Category Archives: life

P/hop stall at Fibre East

P/hop at Fibre East 2016

I love Fibre East, it’s my local show and always has great vendors, real sheep and lovely ice cream. This year I ended up manning the p/hop shawl all Sunday. P/hop is a knitting fundraiser for Médecins Sans Frontier: designers (including me) have donated patterns which are then sold in exchange for a donation of the customer’s choice online and at shows all over the UK.

Oscillating Socks

Oscillating Socks, my p/hop pattern ©Rachel Gibbs

I’ve helped out for a few hours before and found it really fun, getting to chat to people about knitting and making money for charity. Heidi, the current p/hop coordinator, asked for people to run the stall as she would be unable to be there due to an inconveniently timed pregnancy (she ended up giving birth on Sunday morning, so good call not to try and be there). I volunteered to be there for one day and three other volunteers also stepped up, so we were able to split the weekend between us.

I spent the day with Julie, who was great company, especially when we weren’t entirely sure what we were doing. All the stallholders we talked to said that Sunday was quieter than Saturday but we still had quite a few visitors to the stall and hopefully made a lot of money for p/hop.

The p/hop sock tree

The p/hop sock tree ©Rachel Gibbs

I did get the chance to look around and buy a few things. Sock blanks seem to be all the rage at the moment and I’ve never used one, so I bought a gorgeous sparkly gradient one from Sara’s Texture Craft. I also bought some deep blue/purple sock yarn from WooSheeps, which is a new brand to me and I’m excited to try it.

I’ve talked about my love of 9″ circulars for vanilla socks before, and I want to see how metal tips compare to bamboo, which I usually prefer. It should also reduce the number of times I end up juggling needles when I’m working on three things at once! The only other thing I picked up was some Debbie Abrahams beads, since so many people are bringing out beautiful beaded sock patterns at the moment.

A very modest Fibre East haul

A very modest Fibre East haul ©Rachel Gibbs

I had some great conversations with people, including Fiona, my tech editor, from alittlebitsheepish, who I’ve never met in person before but was lovely, as well as being great at finding issues with my patterns. One of my favourite things about knitting events is all the people I get to meet.

By the end of the day I was absolutely exhausted, I nearly fell asleep on the coach home. I don’t know how people do two days in a row, although my stamina is pretty terrible anyway. I’ve just about recovered now, and looking forward to next year.

Edinburgh Yarn Festival Photo Post

I didn’t catch the EYF bug that seems to be going round but I did manage to sprain my hand getting off the bus (no I don’t know how I managed it either). While my hand is a lot better than it was, I’m just going to share some photos of my favourite bits as typing one-handed is quite awkward!

Wise Words ©Rachel Gibbs

Wise Words ©Rachel Gibbs

Blue Moon indigo-dyed yarns from The Border Tart ©Rachel Gibbs

Blue Moon indigo-dyed yarns from The Border Tart ©Rachel Gibbs

Gorgeous Gradients at Bilum ©Rachel Gibbs

Gorgeous Gradients at Bilum ©Rachel Gibbs

Old Maiden Aunt ©Rachel Gibbs

Old Maiden Aunt ©Rachel Gibbs

Woolly cushions  ©Rachel Gibbs

Woolly cushions ©Rachel Gibbs

Lili's Knits ©Rachel Gibbs

Lili’s Knits ©Rachel Gibbs

EYF 2016 Haul ©Rachel Gibbs

EYF 2016 Haul/My 27th birthday presents ©Rachel Gibbs

Knitting For Peace

There’s been a lot of talk on social media lately about knitting and mental health issues, particularly aplayfulday‘s #makegoodfeelgood campaign.

I’ve been on sick leave for more than a year due to problems with depression and anxiety. Through this time I may have knitted different, less challenging, things than I would if I was well but I continue to make things. I find it helps to be doing something productive and the process of knitting is relaxing (most of the time).

