I Knit Fandango – May 2015

Piddling about on the internet one Friday lunchtime at work last month I stumbled across the I Knit Fandango. Well, I nearly cried, I’d had no idea it even existed let alone was on and I was missing it.  Annoyingly I’ve promised myself I won’t go to any more craft fairs this year because I have such a huge amount of stuff I’ve already bought at other fairs and not even unpacked. But it’s the I Knit Fandango, its only on for one more day and its run by Gerard of I Knit London, the finest knitting shop I know set conveniently right by Waterloo Station in Lower Marsh.  There was no way I wasn’t going to go.

So off I trotted in the morning on the train from Hampshire to dearest most darling London dreaming of the lovely stroll I was going to have over the bridge and along to the RHS halls. Good grief how could I have forgotten the tourist hell that is Westminster on a Saturday morning? At one point I was trapped in a vast european school party, lovely well behaved children but quite alarming to find yourself swept along like Gulliver.  Then I got caught up in what seemed to be a procession of cathedral admiring zombies.  Finally, after a restorative mocha in Pret I’m headed towards the delightful venue (and not being one to miss a saucy opportunity, I flagged down a couple of mounted police to ask directions when I was quite near the entrance) and I was IN!

SAM_2438Its not a huge venue and it wasn’t too packed out with people so you could have a really good look at everything and there was a lot to look at, I took this picture pretty near the end of the day so it was nice and quiet but not too quiet. Every single stall was great quality, none of that nonsense filler you get at the bigger shows like people selling wellies. Everything here is interesting and yarn related.  The price range was good so you can come out of there with hand dyed yarn, a cup of tea and change out of a tenner or you can go to town like me and set your budget at ‘sod it, I’ve got a credit card’. I bought a shopping bag and filled it. SAM_2459 

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Talking of tea, you know who did the catering? Only the Finchley WI! As you can imagine the cakeage was very good. I had two of these fellers and a lovely chat with another knitter and one of the WI women.

There was also generous seating where you could eat and knit and gossip. I muscled in on a Ravelry group, they didn’t seem to mind. All in all I had the most fantastic day and didn’t really want to leave. I was hideously jealous of the woman working on the I Knit London stand, what a great job that must be.  I bought a copy of Cast On, Cast Off and have already used it to update my Gin Poodle pattern with good results. I’m going to pop in later this week to the shop to buy some of their own dyed yarn (called Knit or Dye) because I keep daydreaming about it.

Now brace yourself for a ton of showing off the treasures I bought.

SAM_2472SAM_2465 The Knitting and Crochet Guild had a yarn winding service, they were charging 25p for 100g I think. Peanuts.  This was a genius idea because it meant I bought yarn and had it wound on the same day and that means I am actually going to knit with it rather than consider attempting to wind it myself at some point in the dim and distant.  The Guild also had made load of shawl pins out of old metal knitting needles and large glass beads.  My one is fantastic and one day soon I am going to open the packet and use it. I may even join the Guild.

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I bought this (new) hat pattern and yarn from The Island Wool Company, I had such a nice long chat with the owner, she could not have been more helpful and patient. She has an online shop and was more than happy for people to squeeze and sigh over her excellent yarns.  Took me about 20 minutes to choose a colour.

I had a little splurge at Max’s World on a card and some jewellery, decided against a ‘hooker’ necklace.

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I bought two patterns from Medecins Sans Frontieres. They had tons of patterns and the deal was you donated what you thought they were worth. Got chatting to one of the women working on the stall and she told me about an Italian knitting holiday she went on and that is pretty much all I can think about now. Italy might be a bit expensive but I have found a knitting B&B in Blackpool.

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I fell in love recently with a pattern on Ravelry called Knit Night, its a shawl pattern designed to show off hand dyed yarns so I bought two skeins from Fibres Exotica to make that.  Again the spinner/dyer was super helpful, she opened out skeins for me to have a really good look and her daughter was really chatty too. I learned how she paints the skeins side by side so that they come out a close to each other as poss. She went to a lot of trouble with me and the yarns I bought were only £6.50 each.  I thought that was a huge bargain. This was the point where I went for a second visit to the Finchley WI while the Guild wound my yarn.

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I know I say this about every show I go to but this is the best one. For a specialist knitting show I prefer it to Unravel in Farnham because this one is friendlier and the range is better.  I really hope he does another one next year.  I’d really like him to do another one this year so long as it doesn’t clash with the Festival of Quilts or the Knitting and Stitching Show.

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Today I’m Making – 10 stitch blanket by Frankie Brown

Today I’m trying to make a bit of progress with this knitted blanket I started god knows how long ago. Its a fantastic free pattern by someone called Frankie Brown that I found online somehow or other. There’s a link to it at the bottom.

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So, this will never end up in my Etsy shop but its basically a blanket you knit round and round working out from the middle that makes a huge square.  It uses short row shaping for the corners like you might have used for turning a sock heel or some such.  Then you knit straight and pick up a stitch from the edge of one of the previous rounds as you go so there’s no sewing up to do. I’m really off sewing up.

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The yarn is another vintage one that I picked up at a stash sale at my local knitting group.  I was using this to make leaf bunting but then got sick of it and decided to use it to make this blanket instead, I think its more of a 3 ply than anything, bit too thin to make snoods with which is a shame because its gorgeous.

I’ve lost track of which is the right side but I don’t really care.

wpid-20150215_163453.jpg That there is my favourite handbag and a bag full of neglected knitting projects, none of which are from the huge book I bought from Sarah Crawford herself at Unravel last year that came in that bag.

