On a wet, wind-whipped and rather weary day, there’s really nothing else to do but cosy up in your chunky knits and get stuck into making a new batch of woolly, winter warmers.
So, on a particularly rain-soaked Saturday, I found myself in every knitter’s dream dreary day place to be: the grand opening of the Artesano Academy.
As the rain pitter-pattered outside, a cluster of knitters stayed snug in the Artesano warehouse where spools of yarn and knitting knick-knacks cocooned a cluster of buyers, browsers and babblers.
With the sheer selection of yarn on offer, it was truly like a sweetie shop for knitters. Twisted spools of alpaca sat snug among mountains of fine merino and soft-hued heather wool from the plains of Peru, all piled prettily against a collection of beautiful ready-to-wear knits.
But the real reason everyone was here, swapping knitting tips and stories over coffee and cake, was to celebrate the launch of the Artesano academy, debuting a varied selection of knitting and crocheting lessons. “Knitting is so popular,” says co-owner, Jenny. “People want to learn but they need people to teach them,” she explains.
From learning to make Norwegian Selbu mittens to mastering professional finishing techniques and getting to grips with Fair Isle knitting, you’re really spoilt for choice with the classes on offer.
And it seems the teachers love it almost as much as the students, with knit designer and teacher, Heather Haynes, travelling over six hours to be part of the growing hubbub. “I’ll go all over if people want me to teach. I just love it,” she beams.
Heather’s student, June Bell is just as excitable about passing on the knitting knowledge. “It’s pushed me beyond my expectations,” June says of her lessons with Heather. “I gave up on a cardigan over 40 years ago, all because I came across something difficult. Heather encouraged me to finish it and now? I’ve got a lovely cardigan that I can wear.”
Both June and Heather are passionate about the little lift lessons can give. “Classes give people the confidence to do things they didn’t think they could manage,” says June.
Most knitters probably have a few of those ‘things’ on the can't or won't list, but the tutors here are sure to have you crossing them off before too long. “I’ll have you making that blanket before you know it!” one excitable tutor promises a knitter as she signs up to a class. I think she's probably, definitely, right.
Find Artesano classes here: