Every so often I’m asked to review a book or give a shout-out on my blog for various things within the knitting world. It’s a fun part of the knitting world as I travel to shows and meet more people people, dyers, and designers.
Having been a Yarn Guide on the Great London Yarn Crawl in the past, the gals at Yarn in the City recently asked me to review their new book the London Craft Guide. I readily agreed, although privately I wondered what they might say about various shops in London that I’ve known for years. Having had the opportunity to preview a copy of the book though, I was pleasantly surprised by what I read – enough that I found myself wandering over to their stand at Unravel to purchase my own print copy.
The London Craft Guide is divided simply into three main parts: yarn, fabric and haberdashery. Authors Allison and Rachel are very clear right up front that the book is heavily skewed towards knitters and yarn-lovers but acknowledge that most of us who make creatively can often be tempted by other crafts as well. I was glad to see some of my old “professional” rag trade haunts like MacCulloch & Wallis included, as well as the sheer quantity of shops in London in general. There’s a lot of interesting places that I now want to visit!
This is another point that is good to make: the enthusiasm for London and the craft scene really shows. Neither Allison nor Rachel are originally from London so are able to write the profiles of each shop with the fresh eyes of a visitor’s perspective. This is the information they would have liked to have had upon landing in London and it’s nice to see that they’ve not become jaded locals just yet. As Londoners it’s very easy for us to stay within our comfort zones – even when we know the whole city is there for us to explore, we don’t. I freely admit to having my favourite shops that I tend to frequent! I feel compelled to visit some new places, which is a pleasant surprise. If you’re a Londoner it’ll give you the same nudge.
The book also includes suggestions for crafty places to visit on day trips out of the city including Bath, Brighton, Cambridge, Faversham and Oxford. If I ever needed more of an excuse to be tempted out of my comfort zone, this is it!
Finally, for the inevitable creative urge that strikes any of us when visiting a yarn (or fabric, etc) shop there are patterns for nine different projects including six knitting, two sewing and one crochet. This is definitely a bonus. The projects have been thoughtfully selected and are focused on one-to-two skein projects that cater to a range of abilities. The projects are perfect for souvenir yarn purchases and casting on right away. Oh those enablers! A Because Sock Yarn set would make a great handbag project whilst visiting all those treasure troves, and my new-found interest in socks is definitely piqued by the La Ville de l’Amour socks. Have a look at all the other designs here.
Would you like a chance to win a digital copy of the London Craft Guide? Leave a comment below before Thursday, March 3rd and I’ll randomly draw a winner on Friday the 4th of March. Good luck!