Saturday, 16 July 2011

Having a grumpy day

It's been one of those random days when nothing seems to go right and the universe seems to be out to get me.  I think I will retire with an alcoholic drink and watch a Disney film, on the principle that I will be safe on the sofa and nothing else can go wrong.

It's been an ok week.  My commuter knitting has been the Drop Stitch Shawl and I also took it to I-Knit on Thursday night.  I've stopped increasing regularly now, and will likely only increase occasionally to see if I can turn it into a crescent shape instead of a triangle.  While I was at I-Knit, Maurice told me that it was Machine Knitting (MK) Live in Selsden on Saturday.

I haven't been to a MK fair for years, so this morning I looked up how to get there and thought: "why not?".  I was interested to see how MK had moved on over the years, especially since I've heard that it is starting to pick up in popularity again on the back of the handknitting boom.

It took about an hour and a half to get there, via Clapham Junction (where I missed my connection due to the apparently non-availability of Oyster card touch in points anywhere in the station other than the main entrances), East Croydon, and then a tram ride.  It was raining and gusting wind by the time I got there, so even with my brollie I was rather damp by the time I found the college and the entrance to the show.

Oh my god.  It was like Night of the Living Dead.  I'm used to an older crowd at quilting shows and the like, but this was like a nursing home.  I saw one girl in her 20s (perhaps a college textiles student), two other women possibly in their 40s and then everyone else looked about 90.  I'm talking wheelchairs, wheeled zimmer frames, shaking palsies, humpbacks, canes and a positive sea of grey hair.  If there has been a mini-renaissance in the MK world, it doesn't seem to have made it as far as the MK Live show.

But what was really disappointing was that, as far as the stands at that show, machine knitting seems to have completely stalled in the 90s.  Not only was it the same exhibitors that I used to see at the shows 10 years ago, almost everything for sale was either actually made before 1995, or designed to look like it was.  I only saw two garments that I would consider wearing myself, and one of those was handknit.  Almost everything was drop-shouldered, 80s styling, very unfashionable, very baggy.  Some of the stalls were more like antique dealers, selling bits of equipment manufactured in the 1980s or earlier, and box after box of tattered patterns and ancient books from the 90s or 80s.  About the only concession I saw to modern Ravelry-type trends was a pattern for fingerless mitts on Ann Brown's (Posh Frocks) stall.  I came away thoroughly depressed.  The only things I bought were a few .25p old patterns, and a chunky-gauge double-ended bodkin.

Going home was the same in reverse:  rain, just miss train at Clapham Junction and had to wait 30 minutes.  And when I finally got home, I found I had an empty bag where my bodkin should be and I can't find it anywhere.  Plus, later on I realised I was only wearing one earring and seem to have lost one of my favourite knitting-themed earrings.  Bleah.  Some days you just wish you had stayed in bed.

On a more positive note, my new tracks for my quilting frame showed up this week, undamaged, and I have installed them.  The new Grace laser pointer was in the delivery as well, but I am less impressed with it.  It's really cheap and plasticy, and I can't work out how to install the laser tips to narrow the beam down.  The battery case won't stay shut on its own but luckily the mounting bolt holds the case tightly shut.  I'm going to try to learn to do a Baptist Fan pantograph which is going to require very accurate steering, so I've loaded a practice sandwich for some practice quilting.

That's about it this week.  I've knitted a bit on the second Sunshine Sock, and done some more rows on the Berrocco Eyelet Tunic, and even done some rows on the Estonian Lace Shawl.  I still haven't decided about unpicking it.  I checked the book and I have the correct number of stitches but for some reason (probably my gauge as I am a loose knitter) it is coming out wider than the typical measurement.  I should probably block what I've done while it's on the cable and see how wide it comes out and how that's going to work for wearing the shawl.

My second delivery of the I-Knit Sock Club showed up, I won't post a picture yet but it is a luscious Natural Dye Studio fingering yarn.  Sadly it is again in a colour I won't wear, unless I make socks out of it.  It came with two cute beaded stitch markers, and a note asking me to email them for the patterns.  The patterns this month are for socks and a scarf, both designed by Gerard of I-knit.  I am beginning to worry that all the colours will be ones I won't wear, if they are all being chosen by Gerard and he seems to like acid, yellow-toned colours.  I like those in quilts but not near my face in clothes - I'm more of a cherry red, navy blue, and pastels kind of girl.  Still, the yarn is lovely and maybe next time I will like the colour more.

1 comment:

Daisy said...

Hmm, that doesn't sound like a good experience. And a bit strange that MK hasn't moved on since then. If you ever want to swop any sock yarn...

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