Oh, to Be in England!

comments: 27

Loop3 The not-so-secret Anglophile, me. All my life I have wished I were English. I have even told people I was (don't panic -- I was 11). I really can't even pinpoint why; my family is not even a percentage point English, I didn't know any particularly English people (and still don't), and I didn't get to travel there until I was 22. I stayed in London for six weeks and aside from the crippling food poisoning (this came from Paris) and the fact that my luggage didn't arrive until I was almost ready to leave, and the fact that I had to take a bath every night (with Crabtree & Evelyn cherry soap, sadly discontinued) just to get warm, I was in heaven. I loved every single thing about it.

I was a horse-crazy girl, so I guess the images that rooted in my imagination were fed by that equestrian context, as well as the blinding passion I felt for everything at the time in general. The things I imagined I liked most were quintessentially English: mossy stone walls; bright red doors; creamy cotton ruffles; huddled, window-boxed villages; ponies bobbing through green dales; purple clouds moving quickly through gray skies. I wrote my senior thesis on a children's-book illustrator named Arthur Rackham when I was in college. His calico-ed field mice and fairies who used pots and pans had been staples within the imagery of my childhood reading. I had been researching, too, the Pre-Raphaelites and John William Waterhouse (who was really only sort of a Pre-Raphaelite, I guess), who managed to blend magic and the mundane in such a strangely accessible way. That's how England has always seemed to me, really: deeply magical and prosaically domestic, all at once. It still seems that way, and I am still under its spell.

Loop1_1 Not surprisingly, I also have serious farm fantasies. Dilettante farm, not real farm. Like the kind of farm in the movie Babe: thatched-roofed, tiny, and with talking animals. When I learned to knit six years ago, I became obsessed with Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine and its aesthetic, that tattered-city-girl-with-mummy's-pearls-in exile-at-the-country-house thing. I discovered Debbie Bliss and wanted to knit near her. I discovered Nancy Mitford and wanted to have met her. I discovered Raffaella Barker and wanted to have a house like hers. I discovered Cath Kidston and wanted to buy everything in her store. I discovered Nigella Lawson and just wanted to be invited over to her kitchen and have a fairy cake. Alas, all I really have is most of their books, Country Living (British Edition) magazine, evil gruesome chilblains on my fingers, and severe adult-onset fear of flying. If someone says, "Did you already go to lunch?" I will occasionally but automatically answer, "I did do." I know. You don't have to tell me.

Loop2_2 Still , I became nearly apoplectic with excitement the other afternoon when Susan from Loop, a gorgeously beautiful yarn shop (as you can see from these, their photos), called -- called -- to ask if she could carry my crochet patterns in her store. She said, "I'm calling from London," and I sputtered, "London? Like,  London, ENGLAND?!?" No one has ever called me from London before. I got so excited I started babbling nervously about how much I love England. Loop, aside from being a darling yarn shop, also has a beautiful web site. You can spend an afternoon just browsing through their "designers" section, which features talents like Donna Wilson, Claire Montgomerie, and Catherine Tough, artists whose products Susan carries at Loop.

I'm so excited to have my crochet patterns (the one part of my product line I do sell wholesale) there, in actual London. I'll be sending a sample or two, as well, so if you are a Londoner, stop by Loop in a week or two and it should all be there in real life.

27 comments

Guess where I am saying Hallo from?
Yep. (Begins with L...)
I live here!
So lovely to be reminded of London-Love.
Thank you.
: )

tease!

hahaha -- i got a sneak peak today. believe me, it's well worth the wait!

i just love the loop site. your patterns really belong there.

i, too, was a frustrated anglophile as a child. i really felt that i had been born to the wrong place/era. where was my draughty manor? my dressing gown? (much eye-rolling in my household when i called my bathrobe a dressing gown) my yellow pallor from the time spent in india? my woolen stockings and galoshes? too much frances hodgson burnett, i'm afraid.

my goodness. Congratulations all around.

