I didn't think I'd be able to go this year, but cancellation of one thing and the start of another meant that my Saturday was free for yarny goodness. So I went! I got up bright and early on Saturday morning, armed with cake, a packed lunch and plenty of carrier bags, and headed down to the Royal Horticultural Halls. I got there early enough that I was the second person through the door, but we all had a really good time standing about in the queue chatting and looking at one another's projects. I love queuing with knitters. :D
The place was not nearly as packed as last year, probably because it was split over two days instead of just the one. There were also fewer vendors. On the other hand, the hall had figured out that knitters really would come to an all-day event, so opened the cafe and restaurant for us (unlike last year) and made sure that the cashpoint in the building had been refilled (since it ran out in the first 45 minutes last year!).
The best thing for me was meeting up with people I knew. Last year several of the Ravelry groups to which I belong had had a meet-up, but I was too shy to go and say hello. Not this year! This year I met, I chatted, I cooed over yarn and babies and admired lace and handspun. And another friend was working on one of the stalls. For her I brought cake, but she and her colleagues couldn't eat all of it. Off I went to distribute cake to all and sundry! Well, not quite everyone, but all the people from whom I bought something, as well as the lovely people from iKnit who were running the event. And of course the Posh Knitters.
I spent a lovely quarter hour with the lady running the Knitting and Crochet Guild stall, trying to reverse-engineer a crochet block. I'm determined to figure it out. Chatted with several people about the new location of the Handweaver's Studio, since I was hauling my purchases in the lovely canvas bag they'd given me when I bought Fifi. And I finally got my hands on a Ravelry 'My Name Is...' badge from a lady who'd brought a bowlful to give away.
Oh yes, there was shopping. ;) Of course there was shopping! I'd gone planning to get unusual and unique things, nothing I could get in a shop. And I really wanted a batt to spin, since I've only ever spun from combed top before. Here's what I brought home:
The big pile of fluff is a batt from Rockpool Candy. She does amazing batts, blended with several fibers and often with findings carded in. This one is merino, milk protein and banana fiber with velvet ribbon, black silk lace and red feathers! It's called 'Bordello' and is 50g of loveliness. I'm planning on spinning it up as a heavy-ish single, then plying it with some plain red merino to get more length from it. The red, purple and orange fluff in the bag is combed top, but it's special. It's superwash merino blended with nylon to spin into sock yarn! I'm finally going to be able to spin and knit socks I can wear.
The yarn is a skein of Infinity Lace from Fyberspates. It's actually the colour of cinnabar. The name is appropriate - it's 3000 yards to 100g! I've got plans for a very large lace shawl. This purchase did mean that I failed in one of my goals, since I didn't really want to bring home anymore laceweight. Ah well. It was worth it.
The rest of my purchases weren't planned, but rather were on my mental list of 'stuff I really want to get my hands on if ever I happen to see it for sale'. The book is the long-awaited reprint of Alice Starmore's 'Book of Fair Isle Knitting'. Pretty much everyone is hoping this means that the rest of her books will be coming back into print in the future. It's a hefty tome, containing everything that was in the original edition from 1988, but with added photos. The leaflet is a copy of a shawl pattern called 'Ishbel'. It's this year's must-knit shawl pattern, since it's so gorgeous, but had only been available online and I've closed my Paypal account. Fyberspates were happily selling paper copies, and I got one just before they ran out!
The mug is my new office mug. It just says "I'd rather be knitting". I've been looking for one for ages, and now I've got one! It'll make my colleagues laugh. They've all seen me squirrelled away in the staffroom knitting away over lunch.
And finally, I was walking up to the bus stop afterwards in the glorious sunshine and decided to play tourist. Westminster was looking gorgeous!