If you fancy having a go at doing it yourself the pattern is online here: I’ve copied out the corner bit into my Pink Book of patterns and ideas because I’m sick of the screen on my phone timing out when I’m in the middle of it.

http://static.knittingparadise.com/upload/2011/9/20/1316502462715-ten_stitch_blanket.pdf 

Knitting & Stitching Show – Alexandra Palace Friday 12th October

ImageYesterday I went to the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London with a friend from work, we went together last year and had a lovely time so made the same arrangements for this year. I love the whole thing, the train ride up to London, meeting a friend under The Big Clock at Waterloo (which is where my mum tells me she used to meet her dates), the tube ride up to Wood Green and the complimentary bus from the tube to Ally Pally which is immediately recognisable for being all steamed up with menopausal like-minded ladies. 

I’m going again tomorrow because frankly one day is not enough to see everything properly so I hit on the cunning plan of using Saturday for scoping and Sunday for buying when the exhibitors are surely more likely to give discounts rather than lug all their stuff back home again. There isn’t anything I actually need so I’m happy to chance things selling out before I get back on Sunday.  Clever huh?

So this is what I bought:

A knitting pattern but not the yarn, you just need aran yarn for this one, and while I love knitting with self-patterning yarn the horizontal stripes it produces are not at all flattering. I paid only £2 for this one.Image

From the same seller I also bought this yarn which is a rebrand of the Reflections yarn I bought last year. I made my ‘Hitchhiker’ scarf from this yarn in the white, grey and black colourway and it is a very fine thing indeed. My only gripe with this yarn is it has several joins per skein which have been rather clumsily knotted together. This stand was BUSY but well-staffed so not too much of a nightmare, I paid £10 for these two balls. 

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I picked up a whole heap of fliers but I’ve only recycled a few of them already, nearly every stall there is interesting. Personally I don’t like to see the retailers selling handbags, wellies and naff mass-produced clothes but the hideous wellie-shoes seemed to be selling well and there’s just no accounting for taste is there. I expect those buyers are the same people that bought Crocs and Uggs but I’m getting off track. This is a flier I picked up for a knitting charity, I’m committed to knitting for Oxfam this year with the Fleet Knitting Group but I will pass a copy of this on to Liz next month to consider for next year.Image

I bought this fine hand-dyed yarn that came with a free pattern from Cheryl Niamath who hand dyes all her own yarns. She charged £10 for this which is pretty reasonable by show standards I thought.  She has an awful lot of very nice yarns indeed which I would recommend checking out if you’re going tomorrow. 

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I’d forgotten to charge my phone before I left home so there was no opportunity to tweet but I was with a friend so it would have been rude to piddle about with my phone all day anyway. 

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I only found a tatting stand! I’ve been wanted to get into tatting for ages and ages but couldn’t find tatting shuttles in any of my usual haunts. I managed to elbow my way into the stand after about a lifetime of trying the polite route and was rewarded with two demonstrations from a couple of fantastic women, of course I bought the beginner’s pack and they threw in a free little sample that had caught my eye too. I’ve promised to come back next year wearing a coat made entirely of tatted mini-masterpieces. I believe they also have some sort of organisation I can join. I do like membership of a group. So long as there’s no touching. 

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Then we found these Russian and Ukrainian women that were selling kits that were a mixture of cross-stitch and beading. A lot of it was very twee and frankly hideous but they had one hanging on the wall that was absolutely lovely, it was an autumn scene of trees but they’d completely sold out of that one. They have a Facebook page and a website so if you’re interested in finding out more, some of the floral bits were nice too and there were some jolly apples but there was a bird in the picture too and I find birds a bit creepy crunchy looking. 

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I picked up this instruction postcard from somewhere or other to remind me to make a granny square blanket at some point. 

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This Debbie Abrahams had some lovely work, its a sort of knit-along mail order service. I couldn’t quite work out the pricing structure so all I can say is its beaded knitting kits that work out to be quite reasonable or way overpriced. 

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Thank goodness I found a Knook kit. £7.99, so I think I could have got it cheaper on Amazon but thats no fun. Image Its what I most wanted to find. THIS is going to revolutionise the production of Gin Poodles by train. I’ve started having a go already and I love it. Its a combination of knitting and crochet techniques that mean you can do simple knitting with only one needle. How very convenient.  I bought mine from The Yorkshire Bookseller who is a bit grumply and a bit overpriced but was the only person stocking it. My friend suggested buying one between us and sharing. She obviously forgot I don’t do sharing. I’m happy to buy presents but I never share. 

Here’s a funny little feller I bought for £1 that is going to cheer up my desk at work. My desk could do with some cheer. Image

Look, don’t tell anyone I said this but its rumored that smelly Marilyn who runs the beading group I attend is selling fake Nymo. I’m not going to be sucked in to a life of crime so I’ve bought my own, and some KO thread too to see how that compares. Image

Ooooh this Jo Storie sells knitting patterns online. Let me tell you she had the most beautiful things. Honestly she was the best pattern seller there for people who have an eye to fashion. I quite literally would knit every single pattern she had displayed. 

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These fellers are linked to a magazine publisher and claimed this site had only launched on Thursday, I haven’t had a look myself yet but the literature they had on the stand made it look interesting and possibly even useful. Image

My last pic is to remind me to buy one of these tomorrow, my friend bought one for another woman at work and after a bit of a demonstration I think I’d like one too. This is a very very odd stand though. There is a man and a woman (fear the BO) but only the man is supposed to demonstrate, the woman will demonstrate as long as the man doesn’t find out. Now I’ve outed her. Image