Quick! To the Fibre Festival!

FOs (Finished Objects)

What’s been finished since my last post

  • Two crochet cotton collars
    I’ll be honest, I kinda worked out of my head for this.  I bought a pretty blouse in the M&S sale, and wanted to make it more ‘vintage’ with a matching collar.  Now I have two.
  • Mini Skein Jars
    Saw this idea on etsy and had half an hour to kill.  Might do a tutorial on how to make these with stuff you can buy in discount craft store ‘The Works’.

WIPs (Works in Progress)

Works actively being worked on – (not hibernating or we’d be here forever) including my PP (PSurse Project or the project that is living in my handbag)

  • Spiderweb Skirt, Hook 5mm, Knit Picks Dishie in “EggPlant”
    This is my ‘desk’ project so only gets worked on in my lunch hour at work. Only a couple of rows further on.
  • Tirrold Sweater – came out of long term hibernation to become my ‘purse project’.  Have completed the first diamond of the lace pattern of the back
  • Spectral – got another few repeats done. Having spent what seemed like a long time getting a colour change every 2 or 3 segments I’m now upto 10 or 11 segments all the same colour. Luckily it’s a beautiful purple, but still a bit odd.

Every Day’s a School Day

What I’m learning from my crafting this month..

  • There is joy in being a beginner
    It can be useful to relearn or learn something completely new to remind yourself what it’s like to feel all fingers and thumbs and get that buzz of ‘mastering’ a new skill or technique. This month I’ve been playing with really looking at how my stitches ‘sit’ on the needles in my knitting – and how that affects the stitch – and also if wrapping clockwise or anticlockwise for crochet actually matters (short answer is yes, yes it does)…

Bits of Sheep

Stash reduction or enhancement

Hmm. It started going wrong when The Works had the Caron X Pantone yarnspiration at just £5 a set.  I was good – I only bought 2, and I deliberately tried to buy colourways with at least one colour that I wouldn’t normally go for. But then Fibre East happened. Sigh.

MonthBalls/Skeins InBalls/Skeins OutNet Balance

Oh Shiny…

The source of my chronic startitis – covering everything from planned projects , inspirations or ideas that have caught my eye to subjects or topics that have snagged my attention..

So I spent a little bit of time this month making some cute mini skein ornaments (and a lot less time than you would think) so I could have written about that, but I also did a little bit of dyeing with food colouring (having *so* much fun with this)  so I thought about writing about that, but then, in the midst of the hottest week of the year, there was Fibre East 2019!

My first yarn festival ever was the almost mythical Knitnation in 2010.   I was a brand new knitter and got to attend a workshop on casting on and binding off – and massive thanks to the lady who sat next to me and accidentally taught me how to read my knitting (a fundamentally essential skill in my opinion).  I was also introduced to the stampeding knitters attacking the Wollmeise stand – I still have the skein I bought to make Arlene’s World of Lace Sleeping Beauty, and I’m still amazed at how tight she manages to wind her skeins. It was also something of a baptism of fire into yarn that wasn’t 100% acrylic, how much yarn actually costs, and how to work out pence-per-yard!

After that came KnitNation 2011 (and memorable workshops with Franklin Habit and Susan Crawford), yarn-something-or-other in Brighton, three knitting and stitching shows at Alexandra Palace (just awful, I was talked into going twice more than I really wanted to) and my first attendance at Yarnporium 2018 (which is a lovely ‘little’ show run every other year in London).  There have also been four visits to Fibre East. My last visit was in 2017 as I couldn’t make it last year and this year didn’t disappoint.

I also got to take a friend (‘D’) to her second ever fibre show – and the biggest one she’s been to.  I met up with friend (and fibre east show regular) ‘R’ with her two boys, and unfortunately plans to meet up with new friend Melanie_Odell from the dyeing course (check out her beautiful work on Instagram) failed, but maybe next year!

Having had the hottest day in the UK on record (38.7C) on the Thursday, it was thankfully quite a bit cooler by Saturday (just 23C) – though I could have lived without the rain.  We arrived early (as the doors opened) and had a wander through all that was on offer. 

