genevieve – print and pattern

print and pattern


pickles wedding shrug

wedding shrug - genevieve blog

morning of the wedding

I mentioned before about a top secret project I was planning. Well, here it is: a hand-knitted shrug for my wedding day!

I didn’t have many shots of the shrug itself from the day, so I was forced to put on my wedding dress again to take these… what a hardship!

pickles wedding shrug - genevieve blog

pickles wedding shrug - genevieve blog

back of wedding shrug - genevieve blog

And all the credit goes to my talented friend and knitting buddy, Ali, who made it for me, after I spotted the Pickles pattern on Ravelry.

I spent a few weeks agonising over which yarn to go for. It was tough to find a shade of white/cream/in-between that exactly matched the ivory dress but I was determined to find one.

wedding yarn - genevieve blog

decisions, decisions

I love the way things work out sometimes, because I found the most wedding-appropriate luxurious silk and merino yarn in my local knitting shop Knit With Attitude, which just happened to be a darn good colour match.

wedding yarn - genevieve blog

scrumptious dk/worsted - genevieve blog

scrumptious dk/worsted - genevieve blog

wedding yarn - genevieve blog

I was thrilled with how it came out. Having had most of the outfit planned for a while, I only saw and tried on the shrug for the first time a couple of days before the wedding, and it was wonderful to feel the super soft yarn in classy moss stitch and see it fit perfectly. It was like the icing on the, er, wedding cake. The moss stitch draped beautifully and was a great contrast to the satin on the upper half of my dress.

On the day itself, I put it on in the evening when it got a little chilly and it totally did the trick. It felt pretty special to wear such a beautiful hand-knitted item.

wedding shrug - genevieve blog

Ali has come up with the genius idea of dyeing it a different colour to give it a new lease of life. I’m still in the afterglow of the wedding and feel a bit protective of it right now, but it’s a great idea and one I may well try…. I’ll keep you posted.

wedding shrug - genevieve blog

ooo pretty shoes

I asked Ali if she’d like to write a mini-guest post on making it, and she wrote the following which was just lovely for me to read 🙂

Jen and I bonded long ago over a love of knitting, and soon learned we shared more than that in common. We would put the world to rights after work over a hot drink and a little knitting session, and did some great projects together. 

I couldn’t have been happier to watch Jen prepare for her marriage, and although I couldn’t be there in person to celebrate, it was only fitting to be there in spirit with this project.  

I tend to be a bit of a maverick knitter, using patterns as a guide (and occasionally messing up along the way!) but I wanted this to be perfect for the big day. After talking through the fit she was after and knitting up some swatches to get the tension and needle size right, I followed each stitch to the letter and was pleased with the result. Having a five month old at the time meant it took a little longer than expected, and the shrug came all the way across the Atlantic with me (knitting in the Florida sun was bliss!) but arrived in the UK just in time. 

Knitting has always been something special to me and to make this for Jen felt like the perfect way to share in her happiness. The years ahead of us will hold a lot of changes but I know we’ll always be able to sit down with a cuppa and our knitting, and pick up right where we left off.

(NB. Top and penultimate pics by Camera Hannah)


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so long, stokey part II: knitting nirvana

mirasol yarn - genevieve blog

One of the most exciting new places to open up in Stokey over the last few years is Knit With Attitude, run by the lovely Maya. In its first incarnation, it was a tiny shop tucked away on Northwold Road, drawing me in with its delectable all-natural yarns. I didn’t knit when it opened. I must have lasted about two weeks before I caved and announced my decision to Learn Properly. I spent most of the next few weeks poring over online video-tutorials*, lurching wildly between tears of frustration and extreme satisfaction.

It remains my all-time favourite yarn shop. Some yarn shops I walk in and – nothing – no inspiration. And some, within seconds I’m planning the next hundred projects (and struggling to stick to my ‘no buying yarn more than one project in advance’ rule designed to help with stash control). And Knit With Attitude is the resolutely the latter.

knit with attitude - genevieve blog

yarns at knit with attitude - genevieve blog

knit with attitude shop - genevieve blog

I simultaneously blame and thank it for my yarn snobbery (no acrylic thanks very much) and steadfast loyalty to Japanese Clover ‘Takumi’ bamboo needles. And the start of a major new hobby which is showing no signs of going anywhere fast.

Happily, the shop has moved to larger premises on the High Street, and has a knitting group every second Thursday of the month, the key elements of which are chat, nibbles, wine and your work-in-progress. So what better way to say farewell and toast my time in this corner of the city than with a glass of red, DPNs in hand.

knitting group - genevieve blog

knitting and wine - genevieve blog

For fun, and because I do love a list, here are my top three yarns from Knit With Attitude (all of which you can buy online):

  1. Eco-Alpaca by Viking of Norway

Eco-Alpaca by Viking of Norway - genevieve blog

This was the yarn that got me when the shop first opened. I never realised yarn could be that soft, and instantly saw countless projects in its subdued but classy hues of cream, dark grey and brown. Hampered as I was by my total lack of skillz, I made a moss-stitch scarf but eventually progressed on to a stripy tea cosy. I’m pleased to see the shop is stocking more colours now but the original muted tones remain my faves.

