So as promised I tried to document as much of my weekend in London as I could via Instagram, and I hope that you were able to follow along. I have to say, it was one of the best weekends I have ever had.
I drove to my friend’s village to meet her at the train station. I parked a little way away and walked in glorious sunshine down to the cafe. It was warm and still, and all you could hear was birdsong and the occasional car go past. Everyone I passed was smiling because this was the first really good day of weather we had experienced so far this year.
My friend and I caught the train to London and I hooked whilst she knitted socks until we got to Euston, and then we headed to Waterloo and stopped off for a tea in a little trendy cafe before our first stop at I Knit London. This was a surprisingly spacious shop for a yarn shop (which are traditionally the size of a small biscuit tin). It was quiet when we go there so we bought some cold drinks (I Knit is licenced to sell booze but we resisted the temptation) and settled down at one of the tables to fondle yarn and browse some pattern books. I was very good and found three books which included stitches or techniques I hadn’t seen before (two crochet, one knitting), for a bit of inspiration. I felt bad about sticking to my yarn ban, but the folk were really nice and there was an excellent selection of bits there. Very nice. A good start.
Back on the underground and on to Loop next. I have been to Loop before, and it is a yarn snob’s paradise (and I mean that nicely!). They have high end yarns and notions and its a lovely shop to visit. Upstairs is my favourite bit and I could happily install myself there all day, but I have a child to feed and so I don’t dare. But yes, as I am sure you anticipated, I was weak, and I succumbed to these beauties. In my defence, the colour way was a Loop exclusive and they were the only two left. And they were not sock yarn. But I felt very virtuous that these were the only ones I came away with (plus a WIP bag that was on sale), so I am counting it as a win…
We went into The Breakfast Club for an early dinner and then set off for our accommodation. Now, we had planned to share a twin room in a hotel, but we then found that for a tiny bit more outlay we could have a two-bedroom apartment in Clerkenwell instead. So I booked it, and just hoped that it would be a nice as the pictures on the website were, as it seemed a bit too good to be true. But it was better than the pictures. A large living room, two double bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom, all immaculate, all to ourselves. And a Sainsbury’s nearby for milk and other essentials. It was perfect.
We settled into an evening of talking and sock knitting.
You need to know something about my friend. She has an incredibly calming influence on me. She is very mellow, very sorted, and very philosophical. My resting heart rate drops by an extra 10 beats per minute when I sit and crochet with her (thanks FitBit). We are very comfortable in each other’s company and she is like a sister to me. And as we sat up into the small hours, just quietly knitting, chatting and drinking tea, I felt very grateful for her. My small person was at home with the OH, and apparently she had just been to the best birthday party ever, and here I was, just relaxing. I achieved an altered state of consciousness, somewhere between ‘flow‘ and ‘bliss’. And I also achieved ‘smug’, as at 12.20 am I finished my socks.
The next morning, we got up and I was still in this slightly unreal state of mind. The sun was pouring into the flat, and we slowly pottered about making tea, eating Malteasers, and getting ready to head out. We went straight back to Islington, had a pub brunch and knitted at our outside table until the sun moved round and started to become unbearable. We moved a bit further down the lane, and found the Pistachio and Pickle cheese shop with a big awning outside and empty tables underneath it in the shade. Apparently no-one wanted a cheeseboard for breakfast, and the lady in the shop was more than happy for us to set up outside. We drank cool drinks in the sunshine and nibbled olives and cheese all afternoon. We were just across from Loop, and at one point a lady emerged with a bag and we caught each other’s gaze. I waved her over to join us, and she showed us what she had bought. She ordered a glass of wine, got the knitting out, and there we sat enjoying each other’s projects and company. It turned out that she had travelled all the way from Lille for a weekend away, and had come to stock up on yarn before heading back that night. She had green hair with nails that matched, and the most fabulous tattoos. She was brilliant and we could have stayed there all night, except that Loop was due to close within the hour and we needed to have a last look around. I didn’t buy anything, but our new friend stocked up on some bargains she had not spotted first time around. I just petted the skeins.
We went home on the train, and it must have been the sunshine but even on the crowded train everyone was good humoured and joining in with each other’s conversations. We went back to my friend’s husband’s allotment, where we sat in his shed in the evening cool, watching the world go by, listening to the birds and the sound of his whistling kettle as he made us tea. And we sat in his comfy chairs and knitted. Once I got home, OH and small person were in good moods and told me about their weekend. Everyone was contented. There was even a yarn parcel waiting for me when I got back.
One day, all weekends will make me feel like this. But I am so glad that I had this one, perfect weekend. One day I will be able to share these weekends with OH and small. I so hope she will grow up to be a yarnhead…