D tried her hand at drop spindle, I had a go at weaving on an 8 shaft loom and the boys had a blast trying out block printing.  The show was bigger again this year, and it took us nearly 4 hours to amble around and have a nosey at most things (remember we had two small children in tow).  Lots and lots (and lots) of hand dyed artisan yarns, quite a bit of felting on display and the guild’s hall showcased some very impressive work.

Changes to the catering this year meant that there were huge queues and a mediocre (at best) offering for food – I think next year will be a bring-your-own picnic – but it must be difficult to feed and water a crowd of a couple thousand people.  My one ‘beef’ was with the shoppers who felt the need to keep their new purchases ‘safe’ by putting them on chairs at their tables. I’m sorry but when you can see people standing trying to juggle a sandwich and hot drink and bags then taking up seats for your new stash is just ignorant.  Particularly during the really busy period between 12 and 2.

It was a delight to see ‘old friends’ (I’m not sure they really are friends if you see them once a year in order to buy yarn from them but I’m going with it) and to make some new ones.  Special shout outs to the lovely people who I didn’t buy anything off this time but have in the past or will in the future… Ducky Darlings where I admired their beautiful Navelli tee sweater (sorry for not linking to the project in Ravelry – I can’t find it!), Jon at EasyKnits who is always awesome and doing really creative things with sock blanks and interesting colourways and Sue at SSK (Sue Stratford Knits) with her lovely drink inspired designs and badges.

I have to say I was very reserved and only picked up a ‘couple’ of things; 

  • It started with 423gms of undyed lambswool with a tweed fleck for just £10 and a single skein of undyed mohair for £3 from AC Wood speciality fibres.
  • Followed by the Strange Brew book from TinCanKnits (I see yoked patterned sweater designs in my not-to-distant future) bought from Ewe and Ply
  • Tim and Denise at WilloFibres were happy to sell me some new acid dye colours that I am not confident making myself,
  • Sarah and Jon from Purlescence were as wonderful as always and added to my Chiaogoo interchangeable collection with some 6mm tips and yet another cable (why do we never have enough?)
  • The intriguing  Ribbonesque pattern might have fallen into my bag – thought up by the talented Tanja at The Knitting Swede
  • little tiny bee stitch markers and a lovely 1/2 sized gauge measure arrived via Emma at Yarnistry (and some distinctly not safe for work stitch markers for one of D’s crafting friends)
  • And finally after much cooing and indecision (and technically after the show had closed)  the very patient Tara and her mother at Irish Artisan Yarns (IAY) parted with the most amazing orange/blue ‘Ballyholme’ colourway (seriously check out the watercolour soft colours on her baby alpaca silk blends)

And before you think ‘gosh, that’s a lot!’ I have come back from other yarn shows with over 20 skeins of yarn plus ‘trinkets’.  3 skeins, 2 patterns, a set of stitch markers a gauge measure and some dye does not constitute ‘a lot’ in my universe at least ; -)

Another special shout out to  Alls Wool that Ends Wool.  D picked up the most amazing sparkle cosmic colourway (which isn’t currently on their Etsy shop for me to link to) from Emma & Hubby (thanks for being so patient with all the questions guys).

So a long day (I set off at 6.20am and got home just on midnight) but Fibre East is genuinely a lovely show to attend. Are you picking up the courage to attend your first show? Or are you an old hand at this and what’s your favourite show?

Finally, a little side note: if you want a giggle, apparently crochet garments are in again – Kenya Hunt of the Guardian newspaper is most taken with her £295 granny square dress and she’s managed to get an entire article about how to wear this dress with two different pairs of shoes and accessories.

I’m all for hand crafted garments (and you don’t get much more handcrafted than crochet as there is no machine that can do this) but I do wish crochet would move past the granny square! Knitting has developed so much from the monstrous clown-barf mohair stuff I was forced to wear in the 1970s and 1980s, but crochet garments really do seem to be stuck in the 70s (with the exception of the amazing avant-garde stuff that the Russian bloc and Japan seem to be producing)