Loop’s 10th Anniversary Plans – With Stephen West and Madelinetosh

When we planned our collaborations for the new book, we knew merging the adventurous and kaleidoscopic stitches of Stephen West with the rich colours of Madelinetosh would result in something remarkable. Plus, we have a bonus custom colour in this design: ‘Ghost’ from Orkney Angora. The result? A cosy shawl that is a squishy delight of brioche!
Madelinetosh 'London Cosmopolitan' and Orkney Angora 'Ghost' at Loop,London Photo by Kristin Perers

Make sure to read to the end of the blog to find out how you can pre-order our new book, plus how two of you lovely readers can win all the yarn you need to make Stephen’s shawl! (Competition now closed- but we’ll have lots more in the future!)

Paving the way for knitters with his innovative and modern knitting designs, Stephen West’s patterns can be recognised by their use of colour and clever texture. His new pattern ‘Meandering’ for our new book is no exception, so we had to find out more about the process behind it.

Hi Stephen! What were your initial ideas and plans for your design?

I definitely wanted to do something with the two-color brioche stitch. Brioche stitch looks so sophisticated. You don’t have to add extra texture or complex shaping to make the ribbed fabric look amazing so I kept the design simple with zig zag increases and scalloped border. I love mixing fibers and I was so pleased with the fuzzy angora on one side and the slick Tosh on the other side.
Stephen West and Madelinetosh for Loop. Photo by Kristin Perers
Stephen West and Madelinetosh for Loop. Photo by Kristin Perers
 Any brioche tips for knitters who are trying this shawl to learn more about the technique?
To quote Nancy Marchant, the queen of brioche, “Don’t make any mistakes.” It took me a couple brioche projects before I became comfortable fixing my mistakes like the occasional dropped yarn over so if brioche is a new technique for you, make a headband or hat to start and then move onto a bigger shawl like this design. Nancy Marchant has excellent books (Loop stocks two of them, which will be back in stock soon!) and Loop also has a brioche class coming up in November – check out the details here)

Orkney Angora in Loop's custom colours (L-R) Plum Stain, Ghost, Magical Goose
Orkney Angora in Loop’s custom colours (L-R) Plum Stain, Ghost, Magical Goose
Tell us a little more about the two yarns you used for this project – Orkney Angora and Madelinetosh Merino Light – and why you chose them for this shawl? 
Orkney Angora is so fluffy and soft! I love the halo after washing this yarn and the colours are so rich. Tosh Merino Light will always be one of my favourite yarns. It’s smooth and easy to knit and the colours are illuminating. 
What other yarn combinations or variations on your shawl would you recommend?
I think a larger DK weight version would be fabulous! Three skeins each of two colours of The Uncommon Thread BFL DK.
Wool Folk Tynd (new to Loop and coming this September) would also make an incredibly fluffy soft brioche shawl.
You often make a trip to Loop when you are in London, how do you make the most of your visit?
 I always love visiting Loop and making a day out of it. No trip to Loop is complete without eating at The Breakfast Club down the street and enjoying a new bag (or two) full of yarn. 
 Thanks Stephen! 
We also sell Stephen’s books and single patterns if you fancy trying your hand (and indeed needles) at some Westknits fun!Madelinetosh Merino Light 'London Cosmopolitan' and Orkney Angora in 'Ghost'. Loop, London
Stephen’s shawl pairs Orkney Angora with the smooth single ply of Madelinetosh Merino Light. And as the yarn has arrived a little earlier that expected, it will be the first custom colour that you can purchase! The Merino Light in ‘London Cosmopolitan’ is in stock now, and by early September it will also be available in Tosh Sock, Home, Merino DK, Pashmina, Prairie and Vintage.
We caught up with founder of Madelinetosh Amy Hendrix, to discover more about the process behind our new custom colour ‘London Cosmopolitan’
Hi Amy!Tell us a little bit about how ‘Madelinetosh’ started.
Finding a full palette of colours in one yarn brand was difficult, ten years ago. Coming from a painting background I wanted to pick colorways like tubes of oil paint in an art store. I wanted twelve gradations of red and a whole host of neutrals to play with for pairing; I couldn’t find that so I made it. Google and a library card allowed me to learn how to dye. We were a young family with little money to spare, so I found great books in which I was able to study and absorb the different approaches to applying colour. It was the process of application that was so mystical to me, because that is where the true magic happened.
Amy Hendrix of Madelinetosh
I dyed a few batches of yarn in my kitchen and posted it on Etsy while my toddler was napping; someone in Oregon bought it and the cycle grew from there. I built up my nerve to approach my local yarn store and practiced my pitch in front of my two-year old. Thankfully, they took some skeins on consignment and I had officially landed my first wholesale account. Now Madelinetosh Hand Dyed Yarns is currently stocked in more than 200 different colourways and supplied to over 800 retailers around the world including the U.S., Canada, Australia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan.
 What was the inspiration behind the colour, and then how did you create the shade?
Susan​’s photo! Susan​ ​emailed us a photo for colour inspiration (cocktail photo below) and it was our job to take that photo and bring it to life in skein form for her, thus translating the colour that inspired Susan from one visual format to another​. I wanted to create something that matched Loop’s style and sophistication.