Knitting doesn’t only help me in the moment, it also helps me to connect with other people. Having depression can make people very isolated, especially if, like me, they develop agoraphobic tendencies. I’ve really enjoyed going to knitting events and talking to other knitters this year. Finding people who are just as interested as you are in that unusual hat construction, or the quest for the perfect needles is a great way to feel connected. While there are support groups for people with mental health issues, I’d rather talk about knitting than my personal issues any day of the week.

Periscope has also helped me to find like-minded knitters to talk to. For the uninitiated Periscope is a Twitter offshoot that allows people to broadcast videos and get responses in real time. There is a community of knitting periscopers and I can either just watch if I’m having a quiet day or comment if I’m feeling better. I’m far too camera-shy to scope myself, but I really appreciate the people who do.

A selection of hats and a scarf for Knit for Peace ©Rachel Gibbs

A selection of hats and a scarf for Knit for Peace ©Rachel Gibbs

Lately I’ve been knitting for Knit for Peace, a charity who distributes knitted goods to people in need. I’ve found this a great way to use up some of my leftovers (which were threatening to take over my flat) and satiate my need to knit hats when I already have plenty (until I lose the current set). It looks like this winter is going to be terrible weather wise and given the international situation at the moment, there are plenty of people who are going to be spending it in far less than optimal conditions. A hat isn’t much but hopefully it will keep someone a bit warmer and let them know that there are people who want to help.

There’s a plain stocking stitch hat in Adriafil Knitcol, a hat with helical stripes in Wendy Ramsdale DK, an Opari from Ysolda Teague’s Knitworthy in Stylecraft Ethical Twist 70/30 and Chrysanthemum frutescens Hat from The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet in Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend as well as a 1×1 ribbed scarf in Sirdar Escape DK. I found the brioche in Opari and Chrysanthemum frutescens really interesting as I hadn’t done this much before.

Festiwool

On Saturday I went to Festiwool, a relatively new wool festival in Hitchin. I was offered a free ticket by the organisers which was very kind, although it felt very funny telling the front desk I was on the guest list!

It was a rather grey day outside so it was nice to see colourful bunting (and a yarnbombed bike) leading up to the venue. It wasn’t as big as the other shows I’ve been to but there were a lot of local vendors who I hadn’t heard of before and a good mix of different crafts – knitting (of course), crochet, spinning, felting and probably a few others.

I always love seeing wool painted pictures – made by needle felting different layers of fibre to build up an image. The International Felt Association had some lovely sheep pictures, with the different fleeces using different types of fibre which was very effective. Unfortunately, my pictures didn’t come out terribly well, but they were a lot more impressive in person.

Painting with wool ©Rachel Gibbs

Painting with wool ©Rachel Gibbs

Going to a craft show always makes me want to learn new things, especially spinning and crochet this time as there were lots of lovely things on show, including Jane Crawford‘s persian tiles blanket, these lovely blue/silver batts and Woolly Chic‘s crocheted cat tea cosies.

Lovely things spotted at Festiwool

Lovely things spotted at Festiwool ©Rachel Gibbs

I managed to resist buying everything in sight (narrowly at times) but didn’t come home empty handed. I had been admiring the new West Yorkshire Spinners Country Birds yarns ever since they started floating around on twitter and I hoped (correctly) that someone would have them for sale. I chose the Kingfisher colourway as I thought it was very distinctive and I’m a sucker for a nice blue.

Festiwool purchases ©Rachel Gibbs

Festiwool purchases ©Rachel Gibbs

I also bought some Sokkusu O in Colour of the Underground from Whimzy. This is a narrow self striping yarn, alternating between grey and multicoloured. I’m looking forward to seeing how this knits up. Rosie’s Moments had these really interesting sock rulers. Not only do they have centimeters on one side and inches on the other, they have charts for men and women’s shoe sizes and the corresponding foot length. I’m hoping this will be harder to lose than a tape measure and will also save me from asking my dad how big his feet are, again!

