I've spent the last two days helping out KnitWitches
It was a lot of fun, but very tiring, especially since I started the weekend with some kind of horrible stomach bug that didn't completely go away until sometime last evening.
If you've ever seen KnitWitches yarn at a show or perhaps at I Knit London,
you know that it lives up to its name: "Seriously Gorgeous". Eirwen, the talented dyer and creates amazing colourways in luxury yarn that so many UK knitters, myself included, just lust after. It was loads of fun to watch her enjoying the pleasure people got from looking at and touching her work. She's not only an amazing dyer, she's a delightful person, and I enjoyed every minute I spent with her. Her husband, Richard, is also lovely. I'm not sure, but I may have earned the name "snood-chucker", which is probably right up there with "chicken-chaser" in the world of great titles. ;-)
There were loads of knitting luminaries to be seen, but as I was working (and couldn't have afforded any of the classes anyway), I didn't meet any of them. I did catch a glimpse of Beth Brown-Reinsel at the after party, as well as Cookie A, but I didn't meet anybody else. I did score a copy of Janel Laidman's first book The Enchanted Sole,
which she apparently was on hand to sign, but ih. Honestly, the classes were so expensive that nobody I know could have afforded any of them, but there were a whole lot of knitters there spending a whole lot of money, so somebody must have been able to. It's too bad: I've been wanting to take BBR's Gansey Workshop for years. That's the only class that really appealed to me: most everything else was stuff I've done before. It didn't really matter; I got to see a lot of friends, and I really enjoyed working with KnitWitches. Besides, I already got to meet my Knitting Idol, and it was just as fabulous as I hoped it'd be.
Both days were busy, in waves. Wollmeise
was definitely the rock star of the show; Eirwen said that on Thursday night's pre-show sale, the doors opened and the thundering footsteps down to the Woolmeise booth just made everybody laugh. Wollmeise is hard to get outside of Munich: while they have an online store, they post new wool every week, one a week, and they sell out in less than 24 hours. So, yeah. If you go to the store near Munich, you can get it, but otherwise you have to hope you know someone who's going to Munich (well, Pfaffenhofen) and doesn't mind stopping by Wollmeise for you.
Juno had some lovely things, as did Artisan, Old Maiden Aunt, Skein Queen, EasyKnits, and of course KnitWitches (but you know I'm biased!). Because the KnitWitches booth was just across from Loop, I got to talk to the Loop Ladies, and since the Knitting and Crochet Guild stand was just a little further on, I got to talk to and hang out with the lovely Vanessa, Jan, Yvonne, Penny, Roz, and Various Other People I Can't Remember Right Now.
Good things about the show: Cosy atmosphere, friendly people, mostly good organisation and communication, extremely helpful and ever-present crew. Good mixture of ages, though the event definitely skewed younger and hipper with loads of Ravellers and their youthful enthusiasm everywhere.
Room for improvement: Marketplace seemed cramped from the vendor point of view: even six more inches would have made folk much more comfortable. Shops seemed stacked, and the very smallest stall size was barely big enough for two people and a table. Location in general was not fabulous: hard to find, expensive neighbourhood that probably made accommodation difficult for out-of-towners, we were sharing the space with ICL students and staff, not to mention other events going on throughout the weekend, such poor acoustics in the after party that you had to shout to hear yourself and hearing others was impossible. Classes were £10 more expensive for 3 hours than the I Knit Weekender classes (I admit I may be feeling sour grapes here because I was interested in several and would never have been able to afford them-- I couldn't have afforded to go if I hadn't been working for KnitWitches, so that gives you an idea of exactly how poor I am).
Friday, I was on the stall most of the day, with a half hour break for lunch and little walks around the marketplace to stretch. It was a little annoying not to have a badge, as I kept getting stopped at the door and having to explain who I was again
, but nothing's perfect. Marketplace was open 'til 8, but Eirwen let me go around 6. Of course, I spent the rest of the evening hanging out with the ladies at K&C Guild, and then filceolaire brought me doughnuts!
He and I had dinner out, then he went off to do night inspections, and I went home to fall into bed.
Saturday, I was on the stall most of the day, with a half hour break for lunch and little walks around the marketplace to stretch. mokatiki
came by, and we had a wander. She bought yarn. She helped Eirwen buy yarn. She didn't buy that
much yarn. Honest. After the marketplace closed at 6, we had an hour's worth of teardown, and then Vanessa, Penny, Mary, and I went to Paper Tiger for Chinese buffet (£4.99, yay! long walk, boo!), then back to ICL for the Ravelry Party (which, unlike the Ravelry Talk, we didn't have to pay £10 to get into). We met Meg, whose Ravelry name has the word Smurf in it, and I finally actually got a Ravelry badge. I'm not all that active on Ravelry, but hey. There were lovely raffle prizes, which we didn't win, and some knitting luminaries, who didn't know us well enough to realise that we were much more entertaining than all the people we did know. We left a little after 10, having drunk our fill (a Diet Coke each!), and then we had to work to find the exit to the venue and walk back to South Kensington to catch buses home. I made a poor decision and caught a very slow, tiny bus that said it went to Elephant and Castle. I got off the bus at St. Giles Circus and caught a 188 to Canada Water, so I could get a closer bus home.
Here is a photograph of all the yarn I got, and an explanation of how I paid for very little of it. :D
Here's the yarn I scored at KnitNation.
Top Left: Wollmeise Laceweight, in colourway Kornblume. 300g, 1,722 yards. 100% merino superwash. Payment for a lace class to be taught to S.
Top Middle: KnitWitches Seriously Gorgeous Cash-anova Supersock, in colourway Woodland. 300g, appx 1,200 metres. Merino/Cashmere/Nylon. Payment from KnitWitches.
Top Right: Wollmeise Twin, in colourway Förster's Glück, 100g, 311m. Superwash merino. For a sock for J.
Top Righter Right: Wollmeise Twin, in colourway Feldmauschen, 100g, 310m. Superwash merino. For a sock for J.
Smack-Dab in the Middle: Tilli Thomas Rock Star, in colourway Stony Mist, 100g, 150 yards. Silk with glass beads. Yarn-seller's gift to a friend who didn't care for the colourway.
Below the smack-dab in the Middle: Wollmeise Lace, in colourway Golden Pear. 300g, 1,717 yards. 100% superwash wool. For my Dryad, payment for another lace class, as it turns out.
Bottom: KnitWitches Seriously Gorgeous Laceweight Silk, in colourway Lapis Night. 300g, 1,800m. 100% silk. Payment from KnitWitches.