Cocktail Colour Inspiration - Photo Copyright of Adam Rompe
Cocktail Colour Inspiration – Photo Copyright of Adam Rompe
​ For us and our lead dyer Hortencia now it is the challenge of making that translation from one art medium to another that is fun in custom colour projects like these. A colour that may read as peach in a photograph on paper will translate completely differently on a creamy fibre base, knowing how to bridge that gap in terms of colour is the key. If peach as a colour rests on the surface when applied to paper but is soaked up into a fibre when applied to its surface you know that your subtle peach may translate to a light or medium orange in application on your denser fibre. So you throw orange in the dye pot, but after, steam, water, rinsing and drying a soft peach on your dry and fresh wool emerges. Colour and its infinite translations is what has always kept me up at night, I’m sure it always will as I am still learning its secrets.
Adam Rompel's original recipe/ image that inspired the colour has now been developed into a custom cocktail for Loop - Loopka! Recipe will be in our new book. Photography by Kristin Perers
Adam Rompel’s original recipe/ image that inspired the colour has now been developed into a custom cocktail for Loop – Loopka! Recipe will be in our new book. Photography by Kristin Perers
 Do you have any plans to knit yourself anything in this colourway?
​An undisclosed Madtosh employee kept a few skeins from the original shipment and made the most beautiful cowl with this colourway, she knit a simple garter stitch pattern but on oversized needles so it creates a soft and scrunchy fabric, every time I see it at the office I think I need one as well, it’s so brilliantly simple but functional.​
 If you could chose one yarn that Loop stocks (other than your own!) what would it be?
Anything tweed! London and Loop are so fortunate to have direct access to so much incredible fibre from all over the U.K., of course I could drool for hours of the intricacies of the colours in Jamieson’s but it is also inspiring to see the fibre works of talents like Eden Cottage on the shelves as well.
My memories of Loop go back to teaching on some very chilly days in London. I walked into the cozy shop and was led downstairs into what we call the basement and a table full of students, it was hard to pass up all the delicious yarns upstairs tucked in every nook and cranny!

Thanks Amy!

Madelinetosh Merino Light. (L-R) Kilm, Rose, Begonia Leaf
Madelinetosh Merino Light. (L-R) Kilm, Rose, Begonia Leaf

So, after building up so much suspense over the past few weeks, we’re happy to announce that we will now be taking pre-orders for the book! A collaboration between Loop and a whole host of knittings most talented designers and dyers, it’s the perfect way to celebrate 10 years of Loop.

Not only will you be one of the first to receive our gorgeous new publication, early birds who pre-order before 1st September will get a 10% discount! Order through the online shop and your purchase will already be discounted to our pre-order price of £18. Our anniversary book will include all the patterns you’ve been reading about on the blog (plus one or two more that we are yet to reveal!) and a download code so you can access your own PDF copy of the book.

Loop 10 - coming soon!
Loop 10 – coming soon!

And as we were feeling extra generous we are giving two lucky winners the chance to win all the yarn you need to make Stephen’s shawl! Two balls of fluffy Orkney Angora in ‘Ghost’ and one scrumptious skein of Madelinetosh Merino Light in the new shade ‘London Cosmopolitan’ are up for grabs, and there are two ways to enter. Either leave a comment below letting us know what your favourite Madelinetosh colour is, or head to our instagram account LoopLondonLoves and follow the instructions detailed on our Tosh/Orkney Angora picture to enter.

(Competition now closed- but we’ll have lots more in the future!)