I'm on the edge of my seat...I love suspense!

alicia, it is 1 degree C here in London tonight and I'm seconding your notion of crabtree and evelyn baths with a l'occitane one! lovely news about Loop.

Hello Alicia and other London-lovers! I am from Australia and admire your beautiful blog and creations each day from the other side of the world... we have nothing nearly as nice over here. I am travelling to London in April to visit my parents in law, and will be there for 3 weeks, never been before. Can you tell me some nice shops to visit? Anything vintage, crafty, pretty, english etc? I would love to know some names of shops to visit - anything that you or your customers like - i would like! Would love any suggestions of places/shops/boutiques to visit. No one ever ships to us down here!

I like to joke about how I got the ultimate London souvenir... My hubby ;-)

Lovely photos and congrats about the Loop news. Must visit next time I'm in town.

congratulations! :D

if only it were really like that!

Eee, Loop is just up the road from where I work! It's funny when the real world and the internets collide like that.

I can't wait to see your patterns there -- I shall trudge up the road every day until they've got them! Actually not, because it's too cold. I want snowdrops and crocuses -- enough of this winter business!

I know exactly what you are talking about. I lived/worked and studied in England for 4 years and I go back as often. I'm so lucky that I'm only a 45 min. flight and (if I need a big shop) 6 hours drive away from that LOVELY country!!! I'm in love with England and would love to move back. Maybe one day soon ... Thanks so much for the Loop link, that shop looks fabulous!! Next time I'll sure pay a visit and look out for your crochet patterns and I'm going to let you know - oh the fun!!!

I share your England-love. I`ve never been there (I´m from Finland) but I would love to go some day. I think my passion has something to do with English costume dramas taht I love so much(like Pride and Prejudice, Wifes and Daughters)
and beautiful English country gardens and style. Maybe one day...

I have always wished I was Engligh too - Sometimes I even try to talk with a cool English accent, but I am so bad at it. I have only been once, and had loved it before I even went, but was even more in love after I was there.

I have always wished I was Engligh too - Sometimes I even try to talk with a cool English accent, but I am so bad at it. I have only been once, and had loved it before I even went, but was even more in love after I was there.

Oh Alicia, things keep cropping up that make me love you more and more. I lived in York for a year...so smitten was I by that most original charming place. Arthur Rackham's edition of "Beauty and the Beast" was the subject of a giganic research project of mine in college. And my Senior Thesis was on none other than the Pre-Raphaelites, specifically several varying visual interpretations of "The Lady of Shalott" from Christina Rosetti to William Hunt. Could you just have died walking into the Pre-Raphaelite room of The Tate? Congratulations on Loop!

ha! I loved reading all this - you really bring your stories to life! I wait with baited breath to see what the mailman brought you... :)

oh! i a bit of an anglophile myself. when i was in my early twenties, i would read anything that took place in england, old or current, just to warm the cockles of my heart...which it did, oddly, for such a cold place. it's clear where your aesthetic comes from, alicia. this was a lovely post to read! four more days and we meet!!

Isn't Susan lovely! She carries my scarves in her shop and she has been a total sweetheart:-> I love your birdcage creations and your darling shop!!

when I travel with my husband, I make him talk in an english accent for kicks!

Congratulations! I love all of your patterns, but I really hope you'll make the pattern for the scallop scarf (aka the most beautiful scarf ever!) available; I've been gazing at it adoringly since I spotted it in your shop.

loop is my LYS! i'll be on the lookout for your pretties! london.

Hiya -
Susan told me you mentioned the loop website over here, so I just came to say Hi (yep, from London!) as I designed it... :) Your Posie things are v lovely, and I will no doubt see more as I do your section on the website soon...

em x

hmm...well all those things are the very lovely romantic idea of England and yes I love Cath kidston but sometimes wonder why I spent $120 on a kids sleeping bag only for it to get covered in mud whilst the children are playing outside. Anyhow, it's grey and dull and no buds are on any trees and we all look very pale and pasty and long for just a glimpse of the sun sometime soon one day

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

post a comment

About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

Archives

Photography

Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.