Sunday, November 26, 2006

Daytime City Knitty: Cameo Cinema Bar

It was quite a bright and mild day for those who ventured out to the Cameo Cinema at Tollcross to knit and relax in the atmostphere of one of Edinburgh's oldest and most stylish cinemas. Recently saved from plans of being turned into a huge pub with a token small screen at the back, the family run Cameo is throwing itself into community projects and local interests. Keep an eye open for plans of a special knitting screening with the lights up at some point in the future! To the credit of the barstaff, they agreed to turn the lights up in the bar so we could see our work better.

Strangely enough, there seemed to be a predominance of dark coloured knitting projects. (Maybe the winter darkness is slowly having an effect on our colour schemes.) There was a cable scarf with lana grossa yarn in black with grey flecks and a dark shawl loosely knit using black Firefly yarn with sections variegated from blue to lilac through to pink. There were some splashes of colour to be found in the green cable knit vest and the mostly neglected due to work committments garter stitch squares baby blanket. One spouse was modelling a completed red and black stripey jumper while their other half knitted a pair of intricate patterned mittens in the black and grey he'd suggested for her. We also managed to cover the conversation topics of education systems in the UK, the USA, Australia and Germany, New Yorks' infamous Guilliani, health systems, welfare systems, the trouble in Northern Ireland, UK political devolution and learning grammar at school. Quite impressive for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

In the meanwhile, voting for the new Wednesday night meeting venue continues...


Thursday, November 23, 2006

City Knitty @ Double Dutch

It was a City Knitty of two halves this week as due to planning permissions (or rather lack of them) Double Dutch closes at 8pm. This didn't dampen the spirits of the die-hard knitters who had an enjoyable half an hour before relocating to Chai. Double Dutch is a very nice venue with a relaxing atmosphere, bright lighting, a wide array of drinks and freshly prepared food. The staff were very friendly and welcoming, showing a great willingness to accommodate us. It is a real pity that local planning regulations mean that this venue is effectively closed to the evening knitters, however, this would make a super venue for a daytime/weekend knitting session.

The second half of the evening was held a short distance away at Chai where the knitters settled down to knitting and socializing around steaming pots of exotic teas. It is also worth noting that this is the first time the blog has been written during a city knitty event itself courtesy of the venue's wifi.

There were several new knitters this week including a first time learner mastering cast on and knit stitch and the others worked on a little bunny from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and a snuggly cream cable knit scarf with little big yarn. We also welcomed back an old regular whose wrists had finally healed enough to allow to knit a mustard cardigan in a wool/acrylic mix intended to deter the attentions of persistent moths who know a good yarn when they eat it. Other recently taught knitters were making good progress with first project scarves, a dark green garter stitch scarf and a chunky cream and blue garter stitch. Some more experimentation was going on in the realm of crochet with single, double, and half triple stitches and tunisian crochet.

Some familiar pieces were scattered around. The cute black cable dog jumper was back (underside this time) and more little garter stitch squares for a baby blanket off-white coloured). There was the light blue child's poncho with pastel coloured bobbles and warm cosy socks from a gently graduating orange-green-red yarn. There were plenty of new projects to admire too: a moss stitch scarf with a diamond pattern in a bright blue soft merino, a warm looking icelandic sweater from Elizabeth Zimmermann's 'The Opinionated Knitter', a white moss stitch baby hat with a light green roll brim from 'Debbie Bliss Baby Knits' and a lace scarf to be made from the little arrow head or the lace in cable stitch patterns.

This was the last of the new venues and now we shall discuss and vote on our favourite. Next Wednesday we will have a last meeting at the City Cafe and discuss the results of our poll...

Clare & Jan

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

City Knitty @ Favorit

The miserable wet and cold weather was no deterrent to the steady stream of knitters who came in to share knitting and hot chocolate. We tucked ourselves away by the bar at the tables by the window with gentle red neon light cast over our knitting. The music wasn't too obtrusive, the overhead lights were good for knitting but the neon light did make distinguishing colours and fine work a bit difficult. It was a fun and lively place to knit though!

There was a good deal of interesting knitting to be found under the neon light. There was a fun knitted handbag using three yarns held together - two chunky yarns and a fuzzy black novelty yarn, a Jaeger baby bootees pattern being customised for premature babies' tiny feet, a pair of rainbow Knucks with a mitten part being incorporated into the original pattern and adorable cable knitted vests for friends' recent and imminent arrivals in a green and a beige 4ply cotton yarn. A simple knitted beanie hat showed off the subtle variations in the brown yarn dyed locally by The Yarn Yard and, indeed, the Yarn Yard artisan herself was present learning to knit toe-up socks using her own sock yarn in electra and purple!

