Sunday, 1 August 2010

KnitNation 2010 - a woolly feast!

Hello there! Thanks so much for stopping by. My head is still spinning after my 2 day trip to London with my great knitting pal Snoopydog. It is difficult to put into words just what a wonderful time we had. KnitNation was an amazing celebration of knitting, with a Marketplace packed full of the best yarns available, alongside excellent classes with topnotch teachers, and the opportunity to meet other knitters. I hardly slept a wink the night before, I was so excited, and set off to Snoopydog's house at 7am so that we could catch the 8:30am train from Norwich to London. The journey was spent most pleasantly, knitting and chatting, and before we knew it, we had arrived at Liverpool Street. We travelled across London to Imperial College, and after a very speedy registration to pick up our class/marketplace passes and KnitNation tote bags, we were ready to shop 'til we dropped!!!

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First stop had to be the Wollmeise stand, easily spotted not only for the number of people crowding round, but also because of the rainbow of yarns on offer. Where to start?! There was so much (too much?!) choice, that it was difficult to make a decision. The yarns have such a colour intensity, and a lovely feel to them. Go on, I know you want to have a look for yourself!

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What colour would you choose?

Wollmeise KnitNation

Would you like to see a bit more? Silly question, of course you would!

Wollmeise KnitNation2

Apologies if some of the photos are slightly blurry - I didn't want to use the flash and change the colours. As you can see, the stand was truly a woolly feast for the eyes. I bought a couple of skeins as presents for friends, and eventually chose (in two separate visits!) these five skeins.

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The colourways are, from left to right, Magnolie light, Lila Ludmilla, Mond im 7. Haus, Pfauenauge and Suzanne. I'm very happy with my choices!!
We also searched out a couple of old favourites - the Natural Dye Studio and Skein Queen. As much as I liked the explosion of colour at Wollmeise, I also love the more muted shades that Amanda dyes using historical plant dyes. The yarns certainly feel luxurious, with their different blends of fibres, including silk, cashmere and alpaca.

Natural Dye Studio KnitNation

I ended up choosing a skein of Precious laceweight yarn in a shade of pale purple. It's 100% silk and feels absolutely wonderful. There's 1000 metres of yarn in the skein, so it's going to take some serious winding!

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I first discovered the Skein Queen at IKnit last year, and loved the colours she achieved in her dyeing. I bought a skein of Crush, a 4 ply sock yarn that's a mix of superwash merino and nylon, in the colourway 'Summer Bunting'. It's really pretty! A couple of mini-skeins also beckoned, and will be added to my sock blankie stash.

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I bought some fibre from Jon at Easy Knits, and he gave me a quick demonstration of how to prepare the fibre ready for spinning. I want to move on from fleece this summer, so watch this space! There just aren't enough hours in the day to do everything I want to! I bought one bag of merino cross, and another of 100% BFL - the colours are lovely and vibrant.

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The colourways are Zippy (L) and Boogie-Woogie Berry Blast (R)! Great names! I also couldn't resist a skein of 100% superwash BFL sock yarn in the colourway Carousel. It's really bright and zingy!

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I discovered two new dyers - Juno Fibre Arts and Renaissance Dyeing. Both had extremely attractive, inviting stands. The lady at Juno Fibre Arts has her own Etsy shop, and was trying her first show. I somehow don't think it will be her last, if the quality of her yarns is anything to go by. How could anyone resist this?!

Juno Fibre Arts KnitNation

Well, I couldn't anyway, and bought a skein of 100% BFL sock yarn in the colourway 'Heather Rocks' and a skein of 50% merino, 50% tencel laceweight in the colourway 'Boudoir'. They both feel really gorgeous!

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Renaissance Dyeing is based in France, and all the yarns are dyed using natural dyes. There was a beautiful crocheted scarf tied onto their stand, showing off all the beautiful colours of yarn. The pattern is called Bohemian Rhapsody, and hopefully the pattern will be coming very soon.

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Here's a closer look at more of the lovely yarn colours........

Renaissance Dyeing KnitNation

I bought a skein of 100% BFL sock yarn in the colourway 'Louise', (named after the dyer's grand-daughter!) It's a really pretty shade of purple.

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I bought a couple of sets of stitch markers too. The first, from Atomic Knitting, are some funky bright rings, and the second, from Tricot Plume in France, are some beautiful beaded, non-snag markers. The beads are really pretty.

Stitch markers KnitNation

It was very strange wandering around the college, spotting knitting celebrities. We saw Jess and Casey from Ravelry, and Ysolda was there with her photo booth.

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Cookie A was signing copies of her book, so I bought one to add to my sock book collection! At least I have plenty of plain yarn to use on the patterns!

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I would have loved to have taken her sock designing class, but we just couldn't fit it in! Maybe next time, eh?!

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Talking of classes, yes - Snoopydog and I did do something else apart from just spend money! (and as you can see, we were pretty good at that, each encouraging the other with 'just one last quick look around the marketplace'!!) On Friday afternoon we took Anne Hanson's Finishing class. Although we'd been told to make swatches to bring along, it ended up being a demonstration class, with Anne showing us how to block, seam and finish garments. I'm never happy with the way my garments look (that's probably why I make so many pairs of socks!), so I'm going to try very hard to follow her instructions to make up my stripy baby cardigan. Apparently, if you use mattress stitch and only go under one ladder at a time, matching the stripes should be a doddle! I'll let you know! She was a really lovely person, and was so generous with her knowledge that despite it not being as hands-on as I'd hoped, I came away knowing an awful lot more than I did at the start.

