What Natalie Knits: Homeward Bound Shawl

So way back in September I had to head back to Canada again to apply for a new visa to stay in the UK. This was a relatively straight forward process, but had to be done from Canada and required an uncertain amount of time away from my new home in England and my partner. Before I left Maya suggested a collaboration with the shop to design a shawl to sell as kits when I got back. We picked out some yarn and I knit it up while I was in Toronto for 7 weeks waiting for my application to be approved.

homeward-natalieSince then we had difficulty getting our original choice of yarn back in stock, so the launch got delayed, and delayed and delayed while we waited to hear back from our supplier. It was not unlike waiting for my visa! Finally in March we decided that the best course of action would be to change yarns completely for the kits, which would mean a full pattern re-knit. Again I grabbed my needles and got cracking! This time we picked a yarn that we knew we could get in easily and where we had a more personal relationship with it’s makers, Socks Yeah! by Rachel Coopey and Fyberspates.

homeward-detail2 The resulting design is Homeward Bound, a triangular shawl knit from side to side with a bold geometric pattern using garter stitch intarsia. I have recently become enamoured with the potential of garter stitch intarsia, especially with creating these fun modern shapes. The triangles were inspired by the traditional quilt block pattern called Flying Geese, so named as it reflects the shapes of migrating birds. The name for the pattern comes from both the Flying Geese and that I knit it while waiting to return home. It uses 4 colours of 4ply yarn, with the pattern calling for Socks Yeah! It would also be a great way to use up leftover yarn, with each section in a different colour.

homeward-detail1The pattern is now available on Ravelry to purchase, and we have 3 different colour combinations available in the shop for kits. The original combination is Beach, and there is Berries and Forest as well.

We have loved the response for the pattern over the weekend, so we have decided to do a knit-a-long. It will run on Instagram from Friday May 5th to Monday the 19th of June. Any post of your Homeward Bound Shawl with the #homewardboundshawl tag in that time will be entered to win. On Tuesday the 20th of June we will pick winners from the hashtag, including in-progress pictures. Prizes to be announced later this week, stay tuned!


Knitting with attitude

Why knit? I’m sure there are as many reasons as there are knitters out there, and even more so, because I for one have many many many reasons for knitting and for why I love this activity. Easiest to point out maybe, are those purely egocentric reasons, but knitting can also be used as a tool to build relationships, bring communities together and express attitudes.

When I moved to London not knowing anyone here, my first attempt to build a social circle was through attending a knitting group, and today several of my closest friends are people I originally met at this group.

For me, it’s always been important to make Knit with attitude into something more than a shop, I really want it to be part of the local community, a creative space not only for selling goods, but where people can meet, discuss, create and enjoy each other’s company. The second Thursday every month we invite to Knit Night, where this is exactly what’s on our agenda, creativity, chatter, and lots and lots of wine.

Knit the Common

Speaking about community, I really want to share one of the most amazing projects we’ve seen unfold during the last year, as several of our knit group members got involved with an exhibition at the local Hackney Museum. This is how the museum presents the exhibition ‘Side by Side: Living in Cazenove’; This exhibition explores Cazenove Road in the north of the borough as an example of how people from all over the world live side by side in diverse Hackney. The exhibition features a range of creative artworks, films and installation made by local people, community groups and schools working with local artists, filmmakers and photographers. 
They have explored the nature of their communities through different faiths, cultures, histories, fashions, languages and foods and what it means to them to live in Hackney today.

Knit the Common

So what is the link between our knitting group and this exhibition? Quite a few members of our knitting group are also members of SNUG – Stoke Newington Common User Group. Stoke Newington Common is a small park/green space next to the Cazenove Rd. which is ‘common land’ actively used and very much loved by the local community. The knitters came up with this brilliant idea: they wanted to knit the Common, and so they did! During the last year, to the delight of all our knitting group members we’ve seen the most amazing creations being made; trees, railway tracks, the playground with all it’s equipment, I’m not joking, if it’s on the Common it has been knitted! The engagement and enthusiasm surrounding this project have been amazing, and there are so many people who wanted to contribute in one way or the other. Let me tell you, this is how you build a community!

Knit the Common

The pictures here only show part of the process, and they give you an idea about what’s been going on. But honestly there really is nothing like seeing the whole installation in all it’s glory, so should you happen to be in the area you really need to pop by Hackney Museum and have a proper look, the exhibition is on until May 17th.

Knit the Common

Knit the Common

And by the way, tonight is Knit Night!