Sunday, 29 September 2013

Yarndale Part 1

It's usually at this time of year, as the weather turns colder, that I find myself with a proper urge to buy yarn. Clearly, the organisers of Yarndale know this, as they've picked the perfect weekend for a yarn festival - at least for me. Conferences are finished and so I feel like I can celebrate surviving that, but the new students are around and that makes work quite stressful. Add to that the leaves turning, winds picking up and temperatures dropping, and all I want to do is knit.

Plus, it's less than a half hour drive from where I live, in the beautiful town of Skipton; a town not only full of history, but also of tea rooms, pubs, and interesting little shops. And, as it's The Gateway to the Dales, the scenery is not half bad:

The yarnbombing on the way to the venue was pretty impressive - miles of crocheted bunting! 

Even more of it in the lobby!

Where there was also a knitted picnic...

...and an awesome tea cosy competition:

I went on the Saturday, which was crazy busy. It was near impossible to get photos on the stands but I tried to capture the atmosphere: lots of people, lots of yarn! There was a good spread of yarn and fibre, half a dozen options for needles and hooks, and a few people doing larger things like wheels. If I recall correctly, there was maybe one or two stall selling fabric and cross-stitch stuff, another one or maybe two with books, but it was very much about the yarn and fibre. Just how I would want it!

The venue was the auction mart, which is clearly more usually used for livestock buying and selling. It was a great place to hold it, especially when the sun shone in through the roof. Not all of the space was used but I guess that allows for future growth in the coming years! There was enough room in the 'corridors' between stalls; the only times we had to squeeze were due to groups of people standing about, rather than busy stalls spilling out. The disadvantages of the venue were that the cafe was really busy for most of the day, the toilets broke down, and I hear parking was difficult for those who arrived later (we were fine at about 10:20). But with the town centre a very short drive away, if we'd been desperate for a pit stop then we probably could've headed there.

There weren't as many cute animals as there were at Woolfest - but there were some:

... and there were quite a lot of bunnies! Sooo fluffy!! Even got a little stroke of one of them :)

The range of stallholders was excellent: many of the usual suspects were there, selling yarn and fibre - plus a few new, clearly very Yorkshire-based businesses, which I was glad to discover. [NB. Oxfam Skipton were there taking donations of unwanted yarn, which they're going to knit into things to sell in the shop. I have a few ideas for what they could have from my stash - just thought I'd mention it in case anyone else has the same problem!]. Overall, an excellent day out. I will tell you all about my purchases another day.

Friday, 13 September 2013

FO: Lauriel

Finally! I'm sure you've been looking forward to this as much as I have. The ups and downs of this project have been fairly well documented, and there were several given that I officially cast on 1st August 2011 and officially finished 1st September 2013.

The sleeves were too long and had to be ripped back. The button band didn't sit right and needed reinforcing (which took me at least a year to get around to). I'm sure there were dozens of tiny setbacks, and I'm sure I've learned from them all.

The main thing I've learned that I'm not great when it comes to finishing big things, because that involves carrying a lot of stuff around and concentrating for more than 20 minutes, so isn't great on a train or at knit night. The details are great fun, and do carried me through this project sufficiently that it wasn't just a mountain of stockinette, and I knitted the body up pretty quickly. It was the very end stages where I floundered. Blocking took a while (especially as the sleeves were partly reknitted). Ends were not tucked in for ages. Sewing things is especially bad, as shown by the amount of time it took me to do the button band reinforcing.

At the moment I love it; it's not quite the weather to wear wool to work yet, but I'm sure I will. I also had a fairly useless pale blue skirt and an even more useless pale blue handbag, and I've dyed both navy so I have a complete outfit. Result!

The reinforcing [done using this Knitmore Girls video] has improved things but I'm still not mega-happy with the button band. I suspect that over the last two years I have just gained enough weight that, if I were to start now, I might contemplate a larger size.

But screw it, I'm leaving it as it is - and intend to enjoy wearing it just as soon as I get home!

Monday, 9 September 2013

The Kindness of Strangers

Another week, another finished object. I cast these guys on back in February, knowing that they were going to be a slow-burning project. This is just down to the fact that the pattern involves a lot of cabling; one in every 4 rows is cabling every single stitch. Not something to do in half-light or when half-asleep.

I knitted away, finishing the first sock back in April. I carried on and then disaster struck: I ran out of yarn, at possible the worst point. I was so invested I couldn't rip back and knit another pattern, but not so far that I could get away with just minor adjustments to the pattern I was using. The socks got sent to the naughty corner, and we had a cooling off period.

Mid-August comes and I start to have an assess of  what was lying around and what was going to be easy to finish (though I was a bit slack in blogging and only confessed how bad things had got on the 28th). Dig out the socks, and decide that the only real solution is to get more yarn. In the hopes of not having to buy a whole new skein, I get on ravelry and do a little stash-searching, trying to find someone local who had a little bit to spare. Enter, hawthorn. She is the kind stranger that the title refers to. She's made a beautiful Baby Surprise Jacket in this yarn. This left her with had a little bit of yarn to spare, which she was willing to send to me.

Hoorah! It was enough!! It's not the same dyelot but it doesn't bother me. Six months is too long to have any pair of socks on the needles. I wanted them away. Needless to say, I am very happy with the result. It's a great combination of pattern and yarn, and has made some really cosy socks.