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We chilled out on Friday night at an Italian restaurant, a stone's throw away from the Royal Albert Hall and the hall of residence we were staying in, and before bed, spent some time ooh-ing and aah-ing over our purchases. Saturday morning found us making one of those 'just another look' around the marketplace, and at lunchtime we met up with Erin, a Ravelry friend from Canada. She had timed her holiday to England to co-incide with KnitNation, and we'd become friends through the KnitNation forum. She very kindly brought me some local yarn as a gift - some Koigu KPPPM and some Shelridge Farm laceweight yarn. It was extremely generous of her, and a lovely gesture. I gave her some Colinette Jitterbug (not quite local to me, but British as least!) and a little sock project bag that I'd made. I'm sure that this will be the first of many yarny swaps between us! It was a shame that we couldn't chat for longer, but we both had afternoon classes.

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Snoopydog and I were taking a toe-up sock making class with Marjan Hammink, also known as Yarnissima. We were given a mini-ball of bright orange Wollmeise yarn, and once we'd mastered Judy's Magic Cast On, we were off!

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It was a pretty intense afternoon, with a lot of techniques to learn in a short space of time. I have decided that I much prefer knitting socks on dpns rather than use magic loop!! There wasn't much talking as we were all concentrating so hard.

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I didn't quite get my sock finished in class, so transferred it onto my trusty dpns to finish on the train back home! I think that I need to make another sock following Yarnissima's pattern to really embed these new techniques. I'm sure that with more practise, I can avoid getting ladders.

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We left London to head back to Norfolk, tired but extremely happy. It was a wonderful 2 days of total woolly indulgence! I hope that you've enjoyed your virtual visit to KnitNation 2010 as much as we did! I'll leave you with a couple more photos to enjoy. Have a good week! xxx

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KnitNation 2010

18 comments:

Merchy said...

WOW!! This is amazing!
Great post! Your words and photos describe so well the wonderful time you had!
I only wish I could have been there!
I love the colours, gorgeous!
Such a beautiful post! Thanks!

Ozzy Blackbeard said...

WOW too!!! What an amazing place! I love all the goodies you got, I think my favourite is the purple silk. Thank you for all the lovely photos for those of us how couldn't go. I think Knit Nation should be in Belfast next year!!

Marja said...

Really great post and gorgeous photos! Lovely to relive it all again. I love all of your purchases and that mini sock is to die for!

x Marja (Noemie)

minniemoll said...

What a lovely post! Your photos are great, especially the collages - I'll have to learn how to do those.

Clicky Needles said...

Swoon, looks fabby. So pleased you had a good weekend and yes..... I'm jealous.

Jenny said...

That gorgeous colourful post had me hyperventilating, fabulous in every way. Well done with the purchases, you certainly didn't disappoint.

Helsie said...

Well between you and Snoopy Dog I feel like I went too. Looks like you had a great time. Thanks for taking me along.
Cheers
Helen

Maria said...

I can see that you and SnoopyDog egged/encouraged/guided/helped each other in the buying department.
My head is spinning with the colour choices wanting to touch, just to feel how soft they really are

knitr54 said...

Oh Helen, thank you so much for the lovely pictures and narrative;) I could almost imagine being there!!!
It looks like you had a marvelous time and found some awesomely beautiful yarns;)

Thank you for letting me have a peek into your KnitNation experience!! I loved every second.
hugs,
Nancy aka Knitr54

...Miss...Maddie's... said...

How could you choose from so many skeins and the colours are beautiful.
You'll be busy for your entire holiday. Enjoy.
Susan

snoopydog said...

Just HAD to relive it all again and remember what you purchased! What a fab 'girly' and 'woolly' weekend we had. XX

Kathy said...

Hi Josiekitten, nice to meet you!
I enjoyed Snoopydog's visit to the Knitting show, and now I've been twice!!! Such fabulous colours - I almost want to get into knitting!
Love Kathy xxx

knitting said...

oh my goodness i am drooling all over everything-- this looks incredible! thanks for taking us with you! i think the yarns you chose are fabulous- no idea how you managed to choose though, it's like a carnival of yarny decadence!
-cmv

Kate said...

That's an amazing haul. I hope there's going to be another one next year! *is not at all jealous* :-P

Asti said...

Hiya!
Lovely to meet you too :)
What a lovely weekend it was - I'm still reeling.........
Asti (Juno Fibe Arts)

Stadtwaldvogel said...

Wow, what an explosion of pictures! I like all your many new yarns, you have choosen lovely colors. I am exited to see what you will knit with it! Have fun spinning!
Love, Julia

melissa said...

oh my goodness! what a spectacle of colors!! i have really enjoyed perusing your pictures, it looks like you had a wonderful wonderful time!

Susan @ Damn, Knit & Blast It said...

Oh Wow - You had a great day didn't you?
Love the photos, so much beautiful sock yarn - I was drooling and I'm not much of a sock knitter!

Making me really look forward to Ally Pally now....

(Thug just Meowed "Hi")

Susan