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Introducing our new Guest Blogger – Eleanor Burke from Knit Nottingham

Eleanor Burke and Knitted Beard

A warm welcome to our new Guest Blogger, Eleanor is from Knit Nottingham and is passionate about all things crafty and textiles, more specifically… knitting!

Who are you?
Hi, I’m Eleanor Burke owner and manager at Knit Nottingham. We’re the newest yarn shop in Nottingham and indeed the only independent yarn shop in the centre of town. You’ll find us on Mansfield Road and you’ll find me mainly knitting, crocheting and spinning in or (if it’s sunny) just outside the window.

What brought you to Nottingham?
I’ve lived here most of my life but was born in Yorkshire and I think that shines through.

What keeps you in Nottingham?
I studied here (law…the less said about that…) and there just didn’t seem to be any reason to leave. I love Nottingham through and through and I’m constantly excited by everything that goes on here particularly our craft scene.

What makes you different to other creative people in Nottingham?
I like to think I’m down to earth about it. What I make isn’t going to change the world, it’s just good, honest, hopefully beautiful and most importantly useful stuff. I’m interested in the history, social and otherwise, of the crafts I do and I think that influences what I make. I never really jumped on the cutesy knitting bandwagon – you’ll more likely see me knitting a gansey than a cupcake… I try to really understand what I’m doing, researching and gathering knowledge rather than just hoping for the best. Knit Nottingham is different because we specialise in knitting knowledge rather than fancy yarns – we believe it’s better to make an item interesting because of what you’ve done with it rather than what the yarn company has added to the fibre.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
We want a much bigger shop! I want the shop to be organised and tidy. And I want the shop to carry the widest range of yarn that anybody’s seen this side of the Atlantic!

What do you wish you had more time for?
My own knitting! I’ve knitted around 50 commission items in the seven months we’ve been open, and four for myself. True story.

What keeps you awake at night?
Not much. Designs sometimes, particularly interesting ways of playing with stripes. Other times it’ll be ravelry.com the crafter’s biggest time suck. Maybe money. Good books. I’m not too much of a worrier.

What do you think is Nottingham’s best kept secret?
It’s not much of a secret but The Dragon pub is the best place to be. A great smoking area and interesting people. What more could you ask for?! Also, it’s the only pub in Nottingham where I’ve ever seen another knitter knitting (and a crocheter crocheting) that I didn’t know.

What would you like to see more of in Nottingham?
Obviously I’d like to see more knitters. Edinburgh has an amazing knitting scene, I can think of three or four young designers based in Edinburgh (Ysolda and Kate I’m looking at you) and it’s known to be a real creative hub. I’d also like to see more confidence in Nottingham’s crafters! Too many people are playing it safe, knitting and crocheting are matters of simple maths – so simple even I can do it – and I guess it’s part of our mission statement to get crafters really thinking about what they’re doing and creating something they’ll love all the more because of that.

What Big thing are you currently working on?
My newest design is a Summer top in our Bamboo/Cotton blend yarn. It’s going to be gorgeous when I can get some measurements for ‘normal’ shaped bodies. I’ve had a thought that maybe rather than writing a pattern I’ll write about how to measure and work out the same thing for yourself but it was turning into a novel and what if somebody wants to knit one for a friend in secret? So I’m resigning myself to looking for measurements for standard people but it’s taking a while… How do you define standard?

You can see more about Knit Nottingham at
www.knitnottingham.co.uk

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