The great thing for me was that I now know how to do the twisted cable on my Eyelet Jumper without a cable needle! This is a huge step forward as the instructions actually specify using two cable needles. I had worked out how to do it with one cable needle, and now I don't need any! Result.
So the class finished at 12, then I had to try to find my way out the building. The classrooms were dotted at random around the enormous campus, mine was on the 7th floor of a building on the corner of the campus. I took the lift to floor '0', which turned out to be the basement, then I tried floor '1', still no exit. I was starting to feel trapped, so had to take the lift back to the 7th floor to ask the way out. Which turned out to be floor '2'. Go figure. I headed back to the marketplace, quite busy now that it was a Saturday, and had another look around, then a nice chat with AlpacaAddict on the Knit & Crochet Guild Stand. The raffle was called at 1:30 pm, I didn't win anything but the excitement was infectious as people crowded into the marketplace to listen to the numbers being called.
Then after that - nothing. I now had six hours to kill before the Ravelry Party at 8 pm, and there was nothing to do and nowhere to go. I queued up for about 20 minutes to eat in the single place available to eat on campus, the Library Cafe, which had run out of almost everything except jacket potatoes and fried chicken breasts. There were several knitters outdoors on the windy terrace, but still nowhere inside to knit. I hadn't signed up for an afternoon class. It was very hot and humid, but I set off for Harrod's. I hadn't been in there for 20 years on principle, but it has now been sold to new owners so I ventured in. I was astonished to find it absolutely heaving with tourists and normal people, every floor was crowded with couples and their children, pushing buttons, picking things up, sitting on furniture, crowding into restaurants. It was like a theme park. A far cry from 1998 when I was a bit scared to be in there because it was so exclusive. However, no knitting department, and their toy section had a disappointing collection of Dollshouse Emporium houses and furniture, of all things. You would have thought Harrods would have had some of the handmade houses and handcrafted furniture that Britain is so known for. Then I went to the V&A museum and looked at the handknitted baby dress in the Victorian section, and at the pullout sheet of handknitting in the textile studies collection. All in lace from sewing cotton, like fairies had knit them.
By now I was very hot and bothered, so slowly made my way back to the campus where there was still nothing to do. I even asked at the information desk if there was somewhere to knit inside, and they looked a bit baffled and hesitantly suggested the now-closed Library cafe. There were only 2 other knitters in there and we were soon kicked out when the library closed. I was seriously considering going home at this point rather than waiting another 2.5 hours for the Rav Party. So I went and sat outside on the terrace (the only place left to go) where I was soon joined by Coralfin, a knitter from Paris, and we had a nice chat and ended up going for supper together.
So, final verdict on Knit Nation?
- Great communication in advance, and enthusiasm
- Great graphics, professional website
- Good organisation at the event, everything seemed to run smoothly and well.
- Great teachers, famous names, Jess and Casey
- Good central location, good public transport connections
- Lots of great yarn at the marketplace, positive to be able to shop indy dyers etc. and imports like wollmeise
- Great Ravelry Party and goodie bags!
- Good atmosphere in the marketplace
- Lacked the social element of the I-Knit weekender, nowhere to sit and knit inside, no events or activities provided for non-class-attendees other than the marketplace. For example, at I-knit you can sit and knit for charity, or just sit and knit and chat at tables with drinks, there are fashion shows, etc.
- Lack of onsite catering - nothing at all for Thursday and Friday evenings, the Library Cafe seemed overwhelmed by numbers on Saturday
- Event a bit lost on this enormous campus, which was hosting several other events at the same time as well as university classes etc. Watered down the sense of happening. Classes very dispersed instead of all in one area.
- Cloakroom provided for leaving items in, as well as being very hard to find (up on the 5th floor and down several corridors), costan eyewatering £4 per item.
- Marketplace a bit unbalanced in favour of yarn, not much else on sale (very few patterns, only a few books, not much hardware)
Someone who chatted with Alice (one of the co-organisers) said that she is considering doing Knit Nation again, but maybe not until 2012. I enjoyed going and being part of it, but I don't know that I would go three times again, I think one day would be sufficient.
Anyway, life will now be back to normal for a week, until Knit Camp in Stirling. Here is a quick round up of what I've been working on.