It’s really not been a good few months for me, hence the lack of blog posts. I always find it hardest to talk when the pinnacle of my week has been levelling up in Candy Crush, but I decided to make the effort to go to Fibre East this weekend and I’m really glad I did. I love the sheepy smell you get at wool festivals and the way all the rooms were named after different sheep breeds.
Fibre East is the biggest local show to me and I’ve been a few times now. I found myself trying to explain the concept of a knitting festival to someone on the train who commented on my socks in progress, which is always a bit of a mystery to the uninitiated but for me it was really nice to be with people who share my enthusiasm for playing with pointy sticks (or hooks, or spindles, etc…).
Amazing needle felted creations ©Rachel Gibbs
I was really impressed with some of the more arty stalls, such as these impressive needle felted creations. My one foray into needle felting ended up with something like a cross between a highland cow and a giraffe, that certainly wouldn’t support its own weight. I also enjoyed watching some of the spinning demonstrations. At the Crafts from the Dungeon stall I was intrigued by a mayan spinner which I’ve never come across before but is apparently simpler than drop spindling because the stages are more independent and you don’t end up trying (and failing in my case) to do three things at once. Louise from Spin City also took the time to give me some tips on drop spindling using her beautiful glass spindles with pressed flowers embedded.
As I’m trying valiantly to reduce my stash before it takes over the whole flat and bankrupts me in the process, I put a few ground rules into place. I wanted to only buy wool from dyers I hadn’t tried before and only if I didn’t already have very similar yarn already (when putting all my stash on ravelry earlier in the year I found a few almost identical skeins – clearly I really liked that colour). As Fibre East is full of lovely independent dyers this wasn’t too much of a hardship.
Fibre East Haul ©Rachel Gibbs
I came home with a very restrained pile, in my opinion. I’ve been admiring CoopKnits latest sock book for months, I’ve made several of her socks before and really like her style, especially the cabled ones, so I’d already mentally bookmarked this. I found some gorgeous autumnal orange variegated on the EasyKnits stall which I think I’m going to combine with a neutral to make Kate Atherley’s Lemon Difficult, I’m not sure how I’ve managed to go without buying any yarn from him before but that is now rectified. I’m still enjoying making simple self striping socks while my brain struggles with anything more complicated, but hand dyed self striping is quite rare so I was pleased to find this grellow ball from Unbelieva-wool.
Karie Westermann’s Mahy shawl has been rightly admired from all angles since it was released a few weeks ago and when I realised that all my shawls were in cool colours I decided to find a natural lace weight to make this out of (although given my track record with KALs it’ll probably be next summer by the time it’s finished). I found the perfect skein from Nude Ewe but like for many people at Fibre East, the phone signal required to take card payments was rather lacking. It meant I had the chance for a nice chat with the stall holder and when it seemed like it was going to take a long time for the app to load she kindly offered to come and find me on the p/hop stand across the tent when it was behaving.
Me helping out on the p/hop stand ©p/hop
I helped out on the p/hop stand a couple of Fibre Easts ago and really enjoyed it, so volunteered to help out for a few hours to give some of the others a bit of a break. We had a great time talking about knitting, tech editing and designing. Lots of people came and donated money and I got to see my Oscillating socks sample in the flesh which was a nice surprise. P/hop has been raising money for Médecins Sans Frontières, mainly through donated pattern sales, for six years and recently passed the £50,000 mark which is an incredible achievement.
I’ve been struggling just to get out of the house lately and I’d forgotten just how good it was to talk to people who share your interests. I don’t think I’d met any of the people I talked to before but they were all very friendly and I went home really happy even if completely knackered after walking back to the station.