Sunday, 11 November 2007

Saturday, part the first - knotology

A very long and varied day on Saturday, from which I have only just recovered enough to write about before (hopefully) a relatively early night, unless the boyfriend makes good his threat to have us watch one of the numerous DVDs we have out from Lovefilm. I really don't feel like either Bridge on the River Kwai or Evil Dead, so I might resist strongly.

I have therefore split this post into parts 1 and 2, day and evening, yin and yang.

Part 1 was the First Official UK Stitch & Bitch Day, wonderfully organised by Craig and Gerard at IKnit and held in Bloomsbury in possibly London's grimmest concrete monstrosity of a hotel. This was a charming day out, like a baby (and hence far more manageable) version of Ally Pally. It was very well attended by plenty of knitters of my acquaintance:

I found the most perfect campaign ever, for me anyway, from Shelter and Origins:

And a truly startling blanket (I have trouble with the name "afghan" as I just associate that with natives of the country, not large swathes of knitting). The "outstanding" square was, as I recall, from Cast Off. And to think our little group refrained from sending in a square as we thought it would be inappropriate to send in a representation of the Yarngina. Or a knitted tit

These things always seem to involve some jaw-dropping handknits. Hello Wonder Woman!

The fashion show saw a whole room of yarn junkies baying for a scared-looking group of amateur male models wearing scarves. Well done boys!

Needless to say, there was some yarn shopping... well, you didn't think I wouldn't, did you? And I had to do it, since I was being berated by my posse for not having brought any knitting with me. Reason being that all of my WIPs are in complex, non-transportable stages. So of course I had to buy some sock yarn and needles, from the Natural Dye Studio. I already have some of their yarn, bought from eBay, but it was wonderful to see all the soft, natural colours in the flesh. I found the right shade of yellow (most things being the wrong shade), a gently-variegated spring-like primrose/canary and a set of DPNs. I then started winding using the back of a chair... and of course it fell off. So I spent the rest of our group knitting time sorting out the knot, which was easily as meditative as knitting itself, but I need (k)not have bought the DPNs. Perhaps I should give up the pretence of knitting, just admit I enjoy playing with yarn to an unhealthy degree, and use my stash to study knot topology?

What else? Well I think we all fell fairly heavily for the merchandise on the Knitwitches stand. What is it about Wales? Colinette, Posh Yarns, Fyberspates, and now these guys... Nothing else to do? Too many sheep? I jest of course (I have Welsh relatives and they'd kill me). There does seem to be a remarkable concentration of truly excellent colour artists over the border, and I salute them. Most of us, it seemed, succumbed to the laceweight pure silk. For me, it was two skeins each of Summer Fruit and Jewelled Sea. I must actually do some lace knitting one of these days.

As for their compatriots, I'd intended to only patronise stalls which weren't at Ally Pally (or like the Natural Dye Studio, ones I didn't get to as we were exhausted before we got to the second room), but I couldn't resist the call of Fyberspates DK Scrumptious Yarn, a very soft BFL/silk mix, which came with a pattern for a scarf which looks a lot like the ubiquitous crochet ripple pattern. Which is good as I can't crochet, at least until Gail and Emma host another workshop. The colourway is Spring Greens, but I just cannot get a decent photo of the colours without daylight. It's much nicer - there are some examples on Ravelry.

Fluffenstuff do not seem to be from Wales, but still had some stunning colourways. Their almost crunchily-textured, aran weight pure silk in Fluorite called to me, as I love the colour of the semi-precious stone,  ice-white shot with green and purple veins. And whilst I was making the purchase, I happened to put my hand on some chunky cashmere, and overcome by the softness I had to have that as well, in a really pretty pink shot with brown, like neapolitan ice cream without the vanilla. Suitably, it's called Raspberries and Chocolate, and it might turn into a very squishy hat.

Everybody seems to be making My So Called Scarf in Manos del Uruguay (except Helen), and who am I to buck the trend? So here are two skeins of the evocatively-named 7306, or if you can't quite picture that, a striking combination of blues, purples, pinks and creams. It really does glow with colour, but it might need a dunking in hair conditioner to soften it up before I wear any resulting scarf.

Oh yes, I bought another skein of Artesano Alpaca Hummingbird as well, for the Graffiti Hoodie as I realised I'd probably need one more, but you already saw that in my Ally Pally stash photos, so no point wasting bandwidth doing that again.

Non-yarn related, I found Knittiotherapy, a great little stall selling sock project bags for a bargainous £15, so snapped up one in stripes with purple. Here it is with the lovely primrose sock yarn, happily unknotted and resting in its new home:

Whilst we're on the yarn porn, here're some examples of my haul of Mirasol Peru from Tuesday's trip to John Lewis:

And some sock yarn that arrived courtesy of Twisted Fiber Art on Etsy. The pink and green colourway is Ravelry, dyed in the site's colours, with a donation to their running costs. The other is Ankh; I don't know whether this is named for the river through Ankh-Morpork in Terry Pratchett's novels, or the Egyptian fertility symbol, but I suspect the former given the "muddy" water tones.

Thanks IKnit, it was great!

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