I think I’ve finally recovered from all the excitement of Yarndale. It was a fantastic experience, a bit of a learning curve and a long way from home.
As I am deemed too risky to insure (it’s a long story…yes, I have all my points, and no, I haven’t been involved in a collision for 25 years) my good friend and photographer Boo was assigned the task of driving us there and back fueled by a stream of cheesy biscuits, peanuts and wine gums.
Five hours, and a white knuckle ride later, we arrived. A combination of car sickness, too many wine gums and the site of a huge empty animal pen made me slightly nauseous, but we eventually displayed our lovely yarns and knitting and crochet kits and snatched a few moments to enjoy the environment. I don’t get out much. As the owner of an online business I spend too many hours sitting in front of the laptop staring at a screen.
I often feel like I am peeking through the nets at a window, curtain twitching and watching a party that I can’t go to. Brief conversations via social media; tweets, DM’s, ‘likes’ and shares are as personal as it gets for me most days. I might be linked in, but mostly I’m out of the loop, so Yarndale was the perfect opportunity to get connected – with no wifi connection on site.
We met so many really lovely people over the weekend and it was interesting to see what people were drawn to, and why. One of our most popular products at Yarndale was the Loopy hat. This particular design seemed to trigger vivid memories for many people; “oh my goodness – I had a hat just like that in the 1960’s” or “My mum knitted me one of those!” One lady looked as if she’d been struck by an electric flashback and was witnessing her whole childhood again as she stared into the soft pile of the pink loopy hat. Fashion is a compelling signifier. A single item has the power to ignite laughter or shared memories; and prompt a conversation between total strangers.
Fashion offers a facinating vantage point from which to view the world. It provides a telescope for looking forwards and back, and the vistas are both strange and familiar.
Fashion never really goes full circle, it cycles in spirals and loops. It revisits itself and is predictable by nature. It’s playful, mischievous and self mocking. It dresses up as a parody of itself and it points its finger and laughs at our past and future self.
We had a fabulous weekend at Yarndale, and sold out of this particular pattern so I’m currently on the lookout for ‘loopy hat ladies’. You can download the pattern here for this hat or if you simply want to try knitting this stitch, look out for a simple pattern we’ll be including in the next issue of The Mercerie Post.
How to Knit Loop Stitch.
The loop pile texture is achieved by working a loop stitch on every other stitch on one row, followed by a complete row of knit stitches. The loop stitch takes a little practice – but it looks so gorgeous we think it’s worth it!
Step 1 Insert the point of the right hand needle into the stitch on the left hand needle (as if to knit). Wind the wool over the right hand needle and the first finger of your left hand 3 times – take the wool over, round and under (you will keep your finger in these loops until they are all knitted together as one) Step 2 Then put the wool around the right hand needle as if to knit and draw all 4 loops through the stitch on the left needle, this will make 4 loops on the right hand needle. (here comes the tricky bit!) Remove the left hand needle and insert it into the 4 loops, with the needles in the knit position. Step 3 Gradually easing your left finger out of the loops knit all 4 loops together. Give the yarn a slight tug to tighten the stitch and give the loops a little tug to neaten. It will seem very fiddly at first – but keep going – it’s worth the effort!