We’ll be choosing one winner at random from the blog, and one winner at random from Instagram, so you are welcome to enter yourself for the competion via both! The giveaway closes at midnight GMT on Wednesday 29th July and the winners will be notified next week on the blog.

Good Luck and Happy Knitting and Crocheting!

221 Comments on “Loop’s 10th Anniversary Plans – With Stephen West and Madelinetosh

  1. So hard to choose- Madelinetosh I s a colour-obsessive’s joy!
    But has to be either Dustbowl – I adore greys & the nuances of other colours present in hand-dyer’s greys.

  2. How do I choose!! I’m pretty sure I could find a use for every MTosh colourway in existence, but I guess when it really comes down to it, my absolute favourite would have to be Holi Festival. Nobody does speckles like Madelinetosh! Happy 10 years Loop!

  3. I don’t think anybody who knows me online or in RL will be surprised that Coquette is my favourite TML colour! However, Veera and Joji’s Mockingly is a very close second :)

  4. Difficult to choose! I quite like rose, but some friends gave me a skein in Holi Festival for my birthday and I’ve fallen in love with it and the way the colours are pooling on the socks I’m knitting with it.

  5. Favourite from above is Kilm, but Cosmic Wander Dust is my all time fave. Not just because of the name, the colour is fantastic.

  6. The first Madelinetosh yarn I knit with was a Unicorn tail in Edison Bulb and it still is my favourite, It never fails at brightening up your day or knitwear lol!
    Who wouldn’t want there knits to be lit up! x

  7. My favourite colors are Wings, Silver Fox and Grapefruit, can’t decide which one is the most favourite :) love them all

  8. There are so many to chose from, I try to pick new colours but I always seem to go back to the Celadon. I can’t wait for the release and will be putting my pre-order in, great giveaway, thanks for the chance.

  9. Just one color?! Might have to be Candlewick, the coolest mustard yellow out there! Stephen’s shawl looks amazing <3

  10. I think London Cosmopolitan is my new favourite! Coral and peachy pinks that remind you of flamingoes are my cryptonite…

    I’m also a big fan of Blackcurrant as it’s so lovely and rich.

  11. I agree wit Lea, just one color? But I picked one I like the most at this moment and that is Calligraphy.

  12. My wedding is early next year and I am currently knitting a shawl for my big day; when my mum saw it she absolutely loved the idea. She is not a knitter so I am thinking of knitting a shawl for her as well (and this one from Stephen West is just right and exquisite !) so I would go for Madelinetosh in Celadon since her dress will very close to that shade.

    By the way, I am using Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK for the first sample of my wedding shawl, one of the Loop staff kindly suggested it and I have to say that I absolutely love it ! I am quite a traveller and wherever I go I have to visit the local yarn shops. Although I have a few favourites in the world, I have never seen anything like Loop and its super dedicated staff, definitely my favourite shop so far… so Happy 10th Anniversary and please please keep up the amazing job… you are simply a treat and a delight for us in the knitting community ! x

  13. Top Favourite (of so many favourites ) is Glazed Pecan. Looking forward to the book release, thanks for the competiton to win this super prize.

  14. My new favourite is the one for Loop! I love it and close second is the neon junkie one I just received from the summer club.

  15. Looking forward for the release – what a wonderful collaboration !
    As to madelinetosh, so difficult to choose.. But lately I’m into the pink spectrum so rose is the color of the season for me :-)

  16. Oh exciting! To choose one favourite? Too much!!! I want to say celadon and winter wheat but if I must choose just one: POSY it is… Such soft delicate shades (as well as all the saturated lovelies too!!)

  17. Rose is the quintessential colour. Its name conjures up images of a country garden while the slight colour variation hints at rain. The mind tingles with the memory of a rose’s fragrance. Then there’s the softness of the yarn which brings us to the delicacy of a rose’s petal, the source of the most splendid exotic jam. See that’s all five senses covered. Madeleinetosh Rose is perfection.

  18. Not only do I always gravitate towards Magnolia when shopping, I simply cannot resist buying it over and over again.

  19. It’s so hard to choose a favourite colour but since you’re putting me on the spot, I’ll have to say Nassau Blue!

  20. Pashmina in Baltic. Pashmina in almost any color actually and combos knitting 2 rows of one then 2 rows of another color creates a unique colorway all its own. Well done.

