asking questions about this London knitting week (which is currently underway), what group stuff they do, when are they expecting more Collinette, etc – and you get treated like you’re some moron who is wasting their time. Okay, so 5pm on a Monday isn’t the best time to be bugging knitting store owners about such things. That they close at 7pm on a Monday means nothing. I’m sorry, maybe when there are lots of people squashed into their fairly small store, I’m sure its cheery, but the esteemed owners did not endear themselves to me, nor did they do so to the group of (young) girls who came in to try find a birthday present for a friend of theirs who knitted. They asked for help, and they were met with disinterest and real antipathy. They ended up walking out with nothing and rather disillusioned with the whole process. Again, maybe Monday’s are bad, but I’m going to go have a look for the shop in Putney that looks far more promising. There was some Manos del Uruguay that I will have to go back and get – it was simply sublime.

Anyway. I’m getting lots of stares on the tube for knitting. But chunky structured knits are very much in for the winter here. Lots of tunic-ky sorts of garments, not bulky sweaters. Quite interesting, really.

Its only just started getting cold here. It was chilly our first day or so, but when you’re hitting 21 and clear skies in London in mid-October – then climate change alarms start going off. And we had such a deluge in Cambridge today. Just as I sat down to examine Milton, the skies opened on what sounded like some sort of inter-college rugby match outside. I guess university towns the world over are the same.

I’m going to try finish that second thuja tomorrow. My no-pattern make-it-up-as-you-go lace scarf has kept me occupied today. As for London, its quite something. I just don’t know if I could live here for an extended period of time. Tube nose kind of did that to me on day one. But, I’ve got at 6am start tomorrow to miss rush hour to the lovely city of Cambridge (it has a Cathedral, ergo, its a city). Will try and update when I’m more awake.