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Wednesday, 18 December 2013


It hardly seems possible that I'm writing about our Christmas lunch, as I can so clearly remember going to Maze last year with a heavily pregnant Katarina and new team members Maja and Yumiko. Of course 2013 has seen some changes to the team, as our beloved Yumiko went home to Japan and we have gained a new model in baby Johan as well as a brand new intern, Tanya. I guess it's a sign of getting old when the years race by so quickly, or maybe it's just that my year at MillaMia has been so packed full I haven't had time to notice the months speeding by!

We have decided that our annual Christmas lunch should be held at a different restaurant each year, and why not? With the entirety of London's many restaurants and eateries at our fingertips, we think that sampling a good variety is definitely the best way to go. This year we lunched at The Admiral Codrington in Chelsea, or the 'Ad Cod' as I'm told it is affectionately called. Though tucked away down a side road, the pub has an excellent reputation for great food, has recently been refurbished to sit happily in it's suave Chelsea setting and is renowned for it's gourmet burgers.

Tanya and Helena pre-lunch and Katarina and Helena modelling their MillaMia knitwear - a Vanessa Cardigan and a Monica Jacket

We all enjoyed delicious lunches including onglet, triple cooked chips, rare-breed beef burger in a cream bun and pork belly with the most delectable looking crackling! Of course, great food is important at any Christmas lunch, but spending time with colleagues who are genuinely good friends and exchanging presents also make these times extra special.

I had knitted up some Christmas gifts for the girls - the 'Take Heart' hat by Fiona Alice from the latest Pom Pom Quarterly magazine. Knitted in BC Garn Semilla Grosso and topped with an exquisitely soft alpaca pompom from Toft Alpaca (all purchased at Loop), these hats are right on the 'bobble hat' trend but with the added luxury of a 'fur' bobble rather than a woolly one. Each hat took 2 balls of the aran weight yarn, and were incredibly quick to knit up, making them a very reasonably priced gift. The girls all looked so warm and cosseted in their hats that I HAD to knit up one for myself over the weekend! You might just have time to speed knit one of these gorgeous hats for yourself or a loved one too.

Katarina and Helena gifted us all some pampering treats - Korres shower gel and Ren body cream - so nice to receive early Christmas presents! It was lovely too, to meet Tanya, the new MillaMia intern - a knitwear designer, hand knitter and newbie to Ravelry - I think we'll all have plenty in common to chat about in 2014!

 Maja, Tanya and I on our way home with serously full bellies!
(posted by Max)

Friday, 13 December 2013

POM POM MAGAZINE Christmas Party

Laura 'Purl Princess' Parkinson and Meghan Fernades
At the very same time that Max and her Knitting Group were enjoying their Christmas Swap Party, my husband Andy and I were making our way to Spitalfields for the first ever Pom Pom Quarterly Magazine Christmas Party. We were thrilled to have been invited along, and as Andy works in the City, literally just over the other side of Spitalfields Market, we managed to drop in for an hour or so after work.

My lasting impression from this lovely event is that Meghan and Lydia had excelled themselves in adding the extra special details that made the party so enjoyable. As we walked through the Christ Church grounds and down to the Crypt where the party was taking place, our way was lit by candles, I could smell the scent of incense in the air and hear live music. It was beautifully atmospheric, and set the mood perfectly.

Once inside, we were delighted to find the same attention to detail in the Washi Tape Christmas tree - so fun! - the popcorn table, Christmas G & T's crammed with cranberries and of course the tables offering lots of lovely yarn from indie dyers such as Lioness Arts, Skein Queen, Kettle Yarn Co and Uncommon Thread. I noted that they all seemed to be doing brisk business!

There was a good crowd of people from early on in the evening, all enjoying the live bands, gin and yarn - a combination that I know Max would have thoroughly enjoyed. It was lovely to see a break away group find a corner to go and knit in, and also such a thrill to see so many of the party goers wearing their beautifully knitted garments - the Pom Pom audience are very obviously proud to wear their handcrafted items - and not surprising as many of them were patterns from the magazine itself.

Andy was pleasantly surprised that a wonderful event like this could be going on so close to the City and his place of work. Although he necessarily felt like a visitor (he isn't a knitter!), he found the venue very cool and the people incredibly welcoming. It was great to be able to introduce him to Meghan, who looked just stunning and so very happy, although I missed the chance to chat with Lydia. Thanks for a great evening girls - we look forward to another year as friends of Pom Pom!

(posted by Katarina)

Saturday, 7 December 2013


I confess that I probably start thinking about my Christmas knitting around August, which may seem crazily early in the year to even contemplate picking up your needles for gift knitting -  does it sound scary and a little obsessive? Even I think that it does, but if I am to manage a knitted gift or two for all of my friends and family whom have grown accustomed to something handmade at Christmas then I have to start early.

It goes without saying that my list this year is as lengthy as ever, with a selection of increasingly complex and barely achievable projects which, at this point in December, I'm beginning to feel mildly anxious about finishing. What can I say? I love to knit for my dear ones, and they are mostly so appreciative that I can't resist creating an almost impossible list of projects in the first place and then adding a few last minute accessories just to mix it up!

This year though, I recognised early on that I would need to enlist some help in order to complete everything, and who better to ask than my Mum? I have often thought that I get the crafting gene from my Mother as she has been the constant crafter in my life, an excellent seamstress as well as an incredible knitter who always likes a challenge (she occasionally also test knits for MillaMia). I had a plan in mind this year for some knitted gifts for all of our Knitting group and as there would be 10 items to make I thought I'd put it to Mum to see if she was up for some speed knitting, and lots of it!

These are the end result of much dedicated knitting over the past month, and a very sore finger! The pattern is Emilee Dee Mitts by Paula Mckeever - a simple fingerless mitten pattern, knitted in the round with the 'turtle tracks' lace pattern meandering up the hand. It's a free pattern available to download from Ravelry, and uses just over 1 ball of MillaMia Naturally Soft Merino. Mum is a relatively fast knitter, and has a fondness for knitting fingerless gloves too, but she assures me that these are a very quick knit, taking just over a day to complete a pair. I guess the only thing you'd need to decide on is the colour! Luckily, Mum managed to knit all 10 pairs, each in a different colour so you can see how they look in a good selection of our shades. Colours from top, going clockwise are: lime, grass, peacock, cobalt, midnight, claret, berry, scarlet, storm and putty. Mum is modelling the scarlet as these are her personal favourites, but I would be hard pushed to pick a pair - they would all add a pop of perfect contrast to my winter coat.

As you can see from the pics below, the mitts were a huge success! The ladies were so touched that Mum had knitted a pair for everyone and there really was a colour to suit every taste.

Louise chose grass, Sue in lime, Kirsty and Helen (behind) in peacock and storm, Mel in midnight, Mandy chose claret, Jo went for the
festive scarlet and Mum is at the back in berry.
(posted by Max)