Sunday, 13 September 2009
I have had such a busy weekend, full of crafting and craft shopping. Plus I survived my in-laws' Golden Wedding anniversary.
First up was the I-knit Weekender, back for its third year, once again at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London, and this year over two days for the first time. I had to go on Friday because of the Golden Wedding anniversary on Saturday, and I had a lovely day from my arrival at 10:00 am right through until I left at 9 p.m. Just to prove how long a day I had: I cast on for this sock in Opal Harry Potter yarn (I love this yarn! the self-striping colours and patterns are fabulous) while waiting for the London train at my local station Friday morning, and had this much knit by the time I got home - turned the heel and everything.
I had a wonderful day, although it was certainly much quieter than the last two years, I am presuming because a lot of people were at work. I expect the Saturday was much busier. First of all was lots of lovely shopping, and within minutes of my arrival I had scored more than 20 vintage 'Vogue Knitting' magazines from the 50s and 60s. They were priced individually, but when I offered to buy them all, the stallholder gave me a wonderful deal on them. I love collecting old needlework magazines, I love the photographs and the ads. I look forward to reading through these. Other purchases included some pure cashmere yarn from Knitwitches and a scarf pattern to go with them, pure silk yarn in the Knitwitches bargain bin at half price and a shawl pattern to go with that, some Debbie Bliss Fez to knit the xmas stocking in this month's Simply Knitting calendar, some Artesana Aran yarn in two colours to knit the argyle slippers (also in the Simply Knitting calendar), two bargain pattern books (one for Freedom Spirit yarn of which I have a sweater's worth, and there is a great slipover vest in it, and one for Debbie Bliss cotton yarns). I got this cute mermaid from the Lifeboat fundraising stall who are planning an underwater knitted scene and seeking knitted contributions.
Then I went upstairs for a great presentation by Karen Black on knitting through the decades, to launch her new book Knitting in Fashion. I went straight out of that into a Speedknitting class with Miriam Tegels, the Guinness record holder at 118 stitches a minute (check her out on YouTube). She was a lovely lady who also showed us some yoga postures (she is a yoga instructor also) and slowed down her knitting to show her modified continental style. I enjoyed the class, but I wasn't really able to copy her as she didn't really give us a detailed breakdown of how she was holding her needles, feeding the yarn etc. I went straight out of that into a presentation by Alice Starmore of the Shetlands, famous for her fair isle and other patterns. She showed tons of beautiful slides of her islands, showing how they are the nispiration for her yarns and her work, plus gorgeous photos of her designs. I am totally in love with 'Marina', a fair isle design, and would love to knit it. Alice's book with it is out of print and totally unavailable (over £200 on Ebay apparently) but I have sent off for a much cheaper British book that had the charts in it - Ravelry says there are some mistakes but that you can figure them out). Afterwards I bought an advance copy of her reprinted Fair Isle book and she signed it for me. We also got to watch her cut a steek in a throw which she had knitted in the round, then cut open in preparation for knitting the edging.
By that time I was starving, so I popped out for some Fish and Chips, then dived back in. I went back to one booth to look at the KnitPro interchangeable needles I had seen in the morning, just in time to hear the stallholder exclaim to his wife that this was their last pack as they had had a run on them. So I added that to my load as well - what is severance money for if not to stock up on supplies for future crafting? Now exhausted and spent out, I took up station at one of the knitting tables near the catwalk, and started chatting to my neighbours until the fashion show started at 6 p.m. We had an entertaining 30 minutes of amateur models showing off garments and accessories from all the stall holders (the most amazing being a mini dress knitted from giant yarn the diameter of a broomstick handle). The bar was now open so I indulged in a glass of wine with my new best knitting friends, and we kept on knitting and chatting. At 8:30 p.m. the most amazing singing group took the stage: "Gaggle", described as a 'sci-fi riot choir', an alternative a cappella singing group whose style is a cross between African chanting and West End musical. Our favourite song was one they adapted to the venue, with two girls yelling out tunefully "I like cro-chet" and "I like Knit-ting" as a sort of rhythm track while the rest of the girls sang the lyrics. At 9 p.m. I decided I had better go home or I wouldn't get home, and thanks to London Underground suspending trains in both directions, I almost didn't. But eventually I made it home just before 11 p.m., tired but happy, and weighed down by purchases.
Saturday morning I was double-booked, as it was my Saturday sewing club day, yet we had to be down in Hampshire for the golden wedding thing by 12 noon. So I went to club and got them all started off, handed out the next block of the month patterns, had show and tell, and kicked off the Bring and Buy sale. I had taken along loads of old stash priced to sell at £1 a yard, and did a fairly good trade. However, I somewhat negated the de-stashing by buying up other member's stash. My best score was a pouncing block with powder, originally £16.95 but I got it by swapping a few yards of unwanted fabric for it - result! I haven't done much sewing lately, but I have made two covers for binders using the Moda Bakeshop pattern - here is my first effort covering a lever arch-file. It sure improves the look of my quilt file.
Then it was off to the Golden Wedding anniversary, which to be honest I was not looking forward to. My m-i-l has loads of cousins that I don't know, so out of about 50 people in the room, I knew about 10, and I really hate being trapped and having to be smiley-nicey for hours. At one point I had really had enough, and escaped downstairs to hide in the bar with my knitting - I got 15 minutes of sanity before dh phoned me (twice) to tell me people were looking for me. We finally got home at 8 p.m. and I was absolutely exhausted (again, but not in a nice way this time).
No lie-in today though, as we were up and off to Newbury in Berkshire where my DH and DS were going to a wargaming show, and my friend Eileen and I were attending a dollshouse show in the same venue. Eileen and I had a pleasant hour or so going around the smallish fair: I picked up several things for my various houses including some resin figures to be shoppers in my quilt/knitting shop, and a lovely little knitted teacosy for the knitting shop. Then we went into the wargaming show, which was three times as big and spread over three floors. Pretty amazing stuff - Eileen (who is in her 80s) had never seen it before and was absolutely fascinated. It was pretty funny watching a gaming geek (who looked just like Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons) explaining to this little old lady how the zombies were attacking the human refugees in his game scenario and how the rules worked. After some lunch, Eileen and I went into Newbury and enjoyed a walk around the town centre, before back to collect the guys and head home.
So lots of spending and looking and crafting - and I think it is time now to consolidate my gains and try to tidy up. One thing I need to tidy up is a dollshouse project which is occupying one end of my kitchen table while we dine on the opposite end: a Karen Cary 1:48 Halloween themed house kit. I started building it last weekend and have continued off and on all week. It is taking shape and I should be able to take a photo soon.
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