It was one of my 15-in-15 goals to make some project bags. So far I have failed miserably  on this goal, having made a grand total of none. I had been admiring Watercolours and Lace‘s project bags earlier in the show and then realised they also made a kit. I love this sheep print and the instructions seem very clear so hopefully I will have a least one completed project bag by the end of the year.

Hand woven scarf from Porpoise Fur ©Rachel Gibbs

Hand woven scarf from Porpoise Fur ©Rachel Gibbs

My Mum is a crafter and so I was on the lookout for possible Christmas presents, knowing that she would appreciate something handmade. I had seen Porpoise Fur‘s hand woven scarves on twitter and made a mental note to seek them out. She had a great selection and it took a while to decide on a colour but I picked this orange and purple one with the lovely name of Buccaneer.

The show also featured a fashion show with clothes from local independent retailers and some made by fashion students at North Hertfordshire College (where the show was held). While no one has ever described me as fashion conscious, it was interesting seeing the outfits that had been put together. Some were really nice and wearable, others less practical. I enjoying seeing how they accessorised with some items from the vendors, such as lace shawls and hand spun necklaces.

It feels like Festiwool is still finding it’s feet a bit, there were some moments that clearly didn’t quite go to plan, but it was a very enjoyable afternoon. I met up with some friends from previous shows and had a good chat with some of the stall holders. I like that it wasn’t too crowded so the atmosphere felt very relaxed and friendly, but still seemed lively.

Sheep, Alpacas and a Dog, oh my!

I just spent a week in the Lake District with my parents. We were staying in a cottage that valued pink and flowery over functionality, but was on a farm complete with sheep and supposedly ponies although we never managed to find them (not being as interesting to us as the sheep). I’m still finding leaving the house difficult and as my attempts to learn how to apparate have not yet been successful, it takes some persuading to get me somewhere that I can’t leave easily and quickly but sheep, hills and a dishwasher help.

It being the lake district, there were rather a lot of sheep. We definitely saw lots of Herdwicks and the farm had a flock of Ryelands. There were also unconfirmed sightings of Scottish Blackfaces, Hebrideans and Swaledales (I forgot my sheep identifying books), sometimes in the middle of the road. I brought home a Herdy mug and a sheepish tshirt, just in case people weren’t already aware of my sheep obsession.

Herdwicks in Keswick ©Rachel Gibbs

Herdwicks in Keswick ©Rachel Gibbs

Ryeland Sheep on the farm ©Rachel Gibbs

Ryeland Sheep on the farm ©Rachel Gibbs

There was a local wool collective called the Wool Clip which had breed specific local wool as well as some lovely hand dyed yarn. I cam away with some Fornside Gotland DK and two skeins of BFL/nylon sock yarn from Wild Wood Wool. I have a horrible feeling the turquoise/bronze variegated won’t look as nice knitted up as it does in the skein but I loved the colour combination enough to risk it.

Wool from The Wool Clip ©Rachel Gibbs

Wool from The Wool Clip ©Rachel Gibbs

While browsing Trip Advisor for things that weren’t lakes (limited interest for me as I hate boats of all kinds), or hills/mountains (very pretty to look at but rarely worth the climbing in my opinion, especially given how unfit I am at the moment), I found a place that offered alpaca trekking. My Dad was rather reluctant, the idea of entertaining large fluffy creatures for an afternoon didn’t appeal to him as much as me for some reason, but we decided to give it a try.

Alpacaly Ever After are based at Armathwaite hall and it was a brilliant afternoon. Our guide, Terry, was incredibly knowledgeable about alpacas and told me lots of things I’d never thought to ask but were fascinating nonetheless. We started by visiting the babies, called cria, and mothers (and a very friendly castrated male called Billy). Alpacas have a gestation period of 12 months so they’re almost always pregnant. The best way to tell if an alpaca is pregnant is apparently to introduce a male and if he gets spit at, then it’s positive. Alpacas produce thick green spit but usually reserve it for other alpacas, not humans.