  21. Turquoise. The blues and greens of peacocks, dragonflies, spring mallard drakes heads’ makes for dramatic shawls and striking jumpers.

  22. My favourite Madeline tosh colour is silver fox, for me it’s the perfect foil to play speckled colours across or to contrast with a chosen colour palette

  23. There are so many beautiful colours to choose from but my favourite has to be Mandala-I just love the mix of blues, purples and pinks.

  24. I don’t think anyone could ever choose just ONE favourite Madelinetosh colour – they are all so gorgeous! I recently just bought some Dahlia and I can’t wait to knit with this lustrous purple :)

  25. how can you love just one??? I’m a grey fanatic….and have knit with a whole bunch of them; love composition book, but think great grey owl might be my fav.

  26. Pick one?! Somehow I always come back to antique lace, so pretty, and goes with everything… so excited about this pattern and yarn, I’ve joined the brioche fan club!

  27. So many beautiful colors! If I had to pick just one, though, it would be Logwood, although the Cosmopolitan is gorgeous!

  28. How wonderful I have preordered the book and can not wait I think my favourite shade is Dr Zhivago’s shy

  29. Favorite? Too difficult. Maybe Magnolia leaf or thyme or modern fair isle. I’m sure there are others but choosing just one is impossible.
    Thank you for the interviews very interesting

  30. I have just been rearranging my box of Tosh Sock and still whenever I come across the skein of Filligree my heart sings to match it up with so many other beauties. It is now a discontinued colour I believe so I shall have to keep this treasure to use sparingly for a highlight to finish off a shawl or crochet around a baby blanket. Thanks Amy for all the colours in my box!

  31. I love all of the really bright colours, but have absolutely fallen for the new exclusive London Cosmopolitan, it is stunning. I may have to suspend my pain-induced knitting ban for this shade!

  32. Favorite color of Madelinetosh – wow that’s hard – my current favorite palette is s Victorian with old gold, saturated blue and mouldy mauve – so I think ‘Begonia Leaf’ and ‘Baltic’ – it’s so hard to pick just one

  33. I can’t do it I just can’t – I currently am in love with the Victorian palette though, so ‘Begonia Leaf’ and yet oh it’s hard not to mention Baltic

  34. I love them all but for me it has to be ‘Grasshopper’. It’s vibrant, fun, very now and just great!

  35. oh so impossible to choose just one favorite (but i’m pretty sure London cosmopolitan is right there! it’s exquisite!) i made a cowl once with logwood and gossamer, it was my travel knit as we drove 3 weeks around namibia. everytime i took it out of my bag my husband and i both sighed, it seemed to glow, and the compliments these colors received over and over!
    so excited for this book, i think i’ll wait to purchase it when i visit this october!! i can’t wait to come to LOOP!! and thank you so much for this gorgeous giveaway!! crossing fingers!! x

  36. Dahlia is my favourite – not too pink, not too purple – a lovely fusion of the two. It works for both summer and winter.

  37. I can only choose one?!!!

    Doctor Zhivago’s Sky, beautiful colour and one of my favourite books and film! Love love love the name.

  38. This is an easy one to answer! The only Madelinetosh colour I need is Begonia Leaf. This colour epitomizes the beauty of the Madelinetosh dyeing process and reminds me of a bygone era of glamour!

  39. Love bright warm colors and black. Love the ’14 Neon Peach. Sequoia and Citrus would be tied for second.

  40. I’m really enjoying all the interviews in the run up to publication-thank you!
    I think for the winter I’ld go for Tart-but as many have already said, there are so many Madtosh colours that I love. For this shawl Tart and a mid-grey fluffy yarn would be wonderful.

  41. So happy I can pre-order the book! I’d love to be able to pre-order some of the bespoke yarns too… Glad to see a special Mad Tosh colourway. My fave colour is Fragrant. I’ve got three FO’s in this beautiful and complex pink:)

  42. Oh, too hard a question to ask me on a Friday! I think it has to be Vintage Sari, or Vanilla Bean, or Posy, or Found Pottery. No, definitely, it is Vintage Sari. So wonderfully rich and evocative. Thank you!

  43. So hard to choose. My faves are the speckled colorways: Holi Festival. Cosmic Wunderlust. Optic and Modern Fair Isle. Dandelion too.

