The quick version is to say quite simply that I was in yarn HEAVEN! (Aisles upon aisles of yarn... and buttons... and knitting-related nick-nacks. Mmmmm.) As a day out shopping, it was supreme.
Just look at these silks that were on sale...
(if only the man running the stall had not been such a horrific pushy salesman, we would all have bought some. Seriously... the guy chased away pretty much every customer who came near!)
But in addition to the stalls, there was a curriculum of classes and presentations where you could learn all manner of advanced and off-the-wall techniques. So here is a little run down of my day...
First of all, I attended a talk by Debbie New. (Little Lixie has actually blogged this talk very well, so I will point you to her blog for more details... http://lixieknitsit.blogspot.com/2009/09/in-codeine-we-trust.html ) But suffice to say Debbie New is a fiendish genius who blew my mind. She does crazy inventive things with knitting, especially with the construction of garments I confess some of it went over my head, but it was very interesting.
Next, I shopped for yarn. Given that my stash is already obscene, I didn't go overboard, but a few little goodies did sneak in... so here's a quick show and tell:
2 balls of Rennie 4 ply shetland tweed.
This stuff is gorgeous and destined to become an Ishbel (I am shamelessly copying Lottie who made a beautiful one in exactly the same same yarn, but purple.)
8 balls of 2 ply lace weight lambswool.
The colour of this is so beautiful, somewhere between red, purple and magenta. I'm not sure my camera has quite capured it. Again, this is destined to be a tweedy winter shawl... (maybe another Ishbel, unless I get taken with something else.)
4 balls of Norwegian 4 ply baby alpaca with silk.
Ye gods! this yarn is soft. Soft like nothing on earth. Unlike the tweedy yarns above, this one is meant to have your face buried in it... I am not sure yet what it is going to become. Suggestions welcome. The colour is a deep ruby, with perhaps a very slight hint of brownish maroon sneaking in.
Loads of buttons!
Next I was back with Debbie New for a 3-hour practical class called Cellular Automata. This was fantastic and really gave me food for thought.
Essentially Debbie shows you that you can knit and design amazing stitch patterns without needing a chart or pattern, simply by deciding on a set of rules that you will apply to each stitch and following them religiously. Furthermore, if you choose your rule wisely, you stand a good chance of knitting a fractal pattern which is self-replicating and beautiful. It works really well with stranded colour work like fair isle. But rather than try to explain the idea in two lines here, I will blog more about this later on, giving more detail and an example or two.
After my class, I went and bought a copy of Whimsical Little Knits and had it signed by Ysolda Teague...
I also took a photo of Ysolda with Lottie, who was wearing her purple Ishbel. (I have sent the pic to Lottie so that she can blog it herself if she wishes.)
At this point I suddenly discovered that there was a whole nother aisle that I had missed earlier, hiding behind the iKnit stand.
So I made a beeline for that and became immediately overexcited upon finding a vintage stall! Vintage craft supplies may just be my favourite thing ever. I had an enjoyable chat with the lady running the stall, who turned out to be an enthusiastic collector, just starting out in sharing some of her stock. And I purchased the following bits...
A seriously cool thing: a sock knitting set in a slimline metal case...
And a few pairs of vintage Sears knitting needles in shiny metallic colours...
The day ended with a fashion show presented by Amy Lamé...
...and then finally there was wine and partying to do. The three of us did not stay long for the party because we were pooped. But all in all we'd had a fantastic day. (Tomorrow I look forward to hearing all about Modular Knitting and Oruborus from Mel and Lottie.)
I will defintely go again next year.