Billy going in for a kiss ©Rachel Gibbs

Billy going in for a kiss ©Rachel Gibbs

We took three of the male alpacas for a walk. Mine was called Dudley and he was a lovely brown colour. One of the things I like about alpacas is the variations in natural colours they come in. He sired all the baby alpacas this year, so there will hopefully be lots of pale brown ones. Dad had a strong-minded alpaca called Will and Mum had Will’s little brother Boo, both of whom were white.

Dudley and Me ©Alpacaly Ever After

Dudley and Me ©Alpacaly Ever After

We were told that alpacas like having their neck stroked but to avoid the back and the legs as they tend to think that a touch there is a giant hornet and will kick out. Their fleece was lovely and soft and they were very patient with us, we managed the whole walk without incident.

Cuddling Dudley ©Carolyn Gibbs

Cuddling Dudley ©Carolyn Gibbs

After walking across the path in front of the hotel, and confusing all the guests sitting down to afternoon tea, we went on a stroll through the woods ending up at a lake. Dudley was easily distracted by nearby foliage (if biscuits grew on trees, I’d be right there with him) so we tended to trail at the back of the party. Rhododendrons were the only things we were told to avoid, but Dudley found plenty of other tasty things to eat instead, apart from the nettles which he wasn’t keen on. Eating thistles is supposed to be good for them, however, as it strengthens the upper gum.

Follow the leader ©Alpacaly Ever After

Follow the leader ©Alpacaly Ever After

Will was very keen on going for a paddle and apparently really likes having a pee in the lake. Dudley didn’t want to go in the water but we all got rather damp due to the rain that kept reminding us we were in the second wettest place in Britain. The alpacas are given special vitamins to help protect their fleece against all the rain, which we fed to them after returning to base camp.

Will going for a paddle (and a pee) with Terry ©Rachel Gibbs

Will going for a paddle (and a pee) with Terry ©Rachel Gibbs

After their feed we returned Dudley to the boys’ field where Terry could tell some had been fighting because their bottom lips were drooping. The alpacas at Alpacaly Ever After had often been rescued from owners who didn’t want them because they didn’t fit the ideal shape for the breed or because they couldn’t look after them properly. One of them was a rare grey alpaca who would have been very valuable if he hadn’t been gelded. They are apparently difficult to breed and often result in blue-eyed whites which have a high chance of being deaf.

Colourful Male Alpacas ©Rachel Gibbs

Colourful Male Alpacas ©Rachel Gibbs

I really loved the afternoon with the alpacas (in case you couldn’t tell) but I also got to take the sheepdog who lives on the farm we were staying at for a couple of walks too. I’ve been hankering after a dog for a while now but they’re not very compatible with one-bed rented flats or people who have no idea how to look after one. Mac was lovely and patient and was keen to go for a walk whenever we showed up.

Mac having a sniff for local wildlife ©Carolyn Gibbs

Mac having a sniff for local wildlife ©Carolyn Gibbs

I liked the week with the hills and the animals but am glad to be back in my own bed with reliable internet and civilisation within walking distance.

15(ish) in 15

My blog posting frequency is definitely correlated to my mood. I started last year quite well and it went downhill which pretty much sums up last year. I’m hoping 2015 will end in a better place but it’s going to take a lot of effort to get there.

Several people have suggested goals for the year instead of resolutions, which I think will work better for me as I’m terrible at sticking to resolutions. So, to join in with various people in the knitting world, I’ve been trying to come up with a 15 in 15 list. This is how it currently stands although it is open to change.

1 garment sewn: probably a pencil skirt as I found a nice grey pinstripe wool blend on sale and it’s one of the simplest things to make that I might actually wear.

