Last Saturday, I had my first big day out since the operation: the Knit and Stitch Show at Alexandra Palace. I took the tube up to Wood Green and met my Best Buddy At (former) Work ("BBAW") at 10.30am. We were a sorry pair: me - weak, pale and with the odd pain from my wounds; BBAW - unable to use her left hand for much at all since damaging the tendons in her wrist several weeks ago. This was a Girls' Day Out for two women who had been house bound and gone stir-crazy!
We hadn't booked classes; we hadn't even purchased our tickets in advance. We just wandered the stalls, chatting to the stall holders and fondling the merchandise. (And buying some.) Unlike last year, when I had a shopping list of patterns I wanted to knit, I was woefully unprepared. I've purchased quite a bit of yarn in the last year, so didn't have anything on my wish list.
Here are my spoils:-
The ram came from a stall selling New Zealand yarns. He bleats. I bought him for DH - after all, if I was coming home with a load of wool, he might as well have something to play with.
Amongst other stalls, I visited the lovely ladies at Get Knitted, the only UK shop I know that stock any American yarns. I came away with an invitation to visit their shop (on the A4 between Bath and Bristol - our side of Bristol, about an hour and a half away), and some pretty pinky sock yarn.
I picked up 7 skeins of some lovely grey DK alpaca from UK Alpacas. It was marked down to half price at £4.95 per 100g skein. That'll be enough for a cardigan for me with some left over. Also purchased a skein of their charcoal grey alpaca sock yarn for a pair of socks for DH. (Appears black in the picture.)
And from the Wensleydale Sheepshop stand, I purchased 600g of their DK yarn in a divine shade of blue. It was this blue yarn that attracted me to their stall last year when I came away with the wool for the snowflake sweater. I'm not sure what I'll make yet.
A very nice lady selling knitting machines promised me to mail me two more latch hooks, like this one below. They form the bed of the knitting machine, but their value to me is that they are the best tool I've ever found for picking up dropped stitches (say, if you've made a mistake two rows below and drop down to correct it). The one below I "borrowed" from my mum over 20 years ago.
Some things were too lovely to not handle, even if I didn't buy them afterwards. Even now, I can't believe how close I was to buying sock-weight quiviut from a Danish stall. It was so light and soft! The £37 for a 50g skein is what finally put me off. That and BBAW acting as my conscience. Yarn lust can be very strong.
It is hard not to underestimate the importance of the Knit & Stitch Show for the UK knitting underworld (knitters are very much a hidden underclass). For many stall holders, these shows are their only window to the outside world - there were stalls from artisan wool growers and spinners, as well as small yarn shops, craft shops and embroidery designers. For knitters, it is often their only chance to find specialist yarns or, indeed, any yarn that isn't made by the companies behind Sirdar and Rowan. Ditto for embroiderers. Craft/yarn shops just don't exist like they used to - there might be one in a 50 mile radius.
- Pam (who knitted socks on the way up and back)
PS: DH loved "Derek" the ram...