Eco-Alpaka yarn - genevieve blog

moss stitch scarf - genevieve blog

black and white tea cosy - genevieve blog

  1. Blue Faced Leicester Dazzle DK by The Natural Dye Studio

dazzle dk - genevieve blog

This yarn is all about the colours for me. It’s pure wool, so not as soft as others, but I do love a comfortingly straightforward wool yarn for some projects. I found that I couldn’t live without spice, sugar and sunflower in my life, so I promptly bought them all. I’m yet to make the stripy pink/orange ‘sugar and spice’ hottie cover which is their ultimate destiny.

sugar and spice yarn - genevieve blog

hot water bottle cover - genevieve blog

  1.  Mirasol by Du Store Alpakka

mirasol yarn - genevieve blog

Aha, now this yarn has bitter-sweet memories for me, but it’s not the yarn’s fault. This is the perfect match between stroke-worthy alpaca and bang-on colours. I’ve spent a long time dreaming up gorgeous combos. I still have the grey and pink logged for future reference. It had the misfortune to be used for my first project knitting in the round with DPNs (cue tears, needles sticking out everywhere and several hundred froggings). That project was my first and only grudge-knit (it will get finished, or else I will die trying) but all credit to the yarn.

slouchy beanie hat - genevieve blog

A special mention must go to Scrumptious DK/Worsted by Fyberspates, a luxurious mix of merino and silk, which has been set aside for a top secret project which will be revealed in due course.

scrumptious dk/worsted - genevieve blog

scrumptious dk/worsted - genevieve blog

So farewell Stokey and Knit With Attitude, but I’ll certainly be back.

* As recommended by Maya, is all you need, should you be in the market for free video tutorials. Their videos are brilliant and very clear, and the voice-over isn’t annoying (not a given).


so long, stokey: part I


Yes, indeed. The reason for the blog silence these past few weeks is because I’ve moved house. I have finally poked my head above the piles of cardboard boxes and mountains of admin, to blog some pics of the place I’ve called my haven for the last (nearly) 7 years – Stoke Newington or Stokey if you’re, y’know, in the cool gang.

When I arrived in London, overwhelmed by the swarms of commuters and petrified of the certain peril of the big city, Stokey was my sanctuary. I ended up there as my sister told me “it’s for people who hate London”. Getting off the 73 on Church Street for the first time, I knew within about 30 seconds it was the place for me.

stoke newington reservoir - genevieve blog

stoke newington reservoir

autumn in abney park cemetery - genevieve blog

abney park cemetery in autumn

stoke newington high street - genevieve blog

snowy stokey - genevieve blog

abney park cemetery in winter

springfield park - genevieve blog

springfield park – clissold’s prettier, quieter and better-kept cousin

Stokey has got a lot busier than when I first moved there. It’s become slightly less villagey, slightly more clubby (I call it the Dalston creep – possibly a good thing, the jury’s out. Either way, it should definitely be a new dance move). Gone are any residues of non-gentrified shops along Church Street (RIP Haringey Electrics – what they didn’t know about Hoover bags wasn’t worth knowing) and increasingly the same is the case on the high street. But we still love it.

It was because of its stratospheric rise to house price silliness that we have sadly had to leave the area. Having sworn never to live in another area of London, melodramatically, we thought we’d never love again. But we have, and this time it’s Forest Gate, where we’ve bought our first place.

Ever since I knew I was moving, the nostalgia kicked in and I felt the need to document some classic shop fronts.

eagles cabs - genevieve blog

stoke newington green - genevieve blog

laundrette - genevieve blog

video xchange - genevieve blog

itto restaurant - genevieve blog

kac hardware shop - genevieve blog

And here are my highly subjective top 10 Stokey establishments, in no particular order:

  1. Jan’s Bar: on Northwold Road off the main drag, Belgian ales with unusual glasses, and infamous lock-ins. Stokey’s greatest hidden gem
  2. Knit With Attitude: the best knitting shop in London. Fact.
  3. Yum Yum: quality cocktails (go at happy hour)
  4. Borough Wines: bring your bottle back for a refill for a fiver, best sherry selection in Stokey
  5. Hub: where nearly all my accessories and shoes are from. Expensive but well-edited selection of scarves, shoes, clothes and jewellery
  6. Thai Café: low-key Thai restaurant for cosy, cheap dinners
  7. Stoke Newington Green: there’s so many good things about this greengrocers, it’s hard to know where to start – great quality, cheap, they’ve got everything, takes cards…
  8. Rio Cinema: bloody brilliant indie cinema with proper snacks
  9. Beaucatcher: get a great haircut and catch up on Church Street gossip at the same time
  10. Stokey Fish Bar (top of the high street): chip cob, please, and a pickled egg to go


stokey sunrise - genevieve blog

my first stokey sunrise, september 2006


baby blanket

I’ve wanted to knit this Pickles ‘Born Under A Star’ pattern ever since I bought Purls of Wisdom by Jenny Lord a couple of years ago and the arrival of my niece recently was the perfect opportunity. I was really chuffed with how it turned out and it’s the perfect size for a new born baby. Despite looking tricky, it’s easy once you get the hang of the stitch pattern but slow going due to the endless purl-threes (probably quicker if you don’t knit tightly like me) and it needs heavy blocking (soaking and stretching into shape) to bring out the pretty star pattern.

Purls of Wisdom is a book of genius. It is honestly the only book I’ve ever found where I’ve wanted to knit every pattern in it. It nails that chic modern look that seems so elusive sometimes in the world of knitting. Along with the opening of the brilliant Knit With Attitude shop near me (very sadly just closed), it ushered in the start of a surprising new obsession which has not showed signs of going anywhere fast.

You can check out more details on this pattern on my Ravelry page here.