2 Jumpers/cardigans finished: I’m part way through two cardigans and one jumper, and have been in that state for most of the year. I seem to keep casting things on and never finishing them. If only people wouldn’t keep realising patterns that I love, like most of the ones in Yokes by Kate Davies which I got for Christmas (kidding, please don’t stop).

3 designs released: while I had some design ideas that even made it to a finished sample last year, none of them were written down or published as my brain wasn’t really up to it. Now that VATMESS is a little bit less horribly complicated with the Ravelry/LoveKnitting collaboration that might help, or then again it might not.

4 project bags sewn: I’ve been accumulating pretty fat quarters for a while in the intent of making some project bags (although that will probably only increase the WIP collection which isn’t a great idea).

5 cross stitch projects: also including blackwork, hardanger and anything else embroidery related. I’m doing quite well at finishing bookmarks and cards but I would like to try some more challenging things (and maybe find the blue thread I need to finish the badger I was working on last year which has gone walkabout).

6 letters written: I am atrocious at keeping up correspondence and I really want to try and be better at replying in particular. My Grandma has sent me quite a lot of letters of the past year and it has really helped when I’m in a low point to know that someone is thinking of me (and to receive post that isn’t a bill or a medical appointment).

7 social gatherings: as a sufferer of depression and anxiety it’s really easy to turn down opportunities to see people, especially if they aren’t local. I know I usually feel better once I’m there but that doesn’t help when the thought of leaving the house and having to interact with the outside world causes a panic attack.

8 goals met: I’m sure I won’t meet all of these, so this one is a bit tongue-in-cheek and a bit of a reminder to myself to focus on the ones I do achieve, not the ones I don’t.

9 recipes tried: I have quite a few recipes books but tend to stick to things I know how to cook. They may not work out very well, or even be very edible but it can’t hurt to try (strange allergic reactions aside).

10 blog posts written: I managed 17 last year which is more than one a month on average so I’m happy with that. I’m never going to be someone who posts every day because I just don’t have that much to say, especially when I’m finding life difficult, but 10 I might manage.

11 projects made from stash: There’s a new Ravelry group called Stash-Heap Challenge which is encouraging me to first work out exactly what I have in my stash and then to try and use it instead of buying more. This is especially important as due to being on long-term sick leave my disposable income is very reduced and food is more important than yarn, probably.

12 new books read: I know I’m not the only with a pile of books I keep meaning to read but don’t get around to. This is not helped by volunteering in the book section of a charity shop. I’m also including audio books in this, I often listen to books while knitting, especially if it’s something complicated so I don’t want to be splitting my focus between the knitting/pattern and the TV.

13: unlucky for some and uninspired for me. Any suggestions welcome.

14 lbs lost: a side effect of many anti-depressants is increased appetite and weight gain. I wouldn’t mind so much but I just had to get rid of half my clothes because they weren’t going to fit any time soon.

15 pairs of socks finished: an ambitious target but I have a lot of sock in my stash that needs using and I’m including WIPs that have fallen foul of Second Sock Syndrome. I’m working on converting my sister to the hand knit sock appreciation society so there may be several pairs on their way to her in her recently purchased old and rather draughty cottage.

I’m going to pretend that I posted this on the 15th of the month on purpose and that it has nothing to do with me being indecisive and disorganised. I’ll try to keep you posted on how progress is going (or not as the case may be) so be warned of the likelihood of lots of sock pictures (not necessarily in pairs).

Woolly Jumper Weather

I think autumn may be my favourite season. I’m really enjoying it being cold enough to wrap myself in wool without melting. I find woolly jumpers, blankets and socks (not an exhaustive list) very comforting and a cotton sheet may be a lot cooler but unfortunately doesn’t have the same ability to make me happy. I’m knitting a cardigan with Eden Cottage BFL Sock in Copper Bucket which is a lovely autumny colour. The pattern is Serina Cardigan by Gretchen Ronnevik and I think it will be really nice when it’s finished but I’m currently drowning under every increasing rows of 4ply stocking stitch.

I live in Hemel Hempstead which is not renowned for its beautiful landscapes but there are some very pretty spots around at the moment.

Dandelions

Dandelions in the afternoon sun ©Rachel Gibbs

Autumn leaves

Colourful leaves (if I had to guess, from a maple) ©Rachel Gibbs

One thing Hemel is famous for is conkers (and a really horrible roundabout) as apparently there were a lot of horse chestnuts planted to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII. There’s even a conker festival held in Hemel every year by The Boxmoor Trust who have lately expanded into a Wood, Wool and Food festival the day before. I helped out at the first one a few years ago but thankfully I think the photo that made it into the local paper has been lost to the mists of time. The easy availability of conkers does mean I’ve been able to test the efficacy of conkers as a spider repellent, although the results are not promising. I have been able to develop a theory on how my fear of spiders is not just related to size but to the leg-to-body ratio, which is interesting but not particularly helpful when one is stuck in my bath.

We’re having an old school games evening at Guides this week and we’re going to be trying to play conkers, along with skipping and hopscotch. Last week they made bird feeders out of coconuts and I think the lesson most of them learnt is that trying to remove coconut flesh with a table knife is really difficult!

Alnwick Castle

My sister and I live at almost opposite ends of the country and I don’t get to see her much. When I decided on a trip to Edinburgh to see the Great Scottish Tapestry and my sister had a few days off work, this seemed like a good chance for a visit.

It was a long train journey to Northumberland but it only arrived 4 minutes late, which was quite impressive as I have terrible luck with trains. I’m not looking forward to next year when I will no longer be able to use a young person’s railcard and have to pay full price for tickets, it might be the incentive I need to learn how to drive. At the moment I’m on so much medication and my brain is so fried that I would be quite dangerous behind the wheel but I really hope by next year that might have improved.

My sister is a history geek and specialises in medieval things (with the excuse for any history she doesn’t know that it’s “not my period”) so I got taken to see Alnwick Castle after the necessary cup of tea. I couldn’t complain too much because some of Harry Potter was filmed there and, although I like to yell at the TV when they change things from the book, I’m a big fan.

We didn’t have time to look round the inside so we just wandered round the grounds. Alnwick is very big and mostly intact; even I thought it was impressive. One of the most famous residents of the castle was Henry Hotspur who led various battles against almost everyone from what I can gather (can you tell I’m not the historian) and although my sister took the piss when I suggested Tottenham Hotspur was named after him, it turns out by complete fluke that I was right.

image

Statue of Henry Hotspur ©Rachel Gibbs

Unfortunately, we didn’t have any small children we could borrow to take part in the dressing up and broomstick lessons. We finished the day with a browse in Barter Books, a very large second hand bookshop housed in the old station building. Their selection of knitting books was very small but my sister was quite tempted by a first edition The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

I’m currently on the train the Edinburgh and enjoying the WiFi, even if I have to pay for it. My sister will meet me there tomorrow and I will try and interest her in the amazing stitchwork and she will try to interest me in the historical significance of the contents of the tapestry (or embroidery if we’re being pedantic).

Moving In

I moved into my new flat just over three weeks ago. I really didn’t want to move as I liked the old flat a lot, but the landlord wanted to sell so I didn’t have a choice. Most things are now out of the boxes (except I still haven’t found my swift and ballwinder which is annoying) and I’m slowly getting used to the new place although it’s going to take a while before it feels right. There are some advantages to the new place but there’s also a lot of things I’m finding difficult.

