Thursday, 17 March 2011

Stitch & Craft Show, Olympia

Errr.... How do I put this?  "Forgive me Father for I have sinned...?"  No, I'm not Catholic.  How about "I've solved the dilemma about whether to buy a 16GB or a 32GB iPhone4.  It'll have to be the 16GB one because I've spent the rest of my money on yarn"?

Yes, I think that works.

Today, I took the day off work to go to the Stitch & Craft Show at Olympia, the little sister to the big Knit & Stitch Show held at Alexandra Palace every October.  This is the second or third time I've been to this particular show and I may not have gone if it wasn't that one of the magazines I subscribe to offered discounted tickets at £5.

I told myself:   it'll be a cheap day out.  I can take my lunch and some coffee and save my money for yarn.

I told myself:   no stash enhancement unless I find something amazing or an amazing bargain (and, preferably, aran/worsted weight).

I told myself:  I don't need any more yarn.   I'd just buy some tools, maybe some KnitPro/KnitPicks crochet hooks.

I told myself:  I'll set the budget at £30 and stick to that.

I lied.

I'd barely walked in the door when I encountered the Black Sheep Yarns booth.  (They were directly in front of the door.)  I've mentioned them before.  Every show, they bring along thousands of skeins of yarn, which they sell by the bag at half-price or less.  The owners dump all the sealed bags  into a big heap and the knitters just dive in.  It resembles a rugby scrum.  Would you believe me if I said I was sucked into the vortex and barely made it out of there alive, clinging to bags of yarn to escape?

No.  I didn't think you would.  

My haul from Black Sheep includes:
  • 30 skeins of Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk Aran, in the coast colourway (light blue).  Sufficient yarn to make a sweater for DH.  (I've probably bought far too much but that was the quantity recommended by Carole from Black Sheep for a man his size.) I was thinking of making the Inishturk Sweater from Lionbrand for him.  If he doesn't like the yarn, I'll make it for me.   Total price:  £68.97.
  • 20 skeins of an unknown brand pure-wool 4-ply, in a really pretty baby-pink.  Given their size, I assumed the skeins were 25 grams each - I've just weighed a bag and I was right. Knitting destination - something vintage. Total price:  £19.98.
At this point, I escaped Black Sheep and wandered around the show.  However, I had to pass them as I was leaving and the only way to get out of the vortex was to buy:-
  • 10 skeins of Sublime Soya Cotton DK in shade 085, Noodle, bought to make the pattern, Souk, from the book shown, The Luxuriously Exotic Soya Cotton Hand Knit Book also by Sublime.  Cost including the book:  £23.98.
(I  really like the cover pattern, Passionflower, and the colour it's in (shade 088, pomegranate) which is why I returned to the yarn heap.  However, they didn't have any pomegranate and it does occur to me that it would work well in the Sublime Angora Merino in Giggle Pink, that I already have stashed.)
The other place I dropped money on yarn was the Lang booth, home of Addi Turbo knitting needles, and Jawoll sock yarn.

The Jawoll Magic is for a pair of socks for DH; the other two are self-patterning and we may fight for them.  Total cost:  £19.

So much for self control.  [sigh]

I did buy some tools: stitch holders and the like, spending £9.45 in the process, but not the KnitPro hooks - the available sets didn't appeal to me.

Anyway, I've just added up the cost of today's haul and I'm not proud of myself:  £141.38. 

Yes, I have the money in the bank to cover it.  Yes, I won't get into debt over it.  Yes, I will use it all... Eventually.  But I'm not pleased with myself for walking in the door at the show and diving straight into the Black Sheep yarn pile, going "Aran!  Aran!  Must have Aran!  What can I make with it now I've found it?".  (The light blue wasn't even a colour on my list - it was the only shade they had that appealed to me that both DH and I can wear.)


This was meant to be the year when the stash decreased NOT increased.  If I knit for an hour a day, every day, until Christmas, do you think it'll make a difference?  (Like I don't do that already?  [sigh])

- Pam

PS:  The show wasn't just about yarn.  One of the stands was manned by Corum, the charity that was originally the Foundling Hospital.    They were displaying some of the thousands of foundling tokens left with the children by their mothers (in an age of illiteracy and before fingerprints, the tokens were a means of identifying a child should the mother come back to claim them later).  Most of the tokens are cloth, sometimes embroidered, sometimes just a piece of ribbon onto which was written a name.  (Many mothers tried to name their babies even though they knew they'd be renamed once they were admitted.)  The token was attached to the child's record of admittance.  They form a valuable textile archive, which is why they are being displayed a this show.   Someone commented to me that they found it fascinating. "It's heartbreaking," I replied and started to cry.

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