Monday, 30 March 2015

SkipNorth in rainy Yorkshire

I was away this weekend for the annual SkipNorth knitting retreat. While it didn't snow this year, it was rainy and blustery for most of the weekend so didn't exactly feel like a holiday in weather terms. I feel a bit coldish and fragile today so don't know if I have caught a bug.

I still enjoyed it, nice to see old friends again and it was a smaller group this year so felt more intimate and friendly. I also had a nice surprise from my friend Quitecontrary who brought me some lovely wooden bobbins that she had been treasuring for years, she thought that I could make better use of them now that I am learning bobbin lace.  Thanks Mary!

Friday afternoon is traditionally workshops and it was quite amusing to see some ladies getting mummified in duct tape to create their own duct tape mannequin forms.  I learned how to make stitchmarkers and produced four which aren't too bad. You make the hoop part by wrapping it around a pen barrel - the first time I used a Bic which of course is more polygonal so I ended up with a bumpy loop - fail!

Friday evening is the traditional p/hop swap where we all bring our unwanted yarn, books, patterns etc. and do a big swap on the condition that we will donate to the p/hop charity afterwards.  The last couple of years I have hauled back loads of stuff but this year I only took a couple of skeins and a few patterns. It's like being a kid in a candy shop with all the 'free' goodies laid out, but I was strong and only took things that I really thought I would use. I brought along several orphan skeins or leftovers from projects, it felt good to have a clear out of my stash and see some of it go to new good homes.

Saturday is shopping day but I was careful to be quite restrained this weekend given the financial situation.  We went to Skipton, which was lovely, to the very elegant Purl and Jane knitting shop, and had time for a good walk around including a visit to a fabric remnant shop called the Fent. I love all the stone buildings and grim Victorian architecture in these Yorkshire towns.  I bought three little black buttons to use as eyes for the Clanger I am knitting for DH. Then we were off to Leeds to visit BaaRamEwe with very welcoming staff and I bought a Kate Davies pattern called Peerie Flooers to make a fair isle hat and mittens set.  Then it was a return visit to The Skep in Farsley (knitting and quilting) where I bought the sheep fabric in the picture above, which was on sale, to make a project bag with. And I walked up the hill for a look at the Aladdin's cave of haberdashery, Bond's, but didn't buy anything this year.

Sunday the main group was off to Wingham's Woolworks but I didn't want to go again, so my friend Vincakent and I walked into Haworth and struggled up the steep hill to the Bronte Parsonage in the rain. We just did the gift shop there and then shopped our way down the high street, stopping occasionally for coffee or lunch. I was wondering why there were so many miserable looking families out in the wet weather then realised it was half term break from school.  We seemed to be jinxed - everytime we went inside it would stop raining, and then the moment we came back out it would start again.

Then it was back to the youth hostel for some more knitting and chat with the main group before saying farewell for another year.  It was quite a long train trip home but I had time to wander around Leeds while waiting for a connection. I hadn't been there for 30 years and was amazed at the enormous shopping district near the station, all malls and walkways and new arcades and Victorian arcades and broad pedestrian avenues. And all very busy as well right up until the shops shut at 5pm, unexpected for a Sunday afternoon. Quite a change from 1982 when it was all rather scruffy and low-rise.

As well as knitting on the Clanger, and experimenting with strap designs for my denim bag (think I'm going to knit it on the machine now, life is too short to knit 150cms of cable on 3mm needles), I started two new projects over the weekend:  a pair of sloppy basketweave pattern socks in a lovely soft pink yarn and a reversible cowl in a Fyberspates Vivacious DK yarn. I'm feeling too lazy to go find the project bags and actually put the proper design names in, will have to do that next time!

Earlier in the week I cut out the background setting squares and triangles for my Lone Star Quilt but haven't actually done any sewing on them yet.  And I'm well underway on my current bobbin lace sample, which has 19 pairs of bobbins so is my most complex attempt to date.  It's going alright except that I've realised half way through that I was making a mistake on one of the motifs - I've made the same mistake every time so now it is a design feature :)  I think when I finish this sample I am going to take a break and make a bookmark, I feel it's time to actually make something instead of always practicing. Our group has been contacted by another woman who wants to come so I will be welcoming four ladies after Easter - it's nice to have company and it motivates me to keep working on my lace so I have something to show (also makes me tidy up the house which is also good).

It's the Easter long weekend coming so I will only have to work two days this coming week - yay!  We are planning to visit a few historic houses over the weekend, weather permitting, and do lots more work in the garden.  I think it is safe to start moving some plants around now, the ground is warming up and I don't want to leave it too late as everything is starting to bud/sprout/grow. DH is getting on quite well with smashing up the concrete path, it's more than half gone now.  I had a go with the sledgehammer as well, which went fine apart from a piece of concrete hit me in the leg and gave me a big bruise, but my shoulders were so sore the next day that I think I might leave the rest up to him. I've been looking online at easy DIY garden paths where you just bed bricks into sand instead of having to use mortar, so we might have a go at that with some old bricks we have.


Mairead Hardy said...

It was a great weekend, wasn't it? Thank you for your company!

Daisy said...

It looks like you had a great weekend, even if it was a bit wet(!). Don't like the sound of alll that heaving things around in the garden - I try and avoid that where possible! ;-)

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