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Monday, 11 July 2016

All knitting news.

Over a week ago I returned from The Knitting & Crochet Guild's convention in Sheffield at The Edge, University of Sheffield's conference facility and I still haven't told my loyal readers all about the great experience. Details were announced in Slipknot, the guild's journal, I made a decision to go, well did ask a few folk for their views on travelling alone, to join over 60 strangers, all of whom knew what to do, where to go and produced beautiful yarny works. 

There was a chance to add to my ever growing stash, this Artesano British wool said "Buy Me" on the stash busting table, after some considerable thought, I did. Of course I wasn't to know that the Artesano business was to go under a few days later, their yarn Definition is in my stash too.

This sumptuous Yarns from the Plain was dyed by Nic Rudd who gave an inspirational talk about her career progression to indie yarn dyer, the Plain is the Cheshire one, the yarn is British too. This yarn has some nylon in it so it will become a pair of socks for Ian giving me an opportunity to try a rib pattern rather than stocking stitch. 

Another highlight was a visit to Lee Mills, where volunteers maintain and catalogue patterns, garments, equipment in an unheated mill. We were 30 in number, lunch was provided, we had to retain and identify the same mug so mine had yarn from the long tail of a sock I'm knitting 

Below are photos of tools and garments held at Lee Mills,

If anyone is interested in this collection and the social history of knitting and crochet may I suggest you join the guild, members can access the collection online. 

There were two workshops, one Saturday morning where we were taught  Möbius cast on by Sarah Cage to produce (eventually) a cowl, I think some may have made a hat. I had that moment when I suddenly understood what I was doing and I raced away casting on 120 stitches of Sirdar Denim Ultra.

The work has grown to this rather scrunched up knitting with a clear twist, some rounds are knit and some purl using 10mm circular needles.

The Sunday class was on mitred squares, haven't a photo of this to hand, my memory is of about dozen ladies absorbed in knitting in the closed bar. Actually there were triangles too, made by picking up stitches along the side of the square, Anne Scahill gave us tips of the trade, I certainly wish to keep going with this, perhaps it will become a cushion cover. 

Other highlights were the good food served in The Edge" with morning coffee and afternoon tea breaks each day, with delicious looking pastries; plenty of time to socialise, it was expected that delegates would knit or crochet throughout proceedings, no need for furtiveness there; interesting speakers including Susan Crawford on the Vintage Shetland Project, I learnt a lot from the Guild's Facebook moderating team, it seems that FB is taking over from Ravelry, I prefer the latter when a technical matter is raised as it is easy to go back to past conversations for this, FB is more chatty and a kind of Show and Tell than a resource, both have their place. 

A little boast, at the end of the Show and Tell, boosted by half a pint of cider, I spoke of the benefit of knitting in public, based on my experience in Florence when we were able to restore a wallet to its owner because his wife had spoken to me about the hexipuff I was making. This is the photo on my iPad of the completed quilt I passed around, it would have been too much to take the quilt by train to Sheffield. I blogged about this in great detail on 25th September 2013. 

To stand up and speak to 60 people, it was a last minute decision for I am not used to speaking in public, before the convention I was apprehensive for it was my first time at an event where I knew no one, apprehensive of travelling alone and not missing return train, of being organised to be at the right place at the right time, coping with being around a large number of people all of whom I found friendly, helpful and fun. Now I am considering attending next year's confederation in Birmingham, I learnt a lot about myself, about knitting and about avoiding travel on a Sunday, the train crawled along and stopped so often.