Swatch: Liberty of London

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Originally built in 1885 and opening to Regent Street, the store front was redeveloped using retired British naval ship timbers in the 1920s.

I have long drooled over the Liberty of London fabrics and clothing. It is harder to find the fabrics in the USA. J Crew carries some of the clothing. I have been to the fabric corner of Harrods numerous times to stroke and oogle the Liberty fabrics, the whole time not realizing that they have an entire department store near Oxford Circus!

I had just started the #5 Jane Austen walking tour (more on this in future blog), when I looked down Argyll Street and spied Liberty stores at the end of the street. I had to detour.

Starting with the stunning florist at the entrance, the entire place is a palace of beauty. My heart beat faster as I tried to take it all in. I quickly recalculated the day I planned. I was not going to rush through this store. I wanted to soak in every display, every lovely English item.

Liberty does not just carry their own brand. You can find Stella McCartney baby outfits in the children’s section and designer clothes throughout. I started in the stationary shop and looking at bags and scarves. Some of the prices were quite reasonable and some made me hyperventilate. I bought some notecards and decided I may as well sign up for the loyalty points program because I was headed to the third level where the fabric and yarn is displayed.

I thought I might be going to a yarn shop in Islington at the end of the day, so luckily I had tucked in a couple of patterns that I plan to knit for my expected grandson. I shed all my bags and jackets and prepared for a good long browse.

Trudy asked if I needed assistance. We had a wonderful time trying to sort it all out with different weights and US and UK measurements. She is a very experienced knitter and we shared back and forth. The wifi in the store is excellent so I was able to show her Little Cotton Rabbits (I could hardly believe she had not seen this UK treasure!). She showed me her knitting project. In the end I spent more than I expected and I could not be more pleased.

I looked through many more departments and I stopped in the cafe for tea and an English cheese tray. The lovely customer service department refunded my VAT. Yet, the highlight for me was shopping with the assistance of Trudy Healy-Potter. She is a textile designer and offers classes at Liberty.

She showed me how she spliced three patterns from the Rowan loves… pattern book to create the colorful sweater she has almost finished. Not only am I excited about the projects I will be knitting this summer in anticipation of Grandson #1, I am reenergized about the craft overall. Liberty is so clever to have Trudy on their team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hip and Chic Knitter Goes to Vogue Knitting Live in NYC

Times Square New York City
Times Square New York City

Vogue Knitting Live (VKL)  is a showcase of all things knitting–without the sheep. It is full of opportunities to learn and be inspired from the “yarn tasting” area to two ballrooms full of shopping temptation. I am in New York City to visit a friend and to check out Vogue Knitting Live NYC. Last year I went to VKL in Seattle. I took a class and checked out the marketplace on a Friday when I was in Seattle. My Icelandic knitting class was terrific; however, this time I did not see a compelling class, so I focused on the marketplace.

Converse makes knit sneakers! Inspiration is everywhere including other knitters' feet.
Converse makes knit sneakers! Inspiration is everywhere including other knitters’ feet.

I am not sure if it is the Saturday crowd or New York City but the energy level was way higher than Seattle! It was like a sale in the basement of Barneys. People were having fun shopping, trying on garments, watching fashion shows. Plus everywhere you go in the 3 floors of the Marriott Marquis Hotel there are women knitting and talking to each other.

Knitter tries on Heidi & Lana's sample shawl with cool buckle. Available in kit.
Knitter tries on Heidi & Lana’s sample shawl with cool buckle. Available in kit.

I promised myself that I was not going to buy yarn because I have a healthy stash at home and enough unfinished projects already. Besides there were plenty of other things to purchase like a t-shirt that says “Knitting is sexy” and patterns. Shout out to the Stella Lighting folks who are going to keep me from ruining my eyesight while stitching. My favorite logo was the Dancing Sheep. My favorite both decoration was Heidi & Lana.

Socks featured at Rowan fashion show.
Not many fashion shows feature socks! Rowan knits.
The scarf is made in Knit Collage’s Gypsy Garden, Mermaid Cafe. “In Gypsy Garden, wool, mohair and sparkling polyester fibers called Angelina are handspun together with tiny flower trims, sequins and bits of lace & ribbons.”
The scarf is made in Knit Collage’s Gypsy Garden, Mermaid Cafe. “In Gypsy Garden, wool, mohair and sparkling polyester fibers called Angelina are handspun together with tiny flower trims, sequins and bits of lace & ribbons.”

Saturday offers fashion shows and I took in several. The DMC and Rowan shows were interesting and each had one or two garments that I was interested in creating. The crowds grew as the day advanced. At 2:15 the Stephen & Steven Spectacular! hit the stage. It was the funk version of fashion show with dancers and models dressed and draped in color and texture. Steven Be has groupies and they were there in force and some of them even went on stage to join the fun. It was like watching a George Clinton concert.

Rowan Knits featured a variety of patterns including including garments using Istek Lopi.
Rowan Knits featured a variety of patterns including including garments using Istek Lopi.
Stephen & Steven Spectacular!
Uptown funk at Vogue Knitting Live!

I got so caught up in the excitement that I bought a skein of yarn at Steven’s booth along with Stephen West and Steven Be’s Mixed Tape pattern book.

You can catch the last day of Vogue Knitting Live in New York City Sunday January 18 from 10 – 4. Marketplace entrance fee is $20. Do not miss it If you like to knit!

Here are some of my favorite products…

The "ewe clip" holds one or more needles and keeps your work from sliding off. www.purlyewe.com
The “ewe clip” holds one or more needles and keeps your work from sliding off. http://www.purlyewe.com
This plastic ball protects your yarn on the go, or in my case from Lulu's sharp teeth.
This plastic ball protects your yarn on the go, or in my case from Lulu’s sharp teeth. theyarnit.com