Dame Hilary, in the Library, with the Knitting Needles

In the United States of America there is a network of Presidential libraries and a library has been established for every president since Herbert Hoover, each located in their home state. In the UK we don’t have such a network, so there is only a single Prime Ministerial library: Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden in Wales.

IMGP6821

Gladstone’s Library

Being the only Prime Ministerial library is not the only thing that makes this place unusual, it is also the largest (some sources say only) residential library in the country. It’s a place that has fascinated me ever since I first heard of it and so, when I saw that Knit for Peace were running a short knitting holiday there, I couldn’t resist.

Last Saturday, therefore, saw me arriving at this amazing building, ready to enjoy meeting other knitters in some impressive surroundings. Outside, there are gardens and an area of woodland, but it is the building that is really impressive, both outside:

and inside

The books are mainly history and theology, so no light reading, but they are accessible on the shelves and you can even sign them out if you are staying and take them back to your room to read. However, I wasn’t really there to read, I was there to knit, socialise and visit some woolly places… which is just what we did.

Upon arrival, we congregated in the sitting room, where I was surprised to be introduced to the founder of the Charities Advisory Trust (the parent organisation of Knit for Peace) Dame Hillary Blume. Two other members of staff also attended the weekend as well as a number of their regular volunteers, meaning that I got to hear lots about their work, from who curates the wool collections for the monthly raffle (which I won last autumn)to the compilation of the Good Gifts Catalogue and what day of the week they have cake in the office.

Each day we went out and about, visiting local wool producers/ retailers, making trips to Abakhan, Black Sheep Wools, The Lost Sheep Company and the Chester Wool Company/Fibrespates, returning to the library to knit and chat. To be honest there was rather more chatting than knitting, and indeed so much chatting that at least two of us (me being one) had to frog some of our work because we made mistakes whilst getting distracted by the conversations!

So, the weekend was a great success – money was raised for the charity, lovely places were visited, knitting was knitted, crochet was crocheted, conversations were had and I made a hat from some of my raffle winnings (it will be returned to Knit for Peace, who will find it a good home).

Leave a comment

18 Comments

  1. Love the title of this post!
    Sounds like a fabulous weekend and an equally fabulous cause. Thank you for introducing us to it Jan.

    Like

    Reply
  2. I love that style of hat! Good job!

    Like

    Reply
  3. Ann Pole

     /  May 10, 2019

    What an amazing experience!

    Like

    Reply
  4. Holy cats, what a place! Also, lovely hat. And I chuckled about the concern of cake in the office.

    Like

    Reply
  5. An intriguing place! Nothing better than a library of warm, age-polished wood and old books. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

    Reply
  6. How lovely! What a shame the reading material wasn’t a bit lighter; one could have settled down for a lovely book-binge after the needles were silent.

    Like

    Reply
  7. Susanne

     /  May 10, 2019

    The joy of knitting in a group – dropped stitches and frogging! I miss knitting with others and I love the idea of a weekend getaway. What a setting! That library is like something out of a movie set.

    Like

    Reply
  8. What a beautiful place to stay.

    Like

    Reply
  9. That is a stunning specimen of architecture. I would be in awe in there. Not sure I would want to read there though. It’s quite beautiful. I would really enjoy the knit shop even though I don’t knit. I LOVE the knit caps though. They are beautiful!

    Like

    Reply
  10. What a beautiful place! It must have been a delightful stay. I could get lost in that library, so maybe I would need to have a ball of wool unravelled behind me to find my way out.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  11. Wow, I love the idea of this library being a place where you could go stay. And that hat is really stunning. I do like the shape of it.

    Like

    Reply
  12. Judy Sumray

     /  May 15, 2019

    So intreresting and exciting….and I’m envious…now 94,wobbly legs, but lovely care home in lovely highgate, where we knit for kfp….thanks so much, the setting sounds wonderful…..judy

    Like

    Reply
    • I love the fact that so many of us are busily contributing to all the good causes supported by KFP – what a brilliant organisation they are, and what a great community we are!

      Like

      Reply
  13. Marian Mann

     /  May 15, 2019

    Love the blog, Jan – and all those photos! Wasn’t it a great weekend? One I shall enjoy looking back on. It was so nice to meet you – and all the other lovely ladies. 🙂

    Like

    Reply
  14. June Ferritto

     /  May 16, 2019

    What a wonderful place to stay and meet likeminded people,and visit interesting places.

    Like

    Reply
  15. Just so cool, it can’t get better than knitting needles and libraries 😎

    Like

    Reply
  1. Shepherding the lost sheep | The Snail of Happiness

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: