Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Knit Weekender

I spent Friday and Saturday at the I Knit Weekender, and I had a marvellous time. After a stress-free journey down, so unlike last year, first up at the Royal Horticultural Halls was a presentation from Debbie New, author of Unexpected knitting. She was interesting and warm and funny, had some great slides of her projects and techniques, and was unfazed by questions being fired at her from the audience. Here she is knitting a complicated knot before the presentation started.

And here are some of the samples she brought. This little sweater was something I hadn't really noticed in the book, but was the most exquisite thing seen close up.
And one thing I'd not really taken account of was the amount of warm colour in her projects - you tend to think of techniques rather than colour, but the colour combinations were wonderful.

She'd also brought one of the "some assembly required" puzzle sweaters - you can see it as a long strip trailing off the first photo, and here it is after two keen volunteers from the audience had assembled it on the floor...

It was lovely to meet someone who's been a bit of a hero for a long time...

There were fashion shows - I only caught the very beginning of the Biggan show because I went to sit on the KCG stand for a bit of the afternoon.

Gill had some of my yarn on the stand - they do say everyone has her price...

And here's the full Woolly Workshop stand complete with Gill - fabulous colours, as ever. Mini Mochi seemed to be the best-seller but the Manos was hopping off the stand as well...

Opposite was Rockpool Candy with their Fibre Activism.

An overview of the beautiful halls. When I took this I didn't realise I had Jeni from Fyberspates in the shot - she's the tall blonde lady in the black.

The I Knit stand (and lots of knitters including Skein and Jill)

View from the top of the steps just before the fashion show.

Crocheted blankets on the Natural Dye Studio's stall - beautiful faded antique colours...

Herdy had all sorts of good ideas including the Herdybank and some lovely mugs.

And John Arbon/Coldharbour Mill had some fountains of beautiful fibres. Some of the 70% alpaca/30% merino at the back begged to come home with me so I let it.

After presentations, shopping and volunteering it was Wine O'Clock.

Jackier knitted faster than the camera could cope with

while roseanglaise, still justifiably chuffed by her recent honour from the Oil Pastel Society, found a novel use for a Harmony DPN.

After some dinner with Gill, I went back to Wigram House where I was staying for the princely sum of £28.50 plus booking fee - it's clean, quiet after midnight, incredibly central but in a residential street and very efficiently run. I'd certainly use it again - highly recommended.

On the Saturday morning I did a class with Alice Starmore. I'd signed up partly out of curiosity - she does have something of a reputation both for her expertise and for her business model - but mostly because if you're going to see your first steek cut, there probably isn't anyone better to do it! It was a wonderful class - the first half hour was some history (with an emphasis on the financial imperative having developed the highly efficient two-handed style of knitting, the left hand working Continental and the right working in English style), and a demonstration of all the basic techniques, with several samples, and the aforementioned steek-cutting (up the front of a v-neck cardigan). In the second half we embarked on a sample (on two DPNs, breaking the yarns off at the end of each row so we were always knitting from the front), while Alice came round each small group of people and commented/corrected as necessary. I was keen enough to finish the sample in the bar at St Pancras before catching my train home; and am going to do some more soon. And I got my new book signed!

As last year, the best part of the day was meeting up with people I knew and hadn't seen for ages. I didn't get pictures of littlelixie (apart from a sliver of her back on the final Debbie New photo!), who was on fine form in a lovely sequinned top until her back gave out again, or of daisydaisydaisy who was there on Sunday and shared a half-hour in the café with me. Or of several other people...

Sparkleduck was around, and some of her beautiful yarn was also on display at Woolly Workshop.

Here's Harvey, taking a well-deserved break towards the end of Friday

and from way too early on Sunday morning, the wonderful Woolly Wormhead - it was soooo good to see her again! And look, she's carrying two of her gorgeous Hats. She was teaching, but not till the afternoon...

From Cambridge, frizzyknits and her friend whose name I have forgotten again (I always want to steal their beautiful hair...)

And a very rare sight, Gerard, the force behind the whole enterprise, actually sitting down. I think this probably only happened for about 3 minutes. The whole organising crew was dashing around all over the place. Comments from last year had obviously been taken on board by the venue - the food lasted all day and the cashpoint had been filled up! As I left at about 4pm, AlpacaAddict came racing round the back of the building heading for the front - still working away... Thanks, guys; it was wonderful.

It was an altogether charmed weekend. I was so cheerful even trailing my three rather large bags through the village that I tried my "make-an-emo-smile" trick and it worked (if you grin unexpectedly at them they smile back , they can't help it, until they remember that everything's-just-wrong-and-life-isn't-fair and reassume their scowl. Bless their miserable little hearts...). And then I got home just as an SUV from Emmaus pulled up outside - one of the occupants got out and headed towards the shop. So I chanced my arm as everything was going so well, and talked to the driver, and he came in and got the folding bed I've been trying to get rid of for a while now and bunged it into the boot and drove away with it. Result.

I'll take pics of the shopping later on, for the next post...


Dawn said...

A very comprehensive post, you did well with the camera! It was great, wasn't it?

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Sounds like a fabulous time, Liz. Hope the magic rubs off on everything around you for a while.

Jane, waving from CH

Daisy said...

I meant to take a pic of you too! Anyway, great to catch up with you over tea and I love all your photos - you took loads more than me!

SusieH said...

Oh, that sounds like a LOVELY weekend. Despite having tickets in hand, I ended up giving it a miss this year. Still wiped from jet lag after our 6 weeks in the US, and with kids in tow and no spouse in country, it just would not have been fun. Sigh. Just wait til next year!