Archive for June, 2009

UK Ravelry Day Part 2

Posted by on Jun 15 2009 | Crafty things

Right then. Where was I?
I’d got up at a stupid hour of the morning, flown over to England, dyed some yarn, bought some yarn, looked at some folorn looking alpacas (it was raining), and listened to a lovely talk by Meg Swansen.

I didn’t take any photos, but just before my afternoon workshop I enjoyed a particularly excellent piece of victoria sponge cake with a nice cup of tea. The super thing about the day was how friendly everyone was – it was like there was one big conversation going on – admiring purchases and works in progress with complete strangers over a cuppa made for a great atmosphere.

Anyway, on with the day.

I spent the afternoon in a “plan your own aran’ workshop with Jared Flood (and lots of other Irish knitters for company). We covered the maths of planning an aran, learned how to cable without a cable needle, and how to steek. (For non-knitters steeking is cutting your knitting, used to make cardigans out of projects knit in the round as a big tube for example).

I had no real interest in learning to cable without a cable needle, but Jared didn’t give us a choice, and I’m so pleased, because it’s so easy and so much quicker. This is especially useful as I’m up to the cabled bit on a cabled-yoke sweater I’m knitting myself.

We got to see Jared’s Aran Cardigan, and the original Cobblestone (named for the Dublin pub).

Anyway, the steeking. We knit a swatch to work on. First step was to put a marker thread through to highlight where to cut.

Now, because we spent lots of time in the workshop asking Jared questions we ran out of time to practice the steek ourselves. So, afterwards the Irish contingent met up and headed to the pub for a pint, some grub, and for me to finish my steek before I forgot what to do.

First, crochet chain either side of the steek to keep in in place. I needed help with my crochet, but managed ok (and have been pondering crochet since).

Next, remove the marker thread, and get ready to cut. I readied myself with about half a pint of ale.

Then, all there is to do is cut!

My heart was thumping, but I managed it, thanks to the support of my fellow knitters. Now I want to steek everything.

Sinead and I reluctantly headed off at about 8.30, and I fell in the door at home at 1am, where I slept soundly and dreamed of yarn. It was a super day.

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UK Ravelry Day part 1

Posted by on Jun 14 2009 | Crafty things

Yesterday was World Wide Knit in Public Day, and I had a fabulous time knitting in the city with lots of friends. I managed not to take any photos of it all though so I have nothing interesting to blog.

Instead, let me tell you about last weekend, which I spent in Coventry with a whole load of knitters and lots of yarn. Super.

I left home at 4.30am, for the 6.30am flight to Birmingham. That’s very early and I’m not really a huge fan of mornings. I met up with Sinead on the flight. (Incidentally, Sinead took plenty of photos yesterday and at the UK Ravelry day, so go and read all about them both on her blog too). Coventry was only a 15 minute train ride away from Birmingham airport, and the event was only a short walk from the train station, and was very handily signposted for us.

I wasn’t planning on buying much, so had signed up for two workshops and a talk in an effort to keep me away from all the lovely stalls. It didn’t really work, but I was pretty good, and there was an awful lot of yummy yarn there. The vast majority of it was British yarn from small independent spinners/dyers – which is most definitely guilt free yarn to buy. And oh! The colours! So many lovely things.

I started out in a yarn dyeing workshop run by Jon from Easyknits. I’d bought some yarn from Jon at the iKnit day in London in September which was lovely to knit with, and Jon had been so friendly then that I figured his workshop would be lots of fun, and I couldn’t have been more right. I was a little bit worried that it would have been quite technical and there would have been lots to remember, but actually it was a lot more relaxed and hit and miss and creative and fun. I’d feel confident that I could come away and do some dyeing myself now, and after seeing everyone else’s finished yarns I’d have a better idea about colours. The workshop felt like a couple of hours playing about with colours and painting and making a big mess, and it was a lovely way to start the day. (It was also helped along by the delicious gingerbread men that Jon’s partner had baked for us. Mmmmmm.)

Anyway. The workshop.
First we painted the dye onto our yarns (lovely undyed Blue Faced Leicester).

Here’s mine. I went a bit pale:

Next we sprayed them with vinegar and wrapped them in cling film to make wool sausages:

Then Jon took them away and steamed them to set the dye while I went off to ogle Alpacas in the rain:

And listen to Meg Swansen talk about knitting, design, and Elizabeth Zimmerman:

Later I collected the yarn , and I brought it home and hung it up to dry:

And this morning I wound it up:

I’m calling it “Washed Out Wimbledon”, because it’s almost that time of year, it’s like the Wimbledon colours if they’d been left out in the rain, and I have lots of happy memories of washed out Wimbledons. It will be socks, but I’m not sure which pattern I’ll use yet.

…More in part 2…

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