Good Things Not So Good Things
Central heating means I don't have to wipe condensation off the windows every day in winterTwo of the window panes are blown and I'm struggling to find suitably sized curtains I like
Space outside to dry washingNo tumble drier, airing cupboard or convenient space in flat to put airer
With a gas cooker I can still cook in a power cutI'm used to cooking on electric and I can't control the temperature so well on gas.
There's a loft I can hide my junk in, especially useful for the tentThe flat is smaller overall and there's no second bedroom for easily accessible junk
I can pick my own furniture so I don't have to put up with a too short, faux leather sofa that makes odd noises every time you sit downI have to wait eight weeks for the sofa to be delivered and fold up wooden chairs are really not comfortable for any length of time
The wifi makes it as far as the bedroom (and a firmware upgrade to the router means the phone and the laptop no longer chuck each other off)Pure Connect's listen again seems to be a week behind iPlayer
There's a better view and a garden I don't have to maintainI'm no longer just over the road from Asda
I introduced my mum to the wonders of sugru to fix the intercom which kept falling apartThere is a lot of work that needs to be done and most of it I can't do
I don't have to get dressed and go outside the flat to get my postThe arrival of the post tends to make me jump out of my skin

Wonderwool Wales

One of my best friends happens to have a cottage really close to Builth Wells where Wonderwool Wales is held. I asked if I could come and visit for the weekend and he even agreed to give me a lift. I have tried to get the train to visit him before but the trains to the middle of nowhere only run every 4 hours (so middle of nowhere that his cottage has no internet, no tv signal and no mobile signal, I can only cope with it for a few days before the urge to check my email gets too strong). On that occasion I missed one of my connections and ended up getting a taxi from Hereford, which is not to be advised. When you go to the customer service desk to ask which the next available train is and they get out an atlas, it’s time to be worried.

It was really nice to catch up on the drive because I don’t get to see him much but I was glad of a leg stretch by the time we arrived. We spent most of the time talking about zombies and scuba diving but also about the influence of certain military figures on knitting terminology as we passed by Raglan. The Raglan sleeve was named after the 1st Baron of Raglan who apparently popularised the style after losing an arm at the battle of Waterloo. Mike is in the army and I’m obsessed with knitting, so it was a good crossover topic.

I spent two lovely afternoons browsing around Wonderwool, teaching Mike about the different kinds of yarn and had to find someone demonstrating needle felting before he would believe that all you have to do is poke bits of fluff with a needle to form lovely sculptures. This explanation may go some way towards my hopeless attempts at needle felting which resulted in a highland cow with incredibly spindly legs that wouldn’t stand up.

Wonderwool haul

Wonderwool Haul ©Rachel Gibbs

Wonderwool was full of lovely yarn from some of my favourite companies. I resisted the urge to buy everything on the Eden Cottage stand and ended up with some Bowland DK and Hayton 4ply. The Hayton is a lovely pale blue-green which I hope will show up cables well. I got some Sweet Georgia Superwash DK from the Purlesence stall in a lovely deep blue, I love the whole range of Sweet Georgia colours and the staff on the Purlescence stall are always really friendly.

I’ve been trying to resist learning to spin but apparently the fibre fumes got to me, and I ended up with a learn to spin kit from Hilltop Cloud. Mike and I both had great fun trying it out, although it worked much better the next morning without the influence of gin.

We were at the Baa Ram Ewe stand on Sunday as they were awarded the second prize for 3*3m stall, and they were practically jumping for joy which was nice to see. I ended up with two skeins of TItus which I have been wanting to try for a while. I think Bantam (deep red/purple) and Eire (pale blue) will work nicely together in some colourwork.

Just before we left I had a nice chat with Kate Heppell on the Knit Now stand and she directed my towards the Triskelion stall, which I must have missed before as I got distracted by all the pretty yarn and failed to travel around the show in a methodical manner. I’m glad she did because it’s not a brand I’ve tried before, but the yarns have a beautiful depth of colour and I’m looking forward to trying them out.

I really enjoyed my weekend of woollying. It had been a long week of moving house for me and I was glad of a break from the cycle of packing/unpacking and trying to work my new cooker. I’m still trying to figure out where to put everything and looking forward to my sofa arriving so I don’t have to chose between hard wooden chairs or the floor to sit on.