Gods Own Junkyard: a Walthamstow institution

more neon

 

For the past year or so I’ve been very very lucky to live only a short walk from Gods Own Junkyard  (yes, I’m fighting the urge to put in an apostrophe).  If you don’t know about it, it’s an amazing place filled to the rafters with nothing but neon.  It’s all the work of the Chris Bracey, who has been the go-to person for neon signs for the past few decades, ranging from the stripclub signs of Soho through to just about every neon sign that you’ll see in a film.  His work is just amazing, and you can even see it in Selfridges Oxford Street.

 

GOJY at Selfridges

 

I’ve been meaning to put together this blog post for a long time.   Sadly I’ve been prompted to post it now as Chris Bracey died last weekend.  Of course, I found out on twitter:

 

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I was pleased to hear that his family will be keeping Gods Own Junkyard open and I hope you’re inspired to visit.  I’ve taken so many friends there, and no-one has been disappointed.  You can even stop and have a drink at the cafe while you’re there.  It will definitely brighten up a London winter’s day.

 

gojy

 

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north-east London yarn crawl

A few weeks ago I put together a little yarn crawl for my Walthamstow Knitters group.  Even though London doesn’t have anywhere near as many yarn shops as other major cities like NYC, we do actually have quite a few if you know where to look.  Some of my fellow group members hadn’t been to some of the shops around our fair city, so a yarn crawl was much needed!  For those not familiar with London, well, it’s a pretty big place and very spread out, so travelling all across the city isn’t recommended.  I decided to keep the yarn crawl focused on the general north-east bit.

Here’s a run-down of our day:

We started at London’s newest yarn shop (and our very own local), AbSTraCt.  It’s owned by the very creative Alessandra, and it’s right in the gorgeous Walthamstow village.  It’s the sort of place that you wouldn’t stumble across by accident, but you’d be very pleased if you did.

We somehow picked one of the hottest days of the hottest summer in years, so we started off by enjoying the sunshine with some pastries and a spot of tea.  Lovely way to start a day!

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The shop is brand-spanking new, and Alessandra has put a lot of work in renovating the space, stripping back walls and floorboards, and giving the place a great artistic feel.

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She’s stocking a range of yarns across all price points and fibres (including some travelknitter yarn, of course!  Can’t get more local than that!)

It was tempting to stop there all day, but once we’d made our purchases and scoffed all the tea, it was time to move on.

Next stop: Nest.

This has become one of London’s favourite yarn shops.  Again, it’s not a place that you would just come across in passing, as it’s tucked away in a row of shops in a residential area of Crouch End.  It’s well worth seeking out though.  They have a lovely range of yarns, haberdashery, tea and cake, and their window displays are always beautiful.

We were kindly supplied with a jug of iced water so we could relax while we mused over our purchases.

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I did come away with some lovely new buttons, of which my stash seriously rivals my yarn stash!

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We the jumped on a bus back to Finsbury Park, and after walking a few blocks we were at the Handweavers Gallery.  This is a great place, but slightly off the beaten track (and they really need to put an apostrophe in their name!).  As the name suggests, the focus isn’t on knitting, but they do have a good range of yarns, books, and gadgets for all fibre crafts.  And really, which knitter doesn’t get the urge to expand their repertoire of hobbies?  There is a large range of yarn designed for weaving, and it all looks so amazing:

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There’s plenty of fibre for spinning and felting too…

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A couple of us bought mini niddy-noddies, some of us bought fibre, and I had to stop myself from buying an armload of books!

We then carried on to Stoke Newington, to the lovely Knit With Attitude.  Shamefully, it was the first time I’d been in to the shop since it had moved premises; it’s now in a much bigger shop, co-located with Of Cabbages and Kings.  The arrangement has meant that both venues get a bigger shop, and it means that you can shop for yarn and lovely designer/maker gifts all at once!  They also run some great craft courses, which I’m very keen to sign up to.IMG_4623

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We then jumped on the train for a couple of stations to London Fields.  Our destination:  Fabrications and Broadway Market.  Unfortunately I was completely exhausted and overheating by then, so couldn’t face taking any pictures.  We were all pretty knackered, so had a quick mooch around and got something to eat.  I’d been keen to look for vintage buttons, but I couldn’t quite muster the energy.  One of my fellow yarn crawlers managed to spot a handknitted jumper on the market for the bargainous £5, so that was a great score.

All in all, it was a rather fabulous, yarny, fun, and exhausting day.  Bring on the next one!

If anyone would like a map of the yarn crawl, just let me know.  I’m thinking about putting together little route maps of yarn crawls around various cities, so it would be good to know if this would be something that people would use.

in the village: Walthamstow Summer Garden Party

It’s amazing how many people in London don’t even know that Walthamstow has a village.  Well it does, and it’s lovely!  Cute, quirky, independent shops, an ancient house, and a great sense of community.  I think I’ll save the detail for another post, but this is just to say that on Sunday I’ll be having a little travelknitter yarn stall at the Walthamstow Village Garden Party (well, if I ever get rid of this cough, but that’s another matter).

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Fingers crossed for good weather, and make mine a Pimm’s!

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Being a recent arrival to Walthamstow, I quickly set about getting involved in various things, including kicking off a new knitting group.  We have a group on Ravelry, as well as a group on Meetup, and we have a really good mixture of knitters and crocheters, so there’s no discrimination here!

We meet on the first and third Monday of each month at the recently refurbished The Bell.

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It’s a good local pub, with polished wood floors, rickety second-hand furniture, and comfy couches that are just right for sitting and knitting.  We tend to snaffle the couches by the window, so we get the best light and we can do some knitting promotion with the passers-by.

One of the walls even features William Morris-esque floral wallpaper, in a nod to the William Morris Gallery down the road:

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The food always goes down a treat:

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If you’re local to E17, please do come along and join in.

And just a little snippet of news:  Woolthamstow is about to get even woollier…

exciting!

E17 Pop-up Restaurant

There’s actually a good reason why things have been rather quiet over on this blog: I’ve moved to Walthamstow.  The move was completely unplanned (thanks landlord!) so it’s all been a bit frantic, but I think I’m getting myself settled now.  I’m having a great time getting to know a new part of London, and so far, I really love it here.

The thing that I love most about Walthamstow is the great sense of community.  I’ve jumped in head first, am getting involved in everything I can, and have even set up a knitting group (see here! Come join!). (Oh, and for those of who are not local, yes, it’s the birthplace of 90s band East17. There’s no need to include a link for that, is there?)

One local event that I discovered is the fortnightly E17 Pop-Up Restaurant.  Held every second Monday at the famous Ye Old Rose and Crown, the lovely Will hosts the evening which showcases a different international cuisine each time, and it’s about as authentic as it gets.  I was very excited about the first one that I came across: Burmese.  Can’t say I’ve ever had Burmese food before!

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It was really, really good.  For a bargain price, we got a delicious three course meal, with chickpea fritters to start, a main course of butternut or chicken curry on noodles with all the extras, and a dessert of mango and lime cheesecake or coconut sago pudding.

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Of course my photos don’t do it justice, but I was too eager to eat the food rather than mess around with settings on my camera.

I missed last night’s Korean meal as I’m currently in Cornwall (more about that soon) but I’m looking forward to seeing what’s up next.

Oh, and expect more blog posts from around The ‘Stow.  There’s lots of  great crafty stuff happening.