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Monday, February 15, 2016

Shopping & Teaching

Last week I was away for most of the week. First I spent two days in London. The aim of the trip was to get my passport renewed at the Norwegian Embassy but I also had a chance to enjoy London. I mainly spent my spare time shopping in London but I did enjoy an afternoon at the Victoria & Albert Museum.   

I managed to pop in to Loop quickly and purchased what I always seem to purchase when I visit Loop - a skein of Wollmeise but this time I also got this really cute project bag. It's big enough for a pair of socks. They had a smaller version and a larger version too. And it was so tempting to get a set but my budget wouldn't allow.

I chose the colour of Wollmeise to go with another skein I already had in my stash. This will become a shawl in the future, hopefully near future. I was so tempted to wind both yarns last night and cast on but I've got another project on the needles which I need to finish first (more about what's currently on my needles later this week).

I always try to pop in to Harrods while I'm in London. I find Harrods fascinating! So much over the top stuff. I always love looking at the designer bags but I'm always too frightened to actually pick one up to look at and there's never any price visible (I guess if you need to know the price, you can't afford it). But I did buy a few things in the stationery department - a card with a map of the UK and Ireland, covered in umbrellas which I bought just because I thought it was cute. I also got two little colouring books (one is already in use so I didn't photograph it because I couldn't find it - I haven't finished unpacking yet) and some cute stickers.

But the main purpose of my trip was three days of teaching at the Artesano Academy. I'll be teaching there every month (except August) this year so do check out their calendar of classes - they also do a 10% early booking discount. We kicked off with a Lace Improvers class on Thursday and I had a lovely group of ladies. They all did brilliantly and everyone enjoyed themselves.

There was a definite fair isle knitting theme to this visit as I taught two fair isle classes.

On Friday, I taught Selbu Mittens for a small group of knitters which was unusual as this class is normally fully booked. They knitted a mini mitten in the class to practice all the techniques. As well as learning how to actually knit and shape the mitten, this class also teaches how to work fair isle with one colour in each hand (I who you how to knit continental in order to do this). I'm teaching Selbu Mittens again at Spin A Yarn later this month.

Saturday's 'Fair Isle Knitting & Steeking' was completely full with 12 knitters. This is a fast paced, challenging class and is suitable for knitters who are confident knitters and willing to push themselves. This is also looking like it might be my busiest class this year and I'll be teaching this class several times at Artesano this year. In March I'm teaching it in three different shops - Spin A Yarn and Sitting Knitting as well as Artesano.

In the morning we practiced fair isle knitting techniques and as a bonus I teach knitters how to do the continental knit stitch in this class. This is to enable them to knit fair isle with one colour in each hand.

The real fun comes in the afternoon when we worked two different ways of re-enforcing a steek and then we got the scissors out and got cutting. Below is Marie being brave and allowing me to photograph her making the first cut.

Alison enjoyed the class and posted this picture on Instagram later. Look at those pretty scissors! They're for sale at Artesano. I'll definitely be getting some next time I'm there.

Artesano is mainly an online shop now. They used to sell through yarn shops but now you can only get their yarn from their online shop (which means it's cheaper than it used to be but still as luxurious) or by visiting their warehouse during their opening hours. They do open weekly now but do check the website for days and times. If you attend a class there you also get a chance to look at and purchase their beautiful yarns, KA needles and notions and their patterns (many designs by me).

A row of sweater samples, incl Thea designed by me (the green sweater).

When you attend a workshop, you get 20% off any purchases on the day.There's an early booking discounts on classes too.  I did some shopping too and got some useful notions - a pack of yarn leaders which are perfect as lifelines and a pack of removable stitch markers.

I had a great time last week mixing sightseeing and shopping in London with teaching in Berkshire. This week is another busy week for me with Unravel in Surrey at the end of the week. Lots of yarn and patterns to pack first as well as general admin to catch up on. I'm very behind with e-mails (as usual) but I am aiming to catch up next week (after I get back from Unravel) and stay on top of my e-mail situation.

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