There were plenty of other new patterns and techniques being learned. A new knitter was getting comfortable with garter stitch and the exasperated comments of two knitters trying to teach themselves a tubular cast on struck a chord with many a fellow knitter. A 1x1 rib scarf was being knit with stripes designed using the online random stripe generator ( ) and a finished moebius loop scarf was much admired for its aesthetic as well as its geeky appeal. A knitted brown bookmark with a celtic plait stitch pattern inspired another knitter to start a rose dk merino scarf with a diamond brocade stitch pattern. Both stitch patterns came from the 'Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet' (Harmony Guides) and there were plenty more attractive stitch patterns to be found in there.

Next week, we will be meeting at Double Dutch, the cafe on Marshall Street.

Keep warm, dry and knitting!


Monday, November 13, 2006

City Knitty @ Standing Order

The tour continues with another sizable meeting at Standing Order. on George Street. The pub is an old bank building converted into a Wetherspoons pub creating a venue with lots of open space and some cosier rooms as well. Our group settled in one of the family area rooms away from the noise and bustle but near a large, impressive vault door. Early arrivals settled into some of the good value meal deals and the rest enjoyed their selection of drinks. There was good bright lighting and plenty of air and atmostphere without too much noise. Another good contender!

Work in progress that was brought to the light this time included: warm red mittens with a green lining, a quill lace pattern scarf made of a 3 ply alpaca yarn, a pair of Knucks fingerless gloves ( ) in a black sparkly yarn, fair isle socks in cool fuschia and grey colouring, and a diagonal garter stitch scarf in a Twilley's Freedom Spirit yarn in a heather and rainbow colourway. There was also a knitter making her first tentative stitches of crochet and some fun fuzzy bags waiting to be sewn up and used.

Eye candy was provided by the book 'Knitted Flowers' brough to us by Nicky Epstein the lady repsonsible for other favourites 'Knitting on the Edge' and 'Knitting over the Edge'. Sweet, cute and fun!

Ongoing projects from last time were a patchwork garter stitch blanket, a dog jacket with seed stitch and cable design, a creamy blue chunky scarf, and the Lady of Sharon cross stitch which is taking priority in a bid for completion by the new year.

Our next meeting will take place at the cafe Favorit on Teviot Place.

Come along and see what you think!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

City Knitty @ Chai Teahouse

This was definitely a good start to the City Knitty tour of Edinburgh venues! Twelve knitters made themselves at home on sofas, stools and chairs around dark wooden tables with steaming pots of tea keeping warm on twinkling tea lights. It was a pretty nice evening. There was plenty of light for knitting, crochet and cross-stitch and plenty of conversation flowing around and across the table - something which can be quite an effort when the City Cafe is in full swing. All in all, a promising contender!

Full advantage was taken of the ample overhead lighting as we got stuck into our latest projects. One lucky Jack Russell Terrier was going to be the recipient of a dog sweater knit in seed stitch with a stylish cable running down the back. Simple but colourful garter stitch squares were being produced for a Debbie Bliss patchwork baby blanket. The glamorous Lady of Sharon cross-stitch piece returned to be better appreciated and worked in better light this time, and there were some warm thick mittens with cables knit with wool fresh off the sheep and spun with the lanolin still in the fibre. More cables were taking shape on the sofa as some experimentation for cable swatch bookmarks was underway. More gloves appeared but knitted fingers were also shunned in favour of a cool fingerless glove pattern from in lana grossa Cool 2000 yarn in a pinky-orangey- purple colourway.

Cold feet were not to be neglected either with a pair of creamy, knee high medieval hose following an old traditional pattern, and a simple sock pattern in a cosy burnished orange, red and dark green yarn by Meilenweit. The practical knitting continued in a range of exciting scarf patterns. The colourful chevron scarf returned to be knit from either end and then joined in the middle (for nice shapely chevrons at both ends) and a lovely feather and fern lace pattern in fuschia using Rowan Kidsilk Haze caught a fair few eyes as well. The final scarf was the first ever project for a knitter who just learned that night and was soon well on her way to producing a chunky cream and blue wool garter stitch scarf. Congratulations! Finally, sweet pom-poms made of a light blue, pink and yellow yarn were being created for a young child's poncho. Definitely the thing for these brisk wintery days coming upon us.

There was also a link recommendation:
An online index for yarns detailing fibre, gauge and so on. An invaluable tool for yarn substitutions and finding out about discontinued yarns.

Our next meeting will be at the pub Standing Order on George Street over in New Town.

Do come join us!