Saturday, 6 September 2008

I Knit day in London and the Yarn Harlot

I've just come back from a great day up in London, the I-Knit Day with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee the Yarn Harlot. I got there about 1:15 pm as I had to get my ladies started off ok for our Saturday Sewing Club - then I blew that popsicle stand and got the train up to London.

This year the day had expanded to a larger hall, with a separate auditorium for the Yarn Harlot's talk. I had time to take in the gorgeous fashion show for the book "A Stitch in Time" which features modern takes on vintage knits. What really amazed me was how 3-dimensional the sweaters were, unlike our modern frequently flat knitted fronts and backs with perhaps a little waist shaping. Most of these were sculpted onto the body, with gathered yokes, tucked waists, sculpted stand-up sleeve caps,puffed sleeves, stitch textures, even details like mitred knitted points falling from the elbow to drape over the rib cuff, ruffled necklines, just like something out of a 40s b&w film.

Then I went to the Yarn Harlot's talk with 349 other people. She was very funny as expected, but I was amazed at how normal she was, and how much time she was willing to give us. She seemed like a really nice person, very natural even though she must give variations on the same talk so many times. She kept taking questions past her cut-off time until the questions finally petered out. Then she went back to the book signing table and was still there three hours later - I know because I waited for the queue to die down until I joined it. She must have a bladder of steel, lol. And even after three hours of signing, she was still taking the time to chat pleasantly with each customer, and pose for pictures etc. I identified myself as a former Canadian and we had a short pleasant chat about where I grew up, then she complimented my Katia linen vest which I was wearing! So not only to I have a personally signed book but the Yarn Harlot likes my vest!

After that I went back for the shopping, and had a great time working my way around all the interesting booths, lots of small dyers, internet shops, native British wools etc. I didn't buy too much - one hank of sock yarn from Indigo Moon 100% merino wool, and a supersoft hank of laceweight baby alpaca 70%/ silk 20%/ cashmerer 10% from Knitwitches yarns in a lovely purple/blue. I want to have a go at my first lace shawl, possibly from the book Victorian Lace Today which has loads of lovely but scary things in it. I had a good time fondling lots of other lovely yarn. There were several charities there as well that you could sit down and knit for, baby hats for Oxfam, pink scarves for breast cancer. I picked up some leaflets with charity patterns for later possibly. I also bagged three early issues of Yarn Forward magazine for £5, as I only started subscribing from issue 5 I think, so I will enjoy reading those.

Then I was tired so I sat down at one of the tables to knit on my lace sock, while I enjoyed the show. There was knitting poetry, followed by a great fashion show of men's knits by Erika Knight from her new book. She had convinced several male audience members and trade people to model - they were very good natured about it although some looked very self conscious. Some of the sweaters were very good, but others I had trouble imagining on 'normal' men. There was one scarf which was basically a single giant cable in giant wool that I don't think I could pay my husband to wear. But some of the other things he would quite like. Perhaps I should knit him something... in my spare time....right.

Then I got into the Yarn Harlot queue for 40 minutes, and like many of the women in the queue, I kept knitting. By the time I got near the signing desk, I had finished the lace cuff and started the heel. The rest of the sock is plain so perhaps I will have a completed pair soon. I am thinking about giving them to my m-i-l for xmas, but her feet are smaller than mine.

Here are some pics from my last post: the fabric I bought in Scarborough last week, and the baby hat and booties I finished.


Penny said...

It was a fun day, wasn't it.

Elsa Xenia said...

I enjoyed the day very much, despite my expectations. I bought the Jane Waller book when it first came out in 1972, and I go back to it at intervals; so far I've knitted one.

swooze said...

Lot's of nice things. It looks like you had a great time.

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