  44. Love a lot of the grey tones with blue, Ink is a close second but my choice of the moment is Sugarplum…great competition and can’t wait to browse your book full of wonder x

  45. Each one becomes my favourite as I scroll through the colours. At the moment my favourite is sugarplum.

  46. I very Hard tarsk to choose just One. But edision bulb always makes med smile, so that must be the one.

  47. Choose just one favourite!! You must be joking. It took quite a while to narrow it down to two.Antique Lace conjours up images of dreamy vintage dresses but Twig carries me away to a forest of green. After much deliberation I’m going with Antique Lace.Can’t wait to see the book.

  48. So many amazing colors, so hard to choose. I love the neutrals and Whiskers is a favorite. Thanks for the giveaway; can’t wait to receive my copy of “10”.

  49. Lots of favourites including Fig which I have in my stash but I think it would be Kilm as it would be something new.

  50. Composition Book Grey is my favourite so far – I knitted a baby blanket with it and the way the colours changed with the lace pattern was amazing, I was transfixed as I knitted. :)

  51. My favourite colour is always the one I’m working with – at the moment that’s Mineral, the most vibrant green imaginable, with a hundred different shades wrapped up into one.

  52. Gosh, just the one? I love how the same colour can look so different in a different yarn base but if pushed to choose just one I would have to say Mica!

  53. Chicory is my favorite right now. I love the pops of blue in the brown grey yarn. I think I have this in every weight!

  54. This is the hardest thing in the world, but I’d probably go for Georgia O’Keefe. In fact, I have a skein of it in TML that might just become Stephen’s shawl in September…

  55. That’s a tough question, but I really love Cosmic Wonder Dust! I hope I have the name right–the creamy base with the bright multicolored speckles.

  56. Since I got to know Tosh Yarn, my absolute favorite color is “Weathered Frame” ♥
    But a number of other colors follow very closely. ;)

  57. It’s impossible to pick just one colour of Madelinetoshes catalogue but at the moment my favourite is Neon Peach.
    Love your bespoke colourway! Thanks for this opportunity!

  58. Aloha,

    Mille grazie for the great give away.

    Lots of great colours, but would have to say that Black Velvet caught my eye.


  59. I’m knitting the Featherweight cardigan in prairie Smokestack – and it’s a favorite! Love love love! Hoping to try out the awesome cosmo colour :-)

  60. I love “Fragrant” it reminds me so much of lovely old fashioned scented summer roses. And “Thyme” too.. almost impossible to choose!

  61. Choosing your favorite Tosh color as easy as choosing between Cary Grant and George Clooney!!!!! But, if I have to pick it’s Betty Draper’s Blues! I keep using it and it never disappoints!!!

  62. All the tosh colors are overwhelmingly lovely, but I think Ink is the most beautiful and complex indigo I have ever seen.

  63. I like so many Madelinetosh colors but I have to say my favorite right now is Grenadine. Is the book still available to pre-order?

  64. This week my favorite color is Whiskey Barrel. All the colors are amazing and choosing just one is nearly impossible!

  65. I have to pick just one? Gah that is hard. Right now, I am obsessed with shire, or cousteau, or any of the tosh purples.

  66. My favourite has to be Modern Fair Isle. Classic and cosy. So excited about this book release!

  67. Pick ONE colour?! That hardly seems fair! I’ll have to say that currently it’s Turtle. It’s such a lovely blend of cream, turquoise and gold.

  68. Madtosh merino light is my absolute favourite yarn. At the moment my favourite colour is the very vibrant Grasshopper.

  69. Wicked. Not colours suited for me (I wish), but about to knit some up for my daughter and they look lovely on her

  70. Goodness! It’s tough to choose! But as I’m feeling in autumnal mood today I think I would go with Resin or Twig :)

  71. My favourite is denim. I bought a skein of Merino light in Paris at L’Oiseau du The. I used it to make my first Ishbel shawl which I adore :)

  72. I’m knitting right now a Sonnenfeuer shawl in celadon. It’s an unbelievable, wonderful winter glacier colour, can’t wait for winter to come :)

  73. My favourite colour so far must be Torchere, though seeing the new colourway up for grabs that might just change quite soon!!!

  74. My favourite colour is posy
    It just reminds me of all those scrumptious frozen yogurts that are around at this time of year.

  75. MAD LOVE for MadelineTosh – ALL!! Definitely moving London Cosmo to the top of the list!! #meanderingshawl

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