Saturday, 11 September 2010

I quilted!

Today was the first meeting in two months for the little quilting group that I run.  We always take August off and the July meeting was early in the month, so it felt like it had been ages.  I dithered over what to take, and finally grabbed a bagged up project from my vast collection: 'Gingerbread Town', which was a pattern in the McCall's Quilting magazine for Nov/Dec 09.  I had ordered some of the fabrics from America, including the central panel with the houses printed on it, and the gingerbread house border fabric, and I added other fabrics from my stash.  I was able to get it completely to top stage by the end of the day, so I am feeling a big sense of achievement.

It's only about 46" square so will be a wallhanging for the stairwell during the holidays.  I enjoyed working with all these xmas-y fabrics and I am obviously very sad as I even felt a bit xmas-y.  Meanwhile my older sewing friend was complaining about having seen mince pies already in the shops when it is only September.  Oops.  However, now there is a chance that the quilt will be quilted and finished in time for xmas.

A close up of some of the cute fabrics.

I have to confess that it did feel a bit weird to be quilting again - I have been doing the total immersion knitting thing over the summer and I almost felt like I had forgotten how to quilt.  Almost.

Yesterday I took the day off work and went to the I-Knit Weekender knitting event.  This is the fourth year it's run and I've been every year.  I was surprised when I arrived about 15 minutes before it opened that there was very little queue.  Even once the doors opened, there was only about 15 or so people to go in (other people had already gone in to their morning classes).  In fact, it was so quiet that after trying to shop for about 10 minutes, I just felt so conspicuous in the empty aisles that I bought a cup of tea and sat down and knitted for half an hour until the place filled up a bit more.  But it never got very busy, nothing like last year when I also went on Friday.  There really seemed to be considerably fewer people, it was easy to find somewhere to sit down, easy to look at the stands as few of them were crowded with shoppers.  There also didn't seem to be nearly as much going on.  The I-Knit event previously has felt like a bit of a party, with plenty of events going on like knitting competition entries on view, the Shellac Sisters spinning old 40s vinyl, knitted seaside scenes on display, and of course last year's fabulous Friday night party with the rock choir.  This year there was no party, and in fact the show was closed 30 minutes earlier than advertised (5:30pm instead of 6) because there were so few shoppers. I wonder if this was the result of the economy, or the effect of more knitting shows diluting the available knitting audience.  We had Knit Nation in London just over a month ago, which probably targets the same pool of people, and of course some of us went to Knit Camp as well.  Hopefully they have had a busier day today (Saturday).

There were two fashion shows:  Erica Knight did a small trunk show with about 8 garments and accessories illustrating current fashion trends.  I saw this one because it was at lunchtime.  The other show, showcasing garments from the traders, was in the afternoon so I missed it because I was in my class.  I took 'Intermediate Lace' with Anniken Allis.  She was very nice and had some gorgeous shawls to show us.  I had to do some hard knitting to complete the small square (four repeats of a garter lace chart with lace stitches on every row) in time to learn how to knit on a border.  We added a simple zig-zag border, learning how to join it as we knitted it, and how to double or triple join to get around a corner of the shawl.  She also talked about basic chart reading, blocking, suitable lace yarns and adding beads. 

I didn't buy very much.  I picked up this gorgeous Swiss Silk with Kid Mohair DK out of the Knitwitches sale bin, (was £15 for 100g, and I got 3 of them for £27).  I think I am feeling a bit of yarn shopping fatigue, after being exposed to so many yarn traders in the last few weeks.

And I bought three of these lovely ceramic buttons by Incomparable Buttons, who weren't at the show but were being stocked by another trader.  One of the buttons is to go on my finished neckwarmer (those are the yarn colours wrapped around the card), which is pictured below being blocked.  It is shaped like a giant sweet wrapper, and there is a button hole in one of the ribbed sections so I can overlap and button it. Coincidentally the buttons also look gorgeous with the Swiss Silk so now I just need to find a pattern that takes 300g of DK and needs two buttons  :)

Alice Starmore was at the I-knit event signing her new books, which I had a look at: 'Fishermen's Knits' and 'Aran Knitting', both I think re-releases although apparently there is an additional pattern in the Aran book. The Aran book has several pages of examples of Aran stitches, with instructions, should you want to design your own, a bit of a historical section, and many complete patterns for garments for men/women/children.  Some of them very attractive so I am quite tempted.  I also had a lovely chat with the friendly lady who runs Ida's House, who sells salvaged vintage knitting equipment: lovely coloured plastic needles, old needle cases, bakelite yarn holders etc.  She has a full-time job as a kitchen designer but spends her weekends trolling through boot sales and markets looking for these gems, mainly to rescue them and move them to good homes.  She has recently started a blog and would love people to visit and leave a comment.

It's the time of year to knit hats for Innocent smoothie bottles for the Big Knit, to raise funds to help keep older people warm in their homes over winter.  I've printed off a couple of new patterns from their site:  one that looks like a bell flower, and another that looks like a xmas pudding, so I will have a go at those soon. Hats need to arrive by 15 October - the address is on the website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a busy weekend you had and a headstart on Christmas as well. I'll really try to get over to the I Knit weekend next year with some French friends so that should liven things up a bit. I have both of the Alice Starmore books - vintage editions - that I picked up over the years when knitting was 'out of fashion'. I've noted Ida's website. There's a Salvation Army sort of shop near me that has drawers full of old needles so if she ever gets over to Paris, she'll have to bring an extra case. They sell 3 pair for 1 euro